Dogs are pack animals like wolves. This is why when they form a close bond with their owners, they always want to do things with us or play with other dogs. Whenever there’s nothing to do, they may just bark excessively for attention. In other words, they don’t want to be left alone with their surroundings and thoughts. In fact, their boredom can quickly turn into destructive behavior, which can destroy your furniture. Usually, energetic breeds such as herding dogs and sled dogs can easily get bored, so it’s best to give them plenty of exercise before you leave them home alone.
Types Of Barking Dogs
Alpha/Territorial barkers are typically guarding breed types and/or unneutered males. These barkers have the mentality of protecting their house, yard, and general “air-space” from intruders like a squirrel, a passing dog, the mailman, or a neighbor. Neutering your dog may help to take its territorial edge off. Proper training can get the dog’s instincts in line if it’s a genetic issue. Blocking your dog’s view of the property lines (stockade rather than chain-link fencing) and keeping him from patrolling the area around the front porch or front door may help with them barking when you are out of the house. Make sure to keep a close eye on this kind of barker- when you are home, don’t let your dog bark at passersby. After all, if you are unable to keep him quiet while you’re present, you can’t expect to when you’re absent.
The Genetically Prone Bark
Pretty much all terriers and most small dogs- especially Poodles, Maltese, and miniature Schnauzers- are in this category. These breed types are genetically programmed to bark at sounds or movement they sense. Once bred to alert the farmer of the rabbit in the cabbage patch now constantly let you know the neighbors are home, the phone is ringing, or that the elevator has arrived. You should train your dog to limit their barking. You should be able to turn your dog’s “on” or “off” through your orders. We know you’re not trying to suppress their personality, it’s just important for them to be appropriate. Designate a place or time where your yappy pup can bark as much as he wants!
The Demanding Barker
When the fun stops, this confident little soul does not want to be left alone! He’ll stay at the door and bark at you to come back and play. Barking set-ups (which we discuss below) and engaging toys will help quiet this mischievous pooch, as will the citronella anti-bark collar.
The Bored Underexercised
Hound, herding, and sporting breed types were selectively bred to work all day. Particularly in the urban environment, there are many pointers, retrievers, collies, setters, and the like that are unfortunately under-exercised. These dogs have to be kept busy, or their boredom will turn into barking (along with other annoying habits). If you have this kind of dog, it needs at least two hours of aerobic, vigorous exercise every day. Before you go to work, you should always leave behind a dog that is panting and exhausted from challenging play.
The Fearful, Anxious Dog
Toy and miniature breed dogs often fall into this group, as do dogs that have been bounced around from home to home, and shelter rescues. Their histories may include coddling, lack of proper socialization or isolation, or over-protective handling. If your dog has never been out of the backyard, or has always lived in an apartment, it may exhibit anxious behaviors when placed in a new home environment. These types of dogs get severe separation anxiety when left behind, even for short amounts of time. Most of these dogs require proper socialization to the world around them. Obedience work with plenty of positive reinforcement will build confidence and yield a dog that can adapt and cope better.