Barking Dogs

Barking is a normal behaviour for dogs and an important means of communication. However, when dogs bark excessively they become a nuisance to their owners and the neighbourhood.

Before you can successfully manage a barking problem you will need to determine the cause of the barking

Your neighbours may be able to tell you how often your dog barks in your absence

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons and it is important to work out why your dog is barking excessively. Once the underlying cause and 'triggers' for the barking are identified, training techniques can be used to treat the excessive barking.  Some of these reasons include:

Boredom

Dogs that are left alone all day with nothing to do often resort

to barking out of boredom

Separation Anxiety

Dogs are social animals and it is normal for them to become

anxious when they are left alone for the first time

Fear

Dogs can also bark due to fear. They may be afraid of people coming near their territory or fearful of noises, particularly at night which may stimulate anxieties. Dogs can also be fearful of fireworks, thunderstorms and lawnmowers etc

Territorial Behaviour

It is natural for your dog to want to warn you about potential intruders. Your dog may not be able to distinguish between welcome visitors, people strolling past your home and intruders

Attention-seeking Behaviour

Dogs can bark when trying to call out to their human owner or when bored through being left alone for long periods of time or having nothing to do while its humans are at work/away from the home

Communication

Dogs can bark as a means of normal communication. They may bark when calling out to other dogs or respond to other barking dogs  or when communicating with its human owners.

Any noise, no matter how slight can stimulate a barking response for e.g. rustling leaves, a banging window or a knock at the frontdoor/doorbell

What To Do

Neighbours

  • Talk to the dog owner, they may not know that their dog is barking
  • If the issue can’t be resolved by speaking directly with the dog owner, start a log book noting date, time and duration of barking. Once you have logged several weeks of barking behaviour call Council for further advice

Owners

  • Try to ascertain why your dog is barking (See above causes)
  • If you can identify the cause try rewarding the dog for remaining calm and not barking, for example if your dog barks at the postman everyday, try to pre-empt the postman’s arrival and reward your dog with a treat for not barking when the postman arrives
  • If you cannot identify the cause of your dogs barking or your training isn’t working, you can seek advice from your vet

Further information:

http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/training-and-behavioural-problems/barking