If your dog has been barking at you a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you nine common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bark at me? Possible reasons why your dog barks at you are that it wants attention, it wants something from you, it is warning you, it is alerting you to something, boredom, excitement, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Why does my dog bark at me?
Below are nine common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely.
It wants attention
The reason why it does it could be that it is trying to get attention from you and it has realized that barking results in you giving it attention. This would be more likely if it tends to start barking when you have not been giving it much attention for a while, such as when you come home, and if you tend to give it attention when it starts barking.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by exercising it, training it and playing with it. However, it would help to stop giving it attention when it starts barking for attention and to wait for it to stop barking before giving it attention again. Doing this should teach it that barking at you will not result in it getting attention.
It is being aggressive
The reason why it does it could be that it is being aggressive. This would be more likely if it shows signs of aggression in its body language such as by snarling, growling, showing its teeth and having a tense posture. It would also be more likely if it barks at certain times such as when you are approaching it boldy or when there are other things happening that might be causing it to feel threatened.
If it does seem to be doing it due to being aggressive, the best option would be to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist so that you can see what has been causing the behavior and how to get it to stop safely.
You have encouraged the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it barks. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it starts barking. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it barks unless necessary.
It wants something from you
The cause could also be that it wants something from you such as food or exercise. This would be more likely if it does it more at around the same time that it would normally get things such as when you would normally take it for a walk.
It is alerting you to something
It could be the case that it barks because it is trying to alert you to something that it thinks you should know about. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more in situations such as when someone is walking past outside, when it hears a noise or when there are animals in the yard.
It is excited
Sometimes, dogs will bark when they are excited. If your dog tends to bark in situations such as when you are about to walk it then it would be more likely that it is barking to show its excitement.
Dogs are supposed to get exercise on a daily basis. When dogs don’t get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be part of the reason why yours has been barking at you. This would be more likely if it tends to bark at you when you would normally walk it and if it does it more on days when it does not get much exercise.
It would help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its breed.
It’s being possessive
The reason why it does it might be that it is being possessive. This is where it is trying to protect something that it thinks belongs to it such as its spot on the bed or the food it is eating.
It would be important to be careful in these situations since dogs can become aggressive when they are resource guarding. If your dog is a puppy then it would be very important to train it out of this behavior now while it is still young.
You can watch the video for some advice on what to do about your dog resource guarding. It would also be advised to seek professional help since they can become aggressive in situations involving resource guarding.
It could be the case that it has gotten an injury and it has been barking due to frustration or being in pain. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing signs of being in pain. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
The type of body language it shows
It would help to consider the type of body language your dog shows when it is barking.
If it shows other signs of aggression such as showing its teeth, snarling, growling and a stiff posture, it would be more likely that it is being aggressive and/or feeling threatened.
Whereas, if it shows signs of excitement such as wagging its tail, jumping up and down and having wide-open eyes, it would be more likely that it is excited that you’re home or that it is about to get a walk.
What else happened when your dog first started barking at you
If it did not always bark at you as much as it has been, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as a change in its daily routine in ways such as getting fed or exercise at different times, getting injured or something changing in its environment.
What is different when your dog does not bark
It would also help to consider the timing of when and where it barks at you.
If it tends to bark at you when you are about to walk it, the cause would be more likely to be that it is excited. Whereas, if it does it more when it is eating, it would be more likely that it is being possessive.
How to get my dog to stop barking at me?
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop barking at you.
Positive reinforcement training
One option is to use positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your dog when it displays them and avoid rewarding it when it does not.
To use it to get your dog to stop barking you would do something such as:
- Stop giving it attention when it starts barking at you
- Give it attention when it stops barking at you
- Stop giving it attention again if it starts to bark at you again
- Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not bark at you when it normally would
You can watch the video below for some more positive reinforcement tips.
Give it a daily routine
Dogs generally like having a structured daily routine that they can follow. If it seems like your dog is barking because of wanting to be fed, walked, etc, it would help to start giving your dog those things at the same time every day so that it knows when to expect them.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it barks.
Instead of giving it things that it wants when it barks, try to stop rewarding it when it barks and to reward it when it does not bark.
If you can’t get it to stop barking or it is aggressive, it would also be an option to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you should be able to see how to train it to stop and what is causing it to bark at you.
When training your dog, it is important to train it consistently over the course of weeks and months. If you just train it once or twice, it is not likely that you will be able to change its behavior much, but by training it consistently over the course of weeks and months, you can get much better results.
Why does my dog bark at me all the time?
Your dog might bark at you all the time because it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, due to compulsive behavior or something in its environment causing it to be anxious.
Why does my dog bark at me for no reason?
If your dog barks at you for no apparent reason, it could actually be due to things such as separation anxiety, intimidation, your dog is hungry or needs to pee or poop, your dog hears something or because your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
It would help to consider the timing of when your dog barks for no apparent reason. If your dog barks before you have fed or given it exercise, it would be a lot more likely to be due to hunger or wanting exercise. Whereas, if your dog does it at random times, it could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded or it wants extra attention.
Why does my dog bark at me when I arrive home?
Likely reasons why your dog barks at you when you arrive home are that your dog is excited to see you, hunger, needing to pee or poop or separation anxiety. If your dog immediately wants to go outside, it would be more likely that your dog needs to pee or poop. Otherwise, it would be more likely that your dog is letting you know that it did not like being separated from you.
In this case, it would help to give your dog exercise, food and the chance to pee or poop before being left alone. It would also help to ensure that the room that your dog stays in is ideal and is not too hot, loud and there is a spot for your dog to lay down.
Why does my dog bark at me when I sit down?
If your dog barks at you when you sit down, it could be because your dog is letting you know that it is hungry or bored. This would be more likely if your dog only does it before you have fed or given it exercise. If your dog does it after having been fed and exercised, it could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
To get this behavior to stop, it would help to try giving your dog a “time out” whenever it barks when you sit down by getting your dog to stay in a different part of the house until it is calm. Repeating this process should teach your dog to stop barking.
However, it would help to consider the timing of when your dog does it and to first deal with other possible causes such as not getting enough exercise or not being fed early enough.
Why does my dog bark at me when I tell him off?
If your dog barks when you tell him off, it would be likely that your dog does it because he is intimidated. This would be more likely if your dog also does things such as growl, snarl and have a stiff posture. In this case, it could help to train your dog to behave the way you want with the use of positive reinforcement training instead of punishing your dog after it has done something you do not like.
Why does my dog only bark at me?
If your dog only barks at you, it could be because your dog is intimidated by you or because it has learned that you are the one that gives it food, exercise, attention, and the chance to go outside. It could also be because you tend to give your dog rewards when your dog barks at you but other family members do not.
Why does my dog bark at me when playing?
If your dog barks at you when playing, it would be likely that your dog is showing that it is excited. However, it could also be the case that your dog gets intimidated when you play with it and it would help to consider the body language your dog shows.
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