Planes, Pups, and Problem Barking: How to Handle Dogs Barking at Planes
If you live near an airport or a busy flight path, you may have experienced the frustration of your dog barking at planes. Whether it’s a loud jet or a small propeller plane, some dogs just can’t seem to ignore the flying objects in the sky.
This can be annoying or stressful for you and your neighbors, especially if the barking happens at night or early in the morning.
But why do dogs bark at planes and what can you do to stop or reduce this behavior? In this article, we will explore the possible causes of barking at planes and some practical and effective solutions that you can try with your furry friend.
By following these tips, you can help your dog cope with planes and enjoy a more peaceful and harmonious relationship with them.
Common Causes of Dogs Barking at Planes
Dogs bark for various reasons, such as communication, attention, excitement, boredom, frustration, fear, anxiety, or territoriality. Depending on the individual dog and the situation, they may bark at planes for one or more of these reasons. Here are some of the common causes of dogs barking at planes:
- Noise sensitivity: Dogs have a much wider hearing range than humans. They can hear sounds that we can’t, such as ultrasonic frequencies and low-frequency rumbles. The noise an airplane makes, especially when it is taking off or landing, can be very loud and startling for dogs. Some dogs may be more sensitive to noise than others, and may react by barking, whining, or hiding
- Territorial behavior: Dogs are naturally territorial animals. They may bark to warn off intruders or to alert their owners of potential threats. Planes flying overhead or nearby may be perceived as invaders by some dogs, who may try to chase them away or defend their territory by barking.
- Fear: Some dogs may be afraid of planes because they associate them with something negative, such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or separation from their owners. Fearful dogs may bark out of panic or distress, or to seek comfort from their owners.
- Boredom: Some dogs may bark at planes simply because they are bored and have nothing else to do. Barking can be a way of self-stimulation or entertainment for dogs who lack mental or physical stimulation. Bored dogs may also bark at anything that moves or makes noise, such as birds, cars, or people.
- In-flight barking: If you are traveling with your dog on a plane, they may bark for different reasons than when they are on the ground. Some of the possible causes of in-flight barking are:
- Separation anxiety: Some dogs may suffer from separation anxiety when they are away from their owners or their familiar environment. They may bark excessively when they are put in a carrier or a crate, especially if they can’t see their owners or other passengers.
- Unfamiliar noises: Planes make a lot of noises that dogs are not used to, such as engine sounds, announcements, seat belts clicking, etc. These noises can be confusing or frightening for dogs who don’t know what they mean or where they come from.
- Changes in altitude: Just like humans, dogs can experience ear discomfort or popping when the plane changes altitude. This can cause pain or pressure in their ears, which can make them uncomfortable or irritable. They may bark to express their discomfort or to try to relieve the pressure in their ears.
How to Prevent Dogs From Barking at Planes
The best way to prevent dogs from barking at planes is to address the root cause of their behavior and to train them to associate planes with something positive instead of something negative. Here are some tips on how to prevent dogs from barking at planes:
- Train your dog to be comfortable in a carrier before the flight: If you are planning to fly with your dog, you should train them to get used to the carrier well before the flight date. You can start by introducing them to the carrier gradually and positively, using treats and praise.
You can then increase the duration and frequency of putting them in the carrier until they are calm and relaxed inside it. You can also practice taking them on short car rides in the carrier to simulate the flight experience.
- Use a dog muzzle: If your dog is prone to barking excessively on planes or in public places, you may want to consider using a dog muzzle as a temporary measure.
A dog muzzle can help prevent your dog from disturbing other passengers or causing trouble on the plane. However, you should only use a muzzle that allows your dog to breathe comfortably and drink water.
You should also train your dog to wear the muzzle before the flight and only use it for short periods of time.
- Provide your dog with chew toys: Chew toys can help keep your dog occupied and distracted from barking at planes. They can also help relieve stress and anxiety, and prevent boredom.
You can give your dog a variety of chew toys, such as rubber toys, bones, or stuffed animals. You can also make the toys more appealing by stuffing them with treats or peanut butter.
- Say “quiet” in a positive, calm voice when your dog starts barking, and give them praise and a treat if they respond: You can teach your dog to stop barking on command by using a simple cue, such as “quiet” or “hush”. You can start by saying the cue when your dog is already quiet, and rewarding them with praise and a treat.
You can then gradually introduce the cue when your dog is barking, and wait for them to stop before rewarding them. You can also use a hand signal, such as putting your finger to your lips, to reinforce the cue.
Be consistent and patient, and avoid yelling or scolding your dog for barking, as this can make them more anxious or excited.
- Desensitize your dog to planes: You can help your dog overcome their fear or sensitivity to planes by exposing them to planes in a controlled and positive way. You can start by playing recordings of plane noises at a low volume while giving your dog treats and praise.
You can then gradually increase the volume and duration of the noises until your dog is comfortable with them. You can also take your dog to places where they can see planes flying overhead or nearby, such as near an airport or a park. You can reward your dog for staying calm and quiet when they see or hear planes, and distract them with toys or commands if they start barking.
How to Calm Dogs Down When They Bark at Planes
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, dogs may still bark at planes due to excitement, curiosity, or frustration. In these cases, we need to find ways to calm them down and redirect their attention. Here are some ways to calm dogs down when they bark at planes:
- Distraction methods: You can use distraction methods to divert your dog’s attention from the plane and focus on something else. For example, you can play with your dog, give them a command, or show them a toy. You can also use a noise maker, such as a whistle or a clicker, to interrupt their barking and get their attention.
- Soothing strategies: You can use soothing strategies to help your dog relax and cope with their emotions. For example, you can pet your dog gently, talk to them softly, or sing to them. You can also use calming products, such as pheromone collars, sprays, or diffusers, that mimic the natural chemicals that dogs release when they are happy or relaxed.
- Rewards: You can use rewards to reinforce your dog’s calm and quiet behavior when they see or hear planes. For example, you can give your dog treats, praise, or affection whenever they stop barking or ignore the plane. You can also use a marker word, such as “yes” or “good”, to let your dog know that they are doing the right thing.
Well, That’s a Wrap
Barking at planes is a common and natural behavior for dogs, but it can also be annoying or stressful for you and your neighbors. By understanding the causes of barking at planes and applying the solutions suggested in this article, you can help your dog cope with planes and enjoy a more peaceful and harmonious relationship with them.
And remember, dogs are not barking at planes because they hate them. They are just trying to communicate something to you or to themselves. So don’t take it personally and don’t get angry at them. Instead, try to understand them and help them.