Causes of Excessive Barking

Excessive barking can be a very irritating and distracting occurrence. Not only can it disturb your sleep, but also it can put you at odds with your neighbors and cause legal issues. While the term ‘excessive' is relative, one can say that when barking becomes an irritant it is excessive.

Territorial Barking

Dogs, by their very nature, are territorial creatures; when a human or other animal enters his boundaries, the dog reverts to his pack nature and sends an alarm. The only way that the dog can do this is through barking. In this instance, barking serves two purposes: one is to alert the intruder that the dog is willing to defend his territory and the second is that the alarm also serves to alert other pack mates, in this case the owner, to the intrusion.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs are pack creatures; we are viewed as another member of the pack. Pack socialization provides for stimulation and an outlet for frustrations. When the dog does not have this attention and stimulation the dog begins to experience mental and emotional distress, and boredom. The animal barks in an attempt to gain attention and relieve the source of the distress. Dogs who must be left alone can be helped by providing lots of toys, and if kept indoors, leave a TV or radio on for company. Leaving a light on is another helpful intervention. You want the dog to sense as little change in the environment between when you are home and when you are absent as possible.

When pets are kept confined, the separation anxiety tends to be magnified. Pets that are kept tethered or in a crate or other small enclosure have a greatly reduced ability to find stimulation in their environment and barking tends to worsen. Keep your pet in the least restrictive situation possible, while keeping him safe.


In nature, pack dogs will bark in excitement, usually on the return of another member of the pack who has been out hunting. Your dog may do the same behavior when you return home at the end of the day. The best method of curbing this behavior is to wait until the dog has settled down befor greeting the animal. He will soon learn that he only gets attention after he become quiet and the problem should improve.


Sometimes dogs will bark out of pain or discomfort. This type of barking usually begins suddenly in a dog that has not had a previous barking problem. Be especially alert if the dog has not had any changes in his routine. Observe the dog to determine if the barking is in reaction to something. If a cause cannot be found, or there are other symptoms or behaviors a trip to the vet is in order.

Barking is a natural form of dog communication. When you understand why dogs bark, you can begin to determine the cause of your dog's barking and take steps to correct it.