Stop your dog from barking you up a tree

Barking is fine in moderation, especially when your dog is trying to alert you to something.  But when a dog’s bark is constant and a nuisance, it is time to take a hard look into why your dog may be barking.  Barking can be a symptom of a much bigger problem and the sooner you get to the bottom of what is causing the barking, the sooner the barking will stop.


Do

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  • exercise your dog regularly
  • socialize your dog
  • discipline your dog
  • give your dog plenty stimulation
  • spend quality time with your dog
Don't

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  • leave your dog alone all day
  • use shock collars
  • punish your dog using isolation
  • use a muzzle
  • crate your dog for long periods

Deb Nabb‘s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do exercise your dog regularly

If you want to stop your dog’s chronic barking, then you should try increasing the amount of exercise that he or she gets every day. This will tire out your dog while also providing much needed stimulation.

First, you need to research the breed of the dog you have to find out how much exercise it requires. The amount of exercise will depend on your dog’s age, breed and health.
Puppies are demanding and energetic, adolescents are unpredictable, and adult dogs are eager and self-assured. By the time dogs become seniors, they will have slowed to a comfortably lazy pace.

Some dogs were bred to work on a ranch; some dogs were bred to hunt, etc. A sight hound needs short bursts of exercise; guarding dogs don't need as much overall as sporting breeds that like to hunt all day. Even within a breed, the need varies. A highly energetic eight-year-old Golden could easily need more exercise than a calm three-year old Golden. Geriatric dogs still need to go for walks, only not as long as they did when they were young. A leash walk around the block isn't going to cut it. Most dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.

Do socialize your dog

Dogs are pack animals and they need to socialize with people and with other dogs.
Your dog may bark because he feels lonely or isolated. A dog that gets easily agitated or excited may also develop barking problems. Dog socialization skills are very important to the welfare and safety of your dog. Proper socialization exposes them to new places, things, and experiences. It enables them to build up skills to deal with situations in a constructive behavior, and will help reduce their stress.

Do discipline your dog

Discipline, in the dog world, is about recognizing dog’s inherent need for structure, boundaries, and limitations. It’s the rules, boundaries, and limitations that exist for the good of the dog and for your relationship with him.

Dogs, like most living creatures, do not flourish in chaos. Always be consistent with your rules and never become angry or frustrated. Your calm assertive energy is what is best for your dog and will help show that you are the pack leader. When you establish that relationship, your dog will relax because he knows he is in the presence of a calm and confident leader.

Do give your dog plenty stimulation

Dogs benefit from new learning experiences and challenges. It takes repetition for a dog to learn something new, which means that training and practice are great forms of mental stimulation. Because of their powerful ability to smell, a dog's favorite stimulation is having opportunities to sniff around where there are lots of scents. Even if confined indoors, dogs will benefit from being able to watch the activity outdoors through a window. Make sure your dog is part of the daily flow of life in your home so that it doesn't become isolated. Leave a couple of toys in its crate to play with when it is alone. Dogs also love to search and find things. You can hide a toy or food item you want them to find in the yard and keep them busy for a long time. Remember, engaging with you and the world around them is the best form of mental stimulation for your dog.

Do spend quality time with your dog

You should spend as much time as you can with your pup. There is no limit on how much time you can spend with your companion. Spending quality time with your dog is actually like spending time with your kids where anything can be turned into quality time. How can you do it? Here are a few examples:
While you are watching television, have you dog lie next to you and give your dog a belly massage. Take your dog along with you when you are running some errands as long as it is convenient and the weather permits. When you are doing gardening, take him out with you.
Dogs really appreciate getting the extra attention and time from their parent.
If you don't intend to spend your time with your dog, then please don't get a dog. It is meaningless to have a dog if you are not willing to spend quality time with them.


Deb Nabb‘s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not leave your dog alone all day

Perhaps the biggest and most widely held misconception about dogs is the belief that they will be healthy and happy living only in the backyard. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Dogs are also den animals, meaning they like to have a safe, quiet, and secure place to sleep, rest, and hang out, such as your house. Many dogs are kept outside in fenced yards or runs, especially during the day while their family is at work or school. This is when most of the excessive barking problems occur, since dogs can become over-stimulated by noises and the presence of people and animals nearby.
Your dog has a wonderful ability to learn, which is why dogs are easily house trained. A dog that spends more time in your house than in the yard is a much happier, content animal, because of the security of a den and your companionship. Dogs need a home, not just an address!

Do not use shock collars

The risks of using electric shock to modify behavior extend to the treatment of other behavior problems in dogs such as barking. Dogs learn by association – when using a shock collar, there is always a risk that the dog may associate the shock with something other than the behavior that people are trying to stop. For instance, if a shock is administered for barking, there is a danger that the dog might associate a nearby child with the pain of the shock, rather than its own barking. This could lead to the dog developing distrust or even fear of children. Another significant risk with the use of shock collars, is that rather than linking the shock to the wrong thing, a dog may not be able to link the shock to anything at all! This often results in the dog becoming totally confused, anxious, and stressed as it repeatedly suffers the pain of the electric shock for no apparent reason.

Do not punish your dog using isolation

Because dogs are social animals, isolation leads to a high level of stress and anxiety. Animal psychologists, behaviorists, dog trainers, and veterinarians have written hundreds of reports documenting the detrimental effects modern human behavior has had on man's best friend.  Dogs suffer in areas of behavioral, nutritional, and psychological health. They are stressed out and lonely.
Whether alone in the yard, or alone in the house, a dog experiences an acute sense of social deprivation.  Left to their own devices, most dogs will develop attention-seeking behaviors in their desperation for human companionship.

Do not use a muzzle

Muzzles are not to be used to control barking. The muzzle is a device that should only be used to prevent you or someone else from being bitten and should never be worn without constant
supervision.

They are only safe when used for 5-10 minutes at a time. When your dog’s muzzle is restricted, he is unable to drink water or pant. When your dog can’t pant, he can overheat and die.

Do not crate your dog for long periods

If you know of a dog being crated for more than eight hours every day, this is animal abuse and this fact cannot be sugar-coated. Speak up for ones who cannot speak for themselves.

Crates are not to be used as babysitters, just like a TV is not to be used as your children's babysitter. All animals need interaction and if, for whatever reason, you feel you cannot fulfill your obligation, then the humane thing is to find a pet sitter or take your dog to Dog Day Care until you are able to spend more time with your pal. There are many legitimate reasons for needing to crate a dog for more than six hours, such as an unexpected illness in the family or other unplanned event, but if this is an ongoing situation, the best thing for your dog is to find someone who can care for your dog permanently.


Summary

For thousands of dog owners, excessive barking can not only be an annoying and stressful problem, but it also often leads many people to isolate and punish their dogs.  By taking the time to understand your dog’s needs and provide the environment and activities to fulfill those needs, you can turn the relationship with your dog back into a positive, healthy one for you and your family.

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