Dogs trace their ancestry all the way back to wolf packs.
People domesticated dogs by breeding out some of their less desirable behaviors. This process accidentally led to new characteristics that owners like. These include different color coats as well as traits like floppy ears.
Over a thousand years of breeding has led to the wide variety of dogs that we see today.
But there’s one thing that just about every dog does mostly to the chagrin of their owners. That’s right: barking.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Scientists think the barking is an evolved behavior just for our benefit. They also believe that dogs can communicate at least six different emotions through their bark. It’s also postulated that they’re trying to talk to us through their bark.
Here are some possible reasons that provoke a dog to bark:
- Dogs that bark are exhibiting a normal behavior that’s typical for dogs to engage in.
- Dogs bark to warn stray dogs to keep clear of their territory.
- Dogs can share their level of excitement through barking. For example, a dog might bark when it’s happy.
- Barking could be a signal that a dog is playing.
- Dogs are naturally protective of themselves and their owners. They ensure the safety of the pack by barking when danger seems near.
- One trait that hasn’t been bred out of dogs is aggression. Dogs typically bark when they are preparing to attack another dog or even a stranger.
- Your dog will bark if it’s afraid. A common barking problem is when the dog starts to cry when the owner is leaving the house. This fear of being alone is also often the cause of night barking in dogs.
- How To Retrain a Barking Dog
A dog that engages in excessive barking can be like an annoying roommate. The dog owner should take a patient and practical approach when figuring out how to stop your own dog from barking. Dog owners should also realize what they’re getting into when picking a dog breed. There are dog breeds who are more likely to engage in barking compared to other breeds. Beagles and so called “yapper” dogs (small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers, Pekingese and Miniature Schnauzers) are some breeds that are notorious for barking. Some dogs have also been abused early in their lives and engage in frequent fearful barking.
Getting your dog to cease its barking habit does not mean that the dog completely stops vocalizing their emotions. Using dog training to halt your dog’s barking on your command is a more realistic goal. If your dog has been given free rein to bark for quite some time, don’t expect the dog to cease barking right away after training. Appropriate dog training can cure excessive barking as long as the owner is consistent. Here are a few tips if your dog’s bark is making too much noise for your living space.
When using specialized dog training to quiet your dog, you should always keep a positive demeanor. Dogs take better to positive reinforcements as a way to correct their behavior. Try not to punish your dog or be too harsh with it when it’s engaging in certain ‘negative’ behaviors like barking. Also, make sure that your entire family is on the same page when providing reinforcement to your family dog. Inconsistent reinforcement from different family members makes it difficult for your dog to respond appropriately at all times. Unless your entire family reacts in the same manner every time, your dog is just going act erratically as it tries to please everyone by acting differently. Don’t confuse the poor fellow!
Stopping your dog from barking is somewhat an exercise in practical sense. Observe your dog to see what causes your dog to bark. Is it the sight of people passing by or coming inside your house? Does your dog bark because he has pent up energy and needs some way to get it out? Once you know what your dog’s barking triggers are, it’s up to you to systematically address them. If it’s strangers he sees in the window that is causing the barking, try drawing the drapes so he can’t see out the windows. If any area of the house is particularly triggering, then try moving him someplace where he won’t be triggered by stimulus the dog can’t control.
How to Stop Night Barking
Night barking is the worst as it could keep you awake. Night barking is also a nuisance to neighbors and may create a tense situation if it’s not curbed. Here are some tips on how to cure the habit of night barking that’s keeping your family awake.
Night barking may be because he’s hungry or hasn’t had enough to drink. Changing the dog’s mealtime to be later at night and making sure he has adequate water can address these problems. Try not to reward a dog barking at night with attention. Yelling at a dog who is barking will make it think that you and he are barking together. Give a “that a boy!” to reward your pet at the moment it quiets down.
You may also have to change your dog’s exercise schedule to make sure he gets enough walking and running during the day. A dog who has had its run of the neighborhood and has exhausted its energy is much less prone to barking while the rest of the house is sleeping. This makes it easier for your family and your dog to coexist under the same roof.
Dogs seem to understand our words, and they think we’re barking at them when we talk. It’s interesting to contemplate what your dog is trying to communicate by barking. Once you understand what it is your dog wants, it makes it easier to calm your dog by addressing the problem it’s stressed about.