Having a dog barking all the time, or at certain “bad times” can be both frustrating and exhausting for a pet parent, and especially if this is your first time owning a dog. Luckily, we can train dogs to bark less and learn what is appropriate and what is not. It might seem like a long road ahead of you, but with a couple of tips and things to keep in mind, you can reduce your dogs barking in no time, and reduce a calmer mindset for yourself, and understand where your dog is coming from.

Determine Reason For Barking

First things first, if your dog is barking a lot, you will need to determine why they are barking to stop it or to look into it further if you suspect it’s due to an illness. Dogs bark for all sorts of reasons, including fear, anxiety, excitement, loneliness, illness, injury, aggression and more. Here are some tips and body language to watch out for to determine why your dog is barking:

Excitement/Attention: If your dog is barking out of excitement, you will be able to tell from their tail wagging and comfortable behavior. They might also bark when asking to go outside, get a treat, or play. They will probably also do a lot of jumping and barking when visitors come over and learn forward into a “down dog” position to let you know they are playing.

Loneliness/Separation Anxiety: If your dog barks the whole time you’re gone, they are experiencing anxiety when left alone. You can also tell by their depressed symptoms, destructiveness, accidents inside (even when they know better), and repetitive behavior like running along the fence or around in circles. Crates are not always the best choice for some dogs and baby gates might be a better option if you suspect your dog is having a tough time in their crate.

Fear: Timid dogs will often put their tail between their legs and even growl when other humans or animals come near them. They will bark when something startles them, both inside their territory and outside. Fear can often come across as aggression as a means to protect themselves. This is especially more common in adopted dogs who come from a traumatic background.

Territorial: If your dog is barking because they are territorial, you can tell as their ears are perked, and their tail is high. Their barking will get louder, the closer the ‘threat’ gets to them.

Once you better understand why your dog is barking, you can begin to work with them to address the issue. Punishment is definitely not the answer here and you want to create a trusting bond with your furry family member.  

Keep in mind that excessive barking might not always be a behavioral problem at all but could also be a warning for a  medical condition. Sometimes when a dog barks non-stop, this is a good indicator that something is wrong. They could be ill or be in pain. If your dog does not stop barking no matter what you try, you should bring them to your vet for an examination. Dog wellness plans cover routine exams and specific diagnostic tests to help find the problem.

Dog medical insurance can help cover the costs of diagnostics, prescription medication, and any surgery your dog might need. Dog insurance plans are meant for unexpected injury and illness, such as this.

Reduce Reasons For Barking

When your dog is a puppy, it is imperative to socialize them as much as possible with other humans and other dogs. The more contact they are exposed  early on, the less likely they will bark at mail carriers or passerby's when you go on a walk. They should be experiencing new things so often that they are not overly excited and not scared. Use your dog wellness plan to get your dog vaccinated and ready to meet as many humans and dogs as possible, safely in their younger years.

If your dog is socialized but still barking loads, the best way to cut the barking is by removing any reward that comes from barking. Begin doing exercises with your dog and only reward them when they are quiet.

With your dog on a leash, have a friend or family member ignore the dog whenever they bark. The person should not pet them, talk to them or even look at them. Then, once the dog is silent, the person ignoring them should reward them with a treat. This teaches excited dogs that barking gets them nothing. It teaches under-socialized dogs that other humans are safe. And, it teaches territorial dogs that being calm around new experiences, people and dogs is when they get praise or treats.

Another great tip for when you don’t have any treats or your dog doesn’t respond to treats is to distract them. If your dog begins to bark, immediately try to gain their attention back. You can do this by getting in their eye line or making a noise that catches their attention. It would be best to ask the dog to sit and stay. Reward with a treat or praise whenever they follow this command.

If your dog is too hyper, you might want to try tiring them out before conducting these training exercises. Try not to get them too tuckered out that they just want to sleep and resent training. Get them just tired enough to listen to your commands and begin to comprehend why they are getting rewarded for certain behaviors. A walk around the block or play time with their favorite toy before hand is suggested,

The above techniques will take time. Try not to get discouraged, and remember that consistency and positive reinforcement are key. Your dog is intelligent and will catch on as long as the message is always the same. Building a trusting relationship with your dog that they feel safe with you will also help speed up the process and reduce aggression. Physical punishment is never advised and will usually end up making the situation much worse. If you don’t think you are capable of learning patience with your dog, it might be best to consider surrendering your dog to an animal shelter or other family member with more experience or time to care for your pet.

Stay Prepared With The Best Dog Insurance & Dog Wellness Plans

If you’re a dog owner, then you know that surprises and accidents happen all the time. This is why it is so important for pet parents to have peace of mind that when unexpected things happen, they have reliable dog medical insurance. Wagmo’s dog insurance plans cover illness and injury, while Wagmo’s dog wellness plans cover routine care. This includes bloodwork, vaccinations, urinalysis, routine exams, and more.

Wagmo is here to take the load off of pet parents’ backs regarding their pet’s health. We are here to answer all of your questions, get your reimbursements to you asap, and take care of the nitty-gritty. All you need to do is love your pet! Are you interested in getting started? Take our online coverage quiz to help determine the best coverage plan for you and your pet.