My dog is barking, what should I do?
When dogs bark excessively, there is usually an underlying issue. Before you can successfully manage a barking problem, you will need to identify the cause. You may need to do some detective work to obtain this information, especially if the barking occurs when you are not home. To identify the cause, you could:
- talk to your neighbours to find out the times your dog is barking
- drive or walk around the block and watch and listen for a while
- start a tape recorder or video camera when you leave for work.
Dogs bark for numerous reasons, including boredom, excitement, distress, territorial defence, fear and anxiety. Solutions for problem barking will differ from dog to dog, however in the first instance, Council recommends you consider the following:
Contact your vet to discuss the issue
Dogs can sometimes bark due to other underlying health issues (particularly if the issue is causing pain or discomfort). It is recommended that you consider taking your dog to your vet for a check-up, to discuss the barking and identify any possible short and long-term solutions.
Taking your dog for a good walk provides your dog with physical and mental stimulation. A walk in the morning and/ or having a ‘dog walker’ in the middle of the day can help tire your dog out, reduce anxiety levels and help reduce barking behaviours.
You could also consider taking your dog to an off-leash dog park. Check out the list of dog off leash areas in Brisbane.
A bored dog will often seek to attract attention by barking. Provide stimulation such as:
- chew toys or toys with treats stuffed inside can help preoccupy a dog for some time
- a meat bone to provide hours of chewing time for your dog
- dropping your dog at doggy day-care or a friend’s place for company during the day
Regular dog training can also provide your dog with mental, physical and social stimulation. You can also train your dog to only bark on command.
There are a number of dog obedience clubs across South East Queensland that can assist in providing beginner to advance training for your dog.
Dogs often bark at regular disturbances such as rubbish trucks and people passing by. Filling in gaps and cracks in your fencing will block the dogs view and potentially reduce the problem barking.
Keeping your dog inside
Your dog may be particularly attracted to barking at native wildlife (such as possums and birds) or a neighbourhood cat. Keeping your dog inside (especially if it is barking at night time) can help alleviate excessive barking at times that are particularly sensitive to residents in your neighbourhood.
If it is not clear what is causing the barking, you can consult your vet, an animal behaviour specialist or a dog training organisation.
The RSPCA also provides the following fact sheets:
- My dog is barking excessively - what can I do?
- My neighbour’s dog is constantly barking and disturbing me, what should I do?
- What causes dogs to bark excessively?
- What can I do if my dog is anxious when I’m not at home?
- How do I communicate with my dog
To find out more information on Animal Welfare, please visit www.rspca.org.au.