5 Reasons Why Do Dogs Bark? | Understanding Dog Barking Better

“With understanding comes great power” – Who said it?

Ok, after some intensive research (more like a quick 2 second Google search, haha! 😉 ) I may have messed up Spiderman’s Uncle Ben’s infamously popular quote BUT my version is exactly what I’m going for on the subject of dog barking.

Learning Why Dogs Bark is essential to know BEFORE you even make an attempt to control it.

That’s because the function of barking is quite important for all dogs’ well-being. Even the communication between dogs in different houses can be equally as important.

Too many people want to ‘shut up’ theirs or someone else’s dog. No, no, no. That’s not the right mentality to have and by the end of this brief discussion you’re gonna understand why.

Dogs bark for a number of reasons including:

  • to alert
  • being bored or lonely
  • being territorial or protective of their space (aka yours or your neighbor’s homes)
  • attention seeking
  • anxieties and other health issues
  • and the list goes on and on

But a subject like this needs a more in-depth look. So let’s look deeper into what the true meaning behind dog barking then we’ll briefly touch on what you can do to control it if you are having problems with that.


Why Do Dogs Bark?

Ultimately, the purpose of a dog’s bark is communication. In other words, it’s their way of speaking,

Communication is a fundamental need for animals and human beings. Animals like dogs express themselves through barking, just like the way human beings convey their ideas through talking.

Language is the basic form of communication and the dog’s language is articulated through barks. Even growling is a form of barking. The barking sound might present itself through a range of variations. These variations exist in different dimensions which include:

  • the duration of the bark
  • the frequency of the bark
  • the pitch of the bark.

The pitch of your dog’s bark will convey what the dog is trying to express. A low pitch signifies anger, hostility, warnings, or threats.

On the other hand, a high pitched bark indicates that the dog is happy and you MAY be able to approach it safely. In addition to this, a low pitch indicates that a dog is larger while a high pitched sound signifies that a smaller dog is barking. Therefore, you can safely decipher the pitch of your barking dog using these guidelines.

A dogs’ bark can be sustained within various variations. When a dog barks in extended time, it will convey that it’s mindful of the next move that it will make. Moreover, when the bark has a low pitch and it’s sustained for a long time, it will express the dog’s desire for fierceness and maintaining what it’s trying to express. Short barks which are not sustained for a long period indicate that the dog is fearful and worried.

The rate of recurrence of your dog’s bark is also vital in communication. When a dog is excited or overwhelmed it will tend to bark rapidly and repeatedly. Besides, these barks might suggest that the dog is sensing an impending crisis. In retrospect, when a dog barks sparingly but sharply, it may be trying to convey that it’s not very excited.

The question, “why do dogs bark?” cannot be answered sufficiently without interpreting the different types of barks. The classic alarm bark is the most frequent variant of the sound. This is made by two to four rapid barks accompanied by pauses in between.
The low pitched, slow, but constant bark is used to express approaching danger. Additionally, it may also be an alert bark that the dog may use to warn you of imminent danger and to tell you to defend yourself.

The welcome or greeting bark is a midrange pitch which is accompanied by one or two sharp barks indicates that the dog is greeting you. Moreover, if you are a visitor it may also indicate that you’re welcomed in the house or premises. When the dog doesn’t recognize you, it might start with the alarm bark and graduate into this sound.

The companionship bark is expressed by a sustained batch of lone sounds that have intentional gaps between each cluster. This sound conveys that your dog is craving for your attention and companionship. Also, it is a signal that your dog is lonely.

The stutter bark indicates that your dog wants to play. Just like the name suggests, it is expressed by an elaborate stutter sound. While making this sound, the dogs’ rear end will be higher than the front side which will be flat.

Most people ask themselves, why do dogs bark? Below are some of the reasons why man’s best friend barks.
1. Alert:
Dogs are always vigilant. Their observing nature ensures that every event doesn’t bypass them. Therefore, when they notice anything that is out of the norm they will bark to create an alarm. Certain aspects will prompt the dog to bark to make sure that they alert you. These features include an unusual noise that they don’t recognize. The noise might also be a sound that the dog doesn’t recognize. Additionally, the dog will bark at objects that they don’t recognize. Consequently, the dog will bark in familiar surroundings and in any environment to create an alert.

2. Boredom/Loneliness:
A majority of canines are pack animals. Since dogs belong to this category of animals they are bound to live in packs. Pack animals live in groups and they also carry out all their activities collectively. Your dog might be living within your compound but, this is an inherent character. Therefore, when they are left without company for an extended time, they are bound to feel abandoned. Consequently, they will be sad and lonely. This is notwithstanding whether the dog is left in the house or outside. When the dog feels lonely, they will also feel unhappy and this causes the bark.

3. Territorial/ Protective:
Dogs are naturally territorial animals and they are logically defensive of their surroundings. Therefore, the barking is usually a sign that your dog feels threatened. Once another animal or a fellow dog shows up in an area the dog deems as its area, it will be prompted to bark. This also applies to human beings who don’t necessarily live in that area. When the person or animal that the dog considers as a threat, moves closer to it, the dogs’ barking will become louder. Additionally, you will also notice that the dog will appear aggressive, menacing, and alert while barking.

4. Seeking Attention:
Domestic animals love seeking attention. Dogs are not any different. Therefore, they will often bark when they desire or need something from you or other animals. This includes getting a treat. Regardless of where you live, you should always remember that a dog needs to go outside even if it’s for a short walk. When you deny it this opportunity it will start barking. A majority of dog owners don’t give their dogs a chance to play. A dog needs to be allowed to exercise and to play. When you block your dog from playing, it will bark in protest.

5. Separation Anxiety/ Obsessive Barking:
As pointed above, a dog is a pack animal. Therefore, it prefers to be in the company of other dogs or human beings. As a result of this, it will suffer from separation anxiety when you leave it alone. This kind of barking is often accompanied by distinctive characters like depressive behavior, pacing, and destructive manners.

Though, it is important to note that not all dogs have separation anxiety. Compulsive or obsessive barking is done by a dog that desires to hear the sound of their barking. Additionally, this kind of bark also prompts the dog to display repetitive actions.

I hope this has helped you to understand some reasons a dog barks. Remember that this is information and you should always be cautious with dogs and do not approach a strange dog without its owners present.

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