Safe, gentle and effective ways to stop excessive barking in dogs

Chinese Translation / 中文翻译

【狗狗吠叫停不了?】有效讓狗狗安靜下來的方法

狗狗吠叫不止吵得人心神不寧外,更有可能影響鄰居生活。如果家裏的毛孩太吵而鬧得街坊不愉快,主人該想想辦法讓牠乖巧安靜下來,避免收到噪音滋擾的投訴或罰款告票。其實吠叫是狗狗們的溝通方式,但失控地吠叫就有可能響起警號,更讓主人憂心的是,狗狗有可能因情緒焦慮及身體疼痛而吠叫,所以解決問題前先要找出原因,從源頭入手才會事半功倍。

以下都是我們常被問到跟狗狗吠叫有關的問題。

狗狗為什麼吠叫?

狗狗吠叫是很正常的事,那是牠們溝通的方式之一,所以不讓狗狗吠叫就像要求嬰兒不能哭一樣。狗狗會因為害怕、興奮或感到威脅(例如:保護領土)而吠叫,也可能想吸引主人的關注,帶牠外出上廁所或肚子餓要吃東西。

為什麼狗狗一直吠叫不停?

狗狗不停地吠叫可能是需求上得不到滿足,或許牠感到沉悶、孤獨或在主人出門的那一刻起開始吠得撕心裂肺(分離焦慮)等,只是為了將某種訊息傳達給主人。 當有陌生人踏入犬的領土範圍內時,狗狗也會因為保護所屬領土而吠叫;接觸到鄰近的動物或主人回家時感到非常興奮,這些突如其來的刺激都可能令狗狗吠叫不止。

如何讓狗狗停止瘋狂吠叫?

找出狗狗吠叫的原因是重要的一步,主人可尋求獸醫幫助,進一步了解狗狗的行為及吠叫不停的可能性。狗隻的認知障礙症與人類相似,都會出現腦退化的情況,導致狗狗無故吠叫,建議主人定期帶狗狗到獸醫診所作詳細的健康檢查。解決狗狗的吠叫問題並沒有捷徑,主人需付出愛心、時間及耐性。

主人不在家時會令狗狗感到無聊及孤單,牠們或會以吠叫的方式吸引關注。主人可嘗試放置玩具及零食,轉移牠們的目標分散注意力,亦可邀請家人或朋友的毛孩到家中作伴一天,看看可否改善問題。尋找可靠的寵物日間托兒所及散步員也能為忙綠的主人提供協助,坊間亦有些應用程式,可讓外出工作中的主人隨時「打給」家中的毛孩,關心牠們在做什麼並讓牠們聽聽你的聲音。

主人在出門前帶狗狗出去放電,透過散步或跑步消耗牠們的體力,這樣在你出門後,牠們可在家中休息。對於有分離焦慮的狗狗,必須透過獸醫的協助,用行為矯正讓狗狗學習到在分離時,可轉換另一種被接受的行為代替瘋狂吠叫。有些患有嚴重分離焦慮的狗隻,或需使用藥物配合鼓勵性的行為訓練,幫助控制及治療牠們的焦慮,因為藥物能讓狗狗放鬆心情專注在行為矯正的練習上(以玩具及零食等鼓勵方法),配合行為矯正的練習幫助狗狗改變行為,持續訓練達致狗狗適應主人出門的習慣。

狗狗通常會有領地意識,當有陌生人、狗隻或路過的汽車進入牠的領地範圍時,牠們會因恐懼或受到威脅而吠叫, 主人可通過限制狗狗的視野範圍減少吠叫次數。如果牠在一個籬笆圍起來的院子裡,可用實木代替網狀籬笆。如在室內,限制狗狗到窗戶旁邊或用不透明的貼膜貼好窗戶。

不要在狗狗吠叫時給予獎勵!當主人回家時,如果狗狗太高興或激動而吠叫,不要撫摸牠,甚至不要跟牠有眼神接觸。直到狗狗停止吠叫,靜靜地坐著,然後再理睬和獎勵牠。要改善開門或門鈴響時狗狗吠叫的問題,主人亦可教導牠以其他行為來表示歡迎,例如訓練狗狗坐在一個指定位置,或呆在一個地方保持不動(坐下或趴下)。

打罵狗狗有用嗎?狗狗吠叫時主人不該做的事

狗狗過度吠叫確實帶來困擾,但主人不應靠打罵管教狗狗。如需訓練狗狗服從指令,主人該以堅定而平靜的聲線對牠說話。不要在狗狗吠叫時,以食物或零食讓狗狗停止吠叫,這樣或會讓牠誤以為吠叫後會得到獎勵。

千萬不要用止吠頸圈!市場上有不同款式的狗狗頸圈,聲稱快速停止吠叫,大致分為噴霧(香茅油)、聲波噪音及電擊,不但效果因「狗」而異,這類頸圈通常會為寵物帶來痛苦及造成傷害,甚至讓狗狗感到焦慮、恐懼及變得有攻擊性。

獸醫如何改善狗狗吠叫問題?

