Ever wonder why dogs bark? Check out five different reasons for why Fido loudly sounds the alarm for no apparent reason! I bet you’ll be surprised by a few! Imagine this: You’re sleeping peacefully when loud and incessant barking wakes up from your pleasant dreams. Sounds very familiar, right? But I bet that you have never thought seriously why your dog is barking. Well, if you know why dogs bark, maybe you can enjoy a good night’s sleep once in a while, don’t you think? In this case, you’ve come to the right place looking for answers.
Why Dogs Bark
Let me start by saying that dogs don’t bark without reason. They don’t bark to show you that they’ve got a nice voice. They don’t do it to spite you, get back at you or vex your neighbors.
Barking, whining, howling, growing – that’s the way dogs communicate with their owners and express their feelings and needs. Depending on the situation barking can mean a lot of things, and owners don’t always manage to decipher its meaning correctly.
But that’s why we are here. Let’s look at the most common reasons for barking.
Warning! Threat approaching!
Sometimes, dogs react to strangers and unfamiliar objects by barking because they think of you as their family. They want to warn you, defend you or just show you something they deem interesting. They also bark to protect their territory, a.k.a. your home, scare potential intruders away and announce that this is their house and a stranger has no business here.
In other words, a loud, insistent bark usually means that something is going on and you should get up and check it out like yesterday. While it’s natural for a dog to guard his territory, you should keep something in mind. A dog that barks aggressively at strangers is a dog that doesn’t feel comfortable around people. It’s a dog scared of what other people might do. This can lead to future behavioral problems, especially when you have guests or take your dog for a walk around the park.
Help, I’m bored!
Dogs are intelligent animals. When you leave them alone all day long with no company and no one to pay them attention, they start to bark. Worse, they start to chew and destroy. Goodbye pillows, goodbye shoes, goodbye furniture. Hello, expenses. What’s more, no one wants to return home and find a mess after a hard day at work or listen to his grumpy neighbors complaining about the noise.
Fortunately, the solution is a simple one. Just make sure that you provide your dog with mind-stimulating toys to keep him entertained during the day. The other option is to get him a play buddy.
I don’t want to be alone, please
Separation anxiety is not something that happens only to humans. Your dog might panic when you leave him alone. As a result, he will start to bark excessively and destroy things. This is not the same as barking due to boredom. For starters, a dog that doesn’t want to be alone will start to bark as soon as he feels that you’re about to leave him and go to work. You’ll also observe other symptoms such as urinating in inappropriate places, restless pacing, depression, running in circles, whining, etc. If you suspect that this is the reason for barking, you should immediately consult a professional dog trainer or veterinarian to evaluate the problem.
I want something, and I want it now
Dogs can’t use words to tell you that they are hungry or thirsty. But if Rover is barking at his food or water dish, this is a pretty good indication what he wants. He also might be scratching and barking at the door to let you know that he really has to go and that it’s time to get the leash and go for a walk. Or suffer the consequences. Sometimes barking is the result of frustration. My dog used to bark and scratch the ground when there was food nearby that was out of her reach or when a stray cat was perched on the fence.
Hello! You’re back!
When you come home from work, your dog welcomes you with a wagging tail, a jump, and a bark, doesn’t he? Well, this is called a greeting bark. Your dog is happy that you are home and that he has somebody to play with. Rover might also greet you with such enthusiasm because he is not getting enough stimulation throughout the day and has some excess energy that he must burn off in some way.
In time, you’ll learn to distinguish when your dog is barking because there is someone at your doorsteps and when he is just looking for attention. It’s all in the intonation, the severity of the bark and the posture of your dog. While barking might be inconvenient and annoying at times, remember that this is how your dog expresses his needs. If you want a silent dog, get a Basenji. That’s a breed that doesn’t bark. I’m not joking, it does exist.