Do you constantly dread a council noise complaint about your dogs barking?
Are you worried your canine pal is barking the entire time they’re left at home?
Maybe you feel you’ve tried everything to manage your dogs barking, you’ve tried other trainers and gadgets and online techniques yet, nothing seems to help.
As a dog owner, it’s important to recognise barking is completely normal behaviour for dogs. It’s a form of communication and there can be a multitude of reasons for their bark. Some of the most common reasons you’ll encounter are boredom, anxiety, excitement during play and territorial behaviour.
To address and rectify problematic barking we first need to understand the reason for the noisy communication. Perhaps your pooch has a wonderful view from the gate where he can see everyone walking past his home. When your dog sees people walking past ‘his’ home he barks to encourage them to move away. When these people then respond to his bark by moving away from the property, your dog views this as a reward for his behaviour and the barking cycle continues.
When does Barking become a problem?
If your dog is continuously barking throughout the day at noises or people, regardless of whether you’re home or not this behaviour can quickly become a nuisance for both you and your neighbours. If your dog barks relentlessly when left alone, this behaviour needs to be managed to minimise the barking as much as possible.
Read on for a few simple tips and tricks to help your dog reduce their barking when home alone:
- Identify what they can see. If your dog can see through the fence or gates, install a barrier to reduce their visibility.
- Restrict access to areas of the garden where there is a lot of foot traffic, especially if your home backs onto a walkway or park.
- Avoid boredom by providing your dog with some fun toys to enrich their day – frozen stuffed Kongs or topples, scattered biscuits throughout the garden, a dedicated digging pit and hidden toys will all help to occupy your dog while you’re away from the home.
- Provide a sleeping area away from any noisy areas of the property so your dog can rest and relax without disturbances.
- Where possible allow access to your home through a doggy door so your dog has the option to be inside and out. If you’re only planning to be out of the home for a short while, consider leaving your dog inside while you’re gone.
To manage any serious barking issues and create a more harmonious home for yourself, your neighbours and of course your much-loved pet, seek the advice and help of a qualified trainer.
Kelly McFarlane is a Behavioural Consultant with over 20 years of hands-on experience communicating with, training and socialising family dogs. Kelly can work with you and your family to create a personalised plan for you and your dog to address the underlying reasons for your dogs barking.
Kelly offers both in-home and online appointments so she can help families throughout New Zealand.