Living with a dog is one of the absolute best things in the world. Having a faithful partner in all your adventures is just great. But, if we’re being honest, not everything is perfect. One of the biggest issues pet parents face is *drum rolls* excessive barking.
Luckily, this is a phenomenon that’s addressable. This means that it is caused by something, it’s not arbitrary, which gives us the opportunity to address that cause and find a solution.
Nevertheless, exercise barking doesn’t have one possible cause. Not every dog has a ten minute barking session for the same reasons. So, in order to find a solution to this phenomenon, we need to identify the reason behind it.
Excessive barking in dogs
Before addressing the possible reasons why dogs bark so much, we have to define what exactly is so much. Is it ten minutes? Fifteen? Half an hour? Or is excessive barking short but repetitive periods of five minutes?
The truth is it can be all of them. It really depends on each dog and owner. Barking is a normal thing to do for dogs, it is normal for your pup to occasionally bark if another dog walks through your front door. But if Fido runs to the door to start an intense sesh of barking every single time a dog or person passes by, then there might be a problem.
If your dog sometimes barks at you because they want to play catch with you, there shouldn't be a problem. But if they won’t stop barking for twenty minutes straight because you won’t play with them, then you might be dealing with an excessive barking situation.
Most likely, you won’t find it hard to identify if your pup struggles with this phenomenon since most pet parents who face it tend to get frustrated about it, and can even have problems with their neighbors.
Reasons why dogs bark so much
Now that we have established the boundaries of excessive barking, we can address the possible causes it may have.
1. They are being protective
As mentioned before, one possible manifestation of excessive barking is doing so every single time an unknown dog or person walks by your front door. This happens because your dog is perceiving them as a possible threat, and they bark in order to protect you and your home.
As cute as it might sound that your pup feels as if they have to protect you, this isn't good for them. Imagine having to be in a constant state of alert, having to run to the door and shout at every person that passes by. It sounds pretty impossible to relax when you feel that way.
Well, that’s exactly how your pup feels. What is more, if your pup is constantly barking because of this, it can also result in them being unfriendly if someone they don’t know (but you do, such as a friend) tries to enter the house.
2. They are scared
Excessive barking can also be a consequence of fear. Some dogs start to intensely bark whenever they hear or see something that scares them, such as a loud noise or even people they don’t know.
Picture this, you're walking with your dog and a random stranger wants to pet your dog without asking first and without any type of warning. If your dog starts to bark at them, they are probably doing so because they’re scared. And it’s totally understandable.
If your dog is excessively barking because they’re scared, you’ll probably find other signs that help you identify this emotion, such as ears pinned back and a tucked tail.
3. They want attention
Dogs can’t talk, they can’t say “hey, I’m thirsty, can you give me so much water”, or “hey, I really miss you, can we play for a bit”. They express themselves through barking and body language.
The problem starts when a dog won’t stop barking until they get what they want, even when that’s not possible. For example, they bark because they want a bite of what you’re eating, but imagine it’s chocolate, you obviously can’t give them that.
Or imagine you’re in the middle of a zoom meeting, your pup wants to play with you and they won’t stop barking to get you to do so. In these types of scenarios, seeking attention through barking can be problematic.
4. They are bored
Many dogs also bark in excess when they are bored. This usually happens when they are left alone for many hours. If you have received comments from your neighbors about your pup excessive barking, it might be because the poor thing is just bored.
What is more, dogs can also feel bored when you’re around. If they don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day, it’s precetfly normal for them to feel bored.
5. They suffer from separation anxiety
Separation anxiety in dogs is an issue many pet parents go through. It has become an especially common phenomenon since the pandemic, given the fact that pups spent 24/7 with their family.
Alongside excessive barking, some other symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs are urinating and defecating, howling, chewing and pacing.
How to treat excessive barking in dogs?
As this issue has many causes, it also has many solutions. If your pup is constantly barking due to one of the first three reasons, then the solution is probably tied to a professional animal behaviorist. They will help you attend your dog’s fears, need for constant attention and protectiveness.
If it is due to boredom, well, it is easily fixable. There are many easy and effective ideas to keep your pup busy throughout the day.If it is due to separation anxiety, then you’ll probably need a specific treatment curated by your personal vet that will be adjusted to your dog’s personal needs. Nevertheless, you can start by following these tips (that include giving them calming treats).