Barking excessively is one of the biggest complaints pet owners hear. Constant barking is a nuisance to owners as well as their neighbors. Sometimes a simple change solves the problem, for example, bringing your dog inside at night. More often, excess barking is your dog’s response to being confused emotionally or otherwise.
* Barking is a normal behavior for dogs. Some dogs bark to defend their territory, as a greeting, an invitation to play, or because they’re happy. Other dogs bark as a threat, because they’re lonely, do not have enough exercise, or are frightened by thunder or fireworks.
* Certain breeds are more vocal than others. For example, beagles bark a lot while greyhounds hardly ever make a sound.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
* The first step in dealing with your dog’s barking is to gain an understanding of what stimulates his excessive barking behavior. Keep a note of when and where the problem seems most persistent.
* Since barking is a normal behavior, trying to reduce rather than eliminate it is most realistic. For example, try teaching your dog to bark on command, then teach him to be quiet on command, and release excess energy with exercise.
* Recently several antibark collars have been marketed as a quick fix for barking. These collars produce an adverse stimulus in the form of an electric shock of variable intensity, an ultrasonic or audible noise, or a spray of citronella oil that is released under the dog’s chin. Shock collars almost always stop the barking but dogs may become fearful and/or aggressive as a result. Ultrasonic collars work for some dogs, others get used to the noise then resume barking. Citronella collars are as effective as shock collars for most dogs but are more acceptable to most owners and to me. Always check with your veterinarian before using any product or device on your pet.