How much a dog barks also depends on its breed and its upbringing, but it is also an innate behavior: it is the language of the four-legged friends. When your dog barks, he’s trying to tell you something.
All dogs bark, some more, others less. But this notorious “barking joy” of dogs is not only innate and breed-specific. It is also environment-dependent, partner-dependent, situation-dependent.
The barking carries a message
Why do dogs bark? They want to say something to their partners. And what do you want to say? American researchers have examined this and found out that dogs always only utter “contradictory word salad”. In a tour, you say nothing else than: “Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on…”. In the dog pack it is absolutely understandable and also meant absolutely seriously.
4 ways dogs communicate
Dogs, as modern, trainable pack animals, have a wide range of communication options. And when they want to “talk” to others, they usually use four different levels of communication, four different “channels”:
- Olfactory level: setting and understanding olfactory signals
- tactile level: physical contact
- optical level: visible gestures
- acoustic level: audible signals
The first two communication levels require physical contact, the third only works with visual contact, but the fourth also bridges spatial distances.
Among dogs, barking is an attempt to communicate something to a partner or opposite without visual or physical contact at a distance, to which, from the dog’s point of view, the partner should react immediately. Dogs understand and react to such “calls” quickly and always correctly. But people usually have to recognize what is actually happening before they react.
Screening does not help against barking
A privacy fence is good and effective when you want to separate people and dogs. Humans are “eye animals”, they react to what they see. And if you can’t see the dog behind the fence, then you don’t react either – neither in one way nor in that – then you simply “overlook” him, which is only useful for peaceful coexistence.
Dogs, however, can hear the tapping steps of their favorite enemy from afar, they can smell its presence. And when they can’t control how he reacts because of the privacy fence, they repeat their barked “Get lost!” just as long until their nose and ears signal: “He’s gone.”
Soothe the dog’s barking
To stop the dog barking, one should work with non-acoustic means:
- you show yourself to your dog (= optical level)
- you nudge him (= tactile level)
- it is best to smell like happy serenity and not get upset (= olfactory level)
And with a small gesture, with a mini-acoustic counterpoint, a short whistle, or a visible hand-clapping, which is only reserved for this situation, I signal his excitement “Attention, now it’s the cuddle-cuddling-treat time!”