All dog barks are not the same. Boxers have a number of distinct vocal communications they use depending on the situation. They are trying to tell you something important to them. The challenge is that sometimes, we want them to vocalize and sometimes we don’t. We want them to warn us of a stranger approaching the house, but not bark excessively when the next-door neighbor’s kids play in
If your Boxer is “big talker” there are steps you can take to reduce excessive barking. To start, you have to determine what kind of barking it is. What are they trying to tell you? Think about your answers to these questions as you read through the information below on the different types of barking and their treatments.
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?
Why is your dog barking?
Yes, I’m Listening
Now, let’s identify some different canine communications. These should sound familiar to you.
Territorial/Protective: “Hey! Someone I don’t know is approaching us and I thought you should know. HEY, HE IS GETTING CLOSER!
Alarm/Fear: (with a stiffer posture) OMG, what was that? Who are they? Where did they come from? Definitely STAY AWAY from me!
Greeting/Play: (tail wagging) Helloooooo! Do you want to play with me? I am so excited to meet you!
Attention Seeking: Mom! Stop paying attention to them and pay attention to ME now. Geez!
Frustration Induced: “Hey, Dad! My absolutely most favorite ball in the world is on the other side of the fence and I can’t get to it. C’mon, if I could get it myself I would, but I can’t. Help me out here.”
Socially Facilitated Barking: “Hey buddy, what is going on down at your house?” “Somebody walking in front of the house without my permission, AGAIN.” “Oh, let me help you out with that.”
Separation Anxiety/Compulsive Barking: (pacing the fence) “Nobody is here and I am afraid no one is ever coming back. Well it is good just to hear the sound of my own voice when I am home alone.”
Take some time this week and listen. What kind of barking are you hearing? It will take time, practice and consistency to get your dog to bark less, but your hard work can pay off. Next week, in Part 2 of Woof, Woof, Shhh we will follow up with environmental and training solutions. But before you go, be sure to check out our important list of What Not To Do’s.
When people or dog are passing by your house, or kids are playing next door, don’t get up and look out the windows and ask, “Who’s there? What’s going on?” It will send the wrong signal and encourage your dog to bark.
Don’t use a muzzle to keep your dog quiet when you are not around. Dogs can’t eat, drink, or pant to cool themselves while the muzzle is on. Making your dog wear one for a long period without you present is inhumane.
It is a big relief when we know what NOT to do. We have taken a first step in not adding to the problem. See you next week!
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Every boxer deserves a chance to live a happy life in a loving home.