Dogs are truly man’s and woman’s best friend because of their loyalty and unbridled love. But if there’s one negative trait associated with dogs, it is incessant barking. There is a problem when barking becomes habitual, constant and disturbs you, your family and especially the neighbors. There is an old King of Queens episode where Doug and Carrie are being driven insane by the neighbor’s barking dog, and they try everything they can think of just to be able to sleep again. This includes Doug secretly taking the neighbor’s dog for walks!
There are many reasons why dogs bark. A good first step is to seek out advice from your veterinarian. If no medical issues are discovered to indicate your dog is in pain or suffering from an illness, consider consulting a behaviorist. Professionals in this field have degrees in psychology, biology or animal behavior. Yes, you are hiring a professional counselor for Rover, but that’s okay because you need a solution.
Let’s look at some possible causes of your dog’s barking.
Fear and Anxiety
You wouldn’t think that dogs with their happy-go-lucky personalities would be prone to fear. However, they have complex little psyches and may have developed an aversion to storms or loud noises, humans other than you, other animals, trips to the vet, being left alone or going to dog boarding Los Angeles.
It is important that you not use punishment to deal with your dog’s barking. In most cases, they won’t make the connection, and you may end up compounding the problem and the barking dog complaints. A possible solution is to give your dog more exercise to wear off nervous and excess energy. A long walk may revive your spirit, too. If your dog has a crate or bed, gently leading him there and rewarding him with a treat can be effective. A behaviorist will tell you to reward the good and ignore the bad behavior as much as possible. Patiently conditioning your dog with treats or other things he enjoys may help Fido work past his fears.
Depending on the cause of your dog’s fear and anxiety, medication or a calming natural remedy may be in order. Thorough blood work to rule out hyperthyroidism or another medical issue driving his behavior may also be wise. Your veterinarian or a behaviorist would be the best person to advise you. Medication recommendations and dosages can vary greatly from pet to pet.
Many dogs don’t like being left at home alone. It is important to start training for short periods of time alone and gradually increasing the time. A crate may help a dog to feel secure in his own little hideout even if it’s left open so he can wander in and out. An especially social dog may enjoy hanging out with friends at Los Angeles dog daycare, and you will have peace of mind knowing he is safe and happy. Some other ideas are to leave a television on low to provide company, closing or opening the blinds or curtains depending on the effect that has on your dog and providing good amounts of daily exercise.
Barking dog complaints related to territorial issues are very common. Some dogs will bark whenever anyone approaches their territory, and that can be good for your security. However, most of the time that’s not the case, and there are some remedies. It’s important to know if your dog is barking out of fear or is simply in protective mode. A behaviorist may be able to show you how to train your dog to stop after that first bark, and then reward him for quieting down. You certainly don’t want everyone who comes into your house to have to listen to incessant barking until your dog quiets down. You also don’t want a barking dog to morph into a biting dog. This can especially be a problem for dogs who aren’t used to being around children. On a side note, it’s very important to teach children how to approach your dog properly and calmly.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Yes, dogs can have OCD, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be tidying up the house while you’re at work. It may mean that he’s endlessly barking, running in circles, chewing furniture, eating carpet or jumping at the window. That’s a lot of wear and tear on your home, as well as on your nerves and pocketbook. This may well be a case where medication is needed, and your vet or behaviorist can help.
Socialize, Socialize, Socialize
The more you allow your dog time to interact with other dogs and people, whether that be with doggy dates, training classes or at Los Angeles dog daycare, the less he may react to stimuli going forward. Most dogs are social, and it’s good for them to be around other dogs and people. There are most likely other dog owners who would enjoy a play date. Some cities have dog parks or play zones for socialization and just plain running off excess energy. Take advantage of those opportunities, or drop Precious off at dog boarding Los Angeles to catch up with other furry friends. You want exposure to different situations and personalities to help your dog in future encounters.
Part of a dog’s appeal is his enthusiasm for everything, but less of it can often be better. Don’t reward bad behavior just to stop the barking because you’ll end up reinforcing it. Remember that you’re not alone with barking dog complaints. There are many resources and people willing to help. Your vet should be your first stop to rule out medical issues, but don’t hesitate to get help from a behaviorist if that’s warranted.
Remember to always let sleeping, and therefore not barking, dogs lie!