Authored by Jayant Row in Dogs
Published on 05-22-2009
There is nothing more annoying than having a dog barking in your neighborhood when all else around is so still and quiet. If it is your own pet that is responsible for those uncalled for decibels, it can be embarrassing as well. I do have a pet dog, and there are times when he goes on a barking spree. It is generally not without a reason. Maybe he hears my son’s bike approaching, or the footsteps of my granddaughter on the steps.
At these times the barking stops as soon as they enter the house and he can greet them. There are other times when his barking seems uncontrollable, like when we have the festival of lights here in India. Firecrackers going off causes him to bark and he will not stop until the firecrackers subside. His barking habit is irritating at times and we wish he would stop. He also barks persistently if we leave him alone at home, and the next day we do hear complaints from neighbors.
Dogs tend to start barking when they are bored or frustrated. The barking is also their reaction to fear and excitement, and is a natural reaction. Quite often, a simple response to the dog assuring him of our attention and love can cause him to stop barking. If it is fear or excitement that has got him going, removal of that cause of fear or excitement could easily cause him to stop. There are specific training techniques which need to be started when the dog is young. A dog needs a lot of exercise. Doing this will ensure that he will be less excitable and therefore less prone to barking.
Condition your dog to stop barking by gently admonishing him. Dogs respond to their owner’s tone of voice, and are sensitive to scolding. Do this persistently and throw in a treat when he does respond to your instruction. If he connects up the treat to having responded to your admonition, you are on the way to curing him of the habit of barking. Replace the treat with just a pat or a tickle below his ears. Make sure that your own behavior is consistent and not dependent on your own moods.
There are bark control products that are available. But these are not infallible. These products will send out an ultrasonic noise that only dogs may hear. This causes the dog to stop barking. He could get used to the noise and continue barking as before. Some barking devices produce a spray of citronella oil which will calm the dog. Personally I would not advocate these, as both are unkind to the dog. It can cause them to get confused and more fearful. This is not good for the long run.
Dogs are very sensitive to atmosphere, and you will notice that if they are confused or frightened, their first reaction would be to come and sit as close to you as possible. This is because they recognize that you can protect them against whatever uncertainty they are up against. At this time a simple pat or just allowing him to snuggle close to you will give him a feeling of comfort.