Why do dogs bark


Maneka Gandhi


(Bihar Times) A dog’s ancestor is a wolf. Adult wolves howl to communicate. Baby wolves bark but they quieten as they grow into adults. In the past when high rise flats and hostile neighbours were not the norm , people found it beneficial to have barking dogs as these would keep danger away and help them round up goats/sheep/cattle. So people chose the dog as companion, encouraged and bred it to bark. Through genetic engineering and the selective breeding process, dogs retain these juvenile characteristics of the wolf.
Now, in an overcrowded urban world, barking, which is part of the dog’s natural behaviour, is considered a nuisance. So what can you do to protect your dog from being seen an irritant.
First know the reasons why dogs bark . One is attention seeking: barking to open a door to come in for instance. Your dog might be hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or have to eliminate. If he/she does not bark, how will you know?
Barking as part of learned behaviour – for instance , if the dog barks whenever you pick up a phone , its because you always pay attention to him then if only to try and get him to shut up. "a barking dog gets attention" and that is what most dogs want. The fact that we might be reprimanding the dog, matters little, as long as the dog gets what it wants.
Barking to warn off intruders.
Barking as a way of warding off boredom or stress – this creates a chronic barker.
Barking to tell you how unhappy he is because you tie him up the whole day.
Barking because he is hungry and cannot sleep at night on an empty stomach.
Barking to inform all the ladies during heat season that he also exists..
You need to remove your dog’s motivation to bark. If he is bored ,enhance the environment. If your dog is barking through the fence at outsiders , then cover the fence so it cannot see out. If he barks at guests, tie him up when they are expected then give him a treat as soon as they arrive and untie him. He will soon stop barking when guests come. Give him a feed at night so that he does not suffer from hunger pangs. Do not lock him outside at night, whether in the garden or in a verandah as he will bark the entire night out of irritation and boredom. Ignore him if he barks to open a door or wants a treat. Do not reprimand him, simply ignore him till you are ready to do something. When the dog is barking make sure that you do not comfort, pet, hug or feed your dog. This is often interpreted as a reward for the behavior and results in encouraging him
To relieve the stress and anxiety your dog is feeling, exercise him. Exercise is a great stress reliever and a tired dog will bark less.
This is 90% of the solution.
The other 10% is voice control. The best way to prevent the excessive barking in dogs is by not allowing it to become a habit when the dog is young. Most of us find it cute when puppies bark constantly. However, in the long run the dog will just retain the habit and bark all the time. When the puppy barks , reprimand him with “aah aah” in a higher tone. Don’t shout as he will think you are also barking along with him and will keep going. As soon as the barking stops , say “Good dog”.
Teaching him the "Quiet" command. Each time the dog barks at the ring of the doorbell, for instance, hold a treat over his head and say the word "Quiet" in a commanding tone. When the dog stops barking praise him and give a treat as the reward for good behavior. Next time increase the duration after which the dog receives the treat. This allows the dog to remain quiet for longer periods of time. This is a very effective method of dog training.
Now you need to understand his language
Continuous and fast barking, at a medium pitch: Alert. Problems. Some is entering our territory.
Continuous and slow barking, at a low pitch: The intruder or danger is close. Prepared to defend itself.
Fast barking with pauses every 3 or 4: Warning of a problem approaching. Asking you to investigate.
Long and drawn-out barks at a high pitch, with pauses between each one: I'm alone and need company.
One or two short high pitched barks: The most normal greeting.
One bark normal pitch: Curious, alert.
Short back in a high pitch: Shows surprise. If it's repeated twice it means "Look at this!" If it's longer then it calling. Many dogs use this when they want to go out. 
Brief bark, at medium pitch: Happiness.
Faltering bark at medium pitch: Asking to play.
Howl or short bark at a high pitch: "Ouch!" Response to sudden pain.
Repeated howls and regular intervals: Suffering from extreme pain or something that scares them.
If you live in an apartment and your dog barks while you are away, this is separation anxiety and you cause it by unnatural behaviour while you get ready to leave – extra hugs, long goodbyes. Pets pick up on our anxiety and respond to it. You need to go through the exercise of leaving your dog for longer and longer intervals at a time while they are young – starting with half an hour and then increasing it without making it seem like a big deal. Do not greet the dog excitedly on return. This just makes the alone period a big deal for dogs and triggers off that barking spree. Often having a second dog in the house will minimize the barking and loneliness
Exercise and socialization are such an important part of a dog’s life. A dog is not supposed to sit and be quiet. They were created to be hunters and protectors living in the wild in packs, they had fun with each other, obeyed pack rules and followed a leader. We are the ones who tamed them, became their pack leaders and so we have to do our part. That does not mean beat the dog into submission, it means provide exercise, social stimulation, proper food, medical care and most of all understanding.
In fact most dog owners will say: Dogs talk. People bark.

