Bored or attention seeking

Is my dog bored or attention seeking?

A dog's persistent barking is the result of an issue; therefore, it is very important to find out why a dog barks. Dogs that bark persistently are often trying to alert someone that their needs are not being met.

The barking will be resolved when the cause is addressed. Managing the environment that a dog lives in will assist in resolving the barking issue. To assist in identifying why your dog is barking, firstly consider what your dog is doing when he/she is barking?

Reasons why my dog might be barking

Lack of physical, mental and social enrichment which includes:

  • lack of attention
  • lack of room to move around
  • lack of exercise
  • dog is chained or tied up. 

Further signs of this type of behaviour may include:

  • digging holes
  • trying to escape
  • destructive chewing 
  • jumping on the boundary fence
  • intense and excessive on patrol barking
  • overly energetic.

Actions to try to resolve the barking

Increase physical, mental and social enrichment:

  • trial giving your dog viewing access of the street
  • exercise your dog away from home regularly
  • interactive play with your dog at home when you return
  • feed your dog from slow release food dispensing toys (treat balls), morning and night
  • provide problem solving activities such has hunting for food and scent games
  • invest in snuffle mats, clam shells filled with water and sand for digging or make your own doggy toys (there are some great examples online, search the internet for ideas)
  • create a sensory garden – different surfaces, heights and objects to encourage exploration and interaction
  • rotate toys
  • give access to the family home
  • join a dog training school or visit the RSPCA for a list of force-free trainers
  • socialisation with a known friendly dog
  • dog day care or engage a qualified dog walker
  • family and friends dog sitting
  • include your dog in family outings.

Monitoring my dog's progress

Seek feedback from neighbours through weekly check-ins. Sometimes neighbours have a good idea of how your dog is behaving, especially if the barking occurs while you are away from home. Download the “Dear Neighbour(PDF, 211KB)” feedback card to place in your neighbour’s letter box(es) or hand it to them personally to complete and return to you. Other ways to monitor progress include use of recording equipment such as phones, tablets, CCTV or noise monitor recording devices.

If the actions I am trialling work

Continue to monitor your progress and:

  • provide consistency to your dog’s daily life – stick to your agreed plan of approach to manage the barking
  • reward your dog with treats, praise or play for quiet behaviour 
  • keep a diary of your dog’s behaviour.

If there is no improvement within two weeks

Seek professional advice from your vet or a certified dog behavioural trainer. Visit the RSPCA for a list of force-free trainers.