Tuffy is a 14-year-old spitz, and he can literally bark at anything and everything. Birds, milkman, doorbells, bike horns, a parcel, people walking by, demons in our house, other dogs, thunder, and alarms. Trust me, the list could go on. He barks even when he’s excited and super happy. And, after at least one minute of barking he gets exhausted but won’t stop. If not interrupted, Tuffy can bark to infinity and beyond. But jokes apart, do dogs get tired of barking ?
While all dogs bark naturally, some dogs do not get tired of barking necessarily. A tired dog may bark less, though.
But, if your dog is constantly barking or whining, it can be a problem for you, your neighbour, and your dog.
In many countries like America and England, one can make a complaint about the excessive dog barking in the neighbourhood to the local court under the Noise Regulations and Environmental Protection Acts.
Your barking dog in this case, is considered as a noise nuisance, and you as the owner could be taken to court if you do nothing to stop the nuisance. This could lead to a fine of up to £5,000 (approx. $7000).
The good news is that the issue comes to you first.
And, when you agree to do something about the barking, your neighbour will wait a few weeks to see if you’ve been successful in your efforts to handle it.
Your neighbour’s support and ongoing feedback about your dog’s behaviour can help you resolve the problem.
So, if your dog at home simply barks away to his glory, or you have an uncontrollable dog choir in your neighbourhood, here are some reasons and tips to understand and manage the situation.
REASONS FOR EXCESSIVE BARKING
Generally, all dogs bark, and they do so for numerous reasons.
A dog uses his voice for many different reasons like, being territorial, to grab your attention, to alert about anything strange, or as a form of greeting.
While dogs express their emotions only through barking, excessive barking can be a sign of a behavioural issue. For example, a dog may bark to display fear, boredom, or anxiety when they are left alone for long hours.
A dog who exhibits this behaviour is not expected to be silent just because he grew tired of barking.
Instead, you’ll have to identify the cause for the behaviour and work on ways to resolve it.
Sometimes dogs can bark unreasonably, but most of these cases can be resolved if properly addressed.
To do so, one must know and understand why their dog barks too much. Some of the reasons your dog may be barking nonstop include:
Communication – Besides body language and scent, barking is a natural way that a dog uses to communicate. Dogs interact with humans and other dogs with different frequencies and counts of barks.
It is very important for dog owners to learn to recognize the difference in the barks of their dog to understand them better.
For example, a single loud bark is given when a dog is surprised or annoyed. A number of barks in a row means the dog is aroused.
Territorial Behaviour– Dogs guard the area they live in, and this comes naturally to them. When a person or animal comes into the area your dog believes is his territory, he will become alert and bark a lot.
In such events, your dog considers them as a threat, and hence, as the threat gets closer, the barking often gets louder.
Specific breeds like German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, and Indian Pariahs inhibit this behaviour more than the others.
Strange Noises – Some dogs bark at strange objects or sounds that grab their attention or startle them. Such incidents cause fear in a dog.
Loneliness/Trapped – Imagine if someone leaves you locked inside a house all day, sometimes confining you to a small area with a collar and chain. Even you will start barking.
Always get a dog only when you can give them some company, either of a person or other dogs, because dogs are pack animals, and they need company to dwell.
A dog that is left alone inside closed walls all the time may bark just because he feels trapped, lonely and bored. Such dogs become compulsive barkers
Separation Anxiety – Separation anxiety is a serious condition in dogs that must be addressed as soon as possible. Some dog owners leave their dogs alone for too long, and hear complaints from neighbours about their dog barking nonstop.
They hope it will go away on its own, but it never does. Instead, if this issue is left untreated, the condition gets worse over time, and eventually, you’ll lose your dog.
Dogs are pack animals, and they need company. If left alone, they may develop separation anxiety, bark until they are dehydrated or put themselves into some kind of danger. Such dogs will soon require treatment.
Treatment options depend on the severity of the anxiety, but always begin the first step, which is to talk to your vet.
Attention Seeking – Dogs often bark wagging their tails, which means they are demanding your attention. They do this when they want something, such as going outside, demanding a playtime at night, or getting a treat.
Attention seeking barks are happy barks, and dogs usually stop when they are ignored.
Greeting and Play – My Tuffy is a perfect fit for this example. Tuffy barks when he meets his human friends after a very long time, for instance, during house parties. His bark is accompanied with tails wags and sloppy kisses.
