There are many things that cause canine commotion. Let’s start with kennel design. There are 30-35 dogs packed into a kennel area of about 1,100 square feet. They can see 360 degrees around their kennels and know immediately who’s coming and going, and who’s barking or not. It’s amazing how quickly they can stoke each other up. They can jump up on their kennel walls and fence fight with the three dogs next to them. Transporting a dog through the kennel area is sometimes like running a gantlet where canine noise and commotion replace whips and clubs.
A new, modern kennel design will greatly reduce the commotion. It will reduce the visibility the dogs have and create more space, with indoor and outdoor access for the dogs. It will facilitate easier handling so transporting dogs around can be an act of love and not survival. It will be much more user friendly for adopters, staff, and volunteers. This will reduce canine stress and benefit the dogs and adopters in a huge way.
Much of the barking is also caused by barrier frustration, excitement and over arousal, and attention seeking behavior. Dogs do understand that someone coming into the area with a leash or even just looking can mean something good for them, so they compete for attention. Some dogs simply bark because the dog next to them started, like monkey see, monkey do.
An important thing to understand is that the barking is generally not aggression, nor is it indicative of how the dog will behave outside the kennel. Some dogs are insecure in the kennel environment and will bark as warning. Get them out of the kennel and they are cream puffs. Also, don’t take the barking personally. One man told me he thought the dogs did not like him because they started barking when he entered the area. On the contrary, most liked him very much and really wanted his attention.