Dogs bark – it’s just what they do. They can’t speak like people, so they must instead rely on body language and vocalizations for communication. While pretty much every dog bark or makes some form of loud vocalization, some dogs are noisier than others. Innate traits in their genes help determine how noisy a dog is, though environment and socialization play a significant role as well.
Sometimes, dogs do bark a little too much, though. In these cases, figuring out why your dog is barking at you may help you lessen the barking a bit. Some breeds are just noisy, though, which can limit the amount of success you’ll have with training.
We’ll take a look at the reasons why your dog might be barking at you in this article. After that, we’ll help you lessen the barking using specific training techniques.
Reasons Your Dog May Be Barking at You
While your dog can be territorial against you, this typically isn’t the case. Your dog is probably plenty used to you being in their space (unless, of course, you just adopted them). However, it isn’t uncommon for some dogs to guard people. In other words, they may bark around you because they’re trying to keep others away from you. It may also make them nervous when you do certain things, like go outside or hang around strangers. This may trigger more barking directed at you.
This type of barking is a mix of fear and aggression. The dog is scared that something is going to happen to their person, so they attempt to remedy the situation through barking.
Certain breeds are more prone to this than others. Chihuahuas are particularly prone to this behavior. However, any dog can exhibit it. Dogs that aren’t socialized properly around other people may be more likely to become scared and territorial around them.
2. Alarm Barking
Alarm barking is triggered by fear. Something scared the dog, and they’re trying to warn others or scare it away. Occasionally, their owners may scare them. If you’re dressed in unusual clothes and walking around outside the window, your dog might not recognize you and start barking. Some dogs can’t recognize their owners in masks or other facial coverings.
Usually, your dog can recognize you through scent, so this only becomes a problem when your dog can’t smell you. You may be too far away or through a window.
Most dogs will figure out it is you after only a few barks. However, this isn’t always true, depending on the dog and the circumstances. You can try talking to the dog or approaching so they can smell you in order to calm the dog down.
Dogs that are blind or deaf may be more prone to this sort of barking. They may be startled more easily since it is easier for people to sneak up on them. You should always announce your presence clearly with these dogs, so you don’t scare them.
Many dogs bark as an indication that they want to play. They may be attempting to get your attention and initiate play. Usually, this is a happy bark that is accompanied by tail wags. Some dogs may jump or stick their butt up in the air, taking the stereotypical dog-play position. Certain dogs may also run and get a toy if they know where they are.
Lots of dogs simply bark for attention. This is especially true when you first get home, as your dog hasn’t seen you all day. They may want to be pet or play. The basis of this bark is their need for attention. Of course, if you pay attention to your dog after they bark, this encourages barking in the future. This is a complicated situation, as you want to give your dog attention but not encourage barking.
We’ll have a complete discussion of handling attention barking in our training section.
Some dogs may simply bark because they are bored. If your dog is left alone or without anything to do, they may bark randomly at pretty much anything – including you. The dog may vocalize in your direction, even if they aren’t particularly looking for attention.
This type of barking is different from attention barking, though they can look the same. Dogs that are barking for attention usually can’t be distracted very easily until they get it. Dogs that are bored will happily do just about everything and are easily distracted. Giving them a puzzle toy may stop the barking, while this wouldn’t be the case of a dog looking for attention.
6. Compulsive Barking
While this is a rarer form of barking, it can be quite confusing to owners. Some dogs may have physiological problems that cause compulsive barking. When this happens, the dog barks at anything for seemingly no reason. They may seem like they bark just to bark. However, these dogs may have anxiety or a similar problem that is driving the behavior, even if you can’t see it.
How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark at You
Luckily, training your dog to bark less is often possible. All dogs are going to bark occasionally, though, so your goal shouldn’t be to prevent your canine from barking completely. Instead, you should aim to lessen the barking that you can control.
How trainable excessive barking is often depends on the reason behind it. Territorial barking and barking for attention are both easy and straightforward to prevent. However, the compulsive barking may require medication and more complex training. Alarm barking is difficult to prevent, as dogs often don’t consciously think about it. It is simply a response to something that is scary.
Featured image credit: dahancoo, Pixabay
- Reasons Your Dog May Be Barking at You
- How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark at You