以錯誤的方法糾正狗狗吠叫問題,只會令主人及愛寵感到困擾及挫敗。想改善狗狗無理或過度吠叫,主人不妨尋求獸醫的專業意見及協助,從根源找出狗狗吠叫的真正原因,以正確及有效的方法處理問題。

如對上述所提及的方法有任何疑問,歡迎與我們聯絡,就個別例子作深入討論及提供意見。

Barking dogs are one of the most common noise complaints received by local councils. If your furry pal is exercising its vocal chords a little too excessively, it’s time to think about what you can do to avoid bad neighbourly relations. The last thing you want is a direction notice for nuisance residential noise or an on-the-spot fine. Even more importantly, if your dog is barking excessively, it’s likely it’s suffering some form of anxiety or distress. While barking is a normal form of communication for dogs, if it’s excessive, it could be trying to tell you something. Here are some of the most common questions we get asked from pet owners about barking.

 

Why do dogs bark?

It’s perfectly normal for dogs to bark. It’s how they communicate. Asking a dog not to bark is akin to asking a baby not to cry. Dogs can bark out of fear, excitement or if they perceive a threat (e.g. territorial behaviour). They also bark when seeking attention, such as needing to be let out to go to the toilet or wanting to be fed.

Why do dogs bark “excessively”?

Excessive barking can occur when a behavioural need of the dog is not being met. It might be bored, lonely or anxious over something like separation from its owner. Excessive barking can also occur when a dog is being overstimulated, such as if there is lots of foot traffic past the front of the house (territorial behaviour), neighbouring animals, or too much excitement when you get home.

How can I stop my dog from barking excessively?

The first step is to identify the underlying issue. This usually requires the input of your vet to help understand when and why the excessive barking is occurring. Sometimes in older dogs, excessive barking can relate to underlying brain disease, so it is worth having a check-up with your vet first. The important thing to remember is there is no quick fix – it takes time, consistency and patience.

For dogs barking out of boredom or loneliness, they obviously need more stimulation while you are not at home. This could be provided with toys or treats that occupy your dog for several hours. You could also trial having a family/friend’s dog stay at your house one day to see if this helps with the behaviour. Doggy daycare or dog walkers are another way to provide your dog with stimulation when you are at work. There are also apps available that allow you to ‘call’ your pet from work to check up on them or let them hear your voice.

Exercising your dog vigorously before you leave can help them to rest while you are away. For dogs barking due to separation anxiety, it is best to have the input of your vet. Many dogs require some form of medication to help manage the anxiety initially so that the dog becomes receptive to some of the positive behaviour techniques you use in combination, such as crating, toys, treats and adjustments to your routine of leaving the house.

For dogs barking excessively at people/dogs/vehicles going past the property, limiting what your dog sees can help. You could try confining them away from the front of the property, changing to a solid fence or using curtains/blinds inside.

For dogs that bark excessively when you get home or when they get excited, avoid patting them or making eye contact when you walk through the door. Wait until they are sitting quietly and then give them some attention and praise them. You could also try training your dog to sit and stay at a particular spot when they hear the door open or the doorbell ring.

What should you NEVER do to stop your dog from barking?

A barking dog can be frustrating, but it’s important to avoid shouting at your dog. Instead, speak firmly and calmly if needing to give a command. Avoid rewarding your dog with food or treats while they are barking as this may positively reinforce the behaviour. And never use a bark collar – whether it be citronella, audible correction or shock. This will often heighten anxiety, fear and aggression.

When should you see a vet about barking and how can they help?

In instances of excessive barking, it’s always best to consult with your vet. Together you have a better chance of identifying the underlying cause, which will then allow you to implement the correct techniques to stop the behaviour. If you implement the wrong techniques, you will only cause frustration for yourself and your dog!