If you want to understand why your dog barks incessantly and learn how to remedy it, here are the real solutions to your problem!
First of all, you must understand that you will never be able to stop a dog from barking entirely unless you inflict the stress and pain of an anti-bark collar, which will quickly (but at what cost?) solve your problem. On the other hand, if you want to understand why your dog barks incessantly and succeed in limiting his barking with gentle methods that respect your dog, here are the real solutions to your problem.
Understanding why my dog barks
Before stopping a dog from barking, you need to understand why he does it and identify what drives him to adopt this behaviour, which can, I admit, be a bit annoying.
To understand this, we must ask ourselves three simple questions:
First, is it ad hoc or untimely?
Is my dog sufficiently spent?
What are the triggers?
At the end of this questioning, the result is clear:
either your dog barks from time to time, and it is pretty standard since it is a means of communication (among others) for him,
or it is excessive, in which case, it hides a malaise (anxiety, frustration, demand for attention, etc.),
or your dog is bored, not sufficiently stimulated and then used barking to externalize and release his excess energy,
or your dog has a very (too) guarding solid instinct and an extreme reactivity (notably due to a lack of socialization) and barks at the slightest noise that he considers suspicious.
Find adapted solutions
There is a solution for each problem; therefore, it is necessary to target the heart of the problem to find the best possible solution. To do this, it is sometimes necessary to call upon the services of a behaviourist dog educator to help you solve your problem.
But in any case, here are some tracks in which you will inevitably find answers and especially solutions to improve the daily life of your dog:
Identify and positivize the triggers.
If your dog barks to warn you of a danger, it’s a good thing, but if he barks at the slightest dead leaf that flies in front of your window, it’s much less helpful.
You must identify the element(s) that trigger your dog’s barking and then make it as positive as possible by using activities that your dog loves to assimilate the situation that triggers it to a problem that he enjoys and in which he feels good.
Let me explain: dogs are afraid of what they don’t know. Fear is expressed differently in each dog, but often, barking is the first shield they put up to protect themselves. Thus, if your puppy has not, until he is about three months old, lived a maximum of positive experiences, heard a lot of different noises, met a multitude of individuals, etc., he will not have enough resources, baggage and hindsight to judge whether a situation is dangerous or not.
In any case, it is recommended to get professional help for the desensitization and positive habituation processes. To avoid aggravating the problem. The slightest mistake can cause your dog to be even more reactive.
Spending your dog
The key to avoiding excessive behaviour is to meet your dog’s needs. For example, a sufficiently exercised dog does not need to express its excess energy in an insistent and often disturbing manner.
So, keep your dog busy, spend it, offer him stimulating activities such as :
walks outside the garden every day, even several times a day (morning and evening)
Occupational and intelligence toys at home: kong, treasure trail/search, digging mat, etc.
I practised a sports activity: can-cross, agility, tribal, ring, obedience, flyball, tracking, etc.
Teaching your dog to “shut up
Finally, you can also teach your dog to be quiet. But be careful; this can only work if the last two tips have also been followed and applied.
Indeed, asking a dog to be quiet when barking seems to be the only possible way out of his discomfort is a little too much. You’ll agree!
To teach a dog to be quiet, the best solution is to teach him to bark. Yes, I assure you, it’s a technique in its own right. In short: when your dog barks, say “bark” (you can even add a gesture with your hand) and give him a treat. Repeat this several times. When he stops, say “stop” or “shut up” (it doesn’t matter what word as long as it’s the same) and give him a treat.
It’s a bit like a self-control game where you turn on and off the button that corresponds to your dog’s barking.
Here, the most important thing is to play on the intonations so that your dog understands the message you want to send him: “bark” in a high tone and “shut up” in a firm and low manner. Don’t hesitate to exaggerate your posture and intonation to make the nuance real.
I am not responding to all of their requests for attention.
Finally, a dog may understand that barking is a perfect way to get its owner’s attention. He then uses and abuses this technique to get all the favours of his human. In this case, it is essential that you be patient and determined, ignoring your dog completely. Missing a dog is, I remind you, not looking at him, not touching him or talking to him.
Be careful; this approach only works if, at the same time, you initiate contacts and spend your dog correctly (as seen previously).
If your dog gradually stops barking after a few days of maintaining this attitude, it is because his barking was simply a way to get your attention.
Here is a summary of the good and bad things to do to prevent your dog from barking:
What not to do:
Yell louder than he does to shut him up,
Put an anti-bark collar on him,
Scold him when he expresses his discomfort,
Respond systematically to his requests for attention.
What to do:
Understand why he barks,
Reinforce good behaviour,
Exert him physically, mentally, socially and holistically,
Divert him to an activity he enjoys,
Call in a professional if needed.