Barking is a natural form of communication for dogs. But sometimes your garden-variety doggie conversation can become excessive, and result in headaches for pet parents (and neighbors!). The key to reducing a dog’s problem barking is to determine why he’s barking.
ASPCA behaviorists have identified the following types of barking:
- Territorial Barking in response to those approaching a dog’s turf - Alarm Barking in response to unusual sights and sounds - Attention-Seeking Barking to gain attention or rewards - Greeting Barking to say hello to people and pets - Compulsive Barking in an extremely repetitive way - Socially Facilitated Barking in response to other dogs barking - Frustration-Induced Barking when prevented from doing something
Although these are the most common types of barking, excessive vocalization can also be caused by illness, injury or separation anxiety. Before tackling your pooch’s propensity for chatter, please check with his veterinarian to rule out any medical causes.
So once he checks out medically, how do you figure out which type of barking your dog reverts to? Ask yourself these questions: When and where does the barking occur? Who or what is the target of the barking? What things (objects, sounds, animals or people) trigger the barking?
For treatment of territorial and alarm barking, it’s important to block your dog’s ability to see and hear external triggers. For greeting barking, try to keep your homecomings low key, and stash your pet’s favorite toy near the front door to encourage him to pick up the toy before he greets you or guests. If your pooch seeks attention with his vocal stylings, work on consistently not rewarding him for barking. For example, when your dog starts to bark for attention, you can stare at the ceiling, turn away from your dog or walk out of the room. The instant your dog stops barking, ask him to sit and then give him what he wants, whether that’s attention, play, treats, to go outside or to come in.
Whatever the cause of your dog’s barking, please remember not to punish your dog for barking at certain sounds, like car doors slamming and kids playing in the street, but then encourage him to bark at other sounds, like people at the door. Consistency is key!
Shelby County, Alabama, is driven to drastically improve the lives of its animals. That’s one of the reasons it was selected for the ASPCA Partnership. We work with Shelby County and nine other communities to upgrade the state of animal welfare in their areas by providing the resources they need to sustain progress.
Shelby County has made great strides for its companion animals since joining the ASPCA Partnership in 2009. Since then, the community has reduced the number of animals entering its shelters, increased the number of spay/neuter surgeries, and saved more than 4,400 lives through interstate animal transfer!
It’s obvious that Shelby County is motivated to succeed, and the ASPCA is there to lend a hand every step of the way. But right now, this community could use a hand from you—and all you have to do is vote! The executive director of the Shelby Humane Society, Jennifer Miller, is a finalist in Beneful’s $500,000 competition for a dream dog park. If her great idea wins, Jennifer (and Honey Belle, her adorable, furry teammate) will get to build a truly remarkable dog park—which would include an agility course, lots of shade and a doggie pool! That’s bound to make lots of Alabama pooches mighty happy.
Forty percent of Beneful’s decision will be based on total votes earned, so visit the competition’s website and vote for Jennifer and Honey Belle’s idea. (Hint: it’s the fourth entry on the second page of finalists.) Help this animal-loving community provide a wonderful space for its canine pals!
To learn more about Shelby County’s ASPCA partnership, visit its page on ASPCA.org.
Hold on to your hats, folks—we’re on the move! For more than 15 years, our Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics have been on the ground in New York City bringing low-cost surgeries to all five boroughs. Now we may be headed for a town near you!
Earlier this summer, we hit the road with our National Spay/Neuter Project. What’s the gist? We’re taking our state-of-the-art mobile veterinary clinic and spay/neuter team to communities across the country, and helping them implement their own low-cost spay/neuter programs.
“This is an amazing opportunity for pet parents in underserved areas to receive life-changing surgeries for their companions,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres.
It was a devastating discovery. Last January, ASPCA Special Agents arrived at an abandoned Bronx home to find the emaciated body of a dog lying lifeless among piles of garbage and feces. A thorough investigation by our Agents led to the arrest of Cherika Alvarez. The 30-year-old was charged with abandoning her one-year-old Pit Bull, Alizé, mid November 2009.
A necropsy proved that the emaciated dog ate nothing but razor blades, bits of plastic, wood chips, garbage and ketchup packets for weeks before he died.
“This was a clear-cut case of severe and inexcusable animal neglect,” says Stacy Wolf, ASPCA Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement. “The necropsy established in horrifying detail what this dog ingested in a futile attempt to stay alive.”
Last week, with strong evidence at hand, Judge Robert Sackett found Alvarez guilty of animal cruelty. She now faces up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine at her September 28 sentencing.
Take Action! We need you on our side! If you suspect an animal may be the victim of neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.
Michael Vick is still making headlines. In fact, the once-upon-a-time dog fighter has appeared on the cover of several magazines and spilled all in exclusive interviews. Is he a changed man? Has he truly redeemed himself? Those still seem to be the burning questions of the hour. Truth is…the only thing we know for sure is that for the 51 pit bulls rescued from his property in April 2007, life has never been the same. Never.