Barking dogs can become a serious problem in built-up neighbourhoods, resulting in bad blood between neighbours.
If your dog is the culprit, you will need to do something to stop the incessant noise but punishment isn’t the answer. In fact, hitting, shouting at or locking your dog in the garage as punishment will only add to his stress and exacerbate the problem.
What can I do about barking?
1. Identify what could be triggering the barking. Common triggers include:
Sounds outside (and above, below and beside you if you live in an apartment); dogs or people seen from windows; environmental changes such as construction; boredom; illness or ageing changes that cause discomfort, anxiety or confusion; separation distress.
Tip: Videotaping your dog can help you identify triggers.
2. Modify the triggers. Play white noise or calming music, or turn on the television; apply opaque film to block common window watching spots; increase physical and mental exercise (e.g., puzzle feeders, games, training, walks); schedule a time to bring your dog to the clinic for a physical exam and a behaviour discussion; consider a dog walker, pet sitter or doggie daycare.
3. Stay calm. Avoid scolding, physical corrections or electric bark collars, which can increase stress and anxiety. Teach the dog how to be calm and quiet. A positive- reinforcement-based dog trainer can help. Remote training machines that strategically dispense treats can be effective – especially when you’re away from home. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.