As much as we love our canine family members, there’s one thing that can drive any pet parent crazy: non-stop barking! Thankfully, there are ways to help your pet overcome this troublesome habit, but first, you must understand why they’re doing it.
Motives for barking There are a number of reasons your canine companion will bark, including the following: • To protect their territory. Dogs instinctively bark to protect their home and family from other animals or people. • In response to sights and sounds. This type of barking is to alert you when they see or hear something out of the ordinary, again as a protective gesture. • To get attention. They want play time, treats or affection. • To communicate with other dogs. Few dogs can resist saying something in response to another pooch barking, even from a distance. • They’re frustrated. This is a result of being in a confined space or cut off from the family, like being shut away in a room when company comes over. Compulsive barking Above and beyond what’s stated above about barking, sometimes a dog will develop compulsive behaviours problems that include non-stop barking. This may be accompanied by pacing and other repetitive actions. In a case like this, you should seek expert advice from a vet at your animal hospital in Toronto. What to do about it Here are a few methods that may help you minimize your dog’s barking: 1. Sight barriers. If your dog is barking at everything it sees out the window or through the back yard fence, consider setting up a sight barrier. This could be as simple as closing the curtains indoors so movement outside doesn’t trigger their barking reflex, or installing privacy fencing outdoors. 2. A quiet zone. Block off an area away from the front door and furnish it with a bed, crate and other comforting objects. Give your dog a bone or chew toy to keep them busy, and if they’re disturbed by sounds, a white noise machine works wonders. A quiet zone is great for dogs who bark when you leave the house or when they have to be shut away for short periods. 3. Devices. There are many anti-barking products on the market you can try. Some popular ones are thunder shirts, which provide the dog with a reassuring weight on their body to calm them, citronella collars (as opposed to shock collars) and stress reduction collars which release calming pheromones for anxious canines. Talk to the vet at your animal hospital in Toronto about which products would be best for your dog. 4. Training. This requires consistency and patience. Training will teach you and your dog a variety of verbal and physical cues which help them learn when it’s appropriate to bark and when they should be quiet. Visit Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital We love dogs too! Come by our clinic seven days a week to get the latest and best animal care for your beloved pooch. Contact us today to find out more about our health management programs for dogs.