How Long Can a Dog Bark For?
We’ve all been there, wondering, “do dogs get tired of barking? Ever?”. Either with our dog, our friend’s dog, or the neighbor’s dog. Incessant barking can drive even the most levelheaded dog owner slightly mad, especially if it is happening at night while you are trying to catch some much-needed beauty sleep.
If you have been barking for hours, you may reach a point where you’re wondering how long can a dog bark? The answer is quite long. Especially if they’ve learned that something will happen if they continue for long enough. We’re here to cover why dogs may bark and what to do!
Reasons Why Dogs Bark
A dog’s bark is a lot like our talking. It is one of the ways dogs choose to communicate with the world around them. Of course, dog language involves many other more subtle ways of communicating, but barking is by many dogs a preferred way to get their point across. So, what may cause your dog to start barking – and more importantly, bark excessively?
Dogs bark for a multitude of reasons. A few barks are rarely an issue for owners or the nearby neighbors and are perfectly normal dog behavior. But if you are getting to the point where you’re googling “how long can a dog bark without stopping,” it might be a sign it is getting excessive.
A dog will bark to communicate something, either to you or someone else, maybe another person or dog. It may even try to communicate with objects if that fire hydrant is looking particularly scary tonight. So, what is your dog trying to tell you?
Happiness, Excitement, and Stress
Many dogs will bark when they are happy and excited. For example, if a family member just came home, it might cause your dog to bark and jump around, or maybe your dog is playing with its favorite friend in the garden? If your dog is friendly, it may even bark at strangers on the street to get them to come near.
In the same category also falls stress-barking. Stress-barking can occur when your dog is getting wound up by a situation that may be inherently positive but is a bit much. You will often hear and see this barking near an agility track on training day.
Most agility training dogs love it, but it is also a very fast-paced activity. Some dogs may get so excited (and a little stressed) that they will start barking to alleviate some of their excess stress – they may also begin to bark while waiting for their turn because they want to get on the track as soon as possible!
Dogs will often tell us many things in very subtle ways, but we humans aren’t always the best at catching it. Eventually, if we are too slow to comprehend, a dog may let out a bark to let us know we need to move faster. Your dog may be trying to say: That ball you’re holding? Throw it! Or maybe you’re just too slow with the food.
Dogs will sometimes also bark to get our attention and remember; negative attention is better than no attention in the dog world. Even the slightest glance can be a reward for your barking dog.
Fear, Nervousness and Aggressiveness
Being scared, nervous, and sometimes aggressive often go hand in hand, which can all lead to barking.
A dog scared of other dogs may be much more likely to bark at other dogs when they get near. Barking is, in this case, a signal to the other dog that your dog wants more space.
Dogs don’t like being alone. Don’t worry; many dogs can learn to be home alone, but it rarely is their preferred way. Dogs are pack animals and want to be with their pack, humans or other dogs. A dog suffering from separation anxiety will often tend to start barking to try to communicate that it is scared.
This type of barking is by far one of the most common reasons for dogs to bark excessively, where it is becoming a big issue.
Some dogs will bark because they are bored. They may not be scared or anxious about being home alone, but they may find it boring. Barking is something to do!
Another widespread reason for dogs to bark is to establish their territory. If a person or animal is approaching what your dog may consider “their territory,” they may start barking to try and deter them from entering. Territorial barking can occur as a response to actual and “imagined” treats.
One of the issues with this kind of barking is that it is often self-rewarding. If your dog is barking at the other foreign dog on the street, your dog will experience the “threat” moving away as that dog passes your garden – leaving your dog to think it did a great job protecting its territory.
Sound the Alarm
The difference between this and territorial barking is that alarm barking is often a lot more aggressive and primarily signals to everyone else that something scary is occurring. It may be due to a stranger trespassing on your property, in which case you probably want your dog to alert you to the threat, or it might be due to “larger” threats your dog perceives, like a storm.
Do Dogs Get Tired of Barking?
The fastest way to answer that is simple: Not really. If the trigger that causes the barking is still present, it is more than likely your dog will continue barking at it. Either until the trigger is gone or until something else manages to distract your dog.
Barking isn’t tiresome for dogs per se, and they aren’t bothered by the sound like we can be. If no one is listening or responding to their bark, a dog may become mentally exhausted from barking. Still, we guarantee that you or your neighbors will likely grow tired of the barking before then.
If the barking occurs along with running back and forth by the fence, your dog may become physically exhausted, which can minimize the barking, although it is not likely to stop the barking completely.
Essentially, a barking dog has a need. Until you meet this need or the dog is distracted, the dog will bark.
Why do Some Canines Bark More Than Others?
