Energetic Dogs

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Barking, Anxiety, and High-Energy Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Energetic dogs are known for their high spirits, love of play, and boundless energy. But for some of these dogs, anxiety and excessive barking can be major issues. If your energetic dog is prone to barking or exhibits symptoms of anxiety, it’s important to understand the reasons behind these behaviors and take steps to help your pet feel calm and comfortable.

In this article, we’ll explore the connection between barking and anxiety in energetic dogs, the reasons why working dogs are particularly prone to anxiety, and strategies for managing and reducing anxiety symptoms in your pet.

Understanding the Connection between Barking and Anxiety

Barking is a natural behavior for dogs and can be a way for them to communicate, express their emotions, and alert their owners to potential dangers. However, excessive barking can be a sign of anxiety and stress in dogs. Dogs may bark excessively when they feel scared, threatened, or overwhelmed.

Anxiety can also manifest in other ways in dogs, such as restlessness, hyperactivity, destructive behavior, and physical symptoms like panting, trembling, and whining. If your energetic dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s important to recognize that anxiety may be at the root of their behavior.


Why Working Dogs are Prone to Anxiety

Working dogs, such as hunting dogs, herding dogs, and military and police dogs, are often bred for high energy, endurance, and intense focus. These traits make them excellent at their jobs but can also make them prone to anxiety. Working dogs are frequently exposed to new and challenging environments, which can be stressful and overwhelming for some dogs.

Additionally, working dogs may have to cope with long periods of confinement, lack of stimulation, and physical exhaustion, all of which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. It’s important for working dog owners to be aware of these potential stressors and take steps to provide their pets with plenty of mental and physical stimulation and opportunities to relax and recharge.

Strategies for Managing and Reducing Anxiety Symptoms in Your Energetic Dog

If your energetic dog is exhibiting symptoms of anxiety or excessive barking, there are several strategies you can use to help manage and reduce their symptoms. Here are some tips:

Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Energetic dogs need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise, playtime, and opportunities to explore new environments. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and prevent excessive barking.

Create a safe and comfortable space. Dogs need a safe and comfortable space where they can retreat when feeling anxious. Provide a cozy bed, blankets, and toys in a quiet corner of your home where your dog can relax and feel secure. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and prevent excessive barking. For Further Reading: See our article about The Benefits of Crate Training

Try calming supplements. There are several natural supplements available that can help calm anxious dogs, such as chamomile, valerian root, and CBD oil. Talk to your veterinarian about which supplements might be best for your pet. These supplements can help reduce stress and anxiety and prevent excessive barking.

For Further Reading: See our Supplements Page


Consider professional help. If your dog’s anxiety is severe or persistent, it may be necessary to seek professional help. A veterinary behaviorist or certified dog trainer can provide specialized training and support to help your pet overcome their anxiety. This can help reduce stress and anxiety and prevent excessive barking.

Use positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement training can be a powerful tool for reducing anxiety and preventing excessive barking in energetic dogs. By rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad behavior.

One thing to keep in mind is that anxiety and barking are often interconnected. When a dog is feeling anxious, they may bark excessively as a way to cope with their stress. In some cases, this can be a self-reinforcing cycle, as the barking itself can become a source of anxiety for the dog.

To learn about your dog’s body language, check out: Decoding Canine Body Language: What is Your Dog Saying?

dog barking hard

If you have a working dog that is prone to anxiety and barking, there are several things you can do to help manage their behavior.

  • One of the most important is to ensure that they are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. Working dogs thrive on activity and need a job to do, so providing them with opportunities to engage in activities such as agility, obedience training, and herding can help to reduce their stress and anxiety levels.
  • In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation is also important for working dogs. Puzzles, games, and training exercises that challenge their minds can help to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged, which can help to reduce anxiety and barking. 
  • Another important consideration is socialization. Working dogs that are not properly socialized may be more prone to anxiety and barking, as they may feel uncomfortable and fearful in new situations. Socializing your dog from a young age can help to build their confidence and reduce their anxiety levels.
  • If your working dog is exhibiting symptoms of anxiety, such as excessive barking, trembling, or pacing, it’s important to address the issue promptly. Talk to your vet about possible treatment options, such as medication or behavior modification therapy.
  • In some cases, natural remedies such as essential oils or herbal supplements may also be helpful in managing anxiety in dogs. However, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before trying any new treatment options, as some remedies may not be safe or effective for all dogs. For Further Reading: See our Supplements Page
  • Finally, it’s important to be patient and understanding with your working dog. Remember that excessive barking is often a symptom of underlying anxiety or stress, and punishing your dog for barking may only make the problem worse. Instead, focus on providing your dog with the support, exercise, and mental stimulation they need to feel happy, healthy, and secure.
Working dog rest calm

Final Thoughts

Anxiety and barking are common issues for working dogs, but there are many strategies you can use to help manage these behaviors. By providing your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, socializing them from a young age, and seeking help from a veterinarian or behavior specialist when needed, you can help your working dog feel happy, healthy, and secure. With patience, understanding, and a little bit of effort, you can help your energetic dog thrive and lead a fulfilling life.


For more information on this topic, check out well-known dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, discusses the various reasons why dogs bark excessively and offers tips for managing this behavior.


Jeff Thomson

Passionate dog lover and avid researcher, I’m dedicated to unraveling the fascinating world of energetic dogs. As a proud owner of a Kelpie, I combine my firsthand experiences with extensive research to provide valuable insights and information. Join me as we explore the joys and challenges of living with high-energy dogs and discover ways to keep them happy, healthy, and engaged.

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