If your Golden Retriever keeps barking, you might want to know why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my Golden Retriever bark so much? Possible reasons are that it is excited, fearful, being protective, you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior, in pain or looking for attention.
There are a number of reasons why it might be doing it and it could be the result of a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. Once you have a good idea of the cause, you should also have an easier time getting it to stop.
Why your Golden Retriever barks so much
Each of the different reasons why your Golden Retriever does it will likely come with some clues. Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Sometimes, dogs will bark when they are excited and when they are trying to show their excitement, this could be the reason why your Golden Retriever barks. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when you arrive home, when you’re playing with it or when you are about to take it for a walk.
Being fearful of something could also be what has been causing the barking. This would be more likely if it barks more in certain situations such as when there are noises outside.
In this case, it would help to get rid of the thing that it is fearful of if possible. You could also try giving it desensitization training.
The cause of the barking could also be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it tends to bark more in situations such as when there is someone at the door.
In this case, it would help to train it to be better behaved around other people and dogs. I have written more about how you can do that here with the Husky dog breed.
It has been reinforced
It could be the case that your Golden Retriever has learned that it gets rewards when it barks. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it barks then it might have learned to do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it barks, to reward it when it is being well behaved and to try to recognize when it is about to start barking and to redirect its focus onto something else.
Golden Retrievers are meant to get quite a lot of exercise daily. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to start behaving abnormally and it could be why yours has been barking a lot. This would be especially likely if it has not been getting as much exercise as it usually does since it started barking.
Generally, it is recommended for a Golden Retriever to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your Golden Retriever has not been getting that much and it is healthy, it would help to make sure that it does.
The reason why your Golden Retriever has been barking a lot could be that it is hungry. This would be more likely if it does it when you would normally feed it or if you have not been feeding it as much lately.
It could also be the case that it has been barking due to being in pain. This would be more likely if it has been barking more suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being in pain such as by limping or crying. If it does seem like pain might be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
It wants attention
It might be the case that it does it to get attention from you. This would be more likely if you tend to give your Golden Retriever more attention when it does it and if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention.
It would help to give your Golden Retriever attention throughout the day by training it, exercising it and playing with it. But, it would also help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it starts barking unless it seems to be doing it for a different reason.
How to stop your Golden Retriever from barking a lot
Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop doing it.
Positive reinforcement training
One way to get your Golden Retriever to bark less is with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your Golden Retriever for not barking and avoid rewarding it when it does start barking.
You can watch the video below for more tips on using positive reinforcement training to get it to stop barking.
Avoid reinforcing the bad behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it barks. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is well behaved, to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to bark and to avoid rewarding it when it starts barking.
Give it attention
In order to reduce how much your Golden Retriever looks for attention from you, it would help to give it attention throughout the day. Ways to give it attention would include playing with it, exercising it and giving it training.
Give it distractions
In addition to the tips mentioned above, you could also give it things to be distracted with so that it doesn’t feel the need to make its own entertainment. Things you could give it would include toys, bones or puzzles.
Take it to the vet
If your Golden Retriever has started barking a lot suddenly, it has been showing signs of injury or you can’t figure out why it is doing it, taking it to the vet would likely be the best option. By taking it to the vet you will be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular Golden Retriever and to rule out the possibility of injury.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Golden Retriever is able to get exercise on a daily basis so that it will not be understimulated. Ways to wear it out even more would be to play fetch with it, walk it in a hilly area or to walk it for longer than usual. Generally, it is recommended to exercise it for an hour daily.
Things to consider
When it started barking
If your Golden Retriever has not always barked a lot, it would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it did start doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as injury, a sudden change in its daily routine, getting fed at different times, getting walked at different times or realizing that it gets rewards when it barks.
Whereas, if it has always barked a lot it could be due to the other reasons mentioned above.
When and where it tends to bark
It would also help to consider the location or timing of the barking since the timing could have something to do with it.
If it does seem to bark more at a certain time, it could be due to things such as hearing things that you cannot, excitement or wanting things such as food.