what to do about barking

Why is my puppy barking so much?

Barks, woofs, yips, grunts, adorable wwAAArrreeee noises when they yawn — pups can be very vocal creatures. Your pup’s barking actually does serve a purpose, even when it’s in the middle of the night and annoys the neighbors. Here’s why dogs bark, why they might bark more than you wish they would, and what you can and should do about it.

A cartoon puppy barking

Why the woof?

Communication is a little more challenging when you don’t speak the same language. Your pup definitely has a few things to say, and they will use different types of barking to get across different messages.

A Labrador puppy barking
Vector graphic of an angry dog

Causes for all that barking

Watch and listen carefully and you may be able to tell the difference between different types of barking your pup uses to communicate.

  • Anxiety: Pups with more anxiety are more likely to bark when they’re left alone or hear loud noises like fireworks and thunder.
  • Attention: If your pup wants play or attention and you’re not engaging, they might tell you about it.
  • Territory: Pups can be territorial, and bark to tell others not to get to close or cross the line.
  • Basic needs: It’s not uncommon for pups to bark when they’re hungry, thirsty, or need to visit the restroom.

As much as we wish our pups could use an inside voice, sometimes they just need to respond to the call of the wild. In those moments, be as patient as possible.

Vector graphic of a hand holding a bone

Ways to minimize barking

It’s important to understand why your dog is barking before trying to change the behavior. Even if your puppy has an underlying medical condition, like anxiety, positive reinforcement methods are a great way to help you train your pet to keep some of their opinions to themselves.

  • Minimize your pup’s exposure to things that trigger barking — for example, close the shades if a leaf-blowing neighbor is driving your pup mad.
  • Keep your pup busy with lots of enrichment and engagement like walks and play.
  • Teach your pup to strictly follow basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” Then follow up with “quiet,” rewarding them when they don’t bark at a usual trigger.
  • Reward your pup with praise and treats when they follow commands.

The bark stops here

Sometimes, barking is more than just annoying. Excessive barking could be a sign of anxiety or another underlying medical issue that needs treatment.

How Banfield can help

Anxiety and other conditions can cause dogs to release stress in different ways. If you just can’t get your pup to stop barking, your veterinary team may be able to help. They can help you rule out or treat health conditions, and may be able to refer you to more resources, like animal behavioralists, who can work with you on a positive training regime for your pet.

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