Barking is a common behavior problem and can become quite a nuisance. While barking is a natural behavior and you should allow your dog to bark in controlled circumstances, it can become disruptive for people who live close to their neighbors. Dogs who bark excessively at the sound of a car in the driveway or the ring of the doorbell may be protecting their territory. While this behavior seems desirable your dog may not be able to tell friend from foe or know when to curb his aggression, especially if you encourage his watchdog behavior. Some dogs are not territorial but simply enjoy the excitement of visitors and bark at them for entertainment. It’s ok to let your dog announce the arrival of a visitor but allow him no more than a couple of barks, then interrupt his barking by shaking an aluminum can that contains a few pennies and tell him to sit and stay. Reward with praise or a food treat for proper behavior. Practice having him sit and stay often, even when no one is at the door, until your dog learns to comply. If your dog barks or howls when left alone inside your home or yard, he may be bored, lonely or distressed at being separated from you or attempting to interact wit other dogs in the neighborhood. Most dogs these days are not getting enough exercise. A happy dog is a tired dog so be sure he is getting plenty of exercise and attention. Younger dogs, less than three years of age and dogs whose ancestors were specifically bred to be highly active such as northern breeds, herding breeds and sporting breeds need more exercise than most dogs and are especially prone to boredom. Solutions for barking include buying a dog toy designed to entertain a dog who is left alone; hire a dog walker or take your dog to a day care center one or more days a week so he’ll be able to exercise and play more often. Several types of antibark collars are currently available. Some of them spray citronella, a pungent aromatic oil extracted from the Asian grass Cymbopogon nardu, some collars emit a high-pitched noise, and some emit a static shock. These collars have variable effects depending on how they are used but they do not address the underlying problems that are causing the dog to bark. Hiring a trainer to help may also be a good solution and with persistence, and patience most barking dog behavior can be corrected.