It’s one thing for your dog to bark—a natural canine behavior—but then it’s another thing for your dog to BARK . . . constantly . . . through your migraine . . . while the kids are screaming . . . and while your mother’s on the phone . . . And chasing cars may get him killed!
The first thing you should do is determine whether your dog is barking for a good reason. If he’s carrying on because a stranger entered your yard, as soon as everything has settled, praise him and tell him to be quiet.
A bad reason for barking would be something akin to a raccoon in a tree. Again, go out and make your presence known to him, tell him to quiet down, then return inside. Repeat this exercise until he realizes that whatever he’s barking at is not a threat to you and he’s not going to gain any attention from this behavior, other than your stern displeasure.
An Alternative Solution to Excessive Barking
Dogs tend to focus on one thing at a time, so if you find that your dog is barking excessively, get him to focus on something other than whatever is causing him to bark. This may be a favorite toy, a treat or even just your presence. If you do decide to grab your dog’s attention with a treat, make him work for it first. Show him the treat and get him to sit and remain silent for a period of time before giving him the treat. Each time, extend this period of silence so that your dog begins to understand that “silence is golden.”
In the future he may still bark at the raccoon a couple of times to scare it and then rest easy in the knowledge that his duty is done. Don’t worry about this behavior, as you don’t want to dampen his instinct to bark when there something truly is wrong.
If you find your dog barking at a skunk, bring your dog inside as quickly as possible. A curious barking dog is a major threat to skunks and the results can be rather unpleasant for both you and your dog.
Dealing with Complaints About Excessive Barking
The first thing to do is make sure that your dog is actually the culprit. If this is the case, try to figure out what’s setting your dog off—passing cars maybe? Then make an effort to deter your pet. Don’t leave your dog tied up outside or alone all day in your back yard if he’s disturbing the neighbors. Try to understand your neighbor’s point of view: hours of incessant barking are hard to tolerate.
A dog who chases cars is not only endangering himself, but the driver who tries to avoid an accident.
If you’re letting your dog run free in the street—don’t! If, on the other hand, your dog is escaping the yard, you should act immediately. If he’s jumping the fence, add height to it. If he’s digging underneath it, install a device such as an invisible fence. It may seem a little excessive and expensive, but the cost of the alternative could be much higher, and invisible fence solutions are actually less expensive than conventional fencing.
Another good idea is to take a few Saturday mornings and walk your dog around town so that he gets used to the hustle and bustle of traffic. Hopefully, he won’t be bothered by it any more and view traffic as just another background noise.