One of the biggest sources of neighborhood conflict is noisy dogs. Nobody likes to hear barking all day, and if you were honest, you’d probably admit that it gets to you too. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to bring peace and quiet back into your household.
To stop your dog barking, you first have to work out why he is doing so.
Is he bored? This is very common, especially when many families aren’t home for a lot of the day and the dog is left alone to amuse himself.
Is he lonely? Dogs tend to be pack animals and enjoy companionship from other dogs and people.
Is he being distracted or teased by passers-by?
Don’t forget that there are times that you’ll appreciate your dog barking; if someone is loitering around your home, a loud dog will be an excellent deterrent.
Solving your Barking Dog Problem
Whatever you do, don’t yell at your dog to quieten him. He’ll see this as you vocalising loudly too, and he’s likely to join you even more enthusiastically. It also isn't teaching him anything at all, so it won't reduce the amount of noise he makes.
A bored dog can be occupied with food dispensing toys such as the Kong Wobbler or Buster Cube. These toys dispense kibble as he plays with them so it will take him much longer to eat his meal. This will keep him occupied for longer and he's less likely to bark. Another alternative is a chew treat that takes some time to eat. Exercise is another important part of silencing him. A good fast walk or run will tire him out, and the endorphins that are released with exercise will leave him feeling happy and relaxed. If your dog isn’t physically able to exercise hard, then teach him tricks. Sometimes, mental exercise is just as tiring as physical exercise.
For the lonely home-alone dog, perhaps a day at doggie day care will make him happy. Alternatively, do you have a friend with a dog that could share dog-sitting duties with you? Professional dog walkers can visit him at home for a game of fetch or a walk, just to break the monotony of his day. Another option is to adopt a second dog but if you’re considering this, have a back-up plan. The dogs may not get along, or you may end up having twice the barking problem you had before.
Look at your dog’s environment when he’s home. Is there somewhere he could stay in your yard where he can’t see people or dogs walking by, and he can’t be teased by children? It may be worth modifying your fence to completely block his view of the outside world.
It can be tricky managing a noisy dog, but you’re not alone. If you need to, your vet can refer you to a veterinary behaviorist to help you quieten him down. These professionals will have a number of strategies to help you teach your dog better behavior. It won't be long before you are back in favor with your neighbors.