Your Labrador retriever Boomer has decided to become a canine opera singer. Since that rigorous career path requires many hours of practice, Boomer has spent the past few weeks tuning up his vocal cords so they’ll be ready for the challenge. Each morning, Boomer begins with a throaty growl before he launches into several hours of thunderous barking that would befit a male opera star. You know that dogs regularly communicate via barking, and Boomer might be alerting his pack (your family) of an impending danger (that nasty cat down the street). However, regardless of Boomer’s admirable work ethic, his barking has become annoying to your family and your neighbors. You’ve asked your veterinarian from Grayson to give Boomer some expert behavioral counseling. Learn more about your dog’s excessive barking below.
Reasons for the Racket
You’ve probably wondered why Boomer barks like a fool. First, he might have a medical problem. If Boomer’s healthy, he might be anxious and/or insecure, and his constant barking hides that insecurity. Perhaps Boomer is rather annoyed that he’s stuck at home instead of exploring the neighborhood’s sights and smells with his canine buddies. Or, since Boomer’s a smart dog, maybe he lacks some much-needed mental stimulation.
Uncover the Barking Stimulus
Now let’s figure out what actually triggers Boomer’s barking. Does he begin, or get worse, at a certain time of day? Do you have rotating garden ornaments or tinkling wind chimes that really set Boomer off? As the wind blows harder, the ornaments whirl and the wind chimes tinkle madly – and Boomer’s behavior also gets ramped up.
Believe it or not, you might also be part of the problem. When Boomer whips himself into a frenzy, you lose your sense of reason, screaming at your furiously barking dog. Naturally, that really gets Boomer going, and he barks so loudly that your head hurts.
Short-Circuit the Barking Cycle
First, try the obvious fix: remove the stimulus that seems to get Boomer wound up. Donate the garden ornaments, wind chimes, or other object that sends Boomer over the edge. Give Boomer plenty of exercise so he has less time and energy for barking. Finally, while giving Boomer a toy or treat might temporarily keep him quiet, he’ll think he has been rewarded for his poor behavior.
Change Your Behavior, Too
At this point, you know yelling at Boomer only makes his behavior worse; however, you don’t want to ignore your delinquent dog’s antics, either. Ask your vet for his professional advice on this one.
After your Grayson vet determines why Boomer’s barking himself silly, he’ll create a strategy to curb your dog’s unacceptable behavior. And someday, you’ll learn to appreciate opera singers again.