You pause for a moment. It’s quiet, and you savor that quiet. Oops — no, here we go again! You remember the olden days and long for them, the days before your dog began barking all the time.

Nowadays, you cannot seem to get any peace at all. He barks in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and of course, at night while you’re trying to sleep. Why is your dog barking so much all of a sudden? Let’s look into it.

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Why is my dog barking so much all of a sudden?

Why is he suddenly barking all the time? Why is he driving you mad? There are several reasons why your dog may be barking. Here are a few.

Maybe he is barking to try and mark his territory.

When a dog or strange person, or especially a strange dog comes near your yard, your dog will bark like crazy. Is someone new walking their dog in the neighborhood.

Maybe he is barking because he has become a compulsive barker.

Is your dog dealing with separation anxiety? These dogs often bark like crazy when you leave them alone. They display other symptoms, as well. They get bored and depressed. They pace and “eliminate” themselves in inappropriate places. They are also quite destructive.

They bark just to bark, it seems. Leaving him alone for long periods too often can cause him to become a compulsive barker. They also make repetitive motions, like pacing by the fence or running around in circles.

Maybe he is barking to try and tell you something.

Is your dog trying to tell you something? What is it that he wants, or what is it that he is trying to tell you? The attention-seeking barker is just trying to get your attention. Yes, it could simply be the attention he is looking for. Isn’t it frustrating that he can’t just talk to you?

Maybe he is barking because he is experiencing anxiety.

You never know what might scare your dog. The most popular culprits are fireworks and sirens. Once a dog has been scared badly, though, it can cause him to have an anxiety problem, which could cause him to have a problem with barking.

Maybe you are actually the culprit.

It sounds crazy, yes, but you could be the reason he is barking so much all of a sudden. When he first started barking more, did you try calming him with lots of affection? Did you give him treats? He may feel he was rewarded for his behavior.

Maybe he is barking because he has been injured.

Of course, injury is unlikely because you would surely have noticed by now, but not necessarily. It is often quite difficult to diagnose injury and illness in a dog. Maybe you should give him the once over and see if he is all right.

Why is my dog barking so loudly?

Your dog may bark incessantly for hours on end, but what does it mean when his barking gets louder? Even though your dog may bark enough to make you insane, it is usually at roughly the same pitch, but for the last couple of nights, he has been barking very loudly, much more loudly than usual. There is normally only one reason for this — a threat.

When a threat is present, a dog will bark to warn the threat to go away and to warn you that a threat is present. If the threat fails to heed the first warning, your dog will begin to bark more and more loudly the closer the threat comes to him or the entrance to your home.

Whether animal or human, you may have a would-be intruder on your hands. You may need a floodlight in the backyard and possibly, a surveillance camera.

Why is my dog barking at me all of a sudden?

If your dog is suddenly barking at you, your first reaction is to be puzzled. Why would he be barking at me? This is the question roaming around in your head.

The question you need to ask yourself is — What is different that is causing my dog to bark at me all of a sudden? What is he trying to tell me? 

Have you done something to upset his daily routine?

Did you move his food and water bowls or his bed?

Something as simple as moving your dog’s basics can upset his whole life. While some will take it in stride, others will take some time and patience to get over it.

Did you move?

If you moved, it would be even worse. It would upset his entire world. Everything he knew was his domain would disappear, and he would be in “unexplored” territory, causing him to be very anxious.

Did someone new move in next door, and thus a new dog?

So, you noticed there was a moving truck next door last week, but with the busy way of life is these days, you haven’t thought much about it. You certainly haven’t had time to bake them a pie, but have you noticed a new bark besides your dog? He may be trying to tell you that there are strangers in the vicinity.

Did you do something to royally tick him off?

Did you fill the couch with stuff before bed to keep him from sleeping there? Did you start closing your bedroom door? It could be something small to you but big to your dog.

Did you bring someone new into the mix?

Did you recently take on a roommate into the spare room, or even into your own room? Maybe your dog sleeps with you and there is now someone else in the bed. Maybe there is not even any room for your dog in the bed anymore. Adding someone new to the mix can really upset your dog’s routine.

Does he continue barking at you because he gets rewarded?

The first time or two that he barked at you, did you hug him, “baby talk” him, or give him treats? He may have continued barking at you to get his reward.

Is he trying to tell you he has a health issue?

It is sometimes very hard to tell if something is wrong with a dog. Without meaning to, most times, they hide it very well. 

Has your dog been in the woods?