We’ve established that the answer to ‘do dogs get tired of barking?’ is generally no. But, do you have a person in your life that talks a lot and someone else that is very quiet? Dogs aren’t that different – each of them has their unique personality, with some being more “talkative” than others.
There is a difference in how much each breed tends to bark. It is all in the genes. Terriers are small dogs initially bred to hunt alert their owners to small critters. Naturally, these dogs will be more prone to barking; it is in their DNA to tell the whole pack of anything that might be happening.
Like small guard dogs, other dogs also tend to bark a lot because they will alert the larger guard dogs to any danger that may be approaching. The small dogs would run around, barking loudly and wake up the pack to protect the household. They may alert their owners to the mailman in the modern-day, but it is still their genes working.
Some dog breeds may also tend to bark more due to being more prone to stress or anxiety. For example, some smaller dogs tend to be a little more nervous than their giant counterparts, causing them to be more vocal, to ensure that dogs and other perceived dangers stay clear of them.
Some dog breeds are also more likely to suffer from issues like separation anxiety, meaning they will be possible to bark more.
It is important to remember that all dogs can bark, and almost all dogs will bark at some point. However, how much they bark and how long they continue will vary a lot.
If you know you will live with your dog in an area with neighbors nearby, it is worth looking into which breeds are prone to excessive barking and rarely bark. Just remember, no matter what, to start the “no barking” training early on and keep an eye out for any potential triggers that may lead to barking.
How to Stop a Dog From Barking Excessively
But what to do if your best friend has already found his voice and loves to hear it? The first thing you need to figure out is why your dog is barking. What is triggering the barking – especially excessive barking. Once you know exactly why your dog is barking, you can work on getting it to stop.
Teach a New Behavior
The best way to get your dog to stop barking is to teach it an alternative that will bring plenty of positive attention from you and other people around. This way will most often work when the barking happens due to excitement or different “positive” feelings, where we mostly want the dog to stop barking – not stop it from being happy.
For example, your dog barks whenever a new person comes into the house – bring out the treats, a bone, or a frozen toy. Before people even arrive at the home, give the distraction and praise for your dog when it ignores the newcomers in favor of the delicious treat.
However, teaching a new behavior is also helpful for other types of barking issues. For example, if your dog constantly barks when the mailman comes, teach your dog to associate the mailman with getting a treat from you – just remember to give the treat before the barking starts. Otherwise, you may end up rewarding the barking!
Teach a Stop Command
Like teaching a new behavior, it can be great to teach a stop command. Teaching your dog to bark on command means you will also be likely to teach it to stop. If you’ve got an intelligent dog, it will get the hang of this new command in no time!
Remove the Trigger
If possible, it can be helpful to remove the trigger to stop the barking. If your dog tends to bark at strangers constantly, it can see through a hole in the fence, patch it up. Just know that this won’t fix the initial issue. It will just keep it from worsening right here and now.
Ignore the Barking
If your dog is barking to get your attention and there is no immediate threat, it might be very worth it to ignore the barking so as not to reward and encourage it.
Remember, stopping a barking dog can be very difficult. If you continuously struggle, it is always very well worth it to seek professional assistance from a dog trainer or behavioral therapist to help guide you and your dog on the right path.
FAQs on Dogs Barking
Do Dogs Outgrow Barking?
That depends on why your dog is barking. Your dog will probably outgrow barking if it is mainly due to being overexcited and happy. If it is barking due to stress, fear, anxiety, or being territorial, it is much more likely to worsen with age if you do not do anything about it.
If you have a puppy that frequently barks, no matter the reason, it may be a good idea to start the “no-barking” training as soon as possible.
What is an Acceptable Level of Canine Barking?
How much barking is acceptable is up to just the owners – and possibly the neighbors and local regulations. If you live far from other people and don’t mind your dog barking at the fence all night, that is an acceptable level of barking for you.
It may even be your dog’s job to guard your livestock or household, where barking is permitted and encouraged! Remember that your dog may be barking due to fear, anxiety, or stress; then, you should investigate how to alleviate the discomfort your dog may be experiencing.
If you have neighbors nearby, the acceptable level of barking is probably a lot less, and you should attempt to curb the excessive barking as much as possible.
Are Muzzles Recommended for Dogs’ Barking?
No. It may be necessary if your dog’s barking precedes its attempt to bite, but a muzzle is unlikely to curb barking in the long run, especially not if the barking occurs due to fear or anxiety. If your dog is barking due to fear so powerful a muzzle is necessary, it would be advisable to seek professional assistance.
We all know dogs bark, and there’s nothing wrong with an excited dog at the beach barking. However, sometimes excessive barking can become an issue for dogs and owners. Don’t give up; there is plenty of great advice to help keep your talkative dog a little quieter!