Why Do Dogs Bark and How To Stop Them From Barking

“Why do dogs bark?” you ask. It’s an all-too-common question, second only to “How do you stop dogs from barking?”

Sometimes, it seems that dogs bark just to hear themselves. We see absolutely no reason for them to make such a racket. We tend to forget that dogs have a supreme hearing and an amazing sense of smell. This gives them two tools to find more reasons to bark.

One top reason they bark is to protect their property and their pack. Since they don’t particularly want to go right for the jugular, they first send a warning to whoever is approaching or passing. “Don’t come on my property. Stay away from my pack. Get out of my territory.”

Yet other times, they want to attract another dog’s attention, especially females. “Hey, you’re cute! Come here?” If only dogs could whistle, like certain humans do when a pretty woman walks by, often referred to as “wolf calls”. They’re called that for a reason.

They don’t always have to see another living being to start barking. Certain smells will set them off. They could be smells of another dog, a cat or some other animal in the area. They could be odors that alarm the dog, such as gas leaks and smoke. In this case, they might bark to warn others of the danger.

While it probably sounds a little unbelievable, dogs will bark when they sense impending danger, such as earthquakes or even huge storms. Their sensitive bodies can pick up rumblings that come up through the ground. And while many would disagree, it’s quite likely that dogs have a sixth sense that enables them to pick up on impending problems.

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In all of these cases, they are barking to gain attention to themselves. They want to be heard. They have something to say. Even when your dog seems to have no apparent reason for barking, you can be pretty sure it’s to get your attention.

Perhaps your dog just wants you to notice her.

When you hear a dog barking, your first instinct should be to check it out. What could be making the dog bark? Is there an intruder in the neighborhood? Is the dog or his pack in danger? You can be certain there is always a valid reason.

The next thing you’ll want to know is how to stop dogs from barking.

It’s a great idea to train your dogs from the puppy stage. You do have control. You don’t necessarily want your dog never to bark, but you do want it controlled. You can do that by training your dog to know when enough is enough.

How To Stop Dogs From Barking

It will be a little tougher if your dog is older and already has an established barking process, but it’s not impossible.

1. Observe your dog.

When your dog barks, observe her see how she acts. Is she barking out the window, at the door? Is she barking frantically or just calmly? How does she sound? Is it quick, high pitched, low pitched? Are there growls mixed in? Does she stop on her own?

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What you’re looking for is a clue into how she acts each time. Sometimes, she’ll be barking at visitors, at other times just to get your attention for some other reason. A toy out of reach, anxious for dinner, threatening a household member (including other pets). What you observe will determine how you respond.

2. Pay attention to natural breaks in the barking.

Dogs generally bark in “paragraphs”. Some might do a series of 5-6 barks, take a break, and then do another series of 5-6 barks. Other dogs will bark for much longer. Those natural breaks provide you with the perfect clue when you will get the best results in stopping her.

What she’s doing is barking, listening, and then barking again. You can be certain that dogs are not just barking. They listen. If the problem still exists, they’ll continue to bark.

3. Check out the cause of your dog’s barking

One thing the dog wants is for you to do something. “Come and see what’s going on so we can scare away the threat together.” In other words, she’s looking for your support. Walk to her side, look where she’s barking. Note what might be causing the barking.

4. Interrupt the barking

Quietly instruct your dog to “Stop!” or “Quiet!”. If you yell, your dog will simply think you are barking as well, which signals that it’s okay for her to keep barking. The best time to coordinate your training is between those natural rest stops. Wait until she reaches one, and tell her to be quiet.

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5. Shorten the allowed barking time

You probably don’t want your dog to never bark. Besides, that would be kind of cruel since dogs bark as we talk. What you really want to do is shorten the time your dog barks. The first thing you need to do is teach her to stop barking on your command, as explained above. Then, work on stopping her at a shorter time. If you only want your dog to bark for one or two series of 5 barks each, allow her those and then tell her to stop.

This process really does work. You have to let the dog know you heard the warning, show support by taking a look to see the possible cause, and then instructing her in a quiet, calm voice to stop.

To recap:

Why do dogs bark? To get attention and warn of impending threats or a call for help.

How do you stop dogs from barking? You establish your dog’s trust in you by checking out the warning and proceed to quietly assure her that it’s okay to stop.

 

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