Whether it’s your pup or a neighbor’s pup who decided to sing you the song of their species for hours on end, it’s not difficult to get frustrated with endless barking. Do dogs get tired of barking, though? Sometimes it’s easy to assume that they don’t, especially when this noisy behavior goes on, and on, and on, especially frequently.
For dogs, though, barking is a way to communicate what’s going on around them. They could be trying to alert you of something unsettling, or they could just be bored. The key to making peace in your home starts with figuring out exactly why your pup feels the need to be heard. Here’s what you’ll want to know to help.
If you’ve noticed your pooch getting rather noisy, you’ll need to — or you’ll certainly want to — figure out why they’re barking. That’s the first step in discouraging this ear-splitting behavior, after all, so what are you waiting for?
One confusing cause of the excessive barking is a frustrating feeling we all experience from time to time: boredom. RSPCA Australia lists this as one of the top reasons for nonstop barking, though they also note that this behavior can be redirected fairly easily.
By providing your pup with stimulating activities like puzzle toys, you can keep their minds — and voices — occupied throughout the day. You may also consider providing your dog with some extra company if they’re home alone often, whether you hire a dog walker or adopt a sibling for your fur baby.
Remember, dogs can’t use their words as people can, so they rely on barks, whines, and body language to convey their wants and needs. Excessive barking can be one way of asking you for attention, food, water, or a walk. See if you can figure out what they’re requesting by keeping an eye on your pup’s body language and behavior — the barking could stop here!
If you respond to your dog’s barking, however, you may unknowingly reinforce it. It’s up to you whether you find this helpful — you’ll have a clear warning before any close calls with bathroom breaks — or annoying, but it is something to consider.
If you notice your furry friend having a talk with everyone (and maybe even everything) that passes by your home, they may be on territorial overdrive. After all, it’s completely normal for a dog to alert their owners at the sight of a stranger near their house, but it can easily get annoying if it happens constantly.
RSPCA Australia suggests changing your dog’s association with strangers by offering treats (only when they’re quiet, of course) when someone walks by. You can take training a step further by asking neighbors, postmen, and friends to offer your dog treats and pats to create positive relationships. Whatever you do, make sure no one yells at your dog or acts threateningly in any way — this will encourage your pup’s barking by giving them a reason to alert. Plus, they may misinterpret yelling as people’s way of barking, notes the U.S. Humane Society, which means we can all keep barking, right?
Fear or anxiety
Another common reason for the noise is one that’s pretty understandable. When a dog barks out of fear or worry, you’re likely to notice other symptoms of stress: pacing, panting, shaking, rigid posture, and more, according to VCA Hospitals. Luckily, removing the stressor is likely to stop the barking as well.
For a long-term solution, you may need to try desensitizing your pet to their trigger (via Humane Society). This will involve many sessions of introducing your dog to the troublesome thing, but doing so at a distance and pace that doesn’t stress out your furry friend. Make sure to bring the treats!
On the other end of the spectrum, your pup may be barking out of excitement. Happy body language like a relaxed, wagging tail will be another giveaway of your dog’s good mood, even if a big bark might sound misleading.
Rewarding quiet, calm behavior can be a great first step toward discouraging this type of barking. It can take a while before positive reinforcement training makes a difference, but many dogs catch on quicker than you may think. Be patient!
When the barking and whining goes on for hours, surely your dog has to get tired, right? We certainly get tired of hearing it, but your pup’s exhaustion may not be as direct as you think. Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT, told Daily Paws that, while a dog is likely to get tired from whatever is causing them to bark, the vocalizing itself isn’t what tires them out. It’s more of a mental exhaustion than a physical one. Still, once a pup starts to wear out you’re likely to hear a lot less barking.
Whenever your dog starts barking constantly, it’s always a great first step to look for the source of their concern. Little signs — like body language and posture — will help you figure out exactly what your pup is going through, and what you can do to help. Barking may not stop overnight, but you’ll notice more and more moments of peace before you know it.
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