Puppy Dog Barking: Why do dogs bark?

Many dog owners want their dogs to bark only when there is danger present. When someone is trying to break into your home, it is good to have a dog around. Not only may he scare off the intruder, your dog’s loud bark will alarm you that you should be on guard because something is wrong. However, dogs, unlike their owners, don’t consider barking to be a tool that should be used only under certain circumstances. Rather, dogs bark in order to get a message across to their owners. A dog’s bark is much like your voice: he uses it to communicate something to those people that he cares about. Unfortunately, it is hard to understand dogs, as they don’t speak our language. So, in order to comprehend why a dog is barking, we must take the context, our dog’s body language, and the circumstances that led to the vocalization into consideration.

So, how come dogs bark?

There are many different reasons why dogs bark. Many times, barking behavior varies among different breeds. Some dogs were bred to bark only under certain circumstances: when they consider a person or situation to be threatening. Specifically, this characterizes the guarding breeds, such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds. Other dogs were bred to use barking as a tool to help their owners locate or pursue an object. For example, sporting breeds (Beagles and Bloodhounds) are used during hunting expeditions because they know that they need to howl in order to alert the hunter that the prey is nearby. Then, there are just some dogs that have turned barking into a hobby and enjoy to hear themselves yap. This is common among the various toy breeds.

Now, although dog barking is largely dependent upon the breed, there are certain circumstances under which any dog will bark, regardless of its breed. They are as follows:

  1. Your dog is feeling bored or lonesome.
  2. He is hungry, or is aware that it is mealtime.
  3. Something is astray, there is somebody lurking near or around the home.
  4. He wants you to play with him.
  5. He catches sight of another animal.
  6. He needs to relieve himself.

Now, if you know that your dog is barking because of any of the above reasons, it would be impractical for you to try to stop him. Remember, it is normal for all canines to bark during certain times and situations. I’m sure that you were aware of this when you took your four legged friend home. Otherwise, if you wanted complete silence from your pet, I’d assume that you would have adopted a goldfish instead.

Dog Barking: Are You Training Your Dog to Bark?

Believe it or not, dogs can be very manipulative. Many times, dogs bark for very selfish reasons: they want to force you to do something in their favor. When this happens, not only is the barking uncalled for; it can become extremely annoying. However, remember this important fact: Dog training occurs each and every time you and your pooch interact. He learns from your reactions to his behavior.

Now, let me give you an example of how your dog can use his voice in order to try to manipulate you. Imagine the following scenario: you’re sitting on your couch, reading the newspaper after a long day of work. All you want to do is relax, but you’re rambunctious pooch wants to play. She picks up her toy, comes beside you, and drops it in your lap. You’re in the middle of reading and pay no attention. After a few seconds of being ignored, your dog is frustrated and gives your hand a nudge with her nose while letting out a loud bark. You glance at her, and she is already in the play-bow stance (she has her elbows close to the floor, bottom in the air, and she is wagging her tail), and is panting. You continue to ignore her and keep reading the paper. She begins to bark again, but this time her barking is continuous and very, very loud. She’s decided that she’s not letting up until she gets her own way. After a few minutes of her noise, you put down the paper, pick up her toy, and take her outside to play. Now that she has gotten your attention and what she wanted (to go outside and play), she has stopped barking.

I think that we all know that respect is a very important aspect of our relationships with our dogs. You respect your dog by taking good care of her even though you may be inconvenienced, giving her healthy and tasty food, and showing her affection. To deserve your respect, however, she must show reverence to you, too. Remember, your dog is not your equal. When you own a dog You are the boss, and your dog is the pet. The roles should never be reversed. Dogs, unlike young children, are most comfortable and best-behaved when they know that you are the leader who is in control. In order to be a pet that is happy, well-adjusted, and well-behaved, your dog must first respect your leadership.

Now, in the example above, the dog was obviously disrespecting her master. She was not trying to kindly persuade her owner to play with her; rather, she was harassing him for his attention. The owner, by caving into his dog’s bad behavior, reinforced her barking. How? Well, by giving his pooch what she wanted (attention and playtime outside) he Rewarded the dog barking. So, what did the dog learn as a result? That it is OK to bark anytime she wants to because, in order to get what she wants, all she must do is make a lot of noise until she achieves her goal.

As a dog owner, reinforcing negative behavior is one of the worse mistakes that you can make. Affection and play-times are necessary; however, they must be given according to Your terms. If you unintentionally teach your dog that she is able to get her own way by barking and being a nuisance, then she will develop a very bad habit. To prevent your pet from developing this, as well as other dog behavior problems, you must show her that it is you who are the boss and that you cannot be manipulated.