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My Dog Has Become a Barking Machine

December 1, 2014

Your golden retriever Murphy is gearing up for the National Barking Championships. For the past several weeks, Murphy has spent long hours perfecting his barking techniques, beginning in the early morning and lasting until dusk. You’re sure Murphy’s a top contender for the national title. You know that Murphy’s barking can be a form of communication to other dogs, and he might also be trying to warn his pack members (your family) of an impending danger. Regardless of the reason, the barking is driving you batty, so you’ve asked your Ashburn veterinarian to make Murphy stop his maddening behavior. Before your unruly dog’s  behavioral counseling  appointment, learn more about Murphy’s crazy barking obsession.

What’s Behind the Racket

Murphy can get cranked up for several reasons, none of which make his behavior easier to handle. First, Murphy might have a medical problem. Or, perhaps Murphy is anxious or insecure; or maybe he’s annoyed that he’s stuck in your fenced yard instead of roaming the streets with his friends. Maybe Murphy doesn’t have enough mental stimulation, and he’s just plain bored.

If possible, see if you notice a certain time of day when Murphy’s barking gets worse. Do you have moving garden ornaments, or wind chimes on your deck, that might send Murphy into a barking frenzy? If so, the more the ornaments move or the wind chimes tinkle, the more crazed Murphy gets. Believe it or not, you might also be part of the problem. Put another way, when Murphy begins to bark, you scream at him to stop. Of course, your command has the opposite effect, and Murphy’s barking just gets worse.

Short-circuit the Barking Stimulus

Now it’s time to eliminate Murphy’s barking stimulus. Get rid of the garden ornaments, wind chimes, or other object that sets Murphy off. Give Murphy plenty of exercise so he doesn’t have much energy left for barking. Giving Murphy a toy or treat might work temporarily; however, he’ll likely figure out that he’s being rewarded for his raucous antics.

Change Your Response to the Barking

You’ll also have to respond with a different set of actions. You know that ranting and raving only gets Murphy more wound up; on the other hand, you don’t want to encourage this unpleasant doggie behavior by doing nothing. Ask your vet for his expert advice here.

Now that your Ashburn vet has a good picture of Murphy’s barking behavior, he’ll develop a plan to make your dog cease and desist. Once the vet banishes Murphy’s barking habit, your home can become peaceful and quiet again.