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My Dog Won't Stop Yapping: How To Put an End to Endless Barking!

 by danielle on 05 Aug 2014 |
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Every dog barks – but some dogs seem to never stop! An overly vocal dog can not only give you a pounding headache but also get you in strife with your neighbours whose quiet time is disrupted.
 
Dogs bark for a number of reasons. Barking can be a warning to other members of the pack, a demand for attention, a fear response or a challenge to objects or scenarios the dog finds frightening. From the dog’s perspective, barking is appropriate and even necessary to counteract the situation. They may even feel barking is helping you out by defending the house from the dangers of the outside world (such as motorbikes and deliverymen).

 
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How you respond to barking depends on what appears to be the root cause.
 
If your dog thinks it needs to bark to keep the home, you and itself safe, then the fundamental problem is a sense of insecurity pervading your dog’s mind. Introducing new, calming elements to the environment can, in this scenario, be a likely solution.
 
More time spent with you playing or being petted can reinforce the dog is not alone in the world and does not need to take on the burden of defending his or her territory alone, decreasing the drive to bark. The addition of a kennel or hideout with comfortable bedding that functions as a ‘den’ to retreat from the fears of the outside world can also minimise canine stress. Increased exercise, which improves mental and physical health, can further reduce pup nerves. Your dog is more likely to spend hours snoring rather than barking after a long run! 

 
 
If your dog is barking for attention, toys and increased play are the most likely solutions. Beware of shouting at your dog if you suspect this motivation as they may perceive any attention from you, even if you are yelling, as a sort of reward – or they may even think you are joining in! Waiting out the noise and only interacting when your dog is silent is a better way to encourage peace and quiet.
 
It may seem counterintuitive but dog trainers suggest, regardless of your dog’s precise reasons for barking, teaching your dog to speak on command as a useful anti-bark strategy.

 
 
First, encourage your dog to vocalise by making a barking noise, ringing a bell or any other stimulus you can think of to get them to make some noise. Say ‘speak!’ as soon as they do so and reward with a treat.

Once they have learnt ‘speak’ on command, it is time for the all important ‘quiet’. Ask your dog to speak then say ‘quiet’. Wait for a break in the barking, give them a treat and repeat. By gaining control of your dog’s voice box, uncontrollable barking can become a thing of the past. 
 
 
However, if you are at your wit’s end and nothing else seems to work, an anti-bark collar is a purchase to consider. These collars detect barking and, depending on the brand and make, emit a blast of citronella, a small electric pulse or an unpleasant noise to deter your dog from the behaviour. This can be a solution in itself or a useful back up when you leave the house and cannot be present to continue to carry out your anti-bark campaign.
 

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