18 Facts About Barking!
It is so heart-warming to hear your dog’s soft bark when you enter home after a long day! It’s equally frustrating when your dog barks excessively at sights, sounds and sometimes even smells.
–by Varsha Verma
Dogs communicate through various ways and barking is one of the prominent ways. They bark to alert us if someone is at the door, they bark if they need anything and they also bark when they are happy. Pet parents over a period of time can distinguish between fearful, alert, happy or sad bark. Some dog bark excessively, for no reason. That should be stopped!
Here are few facts about dog barking:
- Barking is breed-specific: Some breeds are known to be barkers. These include Beagles, Fox Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, West Highland White Terrier, Pekingese, Chihuahuas, Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Lhasa Apsos, Maltese and Pomeranians. While there are a few who seldom bark – Whippet, Italian Greyhound, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Borzoi and Saluki.
- Barking for their benefit: Dogs bark for a distinct function and if they get what they want, they will learn to use barking to their benefit. For example, whenever my dog Rocky needs attention, he will give a short bark and look into our eyes. Since we started responding to this behaviour, he now uses it to not only gain attention but also for treats, food, walk, etc.
- Territorial barking: Whenever Rocky sees anybody (people, dogs, animal) coming close to our home/car or what he thinks is his territory, he barks excessively, marking his territory. This is normal dog behaviour.
- Alarm barking: If your dog barks at every noise or sight, he’s probably alarm barking. During this time, you may see a stiff body language and they often move or pounce forward, just an inch or two with each bark.
- Greeting barking: Some dogs bark while greeting somebody or other dogs. During this time, their body is relaxed and their tails wagging.
- Compulsive barking: If your dog barks excessively, running back and forth, then it is compulsive barking. Seek a vet or a dog trainer.
- Social barking: Sometimes, you will hear a dog bark somewhere and your dog repeats and starts barking excessively, it is socially-facilitated barking.
- Frustrated/Separation-anxiety barking: Some dogs bark excessively when they are in a situation they do not like – left alone at home, tied up, etc.
- Barking in pain: Dogs do not know how to tell us if they are in pain. All they can do is bark. If you think your dog might be hurt or is not well, get him examined by a vet immediately. So, what can you do to minimise barking in dogs? Here are a few tips to help you:
- Seeing less is barking less: For treatment of territorial or alarm barking, you need to reduce his opportunities to defend his territory. This means that your dog should not see people or animals approaching your house. Train them to be at an alternate location when you expect somebody at the house.
- Don’t give them attention: Sometimes dogs bark just to get attention;, at such times, do not look at them or pat them. Instead look at a different angle and continue doing your work. When he stops barking, them give him what he wants.
- When ‘Quiet’ is the word: Train your dog to ‘Quiet’ command, where they sop barking once they hear the word Quiet. Do not shout. Just say the command clearly and calmly. Then go to your dog, gently hold his muzzle and repeat “Quiet.” Release him, step away, and call him near you, ask him dog to sit and give him a treat.
- ‘Go to Your Spot’ Training: You can also use ‘Go to your Spot’ command to keep dogs out of reach of doors and windows, where they can see or hear people and dogs and start barking. Give him a treat when he obeys.
- Controlling frustrated barking: When you have no option but to leave you dog alone at home, give him some added comfort like a kong toy so that he can be busy when he is alone. Before leaving, take him out for a walk, so that he is tired and can sleep.
- Treats while walking: Sometimes dogs bark at people while walking. During this time, show your dogs some treats by holding it in front of his nose and encourage him to nibble while he’s walking past a person/dog who would normally cause him to bark.
- Never yell at your dog while barking: If you yell at your dog, chances are he will bark louder. So, use the commands firmly and wait for him to calm down.
- Reward your dog: Reward your dog whenever they do not bark at such things or are silent after you give them a command.
- Take help of a certified dog trainer: If nothing helps, seek help of a certified dog trainer, who will train your dog to keep quiet on command.