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Let's Talk About Barking
The word "bark" can either have a positive effect on you or a negative effect depending upon your own personal situation. There are those that hate to hear any barking and those that don’t understand why anyone would want to stop their dog from barking. Both of these perspectives are understandable since their experiences and situations are more than likely different. If we attempt to fully understand what barking is and isn’t then we might better appreciate the opposing viewpoints.
Why Does A Dog Even Have The Ability To Bark?
Because barking is the most used method of communication for a dog, there must be a reason it exists. As you probably know, nothing in science is usually without purpose, even though some might disagree as to what that purpose is. Long ago when dogs were wild and living in packs they would venture off either alone or by two’s during the daylight hours in order to hunt or to locate a well suited mate. Barking would enable them to keep in contact with one another when sniffing, their preferred method of communication, wasn’t possible. Even though our domestic dogs don’t usually need to bark to stay in contact with their pack they like to talk to other dogs with their barks, as you can often witness if you walk outside at night and hear one dog in your neighborhood bark, every dog within hearing range will often join in the chorus.
Useful And Non-useful Barking
Your dog will bark for a number of reasons. Some dogs bark when they are being playful either with you or another dog. This type of barking isn’t typically annoying and is much more common in puppies than in full grown dogs. An older dog might bark to begin play but, usually doesn’t continue during play. The same type of bark is used when he just wants your attention and barks once or maybe twice to see if he gets a reaction.
In general puppies bark more than full grown dogs. A puppy who is allowed to bark at his leisure may either get bored with barking or turn into a grown dog with a barking problem. Even though you should not expect your dog to never bark, curbing excessive barking early can make your life a lot easier and certainly quieter.
Certain breeds such as, dogs bred for herding or guarding livestock are encouraged to bark and will be confused when they are discouraged from barking. When this is the case, you should understand that something that is bred into your dog may be a little more difficult to eliminate. Knowing this can help you figure out the purpose behind your dog’s bark.
Useful barking includes the “warning” bark that your dog will use when he feels threatened or if he wants to warn you that he senses danger. You shouldn’t try to eliminate warning barking because that is part of being a dog and you don’t want to take that away from him. Another useful bark comes when your dog is feeling anxious or is under some type of distress. When this occurs he will usually use a high-pitched yelp that is his way of saying, “Hey, I need help!” A good bark collar will not eliminate yelping and if it does could actually keep you from helping your dog. Therefore, make sure if you choose to use a bark collar that it does not eliminate yelping.
When your dog is barking excessively and it doesn’t appear that he has much purpose in his bark this is what we call nuisance barking. Most of the time this type of barking has been allowed for a time and now you or your neighbor are tired of it. First of all, make sure he isn’t in need of anything. Second, don’t be afraid to use punishment with either a training collar or a no bark collar for this type of barking. A bark collar isn’t meant to hurt your dog but, to train and scare him into submission. Most importantly, don’t yell at your dog. No matter the method you choose, yelling never works and can actually cause your dog to believe you are barking back at him.
Remember, dogs are social animals and should never be consistently left alone for long periods of time. Doing so can most certainly lead to nuisance barking and other behavior issues. If that’s the problem then the solution doesn’t have anything to do with thwarting his barking.
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