09 Oct Excessive barking – what to do with over-barkers
Barking is a normal (and important) part of a dog’s communication repertoire, and many dog owners see barking to be a positive thing when alerting the house owner to a potential threat. Excessive barking or barking with no apparent function can impinge on neighbourly relations and puts pressure on the human-pet bond.
The key to reducing bothersome barking is understanding why your pet is vocalising. Attention seeking, boredom, anxiety and fear are the most common causes of inappropriate barking, but an often-forgotten cause is inadvertent positive reinforcement. By interacting with your barking dog and patting them with a view to ‘calm them down’, pet owners unknowingly are encouraging this behaviour.
Try and also identify the situations when your dog barks, for example, if they react to joggers passing by your front window, draw the blinds.
If your dog barks non-stop when you leave the house for work in the morning, they could be suffering from separation anxiety. To extinguish this behaviour, make your departure a positive thing for your pet. Give a large meaty bone every time you leave, and leave promptly without a showering of affection.
Give your prolific barker some mental stimulation by leaving treat balls in the house that dispenses the daily ration of food slowly as your pet has to work for it.
If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with anxiety or fear-related over-barking, consider the therapeutic use of ‘Dog Appeasing Pheromone’ which has a calming effect on dogs. It is available in a collar which is stocked by your nearest vet.
Pent up energy
Increasing the number of hours of physical exercise each week will help to release some of your pet’s energy and may reduce their desire to over-bark.
With the school holidays on currently, it’s a great time to take the family (both four and two legged members) out for a long drive, a day trip or even a couple of days in regional NSW. While it can be fun for everyone, there are a couple of things to keep mindful of to ensure your pet is kept safe and content.
The car can be a little claustrophobic and can cause motion sickness in those pets not familiar with the ambiance. Before bundling up your pet into the car, first allow them to spend some time in the vehicle. Feed them in the car the day before to make them realise the car is a good place to be.
Make sure you bring something for your pet to chew on or play with to distract them and provide some comfort to them .
Update your pet’s microchip details with your local council and fix an ID badge to their collar, so that in the event that your pet escapes while in a foreign place, you two can be reunited quickly.
Take along a collapsible water bowl to avoid dehydration – all that sniffing of moving air out the car window can dry out your pet’s mucous membranes.
Just like us, pets can suffer from motion sickness and dizziness. There are very effective medications nowadays that you can talk to your vet about, that will prevent a big cleanup effort of the car.
If travelling down to a coastal part of NSW, ticks are especially prevalent. Ensure you apply high quality tick preventative medications to protect your pet against the lethal disease – tick paralysis.
Finally, remember to never leave them unattended in the car even for a quick dart to the shops – the internal temperature of the car soars this time of year even with the windows open a little.
At Southern Cross, we are your premier dog vet in the Eastern Suburbs or Inner West. Our new state-of-the-art Bellevue Hill vet clinic has now opened. It’s perfectly located for Bondi residents and those searching for a Rose Bay vet, or Double Bay Vet. Our cutting-edge St. Peters veterinary hospital is famous in the inner west! It’s ideal for those looking for a Matraville vet or a Tempe vet.