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A dog that barks nonstop can really grate on the nerves. And it can often feel as though once they start, you can’t get them to stop. Discovering why your dog is barking nonstop is key to beginning the process of correcting and eliminating the behavior.
The fact of the matter is, a dog can bark for hours on end without stopping, especially if left alone or outside, and that is not good for you or your relationship with your neighbors.
So let’s discuss some of the most common reasons why your dog may be barking so much and help you discover training techniques that will stop this undesirable behavior once and for all.
- 1 Barking Due to Health Problems or Age
- 2 Behavioral Reasons For Excessive Barking
- 3 How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Barking?
- 4 Ignore The Barking
- 5 Desentization to Stimuli
- 6 Keep Your Dog Tired
- 7 Incompatible Behavior Training
- 8 Don’t Leave Your Dog Outside All Day
- 9 Final thoughts
Barking Due to Health Problems or Age
Most barking problems are behavioral, but you should always consider health concerns or age as well. Consult with your vet if she is barking because of health issues.
Senior dogs can develop dementia which is a kind of Alzheimer’s in dogs. It can create confusion and disorientation that can make a dog bark. Hearing and vision loss can also cause your dog to feel confused or afraid and may make her bark.
If your canine pal is injured or sick, barking could be her way of trying to communicate with you. Her bark may be more high-pitched than usual or even whiny.
Check your dog for injuries, hard or soft spots around her body, and visit the vet immediately if you find anything.
Behavioral Reasons For Excessive Barking
Loneliness or Boredom
Dogs are pack animals. They become lonely and bored if left on their own for too long. Lack of mental stimulation can lead to barking and other undesirable behavioral problems like destroying furniture or excessive digging.
Separation anxiety is relatively common in dogs. Hailing back to their wolf pack days, to be alone is to be exiled. Exile is a place of fear for dogs; they do not like it.
This fear expresses itself through barking, chewing, scratching, and digging.
Loud noises, new people, new places, new dogs — any number of these situations can cause fear in your dog. She’ll express that fear through barking, cowering, and hiding. If you observe barking along with other behaviors such as cowering, you need to identify the source of the fear.
A territorial dog becomes protective when her turf has been invaded. She will bark, act aggressively and be more engaged than a dog barking out of fear.
Your dog could consider your home, yard, or even your car her territory and in need of her protection.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Barking?
Now that you’ve figured out why your dog barks so much let’s discuss some techniques to get her to stop. Whichever method you choose, keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t yell at your dog. You might as well be barking right back at her; she doesn’t understand.
- Keep training fun and positive for your dog.
- Consistency matters: make sure the entire household follows your training instructions. Mixed messages will slow down the learning process.
Ignore The Barking
If your dog is barking to get your attention, the most effective thing you can do to curb the behavior is ignore her. This kind of behavior is most commonly formed during puppy-hood.
It’s important to be patient because if you respond to your barking pup in any way, it will be reinforcing the behavior.
Example: Confinement Barking
- Put your dog in her kennel or gated room.
- Turn your back and ignore her.
- When she stops barking, reward her with praise and a treat.
- Start small by rewarding just a few seconds of silence and then wait longer and longer as she learns.
- Graduate to leaving the room entirely once she has mastered this first phase.
Desentization to Stimuli
Teach your dog that she doesn’t need to be afraid of whatever is scaring her by making the scaring thing every day ordinary. In a nutshell, gradually expose her to whatever is causing the fear.
Example: Sounds That Scare Your Dog
- Start by exposing your dog to low levels of the noise that scare her, like videos of fireworks, thunderstorms, sirens, etc.
- Slowly increase the noise as long as your dog isn’t exhibiting any signs of being fearful.
- Give your dog treats to reward her for not barking.
- Leave the noise on for more extended periods and slowly increase the volume until she becomes completely used to hearing it and doesn’t react.
This process could take time so remember to take it slow and be patient.
Keep Your Dog Tired
Tired dogs are good dogs that are much less likely to be barking. Depending on your dog’s breed or age, boredom or pent-up energy could be the reason your dog is barking so much.
Take your dog for multiple walks, play catch, spend time training her — plenty of physical and mental exercise will keep your dog happy and well-behaved.
Incompatible Behavior Training
This type of training is all about getting your dog to do something that makes it hard for them to bark, like lying down in their bed. So if your dog starts barking when someone knocks on the door, direct her to lay on her bed.
Example: Someone At The Front Door
- Have someone knock at your front door.
- When she barks, throw a treat in her bed and tell her to go lay down.
- Once she is trained to go to her bed to earn a treat, then begin to have the person knock and open the front door.
- If she gets up when the door opens, close the door immediately.
- Once your dog remains down when the door is opened, give her a treat immediately.
- Repeat as often as necessary, adding variations like ringing the doorbell until your dog knows she needs to go to her bed and not bark when someone knocks and comes into your home.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Outside All Day
“How long can a dog bark without stopping?” is the question we ask ourselves the most when there is a dog left alone outside. This is a number one cause of dogs being bored and lonely, and barking is one way they are trying to get your attention.
The best fix for this is to stop leaving her alone and unattended for long periods of time. They need to be with their pack, that is, you. They need mental stimulation, exercise, and love.
See Also: How Much Time Should a Dog Spend Outside?
Whatever the reasons for the excessive barker in your life, don’t despair. With training and patience, you will be able to get your dog to stop barking. If you are struggling with training, consider taking your dog to a professional trainer for some help.
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