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Is that dog barking again?

Suddenly, we can throw open the windows to the fresh air without fear of freezing to death or having rain pour into our homes. That's great, until you're forced to remember how much your dog or your neighbor's dog barks. And barks. And barks.

The wise people at Fort Wayne's Animal Care and Control have some humane and effective advice — and a reminder that too much barking is a noise ordinance violation. Here's the scoop:

SIX TIPS FOR TAKING THE BARK OUT OF YOUR DOG

Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control reports that nuisance barking rates top among animal complaints from city neighborhoods.  A nighttime barking dog can keep neighbors awake for hours and generate numerous complaints to Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control.  Dog owners may be so accustomed to the noise that they ignore the bark and sleep through the night.  Daytime barking isn’t received well either.  When dog owners are away at work, they may be unaware of the non-stop barking that creates issues for those living nearby.

A dog’s bark is its way of communicating to the rest of the world. While there are many good reasons for a dog to bark, excessive barking may be a sign of a more serious problem.  Dogs are social animals. When they are socially isolated or confined for extended periods of time, they become bored or lonely.  With little else to do, they often develop an excessive barking habit.  A dog left alone outside is also subjected to the teasing of other animals and the noises of nearby children, adults and traffic.  Many dogs feel provoked to bark at sounds they cannot investigate.  To take the bark out of your dog, Animal Care & Control offers six tips to help your dog and your neighbors.

  • Train your dog to live inside as a member of your family.  Bringing your dog inside to live will greatly reduce the stimuli and disturbances that frustrate dogs kept outside.  A crate is the safest place for your dog to stay while he is learning to develop good house manners.  
  • Dogs need a regular outlet for their excess energy.  Barking can be partially alleviated by providing walks, play sessions and training activities.  A dog that is well exercised is more likely to spend the day sleeping.  Plan a walk with your dog before you leave for the day. Include a play session when you return home, and schedule a dog walk before you settle in for the night.
  • Dogs need mental exercise as well as physical exercise.  Short excursions can help relieve a dog’s pent-up tensions.  Even a short five-minute walk or car ride will have tremendous mental benefits for your dog.  Alternate a variety of toys on a daily basis to distract and relieve your dog’s boredom and barking.  Hide food treats for your dog to hunt and find. 
  • Watch your own behavior.  If you stroke your dog while soothingly requesting it to quiet down, it will feel rewarded for barking.  Shouting at a dog for barking is also ineffective.  Dogs quickly learn that barking brings attention – good or bad.
  • Join a dog park such as Pawster Park located in Fort Wayne.  Play dates will increase physical and mental activity and provide relief from a stale environment.  Memberships are available through the parks department.
  • Enroll in a group obedience training class.  In a group situation, your dog will learn to accept other dogs and learn to listen to you amidst distractions.  And, you will learn to communicate with your dog in a way he will understand.

Remember that by law, a dog that barks continuously for 15 minutes or for a total of 20 minutes in a one hour period is considered excessive and owners are fined by the City of Fort Wayne ordinance.

Posted by: Connie Haas Zuber
Posted: Wed, 06/01/2011 - 1:50 pm
Last updated: Wed, 05/23/2012 - 3:11 pm