Dogs have been bred for different purposes. When considering getting a puppy or a dog, it’s good to research different breed characteristics and choose a breed or a mix that fits your lifestyle and the area you live in. Some dogs have been specifically bred for example to alert about strangers approaching and therefore barking comes more easily for them. You might not want to take this type of a guarding dog to a busy place where the dog will feel an urge to react to all the noise and things happening around it.
Your behavior affects your puppy’s behavior
It’s important to keep in mind that dogs are dogs, and barking is a natural way of communication for them. Dogs bark for different reasons: warning, guarding, excitement, fear, frustration, just to mention a few. Dogs can also quickly learn to use barking to get something they want, such as your attention!
You cannot change your dog’s genetics of course, but what you can do is to pay attention to how your behavior affects your dog’s behavior. You might be unknowingly encouraging a certain kind of behavior from your dog:
- Dogs do more of the things they are rewarded for. If you give your dog treats or pats to keep him silent, from your dog’s point of view you are encouraging him to bark: he just noticed that if he barks, he gets something he likes, so he’ll bark some more!
- When a dog wants your attention, you yelling at him to stop barking is actually giving him just what he wants. And again, he’ll bark some more.
- If you are about to go out and come back when your dog starts barking, he learns that he can get you to come back by barking. Dogs are pack animals, and being reunited with the owner is one of the best rewards. So after learning that you come back when he barks, he’ll keep barking whenever left alone.
Things you can do to try and stop a puppy from barking excessively
Dogs get frustrated if they don’t get enough activities. They can then use this excess energy for doing things that us humans don’t like, such as excessive barking. There are certain things you can do to minimize the barking by keeping your dog active and giving it enough stimulus every day:
- For most dogs, even better than a lot of physical exercise are other activities where they get to use their brains. If you train your dog, you’ll let him use his energy on something useful: daily, short training sessions with your dog are a fun way of spending time with your dog, and as a result, you’ll get a well-behaved companion.
- Let your dog use his nose: dogs have an amazing sense of smell, and they use their nose to explore the world. You can drop some treats on the ground in your garden and let the dog search for them, or hide his favorite toy and let him find it.
- When you leave the dog alone, make sure he has just spent some fun time with you, and that he has something relaxing to do, such as chewing a safe toy, bone or a kong with some treats inside it.
- Finally, don’t leave your dog alone for a long time. If you need to work long hours, try to find an arrangement with someone to keep the dog company.
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