Barking dogs? The what and the why (and how you can help)
November 18, 2019
Do your dogs go on looong monologues that fill the passage or the street with dog vowels? Did you only find this out from an angry note in your post box?
Dogs have various reasons for making a lot of noise. Most of the time, a burst of noise is a warning of strangers or other dogs approaching, a welcome home hello, or an invitation to play. Usually, it ceases as soon as the stimulus does. But when the barking goes on and on, ask yourself these questions:
- Could it be a lack of exercise? Dogs need daily exercise and if they don’t get it, they can become frustrated and may have something to say about it. On loop. The answer is to get out and about with doggie more often. “A tired dog is a quiet dog”, after all.
- Could it be lack of stimulation? Boredom is a big problem, especially with solo dogs left alone at home (you don’t do that, right?).
- Could it be separation anxiety? If you work and your dogs stay home, this could be causing some emotional discomfort that they try to address verbally. If you have a new puppy that’s still adjusting to your home and you disappear for an extended time without warning, the puppy might feel abandoned (in puppy minds, ten minutes can feel like an abandonment). The trick is to spend more quality time together more often, and perhaps to consider adding another doggie to the pack?
- Could it be a medical complaint? PetMD advises that chronic pain, insect bites and even neurological disorders can cause incessant barking. Senior dogs can get quite vocal if they’re going senile. A vet can verify if there’s a medical cause for the complaint.
Shout at a dog barking a lot. It will confuse him, and the negative energy will only contribute to his unhappiness.
Do: teach him ‘quiet,’ quietly.
“When your dog is barking,” suggests PetMD, “say ‘quiet’ in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking.”
Wait for someone to call the cops on your monologuing canine.
Address it ASAP. Dogs may derive pleasure from vocalising, and if this behaviour is allowed, it could develop into direct aggression. You wouldn’t want your dog barking wildly in the face of a four-year-old child, would you?
If you aren’t sure of the causes or you don’t know what to do, and you’ve verified that it isn’t medical, an animal behaviourist can be a huge help.
Warning: woof you lay charges?
If you own the property you’re on, and a neighbour’s dog is seriously disrupting your sleep, you could have recourse to legal action (but this does not guarantee you’ll win, and it could cost a pretty penny to prosecute). “All property owners have the right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of their land and property, subject to compliance with certain legislation, regulations and by-laws,” warns Media24. “Persons who contravene or fail to comply with the provisions of these regulations can face penalties of fines not exceeding R20,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.” Bear in mind, though, that this could lead the animal to be impounded or even the defendant counter-suing you. Maybe you want to offer to dog sit before you decide to call a lawyer?
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