A dog’s bark is a perfectly normal activity for them when they want to give a warning and or call for assistance. Persistent barking however can drive owners and neighbours up the wall. Some breeds are naturally more vocal than others, so do your research before settling on the breed that is for you.
Dogs also bark as an attention seeking behaviour. They bark out of excitement. Some highly excitable types bark at every little noise, and some dogs bark for the sheer enjoyment. Most of the latter are learnt behaviours and generally have been reinforced by their humans – some intentional and some unintentional.
If you have a problem barker, it is sensible to try and establish what triggers the barking and whether this is the area you should be controlling.
You need to ask yourself the question: Is it the barking I find a problem with or the fact that the dog won’t stop when told to? If it is the latter, then the problem is one of control and not barking.
Invariably I find most dog owners resort to trying to outshout the dog in their attempts to shut it up, but this just adds to the chaos. From the dog’s point of view, it is pleased that the owner/pack member has joined in and so the problem gets worse not better.
I have found that the most effective way of dealing with a noisy dog is to use Sound Aversion Therapy which is a means of interrupting unwanted behaviour without the need to use force in any way. A dog trainer or dog behaviourist will be able to assist you with this.
If your dog barks when you are not at home to correct the behaviour then there are a few products you could try Like the Citronella Bark Collar, Vibration Bark Collar or Bark Box.
Tip : Taking your dog for a daily walk off your property will assist in draining its energy and reduce challenging behaviours such as persistent barking.
Belinda Bolt is a professional dog behaviourist and trainer on the KZN North Coast – 083 560 0462