Excessive barking

Posted by zionlaw
Sep 9, 2010
My lab just turned a year. Suddenly she is barking at everything- a leaf on the walk, a bug, etc. for no reason. She generally won't bark at people she knows who walk by, but at new things, dogs, etc. Why this sudden extreme interest, even fear? She is also barking more to play- almost a demanding bark. How can I address the barking?
Posted by KOPCaroline
Sep 10, 2010
Hey there,

Can you tell if its happy barking or alerting barking? Is she being playful when she does it? I'd say its probably a puppy behaviour or "hey, this is new! oh hey! this is new too!", since she's right in her socialization period of life. Don't hesistate to keep taking her places and trying to get her to experience new sights and sounds, it'll ultimately help.

I would say its just a phase, but you can giving her lead a sharp tug on walks when she does it, have her sit, and calm down. Then start again. Or try giving the lead a tug followed by a sharp "no". See which seems to work better.

Maybe avoid taking her out if she's super riled up over something, you want her time outside to be calm for the both of you. If she works herself up too much on a walk or while she's outside, end the time and bring her back home.

For barking at things around the house, I would say the "no" command should work better. If she keeps on, put her in "time out" in a quiet room for about 10 minutes, then bring her out again.

Basically the aim is to give her the idea that its not desired for her to alert you to everything, and to get her to calm down by herself as soon as she starts the barking up.

I hope this helps you, again, I doubt it will be a lifelong habit, 1 year olds show some silly behaviour thats just tied to their age, but I understand its a bit frustrating! Good luck!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Sep 10, 2010
Forgot to say to be sure to praise and reward her whenever she doesn't go ballistic barking at something, even if its a person walking by that she's never barked at before. You should reinforce the calm behaviour everytime she shows it