He may have stepped on something that punctured his foot, or he may have picked up a tick. He may have even sprained his leg.

Have you taken him to the lake or river?

If your dog ingests lake water, he may be plagued by Gairdia, a tiny parasite causing a diarrheal disease. A stagnant, hot river or pond can be the perfect place for your dog to take in Cyanobacteria, a bacterium that can cause severe damage to the neurological system and liver, or a brain-devouring amoeba.

Has he been chasing cats?

It’s not that hard for dogs to get hurt. If a dog wants a cat bad enough and the cat is up a tree, the dog will take a running start and try his best to make it up that tree to get the cat.

The dog will fall on his rump and back up again for another running start. Maybe your dog was doing something doggish and bruised himself or twisted, pulled, or sprained something.

Is an existing health issue just now presenting with pain?

Many times, existing health problems will live on in a dog’s body completely undetected for years, just as in humans. However, eventually, symptoms will present, and usually, one of those symptoms will be pain

How do I get my dog to stop barking so much?

You still aren’t even sure whether you have a clue as to why he is barking so much, but you are sure about one thing — it has to stop! Let’s look at what you can do to stop your dog from barking so much.

You can purchase over-the-counter bark deterrents.

There are several types of bark deterrents that you can purchase. Examine them.

Collars

They sell various types of bark-deterrent collars. Some give off an ultrasonic or audible sound that is irritating to the dog, but this is ineffective on some dogs. They also have collars that spray citronella when the dog barks. This works better on most dogs, but some eventually “outsmart” it by barking until the sprayer is empty so that they can bark at will.

Shock collars are also available, but they are controversial. Just like the name, they shock the dog with electricity when he barks. This hurts the dog, though, and can cause him to be more aggressive. Also, there are other bark-deterrent collar attachments you can try.

Other

Depending on how much land you have to cover, a bark-activated noisemaker or water-sprayer may do the trick to keep him from barking all day and night in your yard. Food-dispensing toys may also help to keep him occupied and thus, quiet.

You can have him surgically altered.

There is a process called “debarking” in which your dog is surgically altered. The process is quite controversial, and thought by many to be inhumane, plus, the underlying reason behind why your dog is barking in the first place is never addressed.

In debarking, a veterinary surgeon removes the tissues on both sides of the dog’s larnyx (voice box). If there are complications, the dog can die. 

The dog, then, is left with a thin, raspy bark, and the roaring bark is left behind. In other words, it doesn’t destroy the bark altogether, it only morphs it. The problem is that many dogs regain their voices later on. 

Afterward, the dog may have to live with side effects, such as probable choking incidents, breathing difficulties, and ongoing pain.

Here are a few good tips.

Never reward him for barking.

Be careful to never reward your dog for barking. For instance, even if he is barking because he is hungry, wait until he quits barking, goes and lies down, before feeding him.

Ignore his barking.

Yes, what I meant is to ignore his barking, his pleas for food or a potty trip outside until he stops barking. Once he stops and calms down, you can go and say, let him outside.

Never shout or scold him for barking.

Never scold your dog for barking. He will only think you are joining the club, plus, attention is attention. To a dog, bad attention, sometimes, is as good as good attention. They just crave attention, period. Scolding is still attention, and he will only bark more.

Don’t shout, but instead, speak to him firmly in a calm manner.

Be consistent in everything you do.

Consistency is paramount. Don’t practice ignoring his barking one day and rewarding it the next. All you’ll have on your hands is a confused dog and a big barking mess.

Act now.

You should do something about the barking now, because it won’t just go away with time. History tells us that it will only continue as is or progress in intensity. Figure out what your course of action will be, and take that action now.

You may need to take him for a checkup with the veterinarian.

If you even suspect that your dog may be injured or ill, you should waste no time getting him to the vet. Also, if your dog is dealing with a serious emotional/behavioral problem, you should see some type of veterinary behaviorist. Some dogs need drug therapy for these types of illnesses.

Most importantly, have him trained.

The best thing you can do for you and your dog, for your happiness, and for your personal peace is to have him professionally trained. A professionally trained dog can better communicate his needs. He knows when to sit, when to lie down, and when to be quiet.

Having him trained is the biggest favor you could ever do for him or yourself. If you prefer to try to do it yourself, you can read about positive reinforcement training on the AKC or the Humane Society websites. However, if you try and fail, it will only make it harder for the professionals.

Most people simply just don’t realize what a vast difference professional training can make in their dog. It can turn an annoying dog into the best friend you thought you were buying to start with. Training goes a very long way.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.