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My dog is barking excessively - what can I do?

Article ID: 375
Last updated: 24 Jun, 2016
Revision: 4
Views: 71339

Dogs bark excessively for numerous reasons including boredom, excitement, distress, territorial defence and fear and anxiety. Therefore the solutions to problem barking differ from one dog to the next. Remember that some barking is normal and is a way of communicating.

In the first instance we recommend that you talk to your veterinarian who can provide advice and may refer you to an animal behaviourist (reward-based) who can help to determine the underlying cause of the barking and then develop a tailor-made humane treatment plan for your dog. You can also contact your local RSPCA for advice. Treatment usually involves behavioural modification training. In some rare cases the use of veterinary medications in combination with behavioural modification may be required. Behaviour specialists tend to ask owners a lot of questions and may offer to come out to the house to observe your dog in its own environment in order to identify barking ‘triggers’. Triggers may include seeing or hearing a person walking past or the neighbours dog.

Training should be reward-based and use positive reinforcement. That is, reward ‘good’ behaviour – when the dog is quiet give a tasty dog food treat and avoid rewarding ‘unwanted’ behaviour – when the dog barks ignore the behaviour. Training should not involve punishment which tends to exacerbate the barking problem.

Please see the attached information sheet for specific training tips for excessive barking.

This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Attached files
file Training tips for excessive barking - RSPCA Information Paper Sept 2014.pdf (191 kb)

Also read
document What causes dogs to bark excessively?
document What can I do if my dog is anxious when I'm not at home?
document Should I use an anti-barking collar to treat my dog's barking problem?

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