Barking and Separation Anxiety

Since dogs bark as a way of communication and barking is a regular act for a dog, it isn’t really a problem until it is produced in excess. Different barking means different things.

For example, a dog making a high pitched bark might indicate that it is surprised or stressed, while a dog with a deep bark that is continuous and fast paced indicates a stranger is entering into the dogs’ territory.

To solve your dog’s barking problem, first you have to analyze what is making him or her bark. Different breeds of dogs are known to bark more than others, but excessive barking can be a problem in any breed or mixed breed dog.

To find what is making your dog bark, you have to examine the situation when he is barking. Once you have determined a cause, you have a better chance of choosing the most effective solution or behavioral modification treatment.

Changing an instinctive and natural behavior like barking can be difficult and requires considerable time and hard work. Solutions are possible and are definitely worth the effort.

Improper confinement and separation anxiety are the two most common causes of behavioral barking issues. Are you leaving your dog locked up in a crate or confining him to the yard? Are you leaving him home when you have to go to work or a place that doesn’t allow pets?

This will make any dog bark. Dogs are descended from wolves and therefore have a pack mentality. They are uncertain why they are separated and frustrated by being away from their pack.

In this case, if you have to confine your dog, let him be in viewing distance of the activity he can’t be a part of. If you have to leave him at home or in the yard, make it a point to leave him with enough space so that he doesn’t feel confined.

If he lives outdoors give him a larger doghouse and take him for an extra walk during the day or before you leave. Make it a point to play with him for at least 30 minutes a day, because if you don’t the dog will resort to barking. Barking cures boredom and provides the dog with something to do.

Don’t make a fuss over him before you leave and don’t make a fuss when you return. This way he realizes that it’s not a big deal when you come and go and he will understand that you will always be coming back. You can also leave him with a food dispensing toy such as a Kong ™. This will provide him with something else to do with his mouth other than barking.

If your dog barks at neighbors or people walking by the yard, take him to a more secluded spot in the yard and make him stay there. Out of sight is out of mind for most dogs. Adopting a second or third dog to keep your dog company won’t help it will simply make the barking greater. Two dogs equals twice the noise.

If you find that your dog is barking because of outdoor noises such as the wind blowing the chimes, an airplane overhead, or if the barking is simply due to its temperament, behavioral adjustment is in order. This can include re-training using a verbal reprimand such as “No!”, and leash correction.

Yelling at your dog or using physical punishment never works and can make your dog bark more. Keep in mind the punishment should only be used while the barking is occurring, otherwise your dog will not associate the unwanted behavior with the punishment. Remember to reward your dog when he stops barking, and give him praise for just being quiet.

Another option would be a bark control collar which is a shock device or a spray collar that sends a spray of water or citrus scented water into your dogs face to distract it from barking. These are available at most pet stores but can be quite expensive depending on the product you select.

Another option is de-barking your dog, although this should only be considered as a very last resort. Although a de-barked dog doesn’t bark it does make other sounds that can range from a raspy whisper to a hoarse coughing sound and most times the dogs voice comes back gradually causing the need for another surgery to re-de-bark the dog.

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