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Why Is My Dog Barking at Nothing? 6 Reasons for This Behavior
All dog owners around the world have grown accustomed to an occasional bark here and there. For some, though, their dogs seem to be barking at absolutely nothing. This constant barking without cause becomes a little frustrating or unsettling if you rely on them to alert you about potential danger lurking nearby.
Even though a dog’s barking feels random, there is usually a reason for it, whether you notice it or not. Barking is a dog’s way to communicate with you as well as their surroundings. So if you listen more closely, you might be able to figure out what exactly has them riled up.
What Is My Dog Barking At?
Dogs bark for so many different reasons that it’s hard to say exactly what is setting them off. Try to understand that this is your dog trying to communicate with you even if you don’t know why.
1. They Sense Something You Don’t
A dog’s senses are a lot stronger than ours. Dogs are capable of hearing higher frequencies, lower light, and subtle smells. Just because you don’t see, hear, or smell something doesn’t mean that they don’t. Of course, this doesn’t always mean that you’re in danger, but it just means that they could’ve sensed something in the distance and they’re unsure about what it is.
2. They Want Attention
If you acknowledge your dog every time they go on a barking spree, they start to associate your attention with making noise. Dogs wanting attention tend to look you directly in the eyes while they bark. To discourage this behavior, you must stop responding and avoid eye contact. Try to avoid speaking to them as well. Even if you simply tell them to be quiet, they are still feeding off every bit of attention they can get.
3. They’re Bored
It feels like some dogs bark just because they like the sound of their own voice. A bored pup is much more likely to participate in barking if they have nothing else to stimulate them. Your best option is to take them for a walk and get rid of some of their pent-up energy.
4. Something Has Scared Them
Dogs have many ways to soothe themselves, and barking is one of them. If a dog is scared or stressed, they could be barking to stop their fear and scare off whatever has them frightened. If you know they’re scared or anxious, then it’s okay to comfort them until they calm down.
5. They’re Being Territorial
It doesn’t matter if a human is visiting, or a squirrel is running through the yard. Dogs are territorial animals, and loud barking is your furry friend’s way of telling others to stay away. Territorial barking is usually loud and sounds a little more authoritative. It helps to train them to keep their voices down whenever you have guests over.
6. Something Exciting is Happening
An excited bark is one that we don’t usually mind as much. Dogs bark a lot when they’re feeling happy. They could have a barking fit whenever they know they’re about to go for a walk, play outside, or see a fellow canine friend. Don’t punish your dogs when they’re feeling happy. This is their best way of expressing themselves and they usually can’t help it.
How to Reduce Unexplained Dog Barking
It’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause of excessive barking. If it feels like they’re doing it for attention, the best way to combat it is to ignore them and teach them that their behavior won’t be rewarded. However, it isn’t always this easy.
Many times, we have to do a little trial-and-error to figure out a dog’s behavior. Your first action should be to take them outside or have a play session with them to burn off some of their energy. It’s possible that your dog is not physically and mentally stimulated. Keeping them entertained is the best solution for tiring them out.
Some dogs have a bit of anxiety. If you’re tried expelling their energy and it didn’t work, put on some relaxing music for your dog. This helps drown out outside noises and makes them feel more comfortable. There are plenty of calming music playlists for dogs that are only a quick Google search away.
When we buy a dog, we expect that they are going to bark a little bit. It’s only when the barking gets out of hand that we start to become frustrated with their loud behavior. Try to be patient and learn what is triggering them. Once you’ve figured it out, it makes it a lot easier to calm them down and correct their behavior.
Featured Image Credit: dahancoo, Pixabay
Hallie has been a proud nature and animal enthusiast for as long as she can remember. She attributes her passion for the environment and all its creatures to her childhood when she was showing horses on weekends and spending her weeknights devoting her attention to her pets. She enjoys spending most of her time in Michigan playing with her two rescue cats, Chewbacca and Lena, and her dog, Clayton. When Hallie isn’t using her degree in English with a writing specialization to spread informative knowledge on pet care, you can find her snuggled up on the couch reading books or watching nature documentaries.