Sometimes you might think it would just be so nice if your dog would not bark but is that even possible and more to the point is it humane? Here we are going to discuss the good and bad points of not letting your dog bark and why dogs bark in the first place.
Why do dogs bark?
Dogs bark to communicate what they are feeling. Though the barking might sound the same, there are different types of barking.
Emotional barking caused by boredom, fear, or excitement. Often a dog barks because of boredom and just needs attention.
Physical barking means your dog will bark in response to a physical need such as thirst, hunger or cold. Making sure your dog has everything that they need is a good way to help prevent this type of barking.
Environmental barking such as barking at a passing car, when a person walks by, other animals or even the weather is something a lot of dogs do and is usually short-lived. If your dog does continue this behaviour talk with your veterinarian might be a good idea.
Barking in dogs can also be a learned behaviour. If you give attention to your dog each time, he or she barks, then they will quickly learn that barking provides them with the attention that they are looking for. The same if each time your dog barks, brings a toy, and you play with them, signals that barking means that it’s playtime.
Your dog might also bark when hearing another dog barking or discovers something unfamiliar.
Different ways to stop your dog from barking
There are many ways in which you can stop your dog from barking.
You can teach your dog a quiet command, a word that means that they must stop barking.
There are dog training centres that you can take your dog to and enrol in a program designed to help stop your dog barking.
There are also commercial products that are available for sale on the market and that can help stop or reduce dogs from barking such as collars, including shock collars, sprays, remote control devices, handheld devices, and ultrasonic devices.
There is a lot of controversies and differing opinions on these methods. Especially shock collars. Even though, the newer shock collars are less invasive than previous ones were.
Pros and cons of stopping dogs from barking
Stop or reduce barking
Help with training your dog
Help to stop nuisance barking
Can be painful, especially shock collars
Can frighten dogs
Can be stressful
Should you stop your dog from barking?
This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on how often your dog barks and if it is considered a problem. It is going to be next to impossible to stop your dog from barking completely but with training, patience and importantly consistency you can limit your dogs barking.
Is it humane?
Whether stopping your dog from barking or not depends on the methods that you decide to use to achieve this goal. The consensus is that the use of shock collars which give off a jolt of electric current, a shock whenever your dog barks, are not humane because the shock that your dog would get when they barked would cause pain even at the lowest setting.
Shock collars are also deemed to be unreliable in that they can be wrongly triggered by your dog moving, any noise from his or her throat and even from other dogs’ bark. So not a very reliable choice at all.
Citronella collars are also another option if you want to stop or reduce your dog barking. These collars work by releasing a spray of citronella each time that your dog barks. Like the shock collars, citronella collars have also shown to be unreliable in that they also can be wrongly triggered by movement or other dogs barking. Another problem with citronella collars is that your dog can learn to avoid the spray or often will continue to bark until the citronella pouch is empty, rendering the collar ineffective.
An ultrasonic anti-barking device is another option to stop or reduce barking in your dog. These work by producing a sound that is not heard by humans but acts as a deterrent to your dog that would be able to hear it. One downside to this method is that it mostly only works inside the home, not when your dog is out and about.
There are passive ways to stop or reduce your dogs barking which includes removing the motivation for them to bark. When your dog sits at the window and barks at people passing by, close the curtains. Ignore him or her when they bark, as constant attention will only encourage your dog that barking is a good thing and continues to bark.
It can also help to get your dog used to what is causing them to bark. If your dog barks at other dogs, you could try the following method. Get a friend with a dog to stand out of your dog’s view, have them slowly come into your dog’s view feeding your dog treats as they do so. Continue this several times. It is important to be patient as it can take time for your dog to keep their attention on you and not bark at the other dog.
Teaching your dog, the quiet command, might sound odd, but the first part of this method is to teach your dog to bark on command. Tell your dog to speak and let them bark a few times before holding a treat in front of them. Give them the treat along with lots of praise. Once your dog has mastered this, it’s time to learn the quiet command. In a calm voice ask your dog to speak and when he starts to bark say “quiet” while holding a treat in front of him or her. Praise them for being quiet and give them the treat.
Ultimately it is up to you whether you feel it is humane to stop your dog barking, but proper and consistent passive training is much more humane and has effective results.
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