The BarkMon, October 17, 2011,
Barking is a way for dogs to naturally communicate, along with whining, howling and growling. Barking can be an expression of dominance or territoriality, or a need for something. Since it’s a natural characteristic of your dog, it should not be considered a behavioral problem, unless the barking is excessive, which can be stressful for your family and neighbors.
A typical cause for barking is improper confinement of a dog, for instance leaving it alone for an extended period of time in a small room, crate or backyard. Excess barking can also be induced by environmental stresses such as loud noises or other barking dogs in the area. Barking can also be an indication of an overly aggressive or territorial dog or separation anxiety.
As with many behavioral issues in pets, it’s best to first isolate the problem. If the problem is inadequate confinement, then look into providing your dog with more space or perhaps a doghouse. As well, more exercise and an improved diet could help your dog’s increased vocalization. If your dog’s barking is brought on by an external stimulus, then the best method is to tell them ‘No!’ when they bark in a firm voice and then to reward the good behavior with a treat once they stop barking.