Old age or health issues

My dog is old or has health issues

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

  • Age-related medical condition or injury e.g. dementia, arthritis, anxiety, incontinence, vision loss or hearing loss, pain related
  • age related stress, confusion, frustration or fear
  • loss of companionship
  • no safe or familiar place your dog feels it can retreat to.

Actions to try to prevent the barking

Immediate action:

  • visit a vet for diagnosis and treatment including a suggested modification plan
  • administer medication as prescribed or recommended by a vet.

Other actions to trial:

  • provide a safe and quiet place for your dog to go
  • give your dog access to the family home/install a doggy door
  • block view of street or trial allowing your dog viewing access of street. 

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 further professional advice from your vet.