His piercing barks light up the room, and everyone he goes to, has to pet him to make him stop. After he has kissed all his favourites in the room, he sits peacefully with a wide grin.
Tuffy also barks while he plays ‘hide and seek’ with me. He gets super excited looking for me, and when he finally finds me, he barks to say, “I got you, I got you, YES, I got you, AGAIN.”
So, some barks don’t last long and naturally subside, but others may need intervention.
But, how much barking is too much?
If your dog barks to a point that he gets tired, exhausted, breathes heavy, drools excessively, has a dry mouth, seems dehydrated, becomes lethargic, turns aggressive, and ignores your command to stop, then it is time to settle the matter.
TIPS TO MANAGE AND REDUCE EXCESSIVE BARKING
If your dog barks continuously for an unreasonable amount of time, creating a problem for himself and everyone around, then your dog needs to be trained to curb his constant barking.
Some simple tips to manage and reduce excessive barking include:
Fence – If your dog barks excessively near the gate, probably at everyone and anything, then it’s time to restrict his view to what’s going on outside.
You don’t need to block the view for ever, but only when you find your dog losing his calm. Remember, you are trying ‘barking’ to not turn into ‘too much barking’.
Exercise and Play – An active and busy dog barks less when it gets regular exercise and enough playtime.
This one is tried and tested: ‘A tired dog is a quiet dog.’
Company – If you leave your dog alone the entire day while you’re at work, make sure there’s someone like another family member, a friend, or a dog sitter to keep him company while you are out for the day.
Alternatively, you can find out about doggy day care facilities near your work place or home, or get a dog sitter while you’re out for the day.
Ignore – This may sound hard to do, but some doggos when bored, will bark to attract attention. The only solution to such fuss barks is IGNORE.
Things don’t have to be serious, sometimes doing the least like playing and spending time may be all it takes to correct the problem.
WHAT NOT TO DO WITH YOUR DOG
Getting your dog to bark less will take time, patience, and consistency.
Take it from a 24-years experienced dog parent, it won’t happen overnight, but with proper work and technique, you will see progress within a few weeks. Dogs are quick learners!
But, there are a few things to remember as you start your efforts to control your dog’s barking. These are the things you must not do.
Shouting/Yelling – Shouting makes your dog to bark more because they think you’re joining in. Yeah! Let’s bark together!
So, when your dog barks like a monster, the first rule is to stay cool, speak calmly and firmly, but don’t yell.
Punishing – Never use a muzzle to keep a dog quiet for long periods or when they aren’t supervised, as it can be very dangerous for your dog.
Do not put him on a leash or confine him in a room while he barks constantly, as this can add to his aggression. In this situation, the dog may chew the leash or bite the things around him in anger.
Encouraging Barks – Don’t encourage your dog to bark at some noises, for instance, a car horn, a noisy toy, sudden claps, a door slamming, or people walking by. Discourage them from barking too much at other dogs and humans. Make sure to be consistent.
COMMANDS YOU CAN TEACH YOUR DOG
When you’re yelling at your dog to “shut up”, he doesn’t know what you want from him. So, it’s better to train your dog to understand the word “Quiet” or “Shush”.
Here are two easy commands you can teach your dog at home:
> When your dog is barking way too much and now you want him to stop, say “Quiet” in a calm and firm voice.
Wait until he stops barking, even if he has stopped just to take a breath, then praise him and quickly give him a treat.
Just be patient and calm throughout the process. Do this 2 to 3 times in a day, or if possible, every time he barks.
Eventually he will understand that if he stops barking at the word “Quiet” he gets a treat, which is any time worth more than the barking.
> Alternatively, you can teach your dog to follow a signal to stop his barking.
You can use a different command, such as “Shush”, while holding your finger to your lips.
Dogs often pick up body signals or actions faster than voice commands.
Practice these commands when they are settled down, and in a few weeks’ time they should learn to stop barking at your command.
Be ready for some grumbling and barks to be pitched at your face while you train your spoilt brat at home. I speak with experience!
I remember the first few weeks when Tuffy came home. He didn’t bark at all. Dear Lord, I miss those days of knowing peace. So, ‘ do dogs get tired of barking ’ is like asking ‘do humans get tired of talking’. On a serious note, dogs will eventually get tired of barking, but we shouldn’t let it get to that point. Try to distract your doggo with a treat, or seal off the area for some time till he cools off. By doing so, you’ll train your dog effortlessly and he’ll learn to sober his bark in no time.
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