Does your dog bark a lot (at strangers, other dogs, the neighbors, or animals passing by)?
If so, then you’ve probably asked yourself:
“Do dogs ever get tired of barking?”
This article will tell you all you need to know.
Read on and find out:
- 9 reasons why dogs bark a lot.
- 7 tips on how to stop your dog’s undesirable behavior.
- How you could be contributing to your dog’s excessive barking.
- Ways to get your dog to stop barking at the delivery guy, your neighbor, and other dogs.
- And so much more…
Table of contents
Do dogs get tired of barking?
Some dogs get tired of barking. This is especially true in very young puppies and senior dogs. However, other dogs do not get tired easily. Especially if they have not been exercised throughout the day. The longest recorded bark was 7 hours straight.
People also ask:
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9 reasons for excessive dog barking
#1: “Contagious” barking
Imagine living in heavily populated areas. Or in an apartment.
The excessive dog barking at the apartment complex is going to give dog parents a headache.
In this study, the author says that more and more people are getting dogs. So, there are many dogs in a given place in urban areas.
This presents a lot of opportunities for bark fests.
Just like what you’ll be hearing in this video:
This is very interesting. I mean, what goes on with these dogs? What could they be telling others?
This phenomenon is called social facilitation. It’s when what one animal does gets others to do the same.
Turns out, this is more prevalent among highly social animals. Chickens, rhesus monkeys, wolves, and of course, dogs.
Why animals engage in social facilitation is still unclear. But there are some assumptions about this.
Let’s take wolves for example.
One pack howls to inform other packs in the area that they possess one particular territory.
In dogs, they do things together to achieve a goal. For example, their bark fests were thought to evolve from a need to warn intruders.
There are two reasons why dogs engage in socially facilitated barking. One, they might have been rewarded.
For instance, a dog parent might have egged on their dog to join in the barking. Or they have tossed a treat or toys just to stop the dog from barking.
Two, barking is rewarding for dogs. That is professional dog trainer Adrienne Farricelli’s observation.
Put simply, self-rewarding behaviors are those that naturally reward the dog.
In terms of barking, sometimes dogs do it because it’s fun! And when you yell at them, it goads them more. Because by yelling you seem to be “barking” as well.
You might also be interested in: Why does my dog bark when other dogs bark?
#2: Your dog wants attention
My friend’s dog, Oreo, first gets attention by sitting in front of her dog parents. When ignored, she resorts to pawing.
If ignored still, that’s when she barks. Mind you, it’s not a gentle bark. It’s as loud as bass.
Loud or not, a bark is a dog’s communication tool. It’s how they tell you that they want to go outside. Or they want a bite of the sandwich you’re eating.
Sometimes it’s difficult for dog parents to know immediately why their dog barks. So it’s important to look at the context.
For example, a dog wanting to be let out will bark at you. Then they stand by the door.
If it’s unclear to you why your dog barks, then they may be looking for some kind of interaction with you.
And if your dog’s need is not addressed, they might resort to excessive barking.
Don’t forget to check out: 13 Extraordinary Reasons Why Your Dog Sits In Front Of You
#3: Your dog is territorial or protective
One of the good things a dog brings to your life is protection. Great or small, dogs have this instinct to protect their home and family.
So if your dog barks when someone arrives, they are alerting you.
Protection from intruders
Although anyone hates to be burgled, it might happen when you least expect it. Burglars these days are brazen. They rob houses even in the middle of the day!
Just look at this unlucky guy going where he shouldn’t:
It shows you what the dog will do to protect their territory.
Did you know that loud barking dogs stop burglars? That’s out of the mouth of former criminals.
According to them, CCTV cameras and loud barking dogs are top 2 deterrents for burglars.
Why dogs are perfect protectors
Not all protectors wear capes. Some have claws, sharp teeth, and are furry.
What makes dogs best at protecting is their heightened senses of smell and hearing. These help them detect things you can’t.
A dog barking at night may see movements or hear footsteps. They will alert you by barking. The bark will grow louder the closer the intruder gets.
Don’t you feel safe at night with your dog beside you?
But of course, I don’t advise you sleeping with the door unlocked.
Unfortunately, your dog’s territorialism may be over the top. They bark even at the delivery man.
Or at other dogs just walking by the house.
Further reading: 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks When The Doorbell Rings + Tips
#4: Your dog barks out of fear
Is your dog barking at night?
Many dogs are serial offenders when it comes to excessive barking.
And they don’t discriminate between day and night. They will bark even when you least expect it.
Some dogs are Scoobie Doos – regardless of how big they may be, they’re scared to the bone. And when they are, they’ll resort to excessive barking. This is their way of channeling their fearfulness.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s at home or somewhere else. They will bark their head off.
