Dog domestication can be traced back to the end of the last Ice Age, 11,000 years ago where dogs were present across the northern hemisphere. It was during this time that dogs acquired the ability to bark as a method of communication. Surprisingly barking is uncommon in wolves and although they can bark it is not the same as normal canine barking as the wolf combines with another vocal such as a howl, whine, or whimper. Wolves will bark to warn others of impending danger and here’s an example of a wolf bark-howl.
There is a wide range of reasons your dog will bark and this can range from being excited, being bored, or just seeking attention. The majority of dogs bark but they are a few breeds that don’t bark too often. One particular breed of dog that stands out is the Basenji. The Basenji is sometimes called the African Barkless Dog. Now they are not entirely quiet but when the Basenji does make a sound it’s more like a yodel than a traditional dog bark. Here’s an example of some rather strange dog yodel sounds.
Barking is a natural communication method for canines but when the barking becomes obsessive it becomes a problem. For dogs that bark excessively the first step in fixing this issue is to find out the reasons why your dog barks so much in the first place.
If you are a first-time dog owner when considering this issue you need to be certain that the barking is a problem. The vast majority of dogs bark whether it is a knock on the front door or when they get excited. Perhaps what you consider excessive dog barking is just normal canine behavior and the dog’s way of letting you know what’s going on. That said, excessive barking could be the symptom of a more serious underlying condition and professional veterinarian advice should be sought.
5 Main Reasons Dogs Bark
1. Dogs Bark for Attention
In many ways, dogs can act like little children with no manners. Picture the scene. You are on a call and your dog decides it’s time to interrupt you as he wants attention. Dogs just like kids need to be taught manners as otherwise, you will have an unruly pup on your hands.
The dogs most likely to bark are dogs that are needy and anxious. Ensuring that any physical and emotional needs are sorted will help with a dog barking for attention. The more confident and happy a dog the less likely you will be faced with attention barking.
2. Dogs Bark To Warn Others
Even with the technological advances in most recent years, you still cannot beat the best natural alarm system – your canine. Dogs have been around humans for thousands of years and have always acted as their natural warning system to alert about danger or some strange noise, person, or animal. Even today dogs are still used in homes and businesses as they can alert owners to any unwelcome visits.
When a dog barks to warn, the barks are rapid and of a lower pitch. This indicates that there is imminent danger and to take heed. When a dog is excited the barks can also be rapid but with a higher pitch. For further information on pitch and dog sounds check out our article on Different Dog Sounds
A dog will normally stop barking once the dog recognizes that there is no danger and everything is ok and there is no threat to anybody.
3. Dogs Bark When Excited
It’s very normal for dogs to bark when they are excited. Just like humans express themselves when they are excited it’s no different for dogs.
Dogs are masters at reading our body language and even though you may think you are not being watched before taking your dog for a walk, your dog is observing every little nuance and movement. Dogs will recognize the patterns of behavior either before a walk in the park or when dinner is being prepared. These little clues will build and your dog figures out that something good is going to happen and consequently he will bark in excitement. It’s all-natural behavior.
4. Dogs Bark When Anxious
Many dogs when left alone for long periods can become anxious. Consequently, they will often resort to barking so as to try and make contact with their owner or else use the barking as a soothing mechanism. The barking can go on for hours until somebody responds.
When dogs are anxious or lonely the barking will be a series of long barks and pauses as the dog will wait and listen to see if anybody answers the call.
5. Dogs Bark When Bored
A bored dog barking is an all too familiar sound in a neighborhood. When a dog is left alone with no stimulation or company he can naturally feel bored. Barking helps by soothing the dog and also it gives him something to do to relieve the boredom.
If you have a boredom barker then it’s essential that you make your dog’s day more stimulating. Try and organize some dog walking sessions while you are not at home or else consider doggie daycare. It’s really not fair to leave a dog alone all day while you are out and then blame him for barking out of boredom. Imagine how you would feel if you were in your dog’s position.
Ways to Help Prevent Too Much Barking
If you think your dog barks too much then the first thing you should do is to make sure your dog is getting everything it needs from a physical and emotional perspective. A happy and confident dog will bark less than an anxious or lonely dog
Dogs that are bored and lonely need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation and human company. If you are out of the house for long periods then consider organizing a dog walker or somebody to call by to play with the dog. Physical exercise is great for both canine and humans’ mental health so try and ensure your dog gets some exercise every day. Some dogs love to play fetch and it can be a great way of tiring your canine
When at home make things interesting for your dog by playing some games. Hide some food and treats in different parts of the house and encourage your dog to find them.
For further information on dog training techniques and to learn more about barking and how to deal with barking that has become obsessive then check out the Secrets to Dog Training. It’s the complete manual for dog ownership and covers many essential aspects of canine behavior to help you and your dog live happily together.