Reasons for Barking
The key to knowing what to do with
our dog’s baring is to know why they do so in the first place. Here are some of the common reasons why they
Trained to Bark- Certain dogs are
trained to bark while doing their jobs. Most common are the guard dogs. Sometimes barking is
good, it’s your dog’s main way of communicating with you. He may have heard or smelled something and wants to let
you know. Just acknowledging him may well stop the barking, he knows you've heard and understood. If your dog
continues to bark, try a NO, or Quiet command. When he stops barking reward him so that following your commands
becomes pleasurable to him.
Territorial Protection- when one
comes near their territory, the dogs bark to show that you are intruding.
Startle barking - occurs in response to an unfamiliar or sudden sound or movement. As with
an alert/warning bark, we need to be able to control this type of barking quickly.
Separation Anxiety – this occurs when you get separated from your dog or when you leave
them to strangers for some time.
Self-identification barking - is
what you may be hearing when your dog seems to be answering other dogs he hears barking in the neighbourhood. It is
his way of saying, "I am over here." A lonely dog who bowls may be sending out a gathering cry to other dogs
nearby. Wild dogs on the other hand, never bark, they only howl. Could the barking of domesticated dogs be a form
of communication more closely resembling speech? A pet dog that shares a close relationship with his owner and has
been taught to understand many words obviously make an effort, sometimes quite successfully, to give meaning to his
Play/excitement barks are often
short and sharp. These barks are common if the dog gets too excited with the game. Often a time-out is in
Lonely/anxious barking occurs if
your dog is experiencing separation anxiety. The barking can become self-reinforcing as he becomes more stimulated
and anxious. Anxious barks tend to get higher in pitch as the dog becomes more upset. This type of barking can be
especially annoying to your neighbours.
Lack of Exercise- your dog may need
some time to stretch those muscles and give them time to play
Improper Confinement- when their
muscles sprain due to small confinements in crates or cages, they bark or whimper
Environmental Reasons- unfamiliar
movements, people, or sounds cause dogs to bark as they may see it as a threat or fear it.
Boredom, Frustration, Loneliness-
dogs too feel lonely and when they do, they bark and howl. You have some control over your dog’s
boredom and loneliness. Besides providing warm shelter, adequate food, and an adequate supply of clean water, both
dogs and puppies require entertainment and exercise to be happy and relieve boredom.
Playthings and chew toys made for
dogs help to keep a dog entertained. Spending time with your dog playing and exercising him is also important. A
happy, content dog is less apt to bark excessively.
Bored barkers simply need an outlet
for their energy and a more stimulating environment.
Alert/warning barks are the type of
barks some owners encourage. They want their dog to alert them to the presence of a danger or suspicious stranger.
Warning barks tend to become more rapid as the intruder approaches. Aggressive barks are low in pitch and may be
combined with growls. We need to be able to distinguish warning barks from barks due to fear.
A Returning Family Member
There are still reasons
"I need to relieve myself
If this is the case, do not allow
your dog's barking to be its way of alerting you. You can try using a clicker to teach him a "Hush" command and
then teach him an alternate alert signal such as pawing at the door. Every time he barks to go out, hush him, ask
him if he has to "Go Potty" and then paw at the door with your hand. Repeat this process every time he barks to go
out. Praise and treat every time he follows your lead.
"I think I hear my friend, Fido,
Sometimes you'll find dogs barking
to each other. This doesn't happen very often unless you have a dog next door that won't shut up. You can try to
distract him by playing with him or starting a game of fetch but this won't solve the problem. Teaching him the
"hush" command is the best way to eliminate this behaviour.
"I heard a loud noise and I don't
know what it is."
If you know that the noise does not
pose a threat, stop the dog barking by playing with him or starting a game of fetch.
Try teaching him the "Hush" command
by using a clicker, and then when he has quieted down, fill his bowl with water. You can teach him to paw at his
bowl by tapping on his bowl when he's alerting you to fill his bowl. He will pick up on this after a
"Don't you dare come near my food
while I'm eating?"
Do not allow him to respond this way
whenever someone walks by him while he's eating. Next time it’s time to feed, place the bowl on your lap and feed
him one morsel at a time. Do not allow him to reach the bowl. Show him that you are in control of his food. Do it
until your pet gets accustomed to having someone touch his food. Have different members of the household try it as
well. This will help desensitize him and show him he can trust you. If you have an overly-aggressive dog, then I
would not recommend this.