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Understanding why your dog is barking

When your dog barks it can be a signal of many things they may be feeling. Working on which one is key to controlling the behaviour and reducing any discomfort, stress, or anxiety you both may be feeling.

In this article, we will explore the many reasons why dogs bark, how to identify each one and what to do to resolve the barking behaviour.

What are the main reasons dogs bark?

Lets look at some of the most common causes for a barking dog.

Your dog is in pain or experiencing poor health

If the barking has started suddenly, your dog could be suffering. Your dog could be trying to tell you something. Unlike people, dogs cannot simply tell us if they are sick. Identifying a medical issue is best left to a registered vet, so book in with your local or use this tool

Separation anxiety 

Your dog is too attached to you

Separation anxiety is something I am now seeing more and more of as our lives resume away from the home post covid. If you have for the last 12 months spent all of your time with your dog, and have begun returning to an office, your dog will bark if they are finding the transition difficult and are struggling to be independent. Book the help of a good dog trainer to identify and address separation anxiety.

Boredom 

Your dog’s barking is self-rewarding and something to do.

We all get bored, dogs included. Some breeds more than others. For example, if you have a high-drive border collie who is getting walked once a day for 40 minutes, you would not be blamed for thinking their needs are being met. However, dogs do not just need physical stimulation. Mental stimulation or lack thereof can be a key reason dogs bark. To address boredom barking, I would suggest, Food puzzle games, scent games, obedience training, dog daycare( a good one). All of these will help to reduce the boredom and address the barking.

Too much stimulation  

On the flipside of boredom barking, some dogs bark as they are over-excited.
My German Shepard Dog (GSD) is in good health, independent and receives at least 2 obedience sessions, 2 play sessions, and lots of mental and physical stimulation daily. Most of the time he stays outside in his kennel run and is quite content. He will not bark. However at night time, there are possums in the trees, neighbours coming back from work etc, and he finds this all too stimulating causing him to bark. I manage this behaviour by bringing him inside where I can control his environment. Some breeds such as collie, kelpies etc are very sensitive to movement/ noise so you have to manage their surroundings.

How do I know if my dog is barking when I am not home?

A constantly barking dog is a headache to neighbours, a potential council fine and also difficult to identify if your not there to witness it! My suggestion would be a pet cam.

This article explores just some of the reasons why dogs bark, if you are still in doubt as to why your dog is barking or need help to address it, consider booking an in-home training session, tailored to the needs of your dog.

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