Why do dogs bark?
Breed – some dogs were bred to bark such as hounds and dogs used as guards
Frustration – energy not burned by appropriate exercise can manifest itself in barking
Emotional need – boredom, anxiety, excitement
Attention – barking will get them attention – whether it is good or bad
Noise – dogs, people, thunder, cars, horns, doorbells, fireworks etc….
Physical need – hungry, needs to eliminate
Barking can be one of the most difficult behaviors to modify. It is a self rewarding activity meaning the act of barking is its own reward in many instances. Barking is also an normal and innate behavior, meaning barking is in a dog’s genetic makeup. A basic foundation of obedience training is a must! Excessive barking, really is not the problem, it is a symptom. To cure the symptom, we must find out why he is barking to decrease the occurance and teach him to stop barking when you say.
Leaving your dog in the back yard while you are away can lead to boredom, excited or anxious barking. Excessive barking outdoors may lead to lawsuits. It may be best to leave your dog inside or in a crate if necessary to prevent the annoyance to your neighbors. If your dog is barking in the back yard, try leaving then sneaking back to a spot where you can watch your dog without him knowing you are there and observe when he is barking. Is he barking at something he sees or hears or is he barking just for the sake of barking? If you see that he is barking AT something, the first thing to do is try to prevent the dog from seeing or hearing the things that are triggering his barking. If he is barking for the sake of barking, that is something entirely different.
Is he bored? Make sure he has plenty of toys that you can rotate on a daily basis. Chew toys that can be stuffed with a yummy filling then frozen can keep your dog busy. Hiding different toys around the back yard or in the house can also keep him busy looking for the next toy (this is not recommended for dogs that are destructive). Interactive toys that make noise, have food stuffed in them or can be pushed around for treats to fall out of are all great ways to keep him busy.
I believe dog training should be fun, rewarding and exciting for both the dog and the human. I take a scientific approach to training and train through love, kindness and respect with clearly defined rules and boundaries and get fabulous results. I have been a trainer for 20 years, graduated from Animal Behavior College (ABCDT), I am certified through Association of Professional Dog Trainers/Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) and the International Association of Canine Professionals (CDT). I am the founder and president of HEARTland Positive Dog Training Alliance; a group of pet professionals and dog owners dedicated to positive reinforcement training.
1. Continuous rapid barking, mid-range pitch: “Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!” Continuous barking but a bit slower and pitched lower: “The intruder [or danger] is very close. Get ready to defend yourself!”
2. Barking in rapid strings of three or four with pauses in between, mid-range pitch: “I suspect that there may be a problem or an intruder near our territory. I think that the leader of the pack should look into it.”
3. Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance: “Is there anybody there? I’m lonely and need companionship.” This is most often the response to confinement or being left alone for long periods of time.
4. One or two sharp short barks, midrange pitch: “Hello there!” This is the most typical greeting sound.
5. Single sharp short bark, lower midrange pitch: “Stop that!” This is often given by a mother dog when disciplining her puppies but may also indicate annoyance in any dog, such as when disturbed from sleep or if hair is pulled during grooming and so forth.
6. Single sharp short bark, higher midrange: “What’s this?” or “Huh?” This is a startled or surprised sound. If it is repeated two or three times its meaning changes to “Come look at this!” alerting the pack to a novel event. This same type of bark, but not quite as short and
sharp, is used to mean “Come here!” Many dogs will use this kind of bark at the door to indicate that they want to go out. Lowering the pitch to a relaxed midrange means “Terrific!” or some other similar expletive, such as “Oh, great!” My cairn terrier, for example, who loves to jump, will give this single bark of joy when sent over the high jump. Other dogs give this same bark when given their food dish.
7. Single yelp or very short high-pitched bark: “Ouch!” This is in response to a sudden, unexpected pain.
8. Series of yelps: “I’m hurting!” “I’m really scared” This is in response to severe fear and pain.
9. Stutter-bark, mid-range pitch: If a dog’s bark were spelled “ruff,” the stutter-bark would be spelled “ar-ruff.” It means “Let’s play!” and is used to initiate playing behavior.
10. Rising bark: This is a bit hard to describe, although once you’ve heard it, it is unmistakable. It is usually a series of barks, each of which starts in the middle range but rises sharply in pitch – almost a bark-yelp, though not quite that high. It is a play barking, used during rough-and- tumble games, that shows excitement and translates as “This is fun!”