Just because you love your dog more than anything doesn't mean that every now and then you won't get frustrated by all her barking. "If you've got a dog that barks excessively, here are a few tips for keeping the peace," says Mary Burch, Ph.D., American Kennel Club Good Citizen Director and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist.
Determine the cause: Understanding what is causing your dog to bark will help you find a solution. There are several functions for barking, including alerting (like when a stranger is at the front door), excitement (usually occurs during active play), to communicate with you (as in "I want to go outside!"), to communicate with another dog and due to separation (meaning your dog barks continuously when you are out of the house).
Fixes for when you're home: When you're around and your dog barks, try teaching him to bark on cue. "When the dog is barking, have some treats handy," suggests Burch. "When the dog is quiet, say 'quiet' and give the dog a treat. Whatever you do, don't give the dog the food reward when he's barking."
Fixes for when you're away: If your dog constantly barks when you're away, try leaving the music or television playing. "For more severe separation issues, there are behavioral solutions for addressing separation anxiety," says Burch. "Your trainer or an animal behaviorist can help you with these."
If you've always wanted a pup, but can't stand the idea of all that barking, fear not - did you know that certain breeds are known for not being big barkers? Here are the top 7 least "barky" dog breeds, according to the AKC.
1. Basenji: A hunting dog from Africa, the Basenji is commonly known as the "barkless dog," but makes a noise that sounds like a yodel when excited. The breed is active and tends to be independent.
2. Chinese Shar Pei: The Chinese Shar Pei is typically aloof and standoffish with strangers, but is devoted to its family. They are very intelligent and need daily exercise. This breed is not very talkative; however, may speak up when in guard mode.
3. St. Bernard: St. Bernards are gentle family companions. This breed is known to be generally quiet, but owners should be prepared for drool! They are powerful, muscular dogs that need daily exercise.
4. Bullmastiff: The Bullmastiff is a natural guardian that doesn't bark much. The breed is fearless and confident, and doesn't require much exercise or grooming.
5. Great Dane: This soft-spoken breed is known as the "gentle giant" because of its loving disposition and large size. They make excellent family pets and require daily exercise.6. Newfoundland: The Newfoundland is a sweet and quiet dog that is active and needs daily exercise. They're excellent long-distance swimmers.
7. Italian Greyhound: Italian Greyhounds are peaceful, gentle dogs that love attention and affection from their owners. The Italian Greyhound is not known to be "barky," but they are active dogs that require daily walks.
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