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Published: Feb 24, 2012

Barking is a dog's way of communicating, and it could mean a number of things. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, whether dogs are alerting other animals of their territorial dominance or experiencing frustration or anxiety, socialization and training are usually effective in preventing excessive barking.

In some instances, especially when a canine is older, more vocalization than usual could be caused by illness, disease-related pain and even hearing problems. Bring a dog to the animal hospital to determine whether a health problem is at the root of a barking problem. If there is an underlying medical issue, the vet may administer dog shots or prescribe medication.

Once medical causes have been ruled out, pet owners can watch for other behaviors that could help determine why their dog is more vocal. If they tear the house apart or eliminate inside while their owners are away, they may be suffering from separation anxiety, according to the ASPCA.

Also look for environmental clues such as when and where barking occurs. Objects, people or animals that trigger canine vocalization may help determine why they are barking and help you develop an effective training program. When a dog barks, VCA states it is important to never reward or reinforce the behavior, or the habit could be perpetuated. It is important to begin a training program where a dog is ignored when exhibiting bad barking behavior and rewarded for good quiet behavior. Teaching a canine to bark on command can be a good way to curb excessive barking as well.