If your dog barks whenever it hears a noise you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bark whenever it hears a noise? Common reasons why your dog barks when it hears a noise are that it is being protective, it is fearful, you have been encouraging the behavior by rewarding it or that noises cause it to become excited.
There are multiple reasons why it might be doing it but there are also a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause. There are also a lot of things you can do to get it to stop.
Why your dog barks whenever it hears a noise
Below are common reasons why dogs bark whenever they hear noises and what would make them more likely to be the main reason why yours has been doing it.
It’s being protective
It could be the case that the noises cause it to think that there is a threat nearby and it barks because it is being protective and because it is letting you know about it. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it hears certain noises such as people or animals outside and if it is a breed that is known for being protective.
It might be the case that it has been doing it due to being fearful of the sounds. This would also be more likely if it does it more at certain sounds such as construction works. It could also be the case if it barks when it hears people or animals if it shows fearful body language as well by doing things such as hiding or crying.
Encouraging the behavior
It might also be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it starts barking at noises, it will likely do it more. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not bark at noises, to give it positive reinforcement training and to follow the other tips mentioned below.
The cause might also be that it gets excited when it hears sounds. This would be more likely if it shows signs of being excited in its body language by doing things such as wagging its tail, having wide open eyes and jumping up at you. It would also be more likely if it doesn’t tend to do it as much after getting exercise. It would help to make sure that it is getting the daily amount of exercise for its age and breed.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started barking at noises
If it did not always bark when it used to hear noises, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it after a stressful event such as someone breaking a window it might have caused your dog to become anxious whenever it hears noises. Whereas, if you rewarded it when it barked at a noise one time, it might have learned to do it more.
What is different when your dog does not bark at noises
If it does not always bark at noises, it would also help to consider if there is anything different when it does not do it.
For example, if it only does it when it hears other dogs barking, it would be much more likely to be due to the other dogs. I have written more about why it might bark when it hears other dogs in this post.
How to get your dog to stop barking whenever it hears a noise
Below are some things you can do in order to get your dog to stop barking whenever it hears a noise.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you train your dog to behave in a certain way by rewarding it for showing signs of behaving that way.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop barking when it hears noises you could:
- Start by playing noises that it tends to bark at quietly on your phone.
- Reward it for not barking
- Gradually increase the volume and reward it for not barking
- Repeat the above until it is able to not bark even when the noise is loud. It might help to play the noise in another room.
- If it starts barking, reduce the volume and then build up to a higher volume again.
Redirect its focus
If you know that there is about to be a noise, one option would be to try to redirect its focus onto something else so that it does not bark. Doing so should help to get it out of the habit of barking whenever it hears a noise.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by rewarding it. Instead, it would help to use positive reinforcement training, to wait for it to stop barking before rewarding it and to try to redirect its focus when it is about to bark.
Avoid punishing the behavior
Yelling at it or punishing it when it barks will only cause reinforce the behavior because it will confirm that there is something to be concerned about. Instead, it would help to give it positive reinforcement training, to avoid rewarding it for barking and to be patient with the training.
Give it exercise
It would also help to make sure that it is fully stimulated by giving it the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
If you cannot get it to stop, another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist or training. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been doing it and how to get it to stop.
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