Dogs bark to communicate with others, and Dalmatians are no different. Sometimes what they are trying to say is important, like waking up the owner when there is an intruder, but other times it can be just annoying. Today we will go over about the former –unwanted Dalmatian barking – and how you can stop it.
Before we begin, we must understand that barking can be a great coping mechanism for dogs to help them deal with a wide range of problems. If you want to limit how vocal your Dalmatian is, you will need to figure out why he does it in the first place. Most of the time it’s just a symptom of a bigger problem.
Why Your Dalmatian Won’t Stop Barking
There are numerous reasons as to why a Dalmatian can be overwhelmingly vocal. Most of them can be grouped in one of size categories. I suggest you read through all of them to better understand what your Dalmatian is trying to tell you.
- Bored – When there is nothing to do, a lot of dogs decide to bark. Not only can it help pass time, but if they make enough noise there is a chance someone will hear them and then join.
- Scared – When feeling threatened, the first thing a Dalmatian will do is bark. Usually it’s a very effective way of warning others to stay away.
- Playing – Sometimes barking can be part of a game. This usually applies more to puppies rather than full grown Dalmatians.
- Begging – Does he want something? Did barking ever get him what he wanted? Well if that’s the case, then why not bark some more. This holds true for more than just treats (i.e. going outside, being let in, being let out of a kennel, etc.).
- Pain – When dogs are in pain, barking could be used to tell others to stay away or as a cry for help. If your Dalmatian is in pain, make sure you’re extra careful. When in this state, it’s very possible for him to instinctively bite even if he would never do it under normal circumstances.
- Separation Anxiety – This is probably the most common barking problem that new owners experience with puppies. Separation anxiety is actually a combination of multiple reasons – which include being bored, scared and beginning for attention. But because it’s so common, I decided to put it in its own separate section.
Related Topic: How to Deal With Dalmatian Separation Anxiety
Next time your Dalmatian barks, take a note of what possibly could be the reason behind it. Knowing the cause of the problem is the first step to solving it.
Prevent Unwanted Dalmatian Barking
The best way to prevent – as well as cure – bad habits that involve excessive barking can be summed up in three steps. They are socialization, plenty of daily activity and proper obedience training. Now it might not get you 100% out of trouble because every situation is different, but it’s going to provide major help with stopping this particular issue – as well as a lot of others.
A lot of problems that Dalmatians owners have that involve their dogs barking at other people or animals is due to a lack of socialization. Typically, it should be done as early as possible, because that’s when they are learning about their environment. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
If you didn’t socialize your puppy enough, or you adopted a Dalmatian that never was properly socialized don’t worry, it’s not too late to do something about it. Just take small steps in the right direction and with time, he should start feeling more comfortable around people and other animals.
Remember that Dalmatians have been used as guard dogs in the past. It is natural for them to be distrustful of strangers. If you want them to feel more comfortable around others, you will have to do some training.
Not Enough Activity
As you probably already know, Dalmatians are extremely energetic and active dogs (Dalmatian Breed 101). Unfortunately, a lot of owners forget the importance of activity. If Dalmatians don’t get enough mental and physical activity, they will start to look for ways to entertain themselves.
Destructive chewing and excessive barking are usually the cause of this problem. Your Dalmatian needs to stay active to stay calm and happy. Simply giving more opportunities to stay active can solve quite a few behavior problems.
Related Topic: Exercise and Activity Tips
Lack of Obedience Training
Just like with socialization, the sooner you start proper obedience training, the less problems you will have with your dog. Dogs stick to a hierarchical structure to understand where they belong in the pack, or family in your case.
Simple 10-20 minutes a day of obedience training will help you establish the role of the alpha. It will also help your dog trust you and have confidence in your decisions. So next time he feels threatened by strangers, he will be more likely to listen to your judgement when you tell him to be quiet.
Related Topic: Dalmatian Obedience Training
What You SHOULD NOT Do
When dealing with a Dalmatian that won’t stop barking, there are actually a few things that can make things worse. Here is a quick list of things you need to avoid doing:
- Don’t shout or yell at him – If he won’t stop barking then he probably is already stressed out. Yelling or shouting at him will only cause more stress and in return give more reason to bark.
- Don’t encourage unwanted barking – if he wants something and asks for it by barking, don’t give it to him. Instead show him other ways to ask for it.
- Don’t ignore the problem – Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Doing nothing about it will just make it worse. The sooner you deal with this unwanted behavior, the better.
- Don’t use shock collars – they are cruel. There are better ways to stop excessive barking. If you’re going to use a bark collar, citronella type spray is better.
- Don’t use a Muzzle to silence him – Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. Instead they regulate their body temperature using their mouth. Leaving on a muzzle while you’re gone can lead to overheating and other serious health problems.
Additional Tips to Stop Barking
The big three factors should help solve most barking issues, but there is still more you can do. Depending on the actual cause behind the issue, there are a few tips that I can share with you. I suggest you read through them and apply the ones that fit your situation in addition to the suggestions above.
- Teach him the “Quiet” command – This is best done with a treat. If he starts barking, tell him to be quiet and reward him with the treat once he stops. Be careful when you do this though. If you notice that he starts barking just for you to quiet him and give him treats, stop giving treats and only reward him with praise.
- If he won’t stop barking, focus his attention on something else – If he had some obedience training and knows a trick or two, you can divert his attention by giving a simple command to follow.
- Introduce him to your neighbors – If he won’t stop barking at your neighbors, introducing him to them can help relieve a lot of fear/distrust the dog has for them.
- Teaching him “Speak” can actually help – Many owners feel like encouraging their dogs to bark on command makes the problem even worse, but that’s not true. If anything, you will show your dog that there is a time and a place when he can bark, but only when allowed.
- Pay attention to your body language – if your Dalmatian is scared or nervous, don’t panic. Improper body language will make him even more anxious.
Continue Reading: Dalmatian Disobedience Problems