Playfulness or Excitement
Whether they are playing with you or other dogs, anticipating their dinner, or just happy to be running after their favorite ball, dogs will often bark out of playfulness and excitement.
The attention-seeking bark is pretty easy to identify and is quite common. Perhaps your eyes are glued to your phone or TV, or you are trying to get some work done at home when this happens. This is when your dog is saying “Hey! Look at me! I exist!”
Stress or Anxiety
Dogs with separation anxiety will start barking that accompanies whining. Like fearful dogs who lick excessively out of anxiety, this kind of barking serves as a sort of self-soothing coping method.
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A popular method of curtailing excessive barking is teaching the “quiet” command. Use a calm, firm voice to tell your dog to be “quiet” and positively reinforce correct behavior with treats and affection.
A common suggestion by trainers for dogs who bark when owners are gone is to leave the dog with some familiar sounds, such as a radio or television program. The idea is that these approximate the household sounds when the owner is present. Additional steps, such as closing the blinds before you leave the house, can help by removing your dog’s opportunity to see things, such as squirrels or the mailman, that will tempt them to bark.
A dog may bark at people or other dogs if they haven’t been socialized well enough. A dog that has had many positive experiences with all ages and types of people, including people on bikes, in wheelchairs, children, etc., is less likely to bark at them. Letting your dog meet the mailman and the UPS driver, for example, and asking them to give your dog a cookie can help.