Updated: Jun 14, 2018
People frequently contact me saying that their dog keeps barking at anything and everything and they don't know how to stop it.
It can be very stressful having a barking dog as you can get complaints from neighbours or even the local council.
It can leave you feeling frustrated and confused wondering why your dog is always barking. When a dog barks at something or looks alert it is letting you know that there is potentially something dangerous outside.
Dogs and puppies react to danger in one of three ways-
· Flight – run away
· Freeze – stand still / bark & growl
It is easy to get angry with your dog when they keep barking and this can lead to you shouting at your dog. If you shout at them every time they bark the dog thinks that you are joining in and barking too. For the dog this also confirms that you agree and there is danger outside so you must both keep barking and see off the threat. So, shouting doesn't work.
A dog pack leader will always respond to a pack member raising the alarm by going to look at the potential danger. They need to do this so they can decide how to respond to it, flight, Freeze or Fight.
Their decision on how to react will depend on many factors e.g. if they have puppies, is the threat real or is the threat worth fighting over.
Dogs will use the flight response most of the time as they do not want to engage in a fight as they could get injured.
So next time your dog starts barking take a moment to think and ask yourself if you are showing your dog good leadership skills or are you just joining in with the barking?