A lot of things can scare a dog. But the most common are:
- Unfamiliar people.
- Unfamiliar dogs or other animals.
- Loud sounds (thunder, gunshot, fireworks, etc.)
Gentle giants, or ‘fraidy ones?
Did you know that some dogs are scared of even the smallest thing?
Meet Dez, a Great Dane that’s scared of everything:
His furmom had already spent a lot for his therapy.
And oh, here’s Presley. He’s another Great Dane.
According to his furmom, Presley is scared of… are you ready for this?… the sound that plastic bags make.
Is this just some coincidence between these Great Danes? Besides, there are just the two of them.
Or so I thought.
There’s a study that observed 120 Great Danes. It was spurred by their dog parents observing their fear of unfamiliar people.
According to the lead researcher:
“Fear in itself produces a natural and vital reaction, but excessive fear can be disturbing and result in behavioral disorders. Especially in the case of large dogs, strongly expressed fearfulness is often problematic, as it makes it more difficult to handle and control the dog.”
And when dogs are fearful, the study added, they react in many ways. One of which is barking.
But wait, that’s not all.
The study also found out that chromosome 11 has a region associated with fearfulness.
But the researchers need to strengthen this finding. So they considered the socialization that the dogs had in puppyhood.
Guess what, the result was similar to the original finding. It supported the hypothesis that fearfulness is inherited.
However, the researchers recommended that more studies be done.
#5: Your dog is bored/lonely
You study or work. And you can’t bring your dog with you.
It breaks your heart to leave them home alone for hours. And throughout the day, you imagine what your pooch does at home…
Meanwhile, your dog goes from room to room (if not crated).
“Nah, nothing interesting here.”
They check out the kitchen. No food on the counter.
Your dog continues searching for something to spend their time. They look out the window.
“What should I do while my mom/dad is away? Aha! I’ll just bark.”
And that’s how your dog spends the day.
It’s not advised to leave your dog for long hours at a time. They are social animals. They love to be in the company of their family.
But without you, they become bored. They often engage in unwanted behaviors because they’re unhappy.
And it’s going to make your neighbors unhappy as well. Particularly in apartments where only a wall separates the rooms.
Your dog’s excessive barking at the apartment might lead to trouble with other people.
#6: Your dog barks to greet
Your dog barking at other dogs is sometimes a form of greeting. Or an invitation to play.
You might have noticed dogs doing this while playing with each other.
Just like these two dogs:
They also behave that way when they greet you. Along with barking, they wag their tail and maybe jump on you.
You might also be interested in: 9 Real Reasons Your Dog Barks When You Arrive Home + 5 Tips
#7: Barking is reinforced
I keep saying that a behavior is repeated the more it is reinforced. Whether that reinforcement is intentional or not.
And that reinforcement could come from you.
For instance, your dog is barking non-stop because they’re hungry. What a dog parent should do is teach the dog other behavior in place of barking. For instance, sitting by the food bowl.
Or, the dog parent should ignore the barking and wait for the dog to calm down.
But what happens is that you simply get out their bowl, fill it with food and give it to them. That stops their barking.
So, your dog will keep on barking whenever they want to eat.
Sometimes, even if you don’t encourage barking, other factors reinforce it.
Let’s start with intruders. I’m going to use this word to refer to anyone that doesn’t live with the dog.
Let’s say the delivery guy enters your property with a package in hand. Two things can happen:
Your dog starts barking from inside the house. This startles the guy, who leaves the package by the door and runs out of the property.
Or, in households where dogs are in the yard, they run toward the guy.
The man quickly leaves the package by the door and backs away while the dog is still barking.
And without knowing it, they reinforce your dog’s barking.
#8: Your dog has separation anxiety
Your dog’s excessive barking is due to separation anxiety.
Dogs with this condition can’t cope well when you’re gone.
According to this study, hounds or sporting dogs are more prone to barking when alone. In addition, dogs that don’t have social contact bark more.
Even before you leave, your dog already shows signs of distress. This is in response to your “pre-leaving” rituals, such as:
- Getting your bag.
- Picking up your keys.
- Putting on your shoes.
At this point your dog is already whining or pacing in front of you.
And when you’re gone, that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Your dog starts barking at the top of their lungs. They turn into a canine shark that shreds your door to pieces.
Or they chew your favorite running shoes beyond recognition.
And if you leave them in the crate, they destroy it to escape.
Here’s a perfect example of that:
These are just some destructive behaviors that dogs with separation anxiety display.
Separation anxiety is a serious condition. Separation anxiety problems affect approximately 20% of the canine population.
And it is one reason why people surrendered their dogs, as shown in this study. The Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) received 40,286 dogs between 2017 and 2018.
