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Why Is My Dog Barking at Nothing? 4 Reasons for This Behavior & What to Do!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

barking dog

We have all been in a situation where we were sitting on the couch, enjoying the latest TV show or engrossed in a good book, and your dog suddenly starts barking and won’t stop.

Your first thought is probably that there’s an intruder, but when you investigate, you can’t find anything wrong. What is going on?

We are here to assure you that there are reasons your furry friend could be barking. With a little patience and time, you can figure out what is going on in their mind.

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Reasons Why Your Dog Will Bark

1. Territorial & Alarm Barking

Dog Barking
Image By: Canon Boy, Shutterstock

Most dogs will bark when a stranger comes to the door or if they sense someone is nearby. Their protective instincts come out and they can’t help themselves. They love you so much that they want to let you know there is something possibly dangerous nearby.

Some dogs may become overly sensitive to strangers, barking incessantly or barking when someone walks by on the street. There are ways to train your dog so this does not become an irritating habit.

Greeting & Happy Barking

After you have been away from your dog for some time, they can’t help but be happy and excited at your return. They missed you more than you will ever know, and it’s difficult for them to contain those happy feelings.

Teaching your dog what is appropriate for a greeting and what is not will help them control their emotions. Sometimes, providing extra loving attention to your dog will assure them that you missed them too, and they will quiet down faster.

2. Frustration or Separation-Anxiety Barking

neighbors dog barking
Credit: Jne Valokuvaus, Shutterstock

Some dogs have a difficult time being away from their owners. This can cause them to become anxious, and the only way they know how to relieve that stress is to bark. Also, a dog may bark out of frustration or boredom.

To combat this type of barking, you may need to consult a trainer or you can give your dog something to do while you are gone, such as a puzzle toy or a treat. Sometimes even leaving clothes that has your smell on their bed will keep them calm while you are away.

3. Illness or Injury Barking

If your dog is barking when you are home and you can’t see the cause, there may be other issues at hand, such as illness. Some dogs will bark when in pain, and canine dementia can cause a dog to act strangely.

If you have concerns, consult your veterinarian for assistance.

4. Compulsive Barking

Brown doodle dog barking
Image Credit: dahancoo, Pixabay

There is also the possibility that your dog is a compulsive barker if you don’t see anything nearby that could be causing a reason for their outbursts. They could be barking at nothing and will most likely be pacing along the fence or in a circle.

This type of barking may be resolved by increasing exercise and mental stimuli to keep your dog busy. Your dog may only need a short walk, a round of fetch, or tug-o-war to reduce the barking.


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Tips to Help Your Dog

  • Don’t encourage the behavior but don’t expect them to never bark.
  • The longer the dog has been exhibiting this behavior, the more ingrained it becomes.
  • It will take time to curb excessive barking, so patience is key.
  • Your dog could be hungry or need food if barking suddenly.
  • Shouting usually has a negative effect, making your dog think you are joining in on the bark fest.
  • Remember that they are barking to communicate something, so tune in to their dialog.

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Keep in mind that your dogs’ hearing is much more acute than yours, and maybe they heard a dog bark down the street or something that sounded like a knock on the door. We can’t expect our dog to never bark, as it is a natural behavior. But if they are barking excessively, pay attention to what may be causing this behavior, and look into ways that can help control the barking.

Dogs can’t possibly find it enjoyable to bark the day away, but they will feel compelled to bark if they have no other outlet. There are often easy solutions you can implement that will make your dog feel and behave better, resulting in a happy, more content dog (and owner).

Featured Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

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