Totally Barking – Why Your Dog Seems to be Barking at Nothing
If your dog has a tendency to bark then this can prove useful if you have an intruder. However, it is not so useful when they disturb the neighbours or interrupt what you are doing. Barking can be particularly infuriating when there appears to be no reason for it.
The truth is that there might be a reason, you just don’t understand what it is. If your dog sometimes seems to be barking at nothing then here are the possible reasons why.
Like small children, dogs can become restless and irritable when they are bored and they will be keen to let you know about it! They will become agitated and this can mean that they start to bark. You can cure the problem by walking them for longer each day and giving them more attention. More fun will equal less barking in the long run.
When you get a fright you probably cry out or scream. Dogs can’t do either and so they bark instead. You may not be able to see what is troubling them as it could be a noise which is inaudible to the human ear. Comforting your dog will help as will removing anything from the room which might be the cause of their anxiety.
Your dog cannot tell you when they are experiencing pain and so could bark instead. If your dog is barking and there is no obvious reason then observe their behaviour to see if pain could be behind it. If they bark when they jump, sit down or move in a certain way then they may be experiencing pain. You should then get your dog checked over by your vet.
Excessive barking can be truly maddening and is most likely when your dog is feeling excited. This could be when a mealtime is approaching, when it is time for a walk or for a period after you return home. Think about the times when you usually feed them, walk them or arrive home and see if you have diverged from the usual routine. Your dog might be a better time keeper than you are! If you stick to a routine they may be less likely to start barking as they won’t feel the need to give you a reminder.
Dogs can quickly learn that their barking gains your attention. If it is rewarded with a fuss or treats then this can reinforce the behaviour. If attention seeking could be the likely explanation for their barking then make it clear with your voice and your actions that it will not be rewarded again.
In rare cases dogs will bark for the sake of barking. If there is no apparent reason for their habit then monitor their barking for a period to see if you can detect a reason that you hadn’t previously considered. If not, then take your pet to the vet or to a behavioural expert who will be able to advise you as to the techniques that you can employ to resolve the problem.