The dog is a human’s best friend, and we humans have been domesticating dogs for more than 30,000 years. Whether your dog is a cuddly pup, or a strong watch dog, they use barking as a way to communicate to the world around them.
Sometimes, dogs may bark more than usual for many different reasons. So, why do dogs bark excessively?
Most of the time, dogs bark excessively due to medical issues, territorial protection, anxiety, excitement, hunger, boredom, and as a way to get your attention.
Why is My Dog Barking?
Dogs may bark for a variety of reasons. Let’s explore them below:
When you notice that your dog is barking excessively, the first thing you should do is contact your veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions. Also, older dogs may bark at something that is not there or at night due to cognitive dysfunction. So, if you notice your senior dog barking more than usual, you should contact your veterinarian.
Your dog will also bark when they are in pain – whether they are attacked by another animal or injured through rough play – as a way to communicate that they want the pain to stop. The bark may trail off or sound higher pitched when you pet or touch them.
One of the reasons why your dog could be barking is because they are trying to protect their territory. When they see another animal or even a person going to an area they consider their territory, they start barking excessively. The closer the threat gets to the territory, the more frequent and louder the barks will become.
During this type of barking, your dog will look a little aggressive and alert with their body posture, and they may have their ears and head at attention with their tail in a straight direction. Your dog’s body will be tense, and this is their way of showing they are larger, stronger, and may bite whoever is trying to threaten their territory.
Dogs with separation anxiety will bark more anytime they are left alone. Excessive barking is not the only symptom they will exhibit – pacing, depression, and destructiveness, are other signs that your pup suffers from separation anxiety. When your dog is anxious, they usually have their tail between their legs with a low head posture and raised hackles.
It is normal for your dog to bark excessively when greeting people or excited. Whenever you come home from work or your dog sees someone they like, they will start barking, yipping, and yowling. These barks usually accompany a wagging tail, jumping up and down, perked ears, and a high-held head.
The barks are usually high-pitched or mid-range and will stop once your dog’s excitement reduces. Sometimes they tap their feet quickly or spin in circles to show you they are happy.
Attention-Seeking and Hunger
Another reason your dog could be barking excessively is that they want your attention, treats, or to go for a walk. Usually, the barks are long single barks with pauses between them. During times like this, your dog will have a relaxed body position with their eyes down or natural and their tail wagging or straight. So, it is up to you to figure out what your dog wants.
Remember that if your dog barks to get a treat and you give them every time, they will constantly bark whenever they want a treat. This is because they will see it as an effective way of communication.
Your dog will also bark whenever they are bored and want you to play with them. This type of barking is similar to attention-seeking because they will have the same body position here. In other cases, your dog might stick their butt in the air with their legs on the ground to show that they are ready to play.
Different Ways to Help Your Barking Dog
We’ve listed some methods to help your dog’s excessive barking below:
- If your dog is barking because of boredom, try to engage them in activities like dog walks and puzzles and spend quality time with them. Always ensure that you have time for your dog because if they are not physically and mentally stimulated enough, they could develop destructive behaviors.
- When your dog is barking excessively, do not shout at them to stop because it will only fuel them. So instead, you should speak firmly and calmly.
- Teach your dog to understand worlds like ‘quiet’ so that they will understand whenever they are barking excessively.
- If you are going on a trip, try to tire out your dog before you go – engage them in many activities – because a tired dog is a quiet dog.
- If your outdoor dog usually barks excessively throughout the night, you should consider bringing them indoors as they will learn to sleep peacefully quickly.
- If your dog spends time looking out the window and barking at anyone or anything that passes, you should consider removing the distractions by adding curtains or blinds.
- Find out what causes your dog to bark excessively and teach them alternative behaviors to exhibit instead of barking.
Dogs use barking as a form of communication to us, other animals, and the world around them. Barking is common in all dogs, but excessive barking can be a problem. The first you should do once you notice excessive barking in your dog is to contact your veterinarian.
If you have any questions about your dog’s behavior and barking in the Matthews, NC area, Caring Hearts Animal Hospital is here to help. Call us today at 704-893-2799 or make an appointment!