Is your dog barking more than usual? As dogs age, their barking habits can change, which could be problematic for pet owners.
Your pet could be barking for many reasons; some could be behavioral, and others could be due to health concerns. Our mission is to provide practical solutions for dog parents facing this issue.
Let’s discuss the root cause and find ways to restore peace and harmony in your home.
Understanding the nature of barking
Barking is a natural form of communication for dogs, allowing them to express their frustration and emotions. From alerting us to potential dangers to seeking attention barking is a dog’s go-to method. But why do our furry friends seem to bark more as they age?
There’s a world of difference between usual and excessive barking. Dog owners can address and find solutions effectively by understanding the nature of barking and its reason.
Factors that cause excessive barking in older dogs
Physical changes in older dogs
With your dogs’ increasing age, their bodies adapt to various transformations, which may impact their behavior. Your dogs’ declining sensory abilities, like hearing or vision loss, may cause them to bark more frequently.
Other factors like arthritis or a decline in cognitive abilities may also cause stress and confusion.
Older dogs are very aware of their surroundings, and any changes in their environment can greatly affect their level of barking. If they are scared, anxious, or don’t have enough mental and physical activities to keep them engaged, it may lead to more barking.
Things like having new people or pets in the house, loud noises in the neighborhood, or making major changes in daily routine, lack of mental and physical stimulation can also make your pet bark excessively.
Pain and discomfort
Dogs, like humans, can experience injuries or develop skin and dental conditions as they age. Physical injuries may include falling from a height, getting struck by a car, fighting with another dog, spinal injury, and more could lead to severe trauma and distress.
Your dog may also suffer from skin and oral conditions while chewing or playing with something sharp or hard. Those minor cuts or wounds are easy to treat at home with medicines.
But your dog may require surgery in case of deep wounds and tooth fractures. Barking is the only way your dog expresses pain and seeks your care and love.
Manage excessive barking in older dogs
Provide obedience training
Positive reinforcement training techniques can be effective in controlling excessive barking. Teach your older dog commands, such as “quiet” or “settle,” and reward them when they exhibit calm behavior instead of barking.
Seek the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist if necessary. You may also try some of the best anti-bark dog collars and see what works best for your dog.
Provide physical and mental stimulation
Elder dogs still need regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them engaged and happy. Ensure they receive daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys that challenge their minds.
Keeping their bodies and minds active can reduce restlessness and channel their energy in healthier ways, leading to decreased barking.
Create a calm and secure environment
Older dogs can be more sensitive to their surroundings than younger ones. Create a calm and secure environment for them by providing a comfortable resting area, minimizing exposure to loud noises, and maintaining a consistent routine.
You may consider using white noise machines like pheromone diffusers to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Calming music or specifically designed soundtracks for dogs can help mask external noises that trigger excessive barking.
These soothing sounds can create a more relaxed atmosphere, reducing anxiety and the urge to bark in response to outside stimuli. Natural calming aids or supplements are also helpful in reducing anxiety in aging dogs. It is always better to consult your vet before starting any medicine.
Consult a professional
If your older dog’s excessive barking continues despite your efforts, seeking guidance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can provide valuable insight. They can evaluate your dog’s behavior, identify underlying issues, and create a customized training plan to address the barking problem effectively.
Final thoughts on excessive barking in older dogs
Constant barking noises are difficult for dog owners as well as their neighbors. It can be challenging to deal with this behavior and not know how to address it. But you can surely find a solution by understanding the reasons behind the barking and seeking professional help.
It is also important to stay patient with your dog throughout this journey without forcing them. Let them learn at their own pace. With positive reinforcement and the right approach, you can bring back calmness and happiness to your home.