Dr. Scott Sandeman

Dr. Scott Sandeman

As winter weather fades to spring, open windows and more frequent trips outside allow our friends and neighbors to see and, in some cases, hear our pets with greater regularity. For dogs with just a little too much exuberance, barking in a quiet neighborhood or apartment can be quite disruptive. Here are some tips from behavior specialist Sherrie Yuschak.

Identify what could be triggering barking — Common triggers are:

1. Sounds outside.

2. People or dogs seen from windows.

3. Environmental changes such as construction.

4. Boredom.

5. Illness or aging that cause discomfort, anxiety or confusion.

Modify the triggers:

1. Play white noise or music or turn on the television.

2. Apply window film to block window watching areas.

3. Increase physical and mental exercise.

4. Schedule a time to bring your dog to the clinic for an exam and a behavioral consultation.

5. Consider a dog walker, pet sitter or doggie day care.

Stay calm:

1. Avoid scolding, physical corrections or electric bark collars, which can increase stress and anxiety.

2. Teach the dog how to be calm and quiet. A positive-reinforcement-based dog trainer can help.

3. Remote training machines that strategically dispense treats can be effective, especially when you are away from home.

Remember that puppies should start out with rewards for being calm and that barking is not encouraged. For more suggestions, check your veterinarian.