Separation anxiety accounted for 2.8% of the cases.
Another notable behavior of these dogs is showing excessive excitement when you return. In this study, the authors noted that dogs greeted their parents for more than 2 minutes.
And even when you’re home, your dog doesn’t let you out of their sight. They follow you everywhere.
And if your dog is barking in the crate (at night), it could be that they want to be close to you.
#9: Medical problems
Have you seen your dog standing still and barking at nothing? And now it makes you wonder whether your dog can see things you can’t.
Kind of spooky, isn’t it?
To see your dog facing a wall and barking. But there’s nothing there.
Too bad dogs can’t say whether they’re seeing Casper the friendly ghost in the corner of the room.
Before you grab your dog to run and hide, let me explain.
Dogs barking at nothing could be due to underlying medical reasons.
These could be pain, brain disease or other health issues.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell if dogs are in pain. Why?
Because they’re good at hiding it.
They only react if you touch a tender spot. Or the pain is no longer bearable.
At which point your dog would be barking all night long.
And unless you figure out why they’re barking, they won’t stop.
An aging-related illness is also to blame. Dogs suffering from dementia begin showing strange behaviors.
These reasons can cause your dog to bark excessively. Of course, this behavior needs to stop.
How long can a dog bark?
Have you ever wondered? If you don’t interfere, will dogs get tired of barking?
Apparently, some dogs can bark ‘til kingdom come.
Let me tell you about Raymond Coppinger, an expert in dog behavior.
He once observed a guard dog that barked for 7 hours straight! What’s puzzling was that there were no other animals within miles.
From this, Coppinger concluded that barking was not communicative all the time. In the guard dog’s case, it was to relieve “an inner state of arousal.”
Fun fact: In this book, the authors mention a Cocker Spaniel that barked 907 times in 10 minutes!
However, Coppinger’s conclusion didn’t agree with the findings of Sophia Yin. She’s a veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist.
She conducted a study where she recorded barks in these three situations:
- Isolation – the dog’s bark while locked outside.
- Disturbance – the dog’s bark when the doorbell rang.
- Play – the dog’s bark while playing with a dog parent or another dog.
She was able to gather 4600 barks. With a colleague, they studied the barks’ pitch, volume and duration.
The barks differ based on the situation. Yin concluded that the bark depends on the dog’s emotional state.
Imagine if dogs are like that guard dog. If they do a chorus, what a nightmare!
The good thing is, you don’t have to let your dog bark-all-you-can.
Let’s go through the following sections which will show you how to stop excessive barking.
7 tips on how to stop your dog from barking (excessive dog barking solutions)
#1: Teach the “Speak” and “Quiet/Enough” commands
Start the excessive dog barking training right now. The following commands will help control your dog’s vocalizations.
But before that, here’s a cute dog learning how to bark softly:
Train your dog to bark on command this way:
- Get your dog to bark.
- When they do, mark it by saying the word “Speak” and follow with a treat.
- If you’re using a clicker, click it as soon as your dog barks.
- Repeat until your dog is familiarized with the command.
Note: Mark after a single bark. This way, your dog doesn’t go into excessive barking when you say “Speak.”
You can also use a hand signal for “Speak.”
- While you say “Speak,” do the hand signal. Put your palm in front of your dog, then close the 4 fingers against the thumb.
- Practice doing the hand signal only.
- Reward your dog.
Note: While training, only reward barking when you’re asking your dog to bark.
- Get your dog to bark.
- Say “Quiet/Enough.”
- When they stop barking, reward them with a treat and praise.
Note: Do not give them a treat when they’re barking.
#2: Use a calm voice instead of yelling
This is your first rule when communicating with your dog:
Yelling doesn’t stop them from barking. What it achieves is starting a barking frenzy that reaches 5 blocks down.
That’s because yelling excites your dog to bark even more.
And your dog won’t probably understand if you yell at them, “Shut up!”
But, you can train them to respond to “Quiet!” or “Enough.”
So practice speaking in a calm but firm voice.
#3: Tire your dog thoroughly
Tire your dog out through physical and mental exercises.
Some dog parents may underestimate the power of this duo. But these are sure-fire excessive dog barking solutions.
Think about it. Your dog can bark forever because they have the energy.
With them home alone, they can’t release energy properly. The living room isn’t made for running. And dogs certainly can’t play fetch on their own.
Excessive barking, somehow, releases their pent-up energy.
Avoid this by providing exercises.
Games to do inside the house:
- Tug of war.
- Shell game.
- Chase bubbles.
- Fetch on the stairs (only if the dog is healthy).
- Chew toy.
- Snuffle mat.
- Puzzle toys.
- Stuffed Kong.
- Trick training.
- Find treats around the house.
