Your dog’s behavior, health, and overall well-being can greatly influence your personal and household routines. Consistent meals, walks, and playtime schedules can help them feel secure and eliminate unwanted behaviors born out of anxiety or confusion. Unexpected changes or a chaotic environment can induce stress, negatively affecting their physical health and lead to behavioral issues such as restlessness or aggression.
Moreover, changes in your routine or a chaotic household noises can increase your dog’s barking. Dogs often bark more when anxious, confused, or stressed, which can be triggered by inconsistent routines or disruptions. Therefore, maintaining a consistent routine and calm environment can help reduce excessive barking.
Changes in Your Routine or Household Changes That Increase a Dog’s Barking
Changes in Feeding Times
Dogs thrive on consistency, especially when it comes to feeding times. They might feel anxious and barking if you suddenly start feeding your dog at different times. For instance, if you usually feed your dog at 6 pm and suddenly start feeding them at 9 pm, your dog may bark out of hunger or stress from the inconsistency.
Solution: Try to maintain consistent feeding times as much as possible. If you must change them, gradually adjust the feeding schedule to help your dog get used to the new routine.
Alterations in Walk or Exercise Schedule
Dogs require regular physical activity. If there’s a drastic change in their exercise routine, such as skipping their daily walk or shifting the time, they may bark to express their restlessness or confusion. For example, if you usually walk your dog in the morning and suddenly change it to an evening walk, your dog might bark in the morning out of habit and expectation.
Solution: Keep the exercise schedule as consistent as possible. If you have to change the walk or exercise time, do it gradually and try to ensure that your dog still gets their daily amount of physical activity.
Introduction of New Household Members
The arrival of new members in the house, like a new baby, a new pet, or a roommate, can disturb your dog’s sense of normalcy. This can lead to increased barking as they may feel threatened or excited. For instance, if you bring home a new cat, your dog might bark more than usual as they try to establish dominance or express curiosity.
Solution: When introducing new members to the household, do it slowly and calmly. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement to your dog during the process. Maintain your dog’s regular routine to provide a sense of normalcy.
Changes in Your Working Hours
If your work schedule changes and you start leaving the house at different times, or you start working from home when you used to be away, it can cause your dog to feel anxious. For example, if you used to work from 9-5 and suddenly switched to night shifts, your dog may bark due to the abrupt shift in their companion’s availability.
Solution: Try to maintain your presence and absence routine as much as possible. If you are shifting to working from home, ensure you still provide your dog with periods of alone time to avoid potential separation anxiety in the future.
Moving to a New House
Moving can be a stressful event for dogs. A new environment means unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells, which can lead to increased barking as they adjust to the new environment. For instance, if you move from a quiet countryside home to a busy city apartment, your dog might bark more in response to the new noise levels.
Solution: Try to keep your dog’s routine as normal as possible when moving. Bring their familiar items like toys and bed to the new place. Give them plenty of time to adjust to the new surroundings.
Changes in Household Noise Levels
Significant changes in the noise level at home, such as renovations or hosting parties, can disturb your dog and lead to increased barking. For example, if you suddenly start having loud music nights at your home, your dog may bark excessively as a reaction to the sudden increase in noise.
Solution: If you expect a period of increased noise, provide a quiet and safe space for your dog where they can retreat. Use positive reinforcement to help them associate the noise with good things, like treats or toys.
Changes in Your Mood or Behavior
Dogs are very intuitive and can pick up on their owner’s emotions. Your dog might pick up on these changes and respond by barking more if you’re stressed, angry, or sad more often than usual. For example, if you’re going through a stressful period at work and are visibly upset at home, your dog may bark more as a reaction to your mood changes.
Solution: Try to maintain a calm and positive demeanor around your dog. If you’re experiencing stress, engage in relaxing activities with your dog, like walks or playtime, to help diffuse the tension.
Changes in Household Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit, and any changes in the daily household routine, such as kids going back to school after the summer holidays or the start of daylight savings time, can cause them to feel anxious and bark more. For example, if your children return to school after vacation, the sudden quietness in the house and change in routine may lead to increased barking.
Solution: Gradually introduce changes to your dog and keep their routine as consistent as possible. Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to help your dog adjust and reduce their potential anxiety.
Some Other Tips to Control Excessive Dog Barking
Training and Commands
Train your dog to understand commands like “quiet” or “enough.” Start by allowing your dog to bark for a few seconds, then say the command and offer a treat or favorite toy when they stop barking. Over time, they’ll associate stopping barking with rewards.
If your dog starts to bark, try to distract them with a toy or an activity. This can break their concentration on whatever is causing them to bark and redirect their attention to something more positive and engaging.
Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Ensure your dog gets enough physical exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day. Boredom or pent-up energy can often lead to excessive barking. Walks, playtime, puzzle toys, or agility exercises can help.
Expose your dog to various environments, people, and other animals to improve their socialization. The more familiar they are with different scenarios, the less likely they’ll be to bark excessively out of fear or excitement.
Consider using anti-bark devices, like ultrasonic deterrents or indoor barriers, emitting a high-pitched sound interrupting and deters barking. Ensure that any device you use is humane and doesn’t cause any harm or distress to your dog.
If excessive barking continues to be a problem despite your efforts, consider seeking professional help. Dog trainers or animal behaviorists can provide specialized training methods and guidance to help address your dog’s issues.