There are several reasons for excessive barking or howling. Some owners encourage a puppy to bark, to develop his guarding ability. In other cases, the owners have unintentionally encouraged it to bark from puppyhood. Whenever the dog barked, its owners appeared and gave him attention. Finding this behavior rewarding, the dog quite naturally continued to bark more and more. This is especially true of puppies.
Some dogs bark from stress when separated from their owners. Others bark from boredom when they don’t have enough stimulation. A dog whose routine is changed so that his owner can’t spend as much time with him as usual may become frustrated. This can be an another cause of excessive barking or related problem behavior, such as destructiveness.
How to prevent excessive barking?
If you have a puppy or a new dog, teach him that it’s normal to be left alone for periods of half an hour to an hour several times a day, and for longer at night. This should be done gradually, starting with five- to- ten minute periods.
Also teach your puppy that it has its own cage, pen, or area where you will visit him. While your puppy is alone in his pen, he starts to cry, wait until silence occurs before going in and making a fuss of it. Verbal praise is sufficient, but not too much. If every time a dog barks, you appear on cue-either to reprimand him or to comfort him in some way-the barking behavior will be maintained or may even get worse.
It is natural for dogs to bark when visitors knock or ring the doorbell. Most owners don’t mind this – territorial guarding is natural dog behavior. But don’t let your dog to overdo it, otherwise you could end up with an excessive barker. Most dogs that drive their owners crazy by barking at the door excessively were taught when to bark but not when to stop.
Barking while at home
Some dogs don’t like being left alone in the yard or in an adjacent room, and as a result will bark until the owner attends to their needs, which normally means giving the dog access to human company again. What a powerful reward! No wonder dogs learn to bark. If your dog is this type of barker, than you’re dealing with separation anxiety related barking.