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How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking Inside

What if your dog barks at things from inside your house or apartment?

By
Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
April 25, 2011
Episode #101

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Who hasn’t walked past a house or an apartment doorway and heard the dog inside explode into barking?  This week’s article is for the people who live with those dogs--the people shouting “Dogalini, quiet!”

Why Do Dogs Bark?

Dogs bark for many reasons—to solicit play, to signal that they’re going on the offensive, to get our attention. They bark when they’re stressed or bored or lonely. It’s usually not hard to tell the difference. For instance, play barks are pitched higher than barks that convey a threat; a bored and lonely dog may bark bark bark in a monotone for minutes or even hours at a stretch. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety can sound pretty desperate when they bark.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking Inside

The kind of bark I’m talking about today bursts out loud and fast as the dog responds to something he hears or sees. Usually the dog rushes the door or window that the sight or sound is coming from. In Brooklyn, where the row houses are set back from the sidewalk just a few feet, I sometimes see dogs pressing themselves flat against the windowpane as they bark at me. At some point, when the sight or noise that set them off has gone, the dog simmers down, maybe drops a few more sporadic barks, then goes back to whatever he was doing before. Of course, if provocative sights and sounds appear often, there may not be much of a break between barkfests.

And why is your dog doing this? Beats me! It could be a territorial behavior. Is it aggressive? Maybe. Whether we see it that way might depend on how intensely your dog barks and charges and how he responds to actual visitors. A dog may be frustrated because she can’t greet the people or dogs she hears or sees. Herding dogs may be attempting to herd those moving bicycles and running kids. Some dogs make a lot of noise when startled.

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