Before you can successfully manage a barking problem, you will need to identify the cause:
- talk to your neighbours to find out the times your dog is barking
- drive or walk around the block and watch/listen for awhile
- start a tape recorder or video camera when you leave for work.
When is barking a problem?
Barking is a problem if the dog barks:
- when left alone for extended periods
- immediately after you leave home
- excessively when people pass by your property
- when attention seeking.
You know you have a problem when:
- your neighbours tell you
- a complaint is lodged with Council
- it annoys you.
What can I do?
Council recommends you consider the following options in the first instance.
Contact your vet to discuss the issue
Dogs can sometimes bark due to other underlying health issues (particularly if the issue is causing pain or discomfort). It is recommended that you consider taking your dog to your vet for a check-up to discuss the barking and identify any possible short and long-term solutions.
Taking your dog for a good walk provides your dog with physical and mental stimulation. A walk in the morning and/or having a ‘dog walker’ in the middle of the day can help tire your dog out, reduce anxiety levels and help reduce barking behaviours.
You could also consider taking your dog to an off-leash dog park. Check out the list of dog off-leash areas in the Moreton Bay Region.
A bored dog will often seek to attract attention by barking. Provide stimulation such as:
- chew toys or toys with treats stuffed inside can help preoccupy a dog for some time
- a meat bone to provide hours of chewing time for your dog
- dropping you dog at doggy day-care or a friend's place for company during the day.
Regular dog training can provide your dog with mental, physical and social stimulation. You can also train your dog to only bark on command.
Consult a professional dog training service to assist you with a range of dog behavioural issues, including barking. Details can be found at your local pet store, vet or Association of Pet Dog Trainers website www.apdt.com.au
Dogs often bark at regular disturbances such as rubbish trucks and people passing by. Filling in gaps and cracks in your fencing will block the dogs view and may reduce the problem barking.
Keeping your dog inside
Your dog may be particularly attracted to barking at native wildlife (such as possums and birds) or a neighbourhood cat. Keeping your dog inside (especially if it is barking at night-time) can help alleviate excessive barking at times that are sensitive to residents in your neighbourhood.