We’ve probably all been in a situation where we’ve heard a dog barking for hours on end and wondered whether it was ever going to stop. A dog’s barking can be especially annoying while you are sleeping, and in that situation, you probably hope that it will just tire and eventually stop. But do dogs actually get tired of barking and stop?
Dogs do not get tired of barking and will often continue barking until they get some kind of response. As a dog gets more physically tired overall, this may slow their barking, but the urge to bark often remains. Reasons why dogs bark excessively include fear, boredom, and alarm.
Let’s look at why dogs bark and why they do not get tired of it. We’ll also explore what approaches you can take to stop your dog from barking excessively. While many of us think that dogs often bark just out of habit, when this behavior continues for long periods of time, your dog might actually need something of which you are not aware.
Do Dogs Get Tired Of Barking?
The short answer is “no”.
When people want an answer to a question, they often will keep asking the question until they get that answer. The same applies to dogs and their barking.
Barking is the way dogs communicate; therefore, whenever they need something or want to get you to do something, they bark. They often will not stop until they get some kind of response. That response can be in different forms, depending on the reasons why they are barking in the first place.
Barking can happen for many reasons and the owner should first try to determine that reason. If you are a new dog owner, excessive barking can be very stressful. Much like babies, dogs can’t tell you what is bothering them or what they need. So they bark (just as babies cry or fret), hoping you will understand and address their needs.
Why Do Dogs Bark Excessively?
When dogs start barking excessively, they usually do so for a particular reason. As long as the reason is not addressed, the barking will probably continue. This can be a problem for you, your family, and your neighbors.
First of all, we should acknowledge that dog barking is perfectly normal and will happen a lot. Dogs communicate this way, so it is inevitable. However, when it occurs excessively, it needs to be addressed.
So let’s look at the most common reasons why barking occurs in the first place.
Dogs are pack animals, and they aren’t meant to be alone. A dog that is left alone in the yard or house all the time may bark just because he is lonely and bored. In such cases, spending lots of time with his humans, getting a dog sitter while you are out for the day, or taking him to doggy daycare may be all it takes to correct the problem.
Establishing / Marking Territory
The most common reason for dog’s barking is when someone tries to approach their territory. Once dogs are settled into a certain place, like your home, they consider it their territory, and if someone comes near or tries to enter it, they get protective and start barking. This usually happens when someone unknown to them approaches the space they consider as theirs.
When this happens with your guests or visitors, it can be annoying, but this can also be a very good alarm sign if this person is unknown to your dog. More on that later.
When dogs bark at the mailman, this is usually territorial barking. Every day, the mailman comes, the dog barks, the mailman leaves, and the dog believes they have done their job of protecting their property by scaring off the mailman. This “success” reinforces their behavior, and the barking only gets stronger as time progresses.
In general, most of us want our dogs to bark when a stranger enters our property uninvited.
This kind of barking can be good as a warning of an intruder. This gives you time to act appropriately, can can also deter the intruder in question.
Alarm barking also happens when there is a storm coming or other types of bad weather. Most animals, especially dogs, can sense this before humans can. The same has been known to happen before earthquakes and other natural phenomena.
Barking As A Sign Of Greeting
Dogs like to greet their owners and friendly guests in the same way people greet each other. Since they cannot talk, this is their way of saying hello to someone. They also do this with other dogs. This barking is out of excitement and usually does not last long.
Barking To Get Attention
Many times dogs bark because they want attention. They do this to try to get a response or reward from their owners. In addition, they can also do this when they want to get the attention of other dogs.
“Attention” can mean many things. It may simply mean eye contact, some petting, or acknowledgment of their existence at the moment.
But “attention” can also mean attention to basic needs like water and food, or attention to discomfort such as extreme heat or cold. A dog barking through a cold winter night may be asking to be let in to a warmer, more comfortable environment. A hungry or thirsty dog may be barking to get you to feed them or provide water.
Social barking refers to barking as a response to neighboring dogs. It is very common to listen to many dogs barking in the same neighborhood. This is regarded as socializing between dogs, i.e., their way of communicating with each other.
What sounds like chaotic barking by many dogs on a block may actually be a coherent “conversation” between those dogs, with each expression certain emotions, desires, or identifications.
Dog Separation Anxiety
Dogs often bark when they are anxious due to their owner’s absence. This barking is also accompanied by howling, pacing, and/or destructive habits. This can be symptomatic of a behavioral issue.
