A dogs’ bark is of course their main form of verbal communication, and in many pets, it’s not a problem and can even be a good form of defense for homeowners. However, some dogs bark excessively, and being able to identify the cause of such barking, is the first step towards understanding and curbing your pets unwanted verbal communications.
Many pet owners can easily identify the variety of barks from their dogs, and know whether they are wanting to play, if they are frustrated at being left out in the yard, or if they have heard a car pull up outside the property for example. Pet owners whose dogs bark too much, must be able to determine the cause of the bark before they can teach them to do it less.
There are several reasons why dogs bark, and here are just a few:
- Barking that is territorial:
It may be that a person or other pet has approached their territory and they are barking in response to a potential threat. Remember that your pet will doubtless include your home, yard and even other areas that they have visited with you often, as their territory.
- Sounding an alarm:
While this kind of barking is often confused with territorial barking since the pet has identified a potential threat, alarm barking can happen anywhere and not just in areas that they associate with their territory. Their body usually stiffens when they are alarm barking, and they may take small lunging steps towards the potential threat.
- Barking for attention:
Just as with humans, many pets crave attention, and when they are not getting enough of it, they will bark to show their frustration.
- Greeting others with a bark:
When some pets meet other dogs or humans either in the home or while out and about, they may bark in an exciting way, with their body relaxed and their tail wagging. Some dogs whine, too.
- Compulsive barking:
This usually involves the pet dog barking repeatedly and often for prolonged periods, and they may bark while running up and down a patch of the yard or a room in your home. It can be in response to a perceived threat, to seek attention, or just for the hell of it!
- Barking in response to other barks:
This kind of barking is often referred to as ‘socially facilitated barking’ and can occur when a pet dog hears another dog barking in the vicinity.
- Frustrated barking:
When you confine your pet, keep them tied up when they’re not used to it, or restrict their movement or access to things, then they may bark in response to the frustration of the circumstances. Often, the barking will stop only when whatever is frustrating them has stopped.
- Barking in response to pain:
If you suspect that your dog may be barking due to being in pain – perhaps they are limping or yelp when you touch them in a certain area of their body, too – then don’t waste any time in seeking help from a veterinarian before you attempt to resolve the issue yourself.
- Separation anxiety barking:
This is very common and only occurs when a dog is left alone, or their caregiver is not visible to them. This barking is often accompanied by other behavioral traits, such as pacing or destroying furniture.
For more detailed advice and guidance on how to identify your dog’s bark and prevent them from barking too much, reach out to a qualified pet behaviorist or therapist, who should be able to help you achieve your goal in a humane way.