Why Do Dogs Bark?
The simple answer is, they are dogs and barking is a normal behaviour.
Dogs are social animals and it would be unreasonable to expect that your dog will never make a sound.
Barking is one of the ways our canine friends communicate and, in fact, can be incredibly useful when it comes to warning you about an intruder.
According to an article in The Guardian, barking dogs and security cameras are your best defence against someone intent on breaking in and stealing your stuff.
But when a dog barks excessively and seems like it just won’t stop? That’s another matter entirely.
Here are nine reasons why your pooch might be making so much noise in 2019
1. Being Overly Protective
Dogs are naturally protective of their space and their pack mates - you and your family.
When someone enters your space your dog will naturally sound the alarm.
The problem begins when the dogs doesn’t stop with a warning bark or two or when you tell them they’ve done their job and can now relax.
Some dogs get louder and louder as someone gets closer and just won’t stop, even when you try to reassure them that everything is ok.
2. Fear or Anxiety
A startled dog may yelp, howl, or bark. some may have good reason to be startled (a loud crack of thunder) while others may seem to be overreacting (for example, a dog with a fear of balloons may behave as if the world is coming to an end).
If a dog lives in a place where it feels threatened this fear response can be frequent and more than a little annoying.
3. A Bored Dog is an Unhappy Dog
Dogs are smart and social beings. Any dog left alone for long periods of time can develop boredom-related behaviours and when a dog is bored, barking or howling can be two common outcomes.
Related to this is the case when a dog barks because she feels left out of the conversation.
Some very social dogs hate to be ignored and barking may be their way of trying to get your attention.
Not getting enough exercise can also create problem behaviours in dogs, including excessive barking.
4. Excitement and Gleeful Anticipation
When Dad gets home from work, his pup may express sheer joy through attention seeking, high pitched barking.
Excited barking may also happen when a dog sees her leash being taken off its hook or in anticipation of a ball being thrown. This is happy barking, to be sure and not necessarily a barking problem, but it can be just as annoying when it won’t stop.
5. Separation Anxiety
Much as a child may kick up a fuss when left at kindergarten, dogs suffering from separation anxiety can bark and howl when they see their parents leaving. Just like with little kids, sometimes they settle down as soon as the car drives off, but sometimes the racket can continue for ages.
Checking in with the neighbours is the best way to determine just how long your dog barks after you leave. Trying to sneak back rarely works as a dog’s hearing and sense of smell will detect your arrival long before you might think it possible.
Some people claim this Deep Separation Anxiety Music does wonder for their dogs. Give it a try and let us know.
6. The Neighbours Are Doing It
Dogs communicate with each other through barking, so it makes sense that when Barky Jones starts up, your dog may well join in.
A similar behaviour occurs when a dog howls along with a passing emergency vehicle siren or starts singing along when they hear a particular song or musical instrument. While this can be cute, and YouTube-worthy, it can also be extremely annoying when a car alarm sets your dog off in the middle of the night.
7. Innate Characteristics
Some dogs (and breeds) are noisier than others. While some owners report their dogs rarely say a word, many others are not so lucky. Your dog might just be a barker!
People owned by German Shepherds will know exactly what I mean here.
8. Discomfort or Pain
Dogs can make noises (whining, growling, barking, howling) when they are in pain, hungry, or uncomfortable for some other reason (being too hot or cold, for example).
Often this type of barking is easily resolved if you can figure out the root cause and fix the problem.
9. The Housing Situation
Dogs tied up outside may also become compulsive barkers, though it doesn’t take much creative thinking to realise that’s likely because they are bored, lonely, or exposed to a lot of passing traffic.
If you tie your dogs up for extended periods of time outside, should you even have a dog?
How To Resolve Nuisance Barking?
Understanding why your dog barks is the key to figuring out how to tackle the problem.
Most barking problems can be solved with a burning off of any excess energy, make sure you are giving your doggo enough exercise and mental stimulation (chew toys and puzzles are a great option).
With a little positive reinforcement when the dog stops barking, it is possible to teach your dog when appropriate to bark or not. While some dogs need bark collars to help them understand. If you need help, find a dog trainer locally and book a consult. There is a good chance you’ll pick up even more handy tricks along the way.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at solutions to excessive barking in another post, but obviously there isn’t just one reason why a dog might tune up and let loose with more racket than you want to deal with.
At Rawmate we love our dogs and are always keeping our fingers on the pulse when it comes to keeping our dogs happy, healthy and well-adjusted.
Feeding a raw food diet for dogs is one way to help keep your dogs vigorous and fit, though we can’t guarantee your dog won’t bark in delighted anticipation when they know dinner is on its way!
Sorry about that…