Golden retrievers are very loyal dogs and quite a good companion in hunting. Their cuteness and enthusiasm have made them quite famous around the canine world. But just like we have different behaviours, dogs do have different behaviours. Some are quite aggressive while others bark. Barking a lot can cause several problems.
For example, if you are going out for a walk with your golden retriever and he suddenly starts barking and you could not control him then it kind of feel like an embarrassment. You may think that your retriever might have gone out of control. But are you sure that it might be the reason.
Barking is his way of verbal communication and feeling things so we cannot just restrict him much. The golden retriever might be trying to communicate with you. The important thing that matters is to control him when he does and restricting him to bark less.
Before we starts to stop him, we should know the reason for this behaviour else we might be having communication issues with dog. Golden retrievers have different types of barks and each bark represents something or communicates a different message.so it is our duty to understand what he is trying to convey before restricting him.
Causes of Retriever Barking
There are usually a number of reasons for this behaviour and some might be a combination of these reasons. There are some reasons from which you can find the exact answer. If you have found the exact reason, then the solution to this problem can be easily achieved. If you have found the right cause, then you can find the right training for it. Following are the most common possible reasons for this barking behaviour:
- Excitement: Sometimes the golden retriever barks because of excitement or for showing that he is excited. The excitement can be of many reasons like when you are seeing him after a long period or if you prepares him for a walk or you are playing with the golden retriever.
- Protection: The golden retrievers bark sometime as a means to protect. This behaviour can be seen when someone is at the door. They bark at strangers or people with whom he is not familiar with. This behaviour can be controlled by socializing him.
- Fear: Barking might be due to being fearful of some objects or sound or certain persons. The best thing to do is to remove the causes which create fear in your golden retriever. Noises are the most usual reasons for this behaviour. Providing your golden retriever a desensitization training is a best remedy for this problem.
- Hunger: Hunger can be a possible reason for barking. He may be trying to communicate that he is hungry. This can be seen when you are not feeding him much lately or when you feed him.
- Boredom: Golden retrievers are the kind of dogs who need much exercise daily. When he does not get enough exercises daily he kind of start feeling frustrated that id the time when he starts barking a lot. A golden retriever requires daily an hour of exercise. If your dog id healthy and not received the required amount of practice then he might be starting to bark.
- Pain: If the golden retriever is in pain then this is the way he might be communicating to you. This barking may be usually followed with limping or crying, so it is definitely the right time to pay a visit to the vet.
- Being reinforced: If you have been rewarding him for long with treats, toys etc. for this behaviour then it is obvious that he might be barking a lot to ask you more. This behaviour can be corrected by rewarding him when he has been well behaved instead of this behaviour.
- For seeking attention: Golden retrievers are attention seeking dogs so there are most probable chances where he might be barking to get attention from you. Even more chances when you are not giving him the required attention. You can provide him attention by exercising, playing and training with him throughout the day. But be sure to ensure that you are not rewarding him for attention seeking.
Understanding the Real Reason
There are different types of barking and each of it carries a different message. You can understand these messages by simply listening to the pitch, frequency and duration of his barking. Following are the basic examples of such kinds of barking;
- Happy or excited dogs’ barks very rapidly and in a high pitched voice where as an aggressive or threatened dog barks slower or growls.
- Short and high pitched yelps are a sign that the dog requires immediate assistance.
- If your dog barks for a longer duration to seek your attention then he is bored.
How to stop your golden retriever from barking?
Depending on different conditions and the reason for barking, the remedy usually varies. For example if a dog is threatened by certain objects, it is better to remove that from his sight. If the object cannot be moved then teach him the quiet command. Following are the most proven techniques to stop your golden retriever from barking;
- Quite command: Sometimes your dog maybe just communicating with the other dogs that just pass by. In order to prevent these temporary barking situations it is better to teach him the “quite” command. The “quite” training requires time as it is not an instinctive response. You need to provide him with a lot of opportunities to make him quite to the command.
You have to create a situation of barking for teaching this command. For example most dogs are quite threatened by the door bells. Rewarded behaviours are generally repeated so be sure to keep a reward near his nose. Ask for assistance from another person and make him to ring the bell. Just as he hears the noise he will start barking and won’t stop until he sees the person. This barking behaviour is due to his pack rule of protecting the territory.
When your retriever starts to bark while hearing the doorbell command him to stay quiet. If he stops barking give him a treat and repeat the process until your dog understand the command. The command does not need to be quiet. You just need to use the same command continuously to avoid confusing your dog. As you continue the exercise, extend the time period to stay quite before he gets rewarded. In this way you can make your dog to familiarise with the command.
