How to Stop Your Dog’s Excessive Barking
By Shireen Haynes
After months of long, cold winter, who doesn’t want to be outside soaking up the sun and fresh air? Our canine companions often long to be outdoors as well. With increased people, other dogs, birds and animals out and about, some of our furry dog friends may be prone to excessive barking. This can be quite annoying for you, and often times, your neighbors. How do you put an end to this challenging behavior?
The first step is to not yell at your dog. While it may seem counter to reason, yelling at your dog stimulates him more and he may think that you are joining in on the fun. Speak to your dog in a clear, even but firm voice.
Secondly, use a command word. Say your command word – it could be something like, “quiet” or “stop” and wait until your dog is quiet and then reward him with a treat. Do not give your dog attention while he is barking. Wait until he is quiet and settled down before you reward him with your attention. After all, that’s why he is barking. You can also distract him by saying his name and then giving him a task to do such a trick or a command.
Limit your dog’s exposure to stimulation by closing blinds, installing privacy fencing and or use noise reduction techniques such as softly playing classical music or a TV turned down low. Finally, make sure that your dog is exercised properly for her activity level. Some dogs bark out of boredom. Exercise and mental stimulation activities such as puzzle feeders will help keep the noise level down.
Most towns and municipalities have ordinances regarding howling or barking dogs. In the City of Rochester, it is violation for dogs to bark continuously for more than 15 minutes during the hours of 8:00 am to 10:00 pm or to bark continuously for more than five minutes between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am. If you are cited, you could be subject to fines and penalties. Please check with your town for the local ordinance in your area.
A quiet dog helps everyone in the neighborhood enjoy the outdoors.