Understanding Why Your Dog Barks
Understanding Why Dogs Bark Will Help You To Control it
Let’s face it, dogs bark. It is a very natural means of communication. We would all agree dog barking can be a tremendous benefit to us at times, such as when an intruder is breaking into the house or somebody is approaching our child while they are playing. We expect this when we bring home a beloved dog, big or small. We hope they will alert us to any impending danger.
However, excessive barking or barking at inappropriate times can turn into a real issue. Understanding why your dog barks will help you be able to control it.
Here are seven common reasons why dogs bark:
- Dogs bark to warn or alert perceived danger, such as a stranger approaching or a sound outside the window. Of course, dog owners want to encourage this because it is a great benefit to us. You will notice a difference in tone and tempo as a dog’s bark turns from an alert to a direct warning. Their barks are rapid, and you may hear intermittent growling. The dog is making more of an effort to intimidate the threat.
- Dogs bark when they are seeking or demanding attention. Often this bark will start as a whine and escalate to sporadic, high-pitched barks. This behavior is typical in dogs of all ages that become bored, exercise-deprived, and very common in puppies. This bark is hard to ignore and must be dealt with immediately to prevent future problems. You don’t want your dog to think he can bark at you anytime he is bored. Make sure you do not respond to these barks by giving your dog the attention they are demanding.
- Dogs bark when they are excited or playing. Generally, they are quick, high-pitched barks mixed with lots of jumping around. We want our dogs to have fun and play, but we need to prevent them from being overstimulated. Don’t be afraid to have your dog take a break until they reach a more calm submissive state.
- Dog barks when they want to self-identify. Self-identification happens when a dog hears another dog barking and feels the need to respond with an “I hear you, I am over here.”
- Dogs bark when they lack exercise and are bored. These barks may be the most common to dog owners. An example is the barking that you will hear all day long while a dog is in a backyard. All dogs need an outlet for their energy. In the wild, they are always on the move and rarely build anxiety due to a sedative lifestyle. This type of barking is easily solved if caught early but can develop into a habit that is hard to break.
- Dogs bark when they feel lonely or anxious. This bark is what we refer to as separation anxiety. These barks will generally carry a high-pitched tone, sound panicked, and be most upsetting to the neighbors. Address separation anxiety through obedience training to help give the dog a purpose. When leaving or returning from the house, stay neutral and don’t make a big deal to reduce your dog’s anxiety at these times.
- Dogs bark when they become startled, although this barking usually ends quickly in normal dogs. In dogs that are not very confident, this barking can be a commonplace occurrence.