What’s All the Barking About?

There’s a knock at the door, your dog starts barking. The mailman walks by and your furry friend has to alert the neighborhood. Or maybe your pup greets you with a little “woof woof” when you return home. Just as humans, dogs have a voice, and whether barking, howling, or whining, they typically have their reasons for communicating with us.

Contrary to popular belief, dogs don’t bark just because they can; they are genuinely trying to tell us something, and if you pay close attention, you will even notice the difference in barks in certain situations, which can be a great way to understand the reason for the barking and whether it needs addressing.

General Reasons Dogs Bark Include:

The Meet and Greet Bark – When your dog wags her tail, body relaxed, while barking and maybe even whining, this is her way of greeting you or others.

The Seeking Attention Bark – Have you ever been engaged in conversation at the dinner table and your pup interrupts with a random bark as she sits at your feet? Well, she’s trying to get your attention. Whether it’s her vying for your affection, or wanting you to sneak her a bite, that bark is to get you to notice her.

The Social Bark – Everyone knows that when one dog barks, every dog in the neighborhood joins in, including yours.

The Playful Bark – When your pup gets excited, you may notice a higher pitch bark that sounds ‘happy’. This is common when dogs are playing with other dogs, or humans.

The Frustrated or Bored Bark – This bark can be a little pathetic, yet annoying. It will likely be repetitive and typically indicates that your canine companion isn’t happy with her current situation. For example, if you have to confine your fur baby to a kennel, she might get frustrated and bark repetitively. It might also be a way of her telling you she’s bored or lonely, especially when confined.

The Alert Bark – Any little sound or glimpse of movement can prompt your four-legged friend to sound her alarm by barking loudly, and with authority. This type of bark isn’t restricted to the home, as it can occur wherever she might sense a threat.

The Territorial Bark – Canines are territorial, so when another animal or person approaches their property (and that includes you) the common response is to bark, and it’s usually excessive. This type of barking will be very similar to the alert bark. You can expect to see a stiffer body combined with a stern, loud bark that will most likely include growling.

Other causes of barking can include illness, injury, fear, phobias, or anxiety. If you’re concerned that any of these could be the reason for your fur baby’s barking habits, please talk to your veterinarian.

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