Here’s a cheap DIY chew toy:
- Get an unpaired sweat sock.
- Stuff an empty, crinkly water bottle inside.
Your dog will go crazy over the sound of the crinkly bottle.
Exercise your dog around your work schedule
If you work the whole day, some sacrifices have to be made.
Waking up earlier than usual to exercise your dog is a start. Take them walking or running for an hour. Do another long walk at night before bedtime.
There are also other opportunities for tiring your dog. For example, give them enrichment activities while you’re preparing for work.
A stuffed Kong is ideal. You can actually stuff your dog’s breakfast in it. So they’re eating and getting their brains working at the same time.
I’ll bet your dog is already tired by the time you’re about to leave.
If these ideas are not possible, enlist help. Have a relative or friend spend some time with your dog.
If this is still not possible, hire a pet sitter. There are also professional dog walkers that can spend all day tiring out your dog.
By the time you’re home, you have a tired and calm dog waiting for you.
#4: Encourage positive association
It’s a hassle when your dog barks at literally anyone.
Help them stop this behavior by doing the following.
Limit what they see
Dogs bark because of perceived threats to their territory or family. They aren’t good at telling between welcome visitors and intruders. They’re gonna bark at ‘em all.
In this case, it helps to limit what they see. Make sure your fence is made of solid wood. Or use a tarp. So that when your dog plays in the yard, they can’t see beyond the fence.
Inside the house, limit their access to the window or door. Draw the curtains or cover doors with an opaque film.
These aren’t long-term solutions. But these help control your dog’s excessive barking.
How to stop your dog barking at neighbors
The first step is to establish a positive association. Because you want your dog to have a positive experience whenever the neighbor is around.
Do it this way:
Assuming your neighbor is within sight of your dog…
- Ask your dog to sit. Wait for them to calm down.
- Once they see your neighbor, get your dog’s attention immediately. Call their name, or make a sound.
- Give your dog a treat or toy.
Note: Only give the treat or toy when your dog is not barking.
If your neighbors agree, ask them to give your dog a treat. Again, when not barking.
Provide your neighbors with a stockpile in case they come across your dog.
Remember, yelling at your dog will only encourage them to bark. So giving a treat is preferable.
Continue creating positive associations with other people.
For visitors, hand them a treat that they offer your dog. Your dog will soon be wagging their tail when your visitors come around the next time.
In the case of delivery guys. Ask your dog to sit by the door.
If the delivery guy is about to arrive, give your dog a yummy treat or a toy.
Soon your dog will associate people with something positive.
#5: Give your dog something to do while you’re away
Boredom can easily creep up if your dog has nothing interesting to do. You’ll end up with a dog barking loud all day long.
Before you leave for work, hide treats around the house. It gives your dog a distraction while you’re gone.
If they’re crated, place some toys inside the kennel.
A strong chew bone or stuffed Kong will keep their mouths and mind busy. And they’ll probably take a nap when they get tired.
#6: Manage separation anxiety
Separation anxiety is not a hopeless situation.
But, it can be a difficult condition to treat on your own. You need the help of a vet or a certified animal behaviorist.
In the meantime, here’s how you can prevent worsening your dog’s anxiety:
- Enroll your dog in a doggy daycare.
- Do not leave your dog alone for long periods of time.
- Enroll your dog in obedience training or other activities.
- Have someone check in on your dog when you’re away.
- Allow each member of the family to spend time with your dog.
- Train your dog from puppyhood. Or as soon as you bring them home.
According to Adrienne Farricelli, behavior modification encompasses techniques to change behavior. Naturally, we want the elimination of undesirable behaviors and reinforcement of desirable ones.
The experts in behavior modification are:
- Veterinary behaviorists.
- Certified applied animal behaviorists.
Warning: Look for the expert that employs positive reinforcement in behavior modification.
#7: Do not reward barking
We’re all guilty of this. And sometimes, we’re not aware that we’re reinforcing a dog’s barking.
Here’s an example. Your dog barks like crazy when you arrive home. Then you give them attention and love. As a result, your dog starts repeating the behavior.
Or your dog barks at your neighbor’s dog, and you do nothing to stop it.
What to do
Dogs have reasons for barking. Too bad they can’t tell their dog parents in English.
That’s why it’s tricky. So it helps to look at the situation.
For example, they’re barking at something they see outside the window. See for yourself and make sure no one is lurking out there.
If you think it’s a squirrel or cat, give your dog assurance. Say something like, “Oh, it’s just a cat, Bruno. Thanks for letting me know.”
Talking to your dog could help calm them down. Then draw them away from the window.
Remember, don’t leave your dog barking endlessly. Indulge them for a few minutes. After all, it’s their way of communicating.
Then ask them to be quiet.