How Does Exercise Help Dogs that Bark?
Excessive barking can drive a wedge between a dog and their owner, especially when you spend countless hours training them and getting them used to your routine. How can you stop excessive barking? What does exercise have to do with training your dog?
Training your dog is no easy task, but exercise is key to building trust with your dog and teaching them how to be comfortable outside of their home. Many dogs rely on barking to alert their owners, show that they are bored, or get out some of their energy. Even with new foster dogs that tend to be anxious, they resort to barking because that is the only way that they know how to communicate with their new owners and relieve anxiety.
I currently have a foster dog that was constantly barking when I first got her. Let me tell you, her bark was not some cute little peep. It was loud and even made me jump the first few times I heard it. I could not believe that a Pomeranian could project that much, but she did! She was anxious and would burrow her head so deep into my sweatshirts whenever I sat next to her. Knowing that she was prone to anxiety, I started to take her on two walks per day. Walking frequently really helped the bond grow between us and even got out some of her nerves, which made her more calm and comfortable in my house. I also invested in pet corrector spray and put water in a spray bottle. I found that the pet corrector spray corrected her barking more effectively, but some dogs respond better to spray bottles.
It took about a week before I began to notice results, especially in terms of her anxiety levels. Exposing her to outdoor sounds, like passing cars and dogs from a distance, also helped her get used to sounds and learn not to bark at them. Exercise seemed to be the best outlet for her nerves and I was happy for the opportunity to take her on more outdoor adventures.
Energetic dogs may be prone to barking because they are overly excited or they want to do something, like play or get attention. Take advantage of that by doing activities that will get their energy out! Whether that is playing with toys or going for long walks, make those interactions with your dog fun. Energetic dogs are really only going to be satisfied by indulging in that energy, and the best way to redirect that excess energy is through engaging activities. Bring lots of treats and vary the outdoor activities!
When I feel like switching up my typical walking route, I like to take my dog to the beach and outdoor vegan food fairs. The large amount of photos in my camera roll are an added bonus to these outdoor activities!
Anxious dogs will bark often because everything triggers them. I currently have an anxious and needy foster dog and it feels like she barks everyday all day. To make things more difficult, she is twelve years old and not a candidate for light runs or long walks. The best way for me to get her energy out is by playing with her in the home. This mostly consists of nightly games of tag and playing on the couch. She also does well on short leash walks in the shade.
I have also found that treating her anxiety through tons of cuddle sessions and letting her follow me throughout the house helps. Some people have mentioned that cbd oil helps anxious dogs also, but I have not personally tried this method yet!
What exercise can you do with your dog?
Exercise helps with excessive barkers by getting their energy out in a safe and fun way.
Training is not always fun for your dog, so head outdoors to pique their curiosity and satisfy their craving for adventure!
Light runs: A short run or a light jog are great forms of exercise for you and your dog. Slowly build up your dog’s stamina by working your way up from a brisk walk to a steady jog. I recommend going at times of the day that are not too hot, for your dog may overheat. Remember to bring water!
Walks: Make your walk long and progressively get longer to build up their stamina. To further keep your dog’s interest, switch up the environment! Different parts of your neighborhood, parks, beaches, outdoor fairs, and shaded hiking trails are some of the few places that a small-breed dog would love. I personally recommend Huntington and Newport Beach area for easy beach parking access.
Playdates: Head to a friend’s house for an hour or two to play and socialize. Treats, toys, and walking gear are great items to bring when meeting friends! I recommend slowly introducing them to each other to make sure they are friendly.
Exercise has many benefits!
If you are going to take away anything from this post, let it be this: keep your dog engaged! Any activity that you do with your dog, make it fun and interesting. Meaningful activities that keep your dog excited and engaged are key in training your dog, like when training them to not bark at every sound that triggers them. Exercise helps your dog get their energy out and may alleviate some anxious behaviors. Spending time outdoors also helps your dog get used to sounds, cars passing, other dogs, and people. These are common triggers that your dog may bark at, but with redirection and consistency, they will learn that barking is not okay.
If you have any great spots to take your dog, let us know by DMing our instagram! @ocpomrescue