Excessive Dog Barking is Causing you Stress
Learn how to stop it!

Did you know that excessive dog barking can cause you intense stress? Whether it's your neighbor's dog that wakes you up in the middle of the night or your own hound that startles you while you work at home, you need to stop dog barking noises for your own health.

The adverse effects of noises are many: sleep deprivation, hearing impairment, psychological and performance problems.This means that you may be affected in many areas of your life including your relationships and your work.

Noise stress can also make you feel annoyed at things that you otherwise wouldn't be. The state of annoyance can further exacerbate the problem because you may feel you need to be isolated from others.

Dog barking becomes a problem when it is too frequent. All dogs bark at some point and this is OK, it is one of the ways in which they communicate. It becomes a problem when it's constant.

Excessive dog barking can affect your sleep

dog barking causes you stress (photo credits Martina Osmy and Viorel Sima)

A recent scientific review article tells us that noises that disrupt sleep can seriously affect your physical and mental health. Unpredictable and frequent noises can raise your blood pressure and sounds that disrupt sleep at night have been associated with cardiovascular diseases in the elderly.

Intermittent noises  (like a dog barking) have more adverse effects than continuous noises (like a machine sound on the background). Even if a night time noise doesn't completely wake you up, it can change your sleep pattern from deep sleep to shallow sleep. This reduction in deep sleep can cause you chronic tiredness during the day.

Wouldn't you like to know how to stop dog barking?

Excessive dog barking can disrupt your ability to concentrate

Noise produces a change in your stress hormones, which consequently will alter many physiological and psychological functions. For example,  a startling noise will not only set your heart pumping faster, it will also make you loose focus and concentration.

Interestingly, your personality can also determine how well (or bad) you will cope with noise. Introvert people are more likely to be affected by noise than extroverts, in fact the latter might thrive with a little bit of noise during dull tasks.

How to stop excessive dog barking?

Now that you know the adverse health effects of disproportionate canine barking it is time to solve the problem. Here are the steps to follow:

1- Find out why your pooch is barking so much: Keep a written log of when and why your canine friend barks. This will help you identify the trigger and either remove it or train your pet to be quiet.

2- Once you have found the cause, pick the right way to deal with it. Never punish a dog for barking, this could lead to more serious issues like fear and biting. I will also like to discourage you from using electronic collars. These work through punishment and most of the time make more harm than good.

Following is a list of possible reasons for excessive dog barking, click on each link for advice and tutorials on how to stop your dog from barking:

  • Fear Barking: This canine is just as stressed as you are. Teach him to calm at the sight of fearful things with systematic desensistization and counterconditioning.
  • Bored Barking: Your pet needs enrichment and fun activities. Read the article for ideas and how to implement it. 
  • Excited Barking: You have a happy pooch that is overjoyed with life. Teach him to react properly at the sight of exciting things.
  • Alarm Barking: Warning! Warning! Your hound is telling you there is an intruder. Acknowledge your pet, then train him to be quiet.
  • Resource guarding (toy or food aggression): This dog is also stressed and like fear barking you will need to plan a training program using systematic desensitization and counterconditioning.
  • Attention getting barking: This is a very common case in which dogs learn to bark to get what they want. Solution: stop giving them what they want!

    You can also teach your furry best friend to "Quiet" and "Settle" on command. And I highly recommend this article to avoid common mistakes that exacerbate this problem.



3- While you are working on training your pooch, find ways to relax yourself too. Try spending quiet times with your hound, massage his body while you watch a movie or listen to music. Spending time with your pet is actually one of the recommended ways to relieve stress.

If you have any specific questions you can fill out the form in this link or leave your comments below.

References:

  1. Effects of environmental noise on sleep. Hume KI, Brink M, Basner M. Noise Health. 2012 Nov-Dec;14(61):297-302.
  2. Noise and health--sleep disturbance in adults. Kawada T. J Occup Health. 2011 Dec 9;53(6):413-6. Epub 2011 Sep 27.
  3. Noise and mental performance: personality attributes and noise sensitivity. Belojevic G, Jakovljevic B, Slepcevic V. Noise Health. 2003 Oct-Dec;6(21):77-89.

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