Reasons Dogs Window Bark and How to Improve the Behavior
Do you have a dog who barks out the window constantly? Whether it be at other dogs, people, or even leaves passing by? You are not alone, especially if you live in an apartment complex where your dog is exposed to other dogs or people walking by their window on a more regular basis. We’ll let you in on some of the possible reasons for this and ways that you might be able to improve the behavior. Barking for real danger or to alert you of trouble can be a good thing, or even if they are just briefly telling you someone is at the door, but if they do it all the time in excess then it can become troublesome behavior.
- Guarding Their Territory
Your dog has an instinct to guard their home, so if anyone comes nearby, they may perceive it as a threat. They will take it upon themselves to tell the intruder to leave by barking at them to do so. Their barking is also to alert you about the “intruder” or “threat,” and they therefore believe they are doing their job. Another tricky aspect about this reasoning is that the dog’s behavior is constantly being reinforced. Your dog barks at people and dogs walking by to go away, and it works regularly. Those who are walking are going to continue on their way regardless of being barked at, but your dog doesn’t know that, and they instead connect it to what they did—bark—to make them leave.
Sometimes your dog might have no interest in telling the person or dog that is walking by your house or dwelling to leave, but rather, they might want to greet them. Surely any of us with excited dogs who love to meet people can relate to this. The window barrier then creates a frustration because your dog can see that someone is there, but they can’t get to them. So, in many cases your dog could be barking because they desperately want to say hello and be free to do so!
If a dog does not receive enough stimulation for their bodies, minds, and noses throughout the day then they will likely be bored and look for activities to keep them entertained. Window barking becomes like an event for a restless dog. Keep them enriched with training, nose games, and physical activity so they are satisfied and too tired to engage in their window pastime. We wrote a whole post on our blog about how to combat your dog’s boredom, which could greatly help with undesirable behaviors like window barking!
Even though you might know the cause of your dog’s window barking, you may be wondering how to help manage it. If your dog is physically and mentally stimulated daily, but they still carry out their alert, guarding, and greeting instincts from the window, we have a few tips to try that could improve the behavior.
- Blocking out sounds
Play music for your dog during the day, especially with a soothing melody or tone like harp or jazz. Music can have a relaxing effect on a dog while also blocking outside noise that might otherwise be a stressor.
- Block the window
You can close the blinds or curtains so that your dog doesn’t have their regular window access available. This may help them to feel more secure and relaxed in their environment if they cannot readily see stressors.
- Ignoring the behavior
Yelling at your dog to stop when they are in the midst of a barking ordeal can actually cause them to get even more riled up. They may see your behavior as joining in on the fun or being “part of the pack” if you are yelling while they are barking. So, when your dog starts barking at the window try ignoring them completely, maybe even leaving the room if necessary. You can also try telling them “enough” or “quiet” in a very low tone where it is clear you are the leader and will not be engaging in the barking along with them. These types of responses will help them pick up that barking is not a behavior to be rewarded.
- Training them with a “quiet” command
Training your dog with basic commands that they can use in everyday life is important. Once they have their core commands down like “sit” and “stay” and “come” you can start implementing more advanced training. You will first need to teach your dog to “speak” in order to teach them “quiet.” Training should always be practiced with no distractions to start, and once they have the command down in a distraction-free environment you can start adding aspects like a doorbell or knock so they retain the training in the environment where they will most need it.
Remember that barking at “threats” is an instinct for dogs and they don’t always know when they are being overzealous about their guarding duties. Hopefully you now have more of an understanding about what causes your dog to window bark and how to improve the behavior. Let us know what works for you and your best furry friend once you try implementing these new strategies and routines!
Shay Siegel is a young adult author, freelance writer, and editor from Long Island, NY. She has a BA from Tulane University and an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Always a lover of animals, Shay had several cats growing up. She's now a dog mom to the snuggliest rescue pit bull, Bernie. She enjoys writing on a variety of topics and sharing her love and knowledge of animals with others!