Constant and unnecessary barking: understanding and treating

Dog owner question

I have a mixed breed dog that will be 4 years old in December. There is nothing wrong with him except that he barks a lot.

If we are driving and stop at a red light or gas station, he barks. If we leave home and leave him alone – he barks even more. If we are travelling together by bus and the vehicle stops at a bus stop and the doors open, my dog whines, wants to get out and barks. If we are travelling by train and we stop, he whines.

I don't know what the problem is, but I would like to fix it because it is causing a lot of inconvenience. Our neighbours have also complained about it.

Otherwise, he is an agile dog, small in size, and I try to walk him a lot. I hope you can help. Thanks in advance for your reply!"

Answer from Zoologist

"Dogs jumping, whining and barking can be caused by a variety of reasons, which need to be investigated from both a psychological and physical point of view.

In your dog's case, the reason for barking may be stress, excitement, boredom, separation anxiety, or protection of "territory".

First, it is important to understand that barking is a natural form of communication in dogs and is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if your dog barks excessively, it can be a problem in everyday life.

Situations where your dog barks suggest that he is probably stressed or excited by movement, travel or change.

When travelling by train, car or bus, dogs are stressed by confined spaces, noise, people and rapid changes in the environment.

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One solution in this case is to slowly and gradually get your dog used to travelling.

Start with small trips and reward your dog when he is calm and quiet!

You can also use products such as pheromone sprays or collars, which can have a calming effect on dogs.

If you leave your dog at home and he barks during this time, this could be a sign of separation anxiety.

Dogs are social creatures and can feel anxious if left alone for long periods. In this case, the solution may be to leave the dog alone for shorter periods and gradually increase this time. It may also be helpful to provide something to keep him occupied while you are away, such as a chew toy or a toy.

Managing barking can be a time-consuming process and the right approach will depend on the individual needs of the dog and the specifics of the situation. If barking continues to be a problem, it may be worth seeking professional help, such as a dog behaviourist.

Finally, it is important to note that any behavioural changes, including barking, may also indicate a medical problem, so if you have any further concerns you may want to consult a vet.

Other opinions

In my opinion, the dog has probably used barking to express his wishes, needs and sense of danger throughout his life and has achieved his goal by this method. In other words, it has reinforced its desire to continue to use this method to communicate in almost all situations in its life.

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Dog owners often make the training mistake of reinforcing the dog's tone of voice – unintentionally – with some kind of positive feedback. For example, talking, petting, giving a reward bite, saying the dog's name. This is actually positive reinforcement that he should be vocal in all situations!

However, some dog training sessions can achieve significant results in similar situations!

I hope I've been helpful and wish you and your dog the best of luck!"