As much as man’s best friend can be just that, there is one pesky little problem that our four-legged friends bring with them — barking. In an apartment, that problem is magnified. You as an owner can help lessen your dog’s barking by first identifying the type of barking in which your dog is engaging, and then taking the appropriate preventative measures.
One reason is a simple defense of territory or alarm barking. With the many apartment buildings PPM has across the city, while neighbors might be friendly with one another, when the door is closed and there is some foot traffic in the hallways outside their door, your pup doesn’t know if this is a threat or just someone rushing to work. The ASPCA recommends having a white noise machine, perpetual sound machine, or even through simple actions such as closing the windows. If it’s warm outside, you may consider running a fan versus an in-unit air conditioner. This will keep the dog cool and provide a familiar noise that can act as a buffer. Socializing the dog, especially when it is a puppy, can help to alleviate problems.
Separation anxiety is another reason why dogs might bark. With spring around the corner and PPM residents wanting to escape the cabin fever that Chiberia held us in this winter, dogs might not be allowed in all venues their owners want to frequent. Many dogs have separation anxiety in varying degrees. Owners will typically observe at least one other behavior linked to separation anxiety (elimination in the house, destructive behaviors, pacing, corophagia, etc). One way to help is to not make a big deal leaving or coming in. Don’t make a big show (excessive petting and other excessive displays of affection, giving treats when leaving and arriving, etc) when you leave or when you come back. This helps to orient your dog to know that you’ll come back. Rewarding dogs with play, treats, scolding, etc. upon departure and arrival will also reinforce the behaviors they engage in when you return/leave. Be calm when you leave and re-enter your home and have a routine. Another way to help is to give your dog an activity to do when you’re not at home. Fill up a toy box for your fur baby. Kongs with peanut butter, treats, or toys are another way to keep your dog busy when you’re away. A busy dog is a quiet dog.
Attention seeking barking (easy solution for this is to not reward your furry friend with treats or play when they bark).
Socially facilitated barking – this can be an issue in apartment buildings, especially in buildings with multiple dogs on one floor. Some dogs will bark only when they hear another dog or dogs barking. As with defense of territory or alarm barking, socializing your dog, especially when it is a puppy, can help.
Frustration-induced barking – when your animal is placed in a situation where they cannot readily access playmates, playthings, food, water, or their movement is very limited. If your pup can’t have access to the entire apartment for one reason or another, crating is an option. If you crate when you first bring your pup home, in a slow and positive manner, your dog will view the crate as his safety den. Some dogs will even prefer their crate to lounge in when owners are home! Put their crate in a comfortable area, such as your bedroom, but never next to anything noisy or in front of a window. Another way to help is to exercise your dog as much as possible. Chicago offers many dog beaches, dog parks, and dog-friendly spaces you can even exercise your pooch off-leash! Residents in our 515 W. Briar property even have their own mini-dog park, as was featured on Curbed Chicago in November. Exercise will help your dog be happier and healthier and help when their mom or dad is at work or out celebrating the warmer weather.
Illness or injury – If your dog begins to uncharacteristically bark and this is not a normal phenomenon for him/her, it could be the result of an injury. In this case, it is best to have your furry friend checked out by a vet.
If problem barking persists and it is not of the medial nature, calling an animal behaviorist or dog trainer can be the next step. Certified dog trainers can be found at the Council for Professional Dog Trainers website or even Yelp Chicago’s listing of pet trainers.
We at Planned Property Management would like to wish our residents and their pets a very happy spring! Make sure to check our latest blog on the latest new pet law!