If your dog has been barking while playing you might be wondering why and what you can do to get it to stop. This post will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get yours to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog bark while playing? Possible reasons why your dog barks while playing are that it is showing excitement, it has learned that it gets rewards when it does it, it’s actually being threatening or reacting to your own emotions.
There are actually many reasons why it might do it and the most likely reason will depend a lot on the way it barks. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your dog barks while playing
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It is showing that it is excited
The reason why it does it might be that it is showing that it is excited since dogs will often try to show their excitement more enthusiastically than we do. This would be more likely if it shows other signs of excitement when it barks such as wagging its tail, jumping up at you, licking you or wide-open eyes.
It has learned that it gets rewards
It might also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it starts barking while playing. For example, if you tend to throw the stick when it barks, when playing fetch, it might have learned that barking results in you throwing the stick.
Instead, it would help to try to reward it when it does not bark, to stop playing with it when it starts barking and to play with it again when it stops barking.
It is actually fearful
It might actually be the case that it barks because it is fearful. This would be more likely if it does not show signs of excitement and if it does it when it is with other dogs. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of fear or submission in its body language such as avoiding eye contact, rolling onto its back and hiding.
It is actually being threatening
It could also be the case that it is actually being threatening. This would be more likely if it does it when playing with other dogs. It might be the case that it thinks that their own body language is threatening causing it to bark. It would also be more likely if it shows threatening body language itself such as by showing its teeth, a curled nose, pulling its lips back and a stiff tail.
It’s reacting to your own emotions
Dogs will usually be very aware of their owner’s emotions. The reason why your dog barks when playing might be that it is reacting to your own emotions. This would be more likely if it starts barking more when you start being emotional yourself.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the main reason why your dog does it.
If it does it when playing with you or with other dogs
If it barks when it is playing with you, it would be more likely that it does it to show its excitement or because it gets rewards when it does it. Whereas, if it does it when playing with other dogs, it could also be due to excitement but it might also be due to being threatening or fear.
What else happened when your dog first started barking while playing
If your dog did not always bark when playing, it might help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it learned that it gets rewards when it does it or something else might have changed in the way you play with it.
What is different when your dog does not bark
If it does not always bark when playing, it would also help to consider what else is different when it does not bark. It might be the case that there is an external factor that causes it to do it.
For example, if it only barks when you play certain games with it, the cause might be that it is doing it to get you to do certain things such as to throw the stick. Whereas, if it only does it when playing with certain dogs, it could be due to excitement, aggression or fear, it would help to consider what its body language shows and how the other dog behaves as well.
Figure out if it is actually barking aggressively
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it is actually barking aggressively. It would help to consider whether or not it is showing signs of aggression. If it is, it would be important to take measures to train it to stop behaving that way. If it does seem like it is likely to be aggressive, it would be advised to get help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
The body language it is showing
It is important to consider the body language of your dog when trying to figure out why it does it since the rest of its body language will likely give you a lot of clues.
What to do about your dog barking while playing
Below are some things you can do to get it to stop barking when playing.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets things it wants when it barks. In order to get it to stop barking, it would likely help to stop playing with it when it barks, to wait for it to stop barking and then to play with it again when it has stopped. If it starts barking again, you would then stop playing with it again. By repeating this process, it should teach your dog that barking results in you not playing with it.
Interact with it calmly
It would also help to interact with it calmly when playing with it since it might also be the case that it barks because it is reacting to your own emotions.
Ensure that it is able to get the right amount of exercise
It would also help to make sure that it is getting the recommended amount of daily exercise for its age and breed. It could be the case that a part of the cause is due to a lack of stimulation as a result of a lack of exercise.
Train it to be better behaved around other dogs
If it barks when it is playing with other dogs, there are many possible reasons why it might be doing it but there are also a lot of things you can do to stop it. I have written why it might be doing it and what you can do to stop it in this post.
If your dog seems to be doing it aggressively, it would help to get help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog, to see why it has been doing it and how to get it to stop.
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