Today’s guest writer is Stacy Mantle, Founder of PetsWeekly. Stacy is writing about why dogs bark and what pet parents do about it.
Excessive barking is one of the main reasons that dogs are returned to shelters. These days, barking is considered very disruptful and can result in angry neighbors, expensive citations from HOAs or local police, and even the possibility of being forced to turn your dog over to animal control.
Fortunately, there are many things we can do to stop excessive barking. But before you can stop barking, you must first determine what’s causing the behavior.
Regularly Scheduled Events
In most cases, barking is started by a regular event. This may be kids walking to school, garbage pickups or even a neighbor leaving for work. If you’re not home during the day, ask a caring neighbor to help you out by keeping a record of when your dog is barking or consider adding a sound-activated camera to your home. This will alert you to what might be setting off your dog.
If you’re lucky enough to identify specific times for when your dog barks, you will most benefit from removing your dog from the situation. Schedule a petsitters or dogwalker to come by during the times your dog is most likely to bark and give them a walk or some much-needed playtimes.
Barking all the Time
Entertainment is the number one way to keep your dogs from barking, which is why DogTV fits the bill perfectly! DogTV is programming designed for dogs and will help you keep them entertained for hours on end.
You should also consider bringing a petsitter over or taking your dog to a doggy daycare. These programs are incredibly helpful to dogs who are not getting enough stimulation in their life and are barking because they are bored all day. Call up one of the local dog daycare centers near you and see what types of weekly programs they offer.
Bring In The Toys
Dogs generally bark because they are bored. Introducing a food puzzle bowl (like the Nina Ottosson puzzles) or a treat-dispensing chew toy (like Kong toys that are stuffed with peanut butter or specialty filling) is a great way to keep your dog focused on something else for a few hours. Automated toys like the Pet Cube for real-time fun and interaction with your pet even when you’re not home.
Your best weapon against barking is getting your dog too tired to bark. Take your dog for an early morning run before work and again upon your return. Contact a petsitter to come over for a mid-afternoon walk. Follow up with a fast-moving game of tag or a late night walk upon your return home.
The bottom line is that if you don’t give your dog a job to do, he’ll find one on his own and chances are, you won’t like the jobs he finds. It’s up to you to keep your dogs entertained and make sure they don’t become an annoyance to neighbors.