If you’re like most dog lovers there are very few things your canine companion does that truly annoy you. One of them, however, is barking, which can be obnoxious, distracting and, depending on the size of your dog, quite loud. Barking is a normal part of being a dog however, so you can expect it to happen every so often.
What is not part of normal dog behavior is something called ‘demand barking’, which can be even more annoying than normal barking because your demanding dog will usually do it right in your face, continuously, until you give in to whatever demand they happen to be making. In this article we’ll answer the question; What is Demand Barking and How To Stop Your Dog From Doing It. Enjoy!
What Is Demand Barking?
Demand barking is when your dog barks at you to get what they want, like treats, food, or a toy. Demand barking is different from regular barking because it’s not being used to communicate, warn you of danger, or indicate that they need to go outside.
The other problem with demand barking is that, usually, it is caused by the dog’s owner. Yes, that’s right, it’s likely that you are the cause of this irritating habit. Why? Because you most likely have given in to their demand barking every time, or multiple times, and so have taught your dog that it’s the best way to get what they want. In reality, it’s very similar to a toddler crying when they want a toy or a snack; both are learned habits that need to be stopped before they get out of control.
Why Do Dogs Demand Bark?
To get what they want. Whether it’s extra attention from you or another family member, they want a treat or toy, want to go outside and play, etc, etc. The thing about demand barking is that, in most cases, your dog has already been outside to play, or gotten a treat. Also, you may be busy and not able to play but, even if you tell your dog to stop, they keep barking.
It’s simple, really; they have a demand, and they bark until you give in to that demand.
Here’s an example of our dog, Ollie, demand barking.
Do Some Dog Breeds Demand Bark More than Others?
Yes and no. In general, some dog breeds bark more than others, so you could say that they demand bark more than others also. That being said, demand barking is a learned habit and, as a learned habit, most any dog breed will use it if they are ‘needy’, greedy for food or bored (and if you let them get away with it).
The big tip here is to stop the problem from becoming a habit because, just like a child, once that habit is learned it can be difficult to break. (We’ll talk about this in just a minute.)
Some of the dog breeds that bark the most, and thus might use demand barking the most, in alphabetical order, include:
- Basset Hound
- Miniature Pinscher
- Siberian Husky
- Yorkshire Terrier
Some of the dog breeds that bark the least, and will probably use demand barking less, in alphabetical order, include:
- Australian Shepherd
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- French Bulldog
- Irish Setter
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Scottish Deerhound
- Shih Tzu
Why Should You Stop Your Dog’s Demand Barking Habit?
Demand barking, as we’ve already mentioned, is a learned habit, which means your dog learned it over time and realized that, when they bark incessantly at you, you’ll do what they want. Whether it’s an extra treat, more attention and petting, extra food or to go outside and play, they bark and bark and bark until you give them what they want.
That’s the problem too because, once they know that you will do what they want, they will use demand barking every time they want something, which could get out of hand very quickly and turn them into a real nuisance. Like a child that always cries when you take him or her to, say, the grocery store, where they cry and whine until you buy them candy or a toy, your dog knows that you will eventually give in to their demand and so they bark at you every time until you do.
That’s why you need to nip demand barking in the bud because, if you don’t, your loveable pet will turn into an annoying little furry pest, which isn’t good for them or for you. Even worse is that the longer you allow them to demand bark at you the more ingrained the habit will become, making it all the more difficult to stop.
How To Train Your Dog To Stop Demand Barking
If your pooch has been demand barking for any length of time it will take almost as much time, patience and persistence to untrain them of this bad habit. The good news is that, if you do it correctly, you will not only stop your dog from demand barking but also teach them that it’s not OK so that they don’t do it again in the future.
There are 2 different methods that you can use to stop your dog’s demand barking and teach them that patience and silence are better.
Stop Demand Barking Method #1
Ignore their demand barking completely.
With this first method, all you do is ignore your dog when they start demand barking. Don’t look at them, don’t make eye contact and most of all don’t give in to their demand. Don’t touch them either but instead, wait until they stop barking completely. (It might take a few minutes the first few times you do this.)
Once they stop barking turn slowly around, look them in the eye and say ‘Quiet, good boy” or ‘Quiet, good girl” and give them a small treat of some kind to let them know you’re pleased and to reinforce this new, better behavior. Again, you need to be patient and persistent for this method to work. Like a child, your dog will test you (and test you some more) and, if you give in, you’ve lost and, even worse, reinforced their bad behavior even more.
Stop Demand Barking Method #2
Teach them that demand barking has consequences
With this 2nd method you need to show your dog that, when they start demand barking, there will be some type of consequence that they don’t like. For example, when they demand bark for human food when you’re at the dinner (or breakfast or lunch) table, immediately take them into an adjacent room and close the door. If they demand bark to get your attention don’t give it or, even better, go into another room and shut yourself in (if that’s convenient, of course). (Maybe bring a book.)
Whenever they demand bark you need to do this until they make the connection that demand barking = bad stuff will happen. Do this until they stop demand barking and, like method #1, reward them with a treat and a “good boy or girl” when they do.
What Are Some Other Forms of Dog Barking?
Besides demand barking there are two other barking habits that your dog might fall into if you don’t train them right, or if they are prone to barking in general.
Like the name suggests, frustration barking is when your dog is frustrated about something and begins to bark to show that frustration. One of the biggest causes of frustration barking is simply when your pet wants to do something but can’t because of a barrier. For example, a window, where they can see what’s going on outside and want to join the fun but can’t. Other dogs might be out there, or children playing, or maybe a squirrel or 2 that they simply must chase.
This is another type of barking where the name pretty much sums up the behavior. Like a bored child incessantly asking their mom or dad questions, a bored dog will bark simply because they have nothing better to do, or they’re lonely. They might start barking at innocuous things like the cars driving by, birds on the high tension wires or even a plastic bag being blown around outside.
The thing is, they’re bored, and so barking is what they do because they don’t have anything else to do.
Both of these habits can be reduced simply by giving your bored or frustrated dog something to keep it busy or give it attention in little bits here and there throughout the day. Make sure that there are plenty of chew toys around for your dog at all times and, if possible, let them out to play with another, neighbor dog that they like on a regular basis.
Demand barking is a bad habit that must be broken as soon as possible or prevented from starting altogether. It’s not good for your dog and is even less good for you as their owner, much the same as it’s bad for little children to cry and fuss when they don’t get their way. Nipping it in the bud is your best option so that it doesn’ cause big problems for you and your family.
We hope you enjoyed this article and that it answered all of your questions about demand barking. Best of luck training your dog to be patient!