Why do Dogs Bark?

As a dog lover who has just brought home a companion, you need to understand some basic characteristics of canine behavior. This will help you ease its integration into your family as a much-loved member. Among the first things you need to learn is that dogs bark for a number of reasons and it is their way of communicating with you about their needs.

Reasons for Barking

There are four main reasons why dogs bark

  • Genetic tendencies – Certain breeds of dogs such as terriers bark more often than others.
  • Physical discomfort – Your dog will let you know if it’s hungry, thirsty, too hot or cold. Dogs also tend to bark more as a way of releasing energy which is why you need to ensure that you give them enough exercise.
  • Emotional needs – Your dog is a social animal and has evolved living in packs. When you bring a dog into your family, your family is its pack and it needs you around when it is bored, upset or happy. Barking is its way of requesting attention from you.
  • Surroundings – Your dog is likely to bark if it is uncomfortable where you have kept it. Like for instance, in a confined space, on a short leash so it cannot move freely, being left alone for too long, inadequate shelter and so on. It will also bark in response to sounds such as weather conditions like thunder or lightning, passing cars, sirens and to communicate with other dogs it hears.

Understanding Barks

Your dog has different kinds of barks in various pitches that each communicate a message.

  • Yelping – A single yelp can indicate sudden pain while a series of yelps tell you that your dog is very frightened or in deep pain.
  • Continuous barking – ”We have an intruder. Rally the pack.” But if there are pauses, “There’s a serious issue that you need to look at.”
  • Short, sharp barks – These can signify surprise, greeting or a warning.

In this way, dogs use barking to communicate what they’re thinking and feeling at any given time.