How To Get Your Dog to Bark Less

I grew up in a household of dogs, ranging from my mother's Chow, Stoney, to a Bull Mastiff named Brutus. The one thing I learned quickly was that for one reason or another, all dogs bark. It is innate for them to bark. It is a means of communication. We are disadvantaged if we do not speak, "Bark". It is an intricate language of its own, and much like ours, it is designed to ask, express and defend. That is basically what dogs are attempting to do: ask, express, or defend.

The first thing one should notice when a dog is barking incessantly is what the dog is barking about. There are some things that are going on. The dog is hungry or has been confined too long. The dog is sick and expressing that he too had a bad meal. The dog has to go to the bathroom. Younger dogs may bark because it is a few days having been away from the litter and they are expressing fear. The initial thing to do in these circumstances is to eliminate the very thing that is causing the dog to bark in the first place. Feed and water and walk the dog according to schedule. This will alleviate the no reason barking.

Secondly the language of bark is to express opinions and ideas. Though dogs are animals, they are domesticated animals that have been in the presence of humans for many, many years. They reflect as we do, and take their cues from us. It is an innate system of development they have because they have a life among humans. So barking might be a conversation across the fence with a neighboring dog, or communicating the daily news with other dogs in the neighborhood. No dog howls alone. And I am serious.  Is it annoying? Absolutely. What can we do about it? Unless you keep the dog sheltered away from other animals and tap it on the nose every time it barks (which in my mind borders on animal cruelty), then some of the barking  has to be allowed. Again, if the dog is barking incessantly in the middle of the night, perhaps bringing it inside may help. But then you are proximal to the barking, keeping you both up at night.

Lastly, a dog barks to defend his territory and his master. It is the primary reason many of us own a dog in the first place. Dogs are active security and a proven deterrent to crime. Certain breeds of dogs exhibit this characteristic better than others. Pitbulls, German Shepherds and Doberman breeds bark and bite more. It is their programming. If you do not want a barking dog, then procure a breed that is more docile and smaller.

When all else fails, taking Fido to school for obedience training may not be a bad option. Chain pet stores offer this service at a reasonable price, even for puppies.

The language of bark is not too hard to translate. Even at two o'clock in the morning.


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