If you own a dog you know that they can be incredibly loyal, friendly, and smart. However, just because your dog makes you smile and laugh most of the time doesn’t mean he or she isn’t acting out sometimes as well. For example, dogs who bark constantly can be a nuisance in the neighbourhood and can give you quite the headache.
A dog that barks at everything that moves can cause a lot of trouble. Neighbors might complain about the constant noise, which can result in a slap on the wrist, fines, or in extreme cases the loss of your dog. Therefore, teaching your dog to bark only when necessary can make life a lot easier.
However, there are right and wrong ways to show your dog that he or she doesn’t have to constantly bark to get attention. Yelling at your dog or locking your dog in a cage is not the correct way to try and keep them quiet. Some individuals might try to distract their dog with a toy, which isn’t a bad idea if your dog actually wants to play. If you are looking for toys to reinforce good behavior, please read this great article on the best chew toys for puppies and adult dogs to determine which one will keep your dog entertained.
However, the best way to get your dog to stop barking is to learn what he or she is trying to tell you. If you know what your dog is saying, then you can respond properly. Dogs may not be able to tell us why they are barking by using human language, but they have developed their own unique language that effectively communicates how they are feeling. Learning how to decipher their language isn’t even that difficult. You just have to be willing to take the time to listen and learn what your dog is actually trying to say.
Rapid Barks vs. Long Barks
How rapidly a dog barks, or how long and short a single bark is, can say a lot about how he or she is feeling. Usually, when a dog makes a longer sound they are thinking and planning about what they are going to do next. For example, dogs who let out a long growl when confronted with another dog are asserting their dominance, showing that they feel confident about the confrontation. However, a dog who lets out tiny bursts of growling when confronted with another dog is most likely worried or scared.
Low Pitched Barks vs. High Pitched Barks
Similar to how the tone of voice can convey feelings and mood in humans, the pitch is another way dogs communicate their feelings. Have you ever come home and heard your dog making high pitched barks or whines? That’s his or her way of showing excitement. When a dog sees another human or animal and makes high-pitch barks, this means they are excited and relaxed. It can also mean it is alright to come closer and say hello. Lower pitched barks or growls means ‘stay away’, as it could indicate a dog is angry and sees the other human or animal as a threat. It may also indicate that a dog is about to attack.
Frequent Barks vs. One-time Barks
While they are closely related, frequent barks are not the same as rapid barks. Rapid barks refer to the duration of sound a dog makes, while frequent barks refer to how often the same barks is repeated. For example, dogs that repeat the same sound over and over are conveying urgency or excitement. The same sound repeated rapidly means a dog is indicating that they feel they are in a very urgent and worrisome situation. If a dog only barks once it means they don’t have a continued interest in whatever he or she originally barked at.
If you haven’t figured out what your dog’s barks mean by now, don’t worry. It’s going to take a little bit of time to train your ear to hear the difference in pitch and to learn when your dog is repeating the same bark during a brief period of time. In the meantime, here is a list of common barks most dogs make and what they generally mean.
Rapid Barking At Mid-Range Pitch– usually when a dog continuously barks at this pitch it means they think there is a problem, or someone they don’t know is approaching, and they want you to come check it out. If your dog pauses in-between each series of rapid barking it generally means the same thing.
Continuous Barking with Some Moderate to Long Breaks– When a dog continuously barks, stops, and starts up again, it means they are lonely and want your attention. This type of barking might happen a lot when you are gone or when you’re paying attention to your television more than your furry companion.
One or Two Short Barks at A Mid-Range Pitch– This type of bark simply means hello. Dogs are social creatures. Therefore, if they make this sound don’t be alarmed; it’s just their way of acknowledging another human or animal.
Single High-Pitched Yelp or Bark– Short, high-pitched barks usually mean your dog experienced a short burst of unexpected pain. If they repeat this type of bark without stopping it could mean they are in continuous pain or that they are scared. Don’t ignore your dog if he or she is barking like this.
Mid-Range Multiple Pitch Bark Or Rising Bark – This bark sounds more confusing than it is. Compare this type of bark to an “ar-ruff” sound. A dog might start their bark at a lower pitch and then raise it to a higher pitch mid-bark. This generally means they want to play. Therefore, it’s an appropriate time to break out a Frisbee or chew toy when your dog makes this sound.
Communicating with your dog might sound difficult, especially as dogs make a wider range of sounds than just these common ones. However, your dog’s bark patterns will go hand-in-hand with their body language. Therefore, if you’re paying attention it shouldn’t take too long to learn how to decipher what your dog is saying and how to respond accordingly.