Every dog owner is used to their dogs barking for one reason or the other they can relate to. However, on certain occasions, when a dog begins to bark at nothing, it could make the owner confused. If your dog often barks at nothing, you do not need to get confused anymore. What you need to do instead is to understand the reasons for this behavior.
Some of the reasons your dog is barking at nothing include attention-seeking, excitement, boredom, anxiety, and pain or injury. To stop your dog from barking at nothing, you should enforce some training like quiet training, go to your spot training, or use an anti-bark collar for the dog.
When your dog constantly barks at nothing, it can become very annoying, and you might start considering ways to make it quiet. However, you must know that sometimes your dog might be barking for a reason you do not know; hence studying your dog is necessary.
Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing?
Barking is completely normal for all dogs. It is one of the ways dogs often communicate their thoughts to humans and themselves. This behavior could be traced back to their ancestors when they lived in the wild. Back then, whenever they sensed any danger around, barking was an effective way to communicate the happenings around to each other.
Dog owners can sometimes tell what a dog is trying to communicate when it barks. For instance, you can easily relate if a dog begins to bark when someone knocks at the gate. However, if your dog suddenly starts to bark at nothing, you must understand that it is also trying to communicate something to you.
There are different reasons why dogs bark at nothing. By carefully observing your dog, you might be able to tell certain reasons for this behavior. We will be explaining some common reasons for this behavior below.
Something Is Around
How we humans see and experience the world is quite different from how dogs do. Their sense of smell, vision, and hearing is stronger than ours. Dogs have a high hearing frequency which enables them to hear distant voices. The same thing applies to their vision; they can see things clearly even in the dark.
So, if your dog suddenly begins to bark at nothing, it could indicate that it sees or hears something around. The barking could be a response to something you cannot see or hear. Perhaps, your dog hears some movement just outside the gate.
Dogs are fond of displaying different weird behaviors whenever they need attention. Barking is one of the behaviors dogs often use to get their owner’s attention. If your dog is looking at a particular spot or thing whenever it barks, it might be a way of calling your attention to that thing.
For instance, when your dog is hungry, it could begin to bark while looking you in the eye and looking in its feeding bowl’s direction. Doing this is just a way of informing you that it is hungry. However, if you are not cool with this attention-seeking behavior, do not reinforce it.
A way of discouraging this behavior is by ignoring the dog and staying calm whenever it is barking. Feeding the dog at that point means you reinforce the behavior, and it is likely going to bark some other time when hungry.
Anxiety is another reason why your dog could be barking at nothing. There are different triggers and causes of anxiety in dogs. However, separation anxiety is the most common reason dogs often bark excessively for no apparent reason.
Dogs with separation anxiety do not like to be separated from their owners or left alone. When left alone, the dog would become very anxious and could display destructive behaviors like destroying furniture and chewing things accompanied by excessive barking. Other symptoms of separation anxiety include pacing, circling, howling, urinating, and pooping.
If you own a dog that has anxiety issues, you must train it on how to cope with staying alone. However, if you cannot properly train the dog, you could seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
Pain or Injury
Dogs are very good at enduring pains; however, they can begin to bark when the pain becomes excessive and unbearable. The point of the bark could be to inform its owner that there is something wrong with them. So, if your dog is barking at nothing while looking sick or weak, it might be communicating that it is in pain.
When you notice this, try to inspect the dog for any form of physical injury. However, if you cannot detect any, you might need to take the dog to a vet to help thoroughly examine the dog, as the pain might be internal.
This is another common reason why dogs often bark at nothing. When a dog is excited, perhaps it is anticipating a nice treat, or you pick up its leash preparing for a walk, it could begin to bark to express how happy it is. In cases like this, you would also notice the dog jumping and wagging its tail.
So, if you ever notice your dog barking due to excitement, you do not need to be worried about it. The barking would stop when the dog got the nice treat it wanted.
Why Does My Dog Randomly Bark?
There are various reasons why dogs bark. It could be barking due to attachment issues, to establish and preserve territory, as a greeting, as a type of alarm, as part of a social context, from dissatisfaction or looking for attention. Separation anxiety is common in dogs that are always alone; in these cases, the dog will bark to hear itself.
Separation anxiety causes dogs to walk in circles while barking randomly. It will bark and whine in a high-pitched tone. Dogs suffering from brain damage, bee stings, or are beginning to develop dementia will frequently bark because everything in their brain is misfiring and hurting.
Your dog will also bark randomly when bored; getting someone to walk or play with your dog is a good solution. Providing activities and materials for your dog also helps curb boredom. You can place a few toys in various sizes and shapes; this will keep them occupied for several hours, after which they will most likely go to sleep.
Do All Dogs Bark At Nothing?
It would be impossible to say if all dogs bark at nothing; this is because what you think is random might not be. However, some dogs bark more than others; the way you respond to their barking encourages or discourages the behavior. Hence, we are sometimes responsible for our dogs barking at nothing as dog owners.
The breeds of dogs known for barking a lot are Yorkshire Terriers, German Shepherd, Fox Terriers, New Zealand Huntaway, Parson Russell Terrier, Chihuahua, Miniature Schnauzers, Beagle, and Shetland Sheepdog. If you happen to have these dog breeds, you should expect them to always bark as it is in their nature.
It is difficult to find a quiet dog because all dogs bark. How often your dog barks at nothing depends on your behavior and how well you take care of them. You can also decide to use an anti-bark collar for your dog.
Also read: Why Does My Dog Rub His Face on the Carpet?
After purchasing a dog, you should anticipate that it will bark occasionally. However, it is normal to get irritated when it starts barking at nothing frequently. Stay patient and figure out what is causing the problem. It is simpler to keep them calm and fix their conduct after finding it out. Stimulus, attention, correct training, and exercise can help keep your dog’s bark under control.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.