If the dog becomes overly anxious every time you leave the house, this likely means that they have developed a behavioral issue called separation anxiety which needs to be addressed more thoughtfully.
Separation anxiety is a condition that cannot be ignored. Some pet owners hope it will go away on its own, but it doesn’t. Instead, if left untreated, the condition gets worse over time. Treatment options vary based on the severity of the anxiety, but a good first step is to talk to your vet. You can also read more about separation anxiety here.
How To Stop Dog Barking?
If you understand the reason for which your dog is barking, then you can easily address it and find a solution. You can deal with excessive barking in different ways, so you need to find the one that will work the best for you and your dog.
Remove The Motivation
Dogs usually get something when they are barking, i.e., some kind of reward. That is why they do it. Therefore, you need to figure out what they are actually getting when they bark, so you can remove it.
Once they lose motivation, they will stop doing it. In other words, they will see that barking does not get them anything, so they will abandon the habit.
If your dog is barking at passersby, close the curtains. If a dog barks incessantly in the back yard and you finally have had enough so you thrown them a toy or bone to play with, they have learned that excessive barking gets them a toy or bone. Better to provide the toy before they start barking, so the dog doesn’t think it’s earning a reward by barking.
Ignore The Barking
When your dog starts barking excessively, it wants your attention. If you don’t believe it is for an important need like food, water or warmth, the way to resolve it is by ignoring the barking completely. You should not look at the dog, touch it, or address it in any way. Once it stops, you should reward your dog with a treat.
This way, it will understand that the barking does not bring your attention, but silence does. You need to be patient to achieve this since it might take some time for your dog to figure out your intention.
Your neighbors may not find this method too enjoyable, so it’s a good idea to speak with them first and let them know that you are trying to train your dog to stop barking (in their best interest!) but that it may take some time and inconvenience them.
Keep Your Dog Tired
Energetic dogs are more likely to bark. If you keep your dog exercised and tired — both mentally and physically, they will have less reason to bark or ask for your attention. You should take it for walks regularly or let it enjoy a good run at the park. A tired dog rarely barks out of boredom, so you are likely to enjoy more peace.
Exercise also helps the dog release calming hormones and sedatives; thus, it does not feel the urge to bark. The amount of exercise necessary will depend on your dog’s size, breed, and individual physical traits.
A controversial training tool, electronic bark collars emit an electrical stimulation (a small shock) when the dog barks. Proponents stress how effective they are in limiting barking as dogs learn quickly that barking produces an aversive. Opponents claim that they are abusive and punitive in nature, and that similar results can be obtained through other training methods.
While we always recommend positive reinforcement training, we know of one instance where a dog was going to be taken away by the city because of excessive barking and a bark collar kept the dog in the home.
Professional Dog Training
If you can’t solve your dog’s barking issues yourself, you might want to turn to a pro to help you. An experienced dog trainer should be able to give you methods and advice to curb the problem.
Just teaching your dog a “quiet” command so they know the behavior you desire can go a long ways.
As you can see, dogs rarely get tired of barking as this is their form of communication. When they bark, they actually need something and you need to figure out what that is. Nobody likes an excessively barking dog, especially your neighbors, so it is in your best interest to nip the problem in the bud.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Dogs Outgrow Barking?
If you own a puppy that barks a lot and you are wondering if it will eventually stop barking as it matures, the answer is no. Unwanted behaviors and barking need to be stopped as soon as possible as they will continue into adulthood.
What Is an Acceptable Level of Dog Barking?
An acceptable level of dog barking depends on who you are asking. It is fine for dogs to bark when they are playing or when they hear something alarming.
One rule of thumb for an acceptable level of barking for a dog is five minutes per hour and not more than four times a day between 9 am to 9 pm. Others believe that excessive barking lasts more than a minute, occurs late at night, and/or is frequent.
Some local regulations say that no barking should occur between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. and that barking for 30 minutes nonstop or more than an hour in a 24 hour period are unacceptable.
Will Muzzles Stop Barking?
Muzzles are not recommended for barking as they physically restrict the dog rather than train it not to bark. A muzzle that keeps a dog from barking will also keep a dog from panting, drinking, or eating. Using a muzzle to restrict barking for any period of time is simply inhumane.