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Why do Dogs Bark?

Dogs bark. It’s just part of who they are and it would be silly to expect a dog to never bark. Dogs bark to communicate a variety of things and feelings. Every kind of bark has a purpose for the dog and it’s important for dog owners to better understand why their pups bark so that, if action is necessary, you’ll know where to begin. 

But figuring out why your dog is barking can sometimes be tricky. Here are a few reasons why your pup is making all that noise! 

“Hello” Barking 

Many dogs bark to say “hello!” They may bark excitedly when they see other dogs or people. Sometimes they might whine as well, but this kind of barking is usually an excited and happy kind of barking. A trainer can help you with strategies to help calm these loud and boisterous

greetings. 

Territorial Barking 

Dogs are territorial animals and typically consider the area around their home as their turf. This is why many dogs bark excessively when people or dogs (or other animals for that matter) come near their house or yard. Your dog may be defending his territory by barking out of fear or uncertainty. A first step in stopping this behavior is by removing your dog’s ability to see or hear other people or animals. When he’s inside, move him to another room, away from windows, for example. Outside, consider installing a fence he can’t see through. Consulting with a trainer can help with other ways to manage this behavior. 

Attention Barking 

Plenty of dogs bark when they want something….your attention, food or a toy, for example. We humans often unknowingly reinforce this kind of barking by giving the dog some sort of attention, even if it’s just to holler, “Quit barking!” So when your dog is clearly barking for attention, one easy thing you can try is to simply ignore him. Easier said than done, we know! 

Compulsive Barking 

Dogs sometimes bark compulsively, meaning they don’t bark for any normal or expected reason or at things that don’t typically bother other dogs like shadows or lights, for example. Consulting a veterinary behaviorist is a good step in helping a dog with a compulsive barking habit. 

Alarm Barking 

Dogs bark when they are alarmed about something, no matter where they are. They don’t have to be in their own territory and this type of barking typically occurs when something surprises or startles a dog. Can you blame them? That said, there are strategies a trainer can help you with that can reduce the alarm barking when you’re out and about. 

Social Barking 

When your neighbor’s dog barks and your dog joins in, that’s social barking. And, to a dog, it’s a heck of a lot of fun! 

Frustration Barking 

This type of barking might happen when your pup is unable to access something he wants. He might be separated by a gate or fence from where he wants to be and he wants the world to know how unhappy he is about it! Talk with a trainer for ways to assist with this type of barking. 

Separation Anxiety Barking 

Some dogs bark excessively when their owners leave them alone. This is usually accompanied by other signs of anxiety like destruction, inappropriate elimination, pacing or more. As with compulsive barking, there are underlying issues that may need to be addressed. Consult with a trainer or a veterinary behaviorist to help with separation anxiety. 

While barking can be annoying, the good news is that most kinds of barking can be remedied with some training either by you, with lots of praise and treats, or with the help of a professional dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist. Remember, there’s always a reason behind a dog’s barking. Above all, practice patience. Then, figure out why your dog is barking, take some steps to help curb your dog’s desire to bark and keep reinforcing that good behavior. Woof! 

Categories Dogs

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