Dog Barks: Understanding & Communication Problems

If the dog barks and barks for no apparent reason and persistently at any time of the day or night, good advice is expensive because the cause of the barking must first be determined. Find out here what barking is all about and what you can do about it.

Why do dogs bark?

What distinguishes the dog from the wolf? The Bark: Adult wolves (and other canine predators such as coyotes or jackals) rarely bark and their vocalizations are very different from the familiar bark of dogs. At best, a barking wolf emits a short, dull sound, situationally as a brief warning or in a fight. Barking is a vocalization that is characteristic of domestic dogs and can also articulate a wide range of meanings there.

Meanings of barking:

  • excitement (joy or nervousness)
  • demanding attention
  • prompt for activities
  • fear
  • Averting danger (“barking” at strangers)
  • “Give it aloud”, i.e. barking at the request of humans

The large “language range” of domestic dogs is presumably an adaptation of the animals to living together with humans in the course of domestication. Other typical “dog noises” are whimpering, squeaking, yelping, and growling – sounds that are also always used in certain contexts.

Dog keeps barking

Barking is therefore a means of communication with the help of which the dog can make himself understood to his two-legged friends in a very differentiated way. A short, situation-related bark is therefore part of the normal behavior of the dog.

The situation is different with the dreaded persistent barking.

There are various motivations for the “permanent barking”:

  • Boredom: If the dog is underemployed, there is a risk that it will develop bad habits. Some dogs start chewing on furniture, while others pass the time by barking concerts. Make sure the dog is busy. The workload must be adapted to the dog: action sports such as agility can stimulate excessively lively barkers. Long walks or dog sports that require concentration and patience are more suitable, such as obedience or tracking games. Quieter contemporaries, on the other hand, can be well exhausted with long bike tours. Try out what is fun for the four-legged friend and provides balance.
  • Loneliness: Many dogs are not good at being alone, and bark to vent their frustration and sense of abandonment.
  • Attention: In a large number of cases of constant barking, the dog is desperate to get its human’s attention for a variety of reasons. Again, training is helpful and necessary to channel the volume and barking of the animal.

When dogs bark incessantly for a long time, it is usually a warning or warning bark. In both cases, the dog demands attention:

  • He wants to show you something
  • Prompt you for action or
  • is in a conflict situation.

Dog barks when he’s alone

As mentioned above, some dogs bark constantly when they are alone. This type of barking is often triggered by separation anxiety. Fear of loss, which is compensated by barking, can be triggered by bad experiences or even disturbances in the early mother-puppy relationship.

Teach the animal as early as possible to get by without your presence for a few hours and make sure that it is sufficiently busy so that the dog also accepts rest phases calmly. Do not encourage your four-legged friend in his “clinging” behavior – you should avoid elaborate farewell rituals and welcoming joy.

If barking has become a problem while you’re away, get help from a qualified dog trainer. There are various exercises to reduce the stress on your four-legged friend and thus reduce barking or even stop it altogether.

Can barking be morbid?

If your dog doesn’t bark but starts barking all of a sudden and for no apparent reason, it could be a symptom of the disease. It can be an expression of pain or an indication of a neurological problem. Some dogs suddenly bark at night; this can also indicate psychological or physical problems.

In addition, constant barking can promote laryngitis (inflammation of the throat). In this case, take your four-legged friend to the vet to rule out any pathological causes.

How can I stop my dog ​​from barking?

A typical problem: the dog barks at visitors or gets very excited when the doorbell rings. This exciting barking shows that the dog is under tension, which he relieves by barking. As a rule, these dogs also move a lot, the tail wags, the animal runs back and forth. If you want to get your dog to stop barking, there are several tips that can help:

  • Do not suppress the barking (e.g. through punishment). The dog is then unable to release the stress, so it is still under tension even if it stops barking.
  • Greet him calmly, pet him gently, and don’t let the greeting get out of hand. Your movements should be slow and calm and your voice deep. Tell potential visitors that too.
  • Something to “scrunch” in the mouth, e.g. B. a dummy, serves several purposes: The barking stops because the mouth is full. The dog is distracted because he has something to do and the jaw movement relieves tension – without noise.
  • Link the doorbell to the resting place. Whenever the doorbell rings, but please also on other occasions, you send your darling to his blanket. After practicing this for a while, it becomes natural for him to wait there until you get him. This is especially helpful if your dog barks at people and you want to break the habit. Additionally, visitors might be afraid of dogs, especially when they’re acting like crazy.
  • In the training situation you can stop the dog directly: when the bell rings, interrupt its movement impulse if it wants to jump up and push it back to the resting place. The more consistently you pursue this, the faster he will just lie still because he knows that there is no need for him to take any action when the doorbell rings.

As said earlier, barking can indicate other things as well. If the dog is scared, it will help if you calm it down, stand by it, and reassure it. Demanding to bark, for example, if you are holding the ball and he wants you to finally throw it, should be sanctioned by insisting on silence.

Praise and reward your dog when he stops barking. Being quiet on demand is a signal that you can teach even an older dog with love and treats, and it’s helpful in many situations.

Is your dog barking at other dogs? There is also no general remedy here because the cause is important for the correct reaction. Is it fear, aggression, or prompt to play? Appropriate upbringing will then be based on this.

Are there dog breeds that are particularly fond of barking?

Apart from the individual character differences of the animals within a breed, there are differences in barking propensity.

Specifically, dog breeds that are bred as hunting or guard dogs have a higher disposition to bark. This is understandable since guard dogs are supposed to bark and intruders are supposed to bark, hunting dogs need to be able to communicate within the pack or with their master over distances.

German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Terriers, but also Pugs or Spitz have strong territorial behavior and will strike if someone approaches. On the other hand, calmer dog breeds are usually Golden Retrievers, Irish Wolfhounds, or Mastiffs.

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