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Hush Puppy: Why is Your Dog Barking?

A dog may bark to express how they are feeling - for example; when they are:  

  • Excited  

  • Frustrated  

  • Bored  

  • Scared  

If a dog feels threatened, they may bark to tell somebody to stay away or to leave. Other times, dogs may bark because they want something, such as their favourite toy.  

Dogs also crave routine - ensure that you have a daily routine in place for your dog, this includes mealtimes as well as play and exercise, at around the same time each day.  

When we are not available, dogs’ frustration and anxiety can lead to barking, pawing, nosing, counter-surfing, and other unwanted behaviours that relieve anxiety and frustration and gain our attention.  

If you believe your dog’s barking to be anxiety based? It then would be advisable to talk with your veterinarian. They can help you find the type of anxiety your dog suffers from and the potential causes and triggers. Additionally, veterinarians can also rule out any other medical conditions that could be causing your dog’s symptoms.  


What Do You Need from Your Dog and Why? 

Tending to your dogs’ biological needs is the foundation for everything. Think about a time when you were hungry, thirsty, tired, cold, or feeling unwell.  

Now imagine feeling those things and relying on someone else to supply them - whilst not speaking their language and not being able to articulate the most basic of needs. Your dog is reliant on you to provide them with food, water, a safe place to sleep, exercise, and veterinary care and emotional needs.  

It always pays in the relationship between you and your dog if you can try to imagine things the other way around once and a while.  


What Does Your Dog Need from You and Why? 

Barking is communication – your dog may simply want to play or go for a walk or for you to make eye contact.   

Attention-seeking barking is most common when you've been busy or are out all day at work. A dog with all their needs met and who feels safe and contented will be settled. So, find out what might be stopping the barking dog from being settled. 

Don't reward your dog for barking. If your dog barks to get you to play with them, ignore them. Turn away from your dog or even leave the room and do something else instead. When they are quiet, pick up a toy and invite them to play – with some dogs, a fun game is an excellent reward for being quiet.   


Let's Understand the Dog, Not Silence Them  

Why do humans worry so much about their dogs barking?  

Humans' response to noise, especially loud noises - like barking - causes us distress because our bodies produce adrenaline and other stress hormones which bring on physiological changes, including a spike in heart rate and blood pressure. And these physical and psychological changes are often accompanied by concern. This is usually our first response to our dog's barking.   

Some dogs want more attention than others, and they may give a happy bark whenever they want to spend time with you.  

If you do work out that your dog’s barking is becoming a problem, then seek help from a trained professional. However, if not, and all you are doing is worrying about annoying the neighbours then it could be the neighbour’s barking dog that sets off your dog barking. Not all barking is considered unreasonable, or nuisance so maybe now is the time to liberate yourself from the first worry about your four-legged friend barking. 

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