- Standing in front of the dog: In many situations our golden retriever may be barking at something that he has caught in his eye. He barks in order to alarm you about the thing, person or any other animal that he has seen. In that case stand in front of your dog in the direction he is barking just in between him and the reason at which he is barking. This will make your dog understand that you are not worried about the situation and that means he should either be worried. You can work on it as a command to make him respond quickly.
- Ignoring your barking dog: If your golden retriever is barking then he might be seeking for your attention. Do not give that simply by giving types of command or attention. Instead of it you have to wait for him to stop barking and then look at him. Once he has stopped barking we have to reward him with a treat. This practice makes him understand that staying quite will help him in achieving the treat.
- Playing with him: Just like as I said earliergolden retrievers are playful dogs with lots of enthusiasm. They need to be exercised at least for an hour daily.
If they do not have any activities to do they will surely get bored and start expressing their boredoms in the form of barking. Always keep him active and healthy by taking him out for a walk, playing fetch or run around. If your golden retriever starts barking while playing then find the appropriate reason for the distraction and remove it from his sight.
- Barking method: This method involves making your dog bark on your command. This will prevent your dog from barking in inappropriate times. Provide the command “speak” to make your dog bark. If he barks then reward him with a treat. If he does not bark on command then turn your back on him to make him understand that we do not like this behaviour.
After he gets well with the command “speak”, reward him for staying quite for a while. After certain times of this practice, the golden retriever starts wondering why he is been rewarded? This shapes him to the right behaviour. Closely watch your golden retriever for some weeks. Observe him to see that if he has developed the quite behaviour. If not, keep practicing it because consistent training is the most important aspect of any kind of training. When your golden retriever gets well acquainted with barking and staying quiet behaviour replace the treats with positive reinforcements.
- Good dog method: Working on this method involves creating a situation to which you dog generally barks for. When your golden retriever starts barking, call her name in a calm voice to divert her attention to you. When he looks at you and stops barking, then call her good dog. Provide her with a positive reward if he does exactly like it.
Continue with the practice in a settled environment and in real life situations. Whenever he starts barking during the training call her by her name and then say good dog and reward her. While rewarding, you should only focus on reinforcing the positive behaviour you want to enforce and do not reward her before she stops barking.
After several sessions the golden retriever will believe that he gets treat with the good dog phrase. From then on you do not need to call her with her name, good dog phrase will do. When you say good dog she will turn to you expecting a treat. Consistent training will do the magic because the next time before barking she will try to think twice and looks at you for further guidance.
- Ensuring the right space: You should leave your dog to different areas to decide which one is more comfortable to your dog. Some golden retrievers prefer outside areas while others inside or in a small area. If the golden retriever is not comfortable with the present space then he might be barking to call you out for relieving him from this space. For such instances, barking can be controlled by changing the space. There are different factors which can make your dog feel uncomfortable such as enough space, water, shade etc. Ensure that your dog has every comfortable factor in the space you have provided.
- Taking him to the vet: If your golden retriever has suddenly started barking then he might be having health issues. If he does not shows any kind of signs for injury then you must take him to the vet to understand his problem clearly. By taking him to the consultation of a veterinary doctor you might be able to get an expert advice on your dogs’ situation and can rule out the possible chances of injury.
- Desensitization: This method is used to stop your dog from barking to noises. This method involves subjecting your golden retriever to a stimulus to which your dog generally reacts at an extremely lower level that he might not respond to it. This practice is continued and the dog gets along with it. The golden retriever becomes less reactive to the intense level of this stimulus.
- Grabbing his muzzle: This is one of the steps the wolves use in a pack for noisy ones. Use one of your hands to hold the neck of your dog by his collar and place your next hand over his muzzle. This mimics the same way in which a wolf controls the noisy one in the pack. Followed by the holding, a command like “stop” or “enough” should be given. But be sure to give the command in a low soft or calm voice.
- Anti-bark collar: There are many type of anti-collar available in the market. In this method a mild shock is given to the dog while he barks. Some of them works by giving out a smell like citronella which your golden retriever dislikes. But the one which gives a mild shock may not work properly and you cannot make sure if it works properly.
Dogs bark as a mean of verbal communication and each of the bark means a different thing. For example, if he barks at you when you come back home it is his way of expressing his excitement, barking when seeing a stranger is his means of protecting the pack and sometimes he barks because of hunger, pain, boredom etc. so each of the barking has different meaning so you need to know the reason before you restrict him.
Each of the ways to stop barking is dependent on the reason. The common ways to stop barking are the “quite” command, barking method and good dog method. If your dog is in pain, then he will bark and limb then before making him to stop barking take him to the vet. If he barks in response to noise use desensitizing training. Positive reinforcements and anti-bark collars are some other techniques to stop the barking. You need to exercise your golden retriever daily and try to keep him busy to make him healthy.