To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in


previous articles...

 Why do dogs bark

Characteristics of varieties of caterpillars

Emotional Complexity of Animals

Meat eating causes diseases

Rat in Hindu mythology

Which animal you are

Man’s alter ego-an Animal

Career in management of welfare of Animals

Profession of  Pet grooming

What you Eat When you Eat Processed Meat

How to train a dog to make it useful

The Purpose of Minor Beings in Our Ecosystem

Cruelty to Bears in Pakistan

How  Onion Drives Away Viruses

How to save an animal from burn injury

Production of Honey is cruelty to Bee

Meat eating causes Global warming

Hazards of fish factories

Growth of a bird till it flies

Creatures of the world live and help live

Killing a snake brings bad luck

Effects of the startle Reflex on Animals

Awaken Your Soul by Loving Animals

Feeling of grief in Animals

Talking Plants

Altruism in Animals

Music Soothes Animals

How Animals recognize their Kins

Animals teach their offspring like human moms

Cruelty to Animals in Slaughter houses

What is the secret to a perfect life and happiness?

How is Ghee being adulterated ?

Difference between a man & an animal

Homosexuality Is Not Against Nature In Animal Kingdom

Programmes for improving Animal Welfare

Promiscuity in mating behaviour of Birds

Uses for slaughtered Animals accelerate killing of Animals

Slingshots & Catapults Destroy Wild Life

Human Intelligibility of Animals

Animal grooming of offspring is worth emulating

Illegal Trade of Killing Cattle

Eating Cattle Meat Causes E Coli Infection

Some tips on making  Puppies’ life comfortable

Some tips on keeping kittens clean

Snake skin trade dangerous for eco system

Dog shows are not for dog lovers but for moneymakers and charlatans

Political agenda for Animal welfare needed

How foolish it is to kill Sea creatures for Ornaments

Infectious diseases from Animals to Humans

How pitiable is Rabbit farming?

Remedies for Animal ailments

Infected Pig Meat Risks Your Life

Animals spread dangerous Ebola virus to humans

Animals Have More Sense

Municipal Policy on hazards of pet shops

Mutualism  makes Species of the nature flourish

Adoption Fair for Puppies

How Animals behave in packs

Why People prefer dogs and cats to human beings

Positive effects of spaying and neutering on pets

Mammals & Birds cry like human beings

Biomemetics Provides solution to human problems

Chinese food products- the greatest killer

Pets make better partners than humans

How harmful is the Packaged Meat

Stop Slaughter of Cows for Bone Trade

How cruel it is to dump pet animals ? view comments...

Don’t hurt animals on festive occasions

Let the earth beings survive

Glues are made of animal remains

Meat increases risk of cancer

Birds provide springboard to song composers

Is it not an act of Cannibalism?

How many animals do you have to eat before you become man ?

To eat or not to eat Meat

Insulin from Animals 

Is It Healthy Decision to Promote Rat Eating in Bihar

Use of Animal bones in Porcelain

Infection of Tick disease in Dogs and its cure

Vegetarian diet is the best diet for human beings

Non-Veg  Diet causes  Dementia

Excuses for being non-vegetarians

Body odour of Non-vegetarians

Feeling Good

MEAT threatens Planet’s Survival

Am I smarter than you ? Yes, if you are a meat eater.

Need to  orient educational system to deal with animals

How to Avoid Cruelty to Gold Fish?

How To Make Everyday An Animal day

Are Eggs Vegetarian?

Are You One of these People ?

Use of Animal Fats in Cosmetics Industries

Killing of endangered Species for Perfume Industries

Missionary Campaign to Control Cruelty to Animals- needed

Drink Milk, Get Sick

Parents Create Monsters

The Business of Murder:Factory Farming and the Meat Industry in India

Effect of landscaping of birds on environment

Dangers of killing deep Sea-Sharks for  Cosmetic Products

Use of dog in diagnosis of diseases

Sacred Nature of Neelkanth

Cruelty to Polo Ponies comments...

Self-Regulation of Population by Animals

Dangers of Animal meat eating

Arsenic poison in chicken feed

Cruelty to Animals by Govt. Vets

Worship of God with Blood and Suffering of Animals and Birds

Consequences of Chloramphenicol in Shrimp Industry

Hazards of Trade in Peacocks’ Feather

Supreme Court Ban on cruelty to Animals

Are you a Bad Pet Owner?

The Goat That Laughed and Wept

Animal Owners’ personality traits resemble their Pets’

Human Propensities of Goat

Animal sacrifice at the altar of religion

Animal as foster parent

Animal feed from rendering plant

Trade in WildLife

Human Intelligence of Birds

Human Propensities of Cow