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Your dog doesn't text or call to communicate, he barks. Barking is something all dogs do, but when it's excessive, it can become a nuisance, especially to your neighbors. The barking of an outside dog can become especially troublesome if the barking is extreme or constant. Understanding why your dog is barking can help you reduce the noise and keep the barking to a means of communication.
Understanding the Bark
An incessant bark may mean your dog is trying to tell you something is wrong. Dogs often bark in warning. His bark may indicate someone has come into the yard, another dog is passing by or he's spotted another animal such as a squirrel or neighborhood cat. Check your dog frequently if he's outside. He should never be left unattended if he isn't on a dog run or in a fenced area. Teach him a quiet command with words or a hand signal, to let him know he's gotten your attention but that he need not continue barking. Once he stops barking, provide a treat for his good behavior. If he is consistently barking at something next door, or at passersby, consider erecting a privacy fence to keep him from seeing whatever it is that is annoying him.
Your dog may be barking because he is uncomfortable. If your dog spends any amount of time outside, other than the length of time it takes for him to do his business, he must have shelter. Proper shelter for a dog is a house in which he can comfortably stand, sit, turn around and lie down. In inclement weather, provide bedding, such as straw and consider a heater or heated bed. His barking may be a sign that he is hungry or thirsty. Provide a water source, and if your dog spends time outdoors during the cold weather, make sure his water source isn't frozen. The same holds true if your dog spends time outdoors during intense heat. Make sure your dog has a shaded area and plenty of water. In times of extreme hot weather, your dog is safest indoors. His incessant barking may be a sign that he is suffering; heatstroke can claim a dog's life very quickly.
Engaging Your Dog
Your dog may bark outside if he is bored. Dogs are pack animals, and your dog's favorite activity likely is being with you. Dogs need play for a variety of reasons, to keep them fit and healthy, and to keep them mentally stimulated, which helps to reduce barking. Avoid games that encourage aggression, such as wrestling or tug-of-war type activities. Your dog may bark from the excitement of the activity, but if it becomes excessive, stop the game. Incorporate your commands, such as, "stay," into your game. When he stays and becomes quiet, give him a treat. He'll see his silence as a positive response, which will help keep his barking to a minimum.
Your dog's excessive barking may be more than communication or boredom. Dementia can cause excessive barking, as confusion sets in. Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication and help you cope with the symptoms of dementia. Deafness also can cause barking. Any symptoms that accompany barking, such as confusion, should be shared with your veterinarian. If your dog's excessive barking is sudden and abnormal, a visit to your veterinarian may be in order.
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