Ah, the sound of barking dogs. To some people, it’s a pleasant sound that indicates a dog is feeling happy and active; while to others, it’s just a painful noise that rattles a peaceful and quiet day. If you have a dog or just simply love these animals, you know that dog barking sounds are just their way of expressing themselves or communicating with other dogs!
Dogs may have descended from wolves, but their means of communicating can differ a lot. While wolves also bark every once in a while, howling is really their communication method of choice. Dogs, on the other hand, bark much more often than howl, making the domesticated canine somewhat different from the wild wolf.
However, wolf cubs do a lot of barking, too. This fact—along with many other similar physical features they share with dogs, including habits like the tendency to be submissive—has led experts to theorize on neoteny. Neoteny is a condition where adults retain juvenile traits. In this case, dogs and young wolves seem to exhibit like behavior.
Domestication is also touted as an explanation for barking as well. When humans and dogs first got together in a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship, the former found in the latter a most convenient and effective alarm system.
The barking warned them and prepared them against impending danger from predators, marauders, and other intruders. Therefore, barking was encouraged, even highly prized, which is why some breeds—such as hunting dogs, for example—are considerably louder and more vocal than others.
The many instances when a dog barks can include the expression of an emotion (such as loneliness, elation, excitement, stress, fear, etc.); when a dog is feeling hungry or neglected; when he hears other dogs barking or when he hears unusual sounds; and sometimes, he barks simply because he feels like it.
Your pet may bark when you leave him alone at home, especially if he tends to suffer from separation anxiety, and he will bark his approval once he senses you approaching the front door after you’ve been away the entire day.
There are two types of barking—the warning bark and the alarm bark.
The first starts out as a rumbling, low-pitched growl (dog barking sounds which are meant to be playful and friendly have a higher frequency), which gradually increases in volume and intensity as a full-blown howl meant to show dominance and aggression. Dogs use this when they are in the presence of a perceived threat and a dog may feel the need to fight back and defend himself and his territory.
The second type, on the other hand, is not hostile and is simply a dog’s way of calling his master’s attention to something in particular that needs it, such as a ringing phone or a car pulling up in the driveway. And he won’t stop barking unless these events are taken care of by his master.
Sometimes, a dog’s barking can reach the point where it gets a bit too much to handle and you’ll want to know how to get him to stop when his barking is unnecessary. This is why you should give your puppy the proper training early on. Do not reinforce the behavior by petting or soothing him while he creates a racket. Instead, reward him once he’s settled down and don’t forget to praise him lavishly. This is reassurance to him that he is doing the right thing by being quiet and will likely avoid barking too much as he does not wish to displease you.
Understanding dog barking sounds isn’t so complicated that you will find hard to grasp, so knowing what they mean and how your dog makes them will really help you build a harmonious relationship with your pet.