Barking CollieBarking is a natural behavior for dogs, and some enjoy it more than others. 

However when your dog keeps your neighbors from being able to enjoy their outdoor spaces, something has to be done.  Dogs that are lonely, frustrated, frightened, or bored, will bark more than happy and contented dogs. Therefore, the key to avoiding this behavior, is making sure that your dogs have fun things to do, such as special toys to play with, so that they can enjoy your backyard, rather than making a racket.  Here are 5 tips to keeping your dog happy in your backyard:

1. Attention You may be unintentionally training your dog that when he barks, you will give him attention.   Instead put this behavior to good use, and allow him to use his barking to indicate when he needs to go outside, and when he would like to come in.  If he barks inside allow him to go out, and when he barks outside allow him to come in.

2. Exercise The more exercise that you do gets, the more likely he is to sleep during the day.  Many people mistake exercise as letting their dog out into the backyard.  Most dogs will simply lay down or pace when left alone in an enclosed area.  Instead take your dog for a long walk or run to give you both an intense workout.

3. Social Interaction If your dog stays outside most of the day, he will need social interaction that only you can provide.  Allow your dog into the house in the evenings to be a part of your life, spend a weekend afternoon at the dog park, or simply take a walk around your neighborhood.  Grooming is another great social connection between yourself and your dog.

4. Training Teaching your dog obedience is a wonderful way to establish trust, as well as keeping your dog mentally active and engaged.  You will gain greater respect and obedience from your dog as you establish yourself as the one in control of the day’s activities. Check out some of the shows on TV such as It’s Me or the Dog to get practical training tips to apply to your own life.

5.  Key Word Teach your dog a word that means quiet – such as “Hush” or “Shhh.”  When your dog starts barking say the word in a firm voice.  Praise and treat for any length that your dog stops barking.   As  you continue to work with your dog, increase the amount of time that he must stay quiet before earning a treat.

You may not see results over night, however with patience and persistence you are bound to see a difference!