This came up recently on Quora and except for one, the existing 30 answers were appalling. Hence ours here:
Why do dogs bark? - And what to do about it!
One of them even promoted an infographic that - if you are a Cynophilist(?), a dog lover(??) - you must find shocking too like I do! And so I added my notes right into it:
By the way you see the "kids magazine" (it is from one! ) reference the Basenji there. As already children learned from the lovely pictured stories in this children's book: Basenjis are an unusual dog breed.
However Basenjis don't "sing", no, but their different dog barks sounds are so special it can scare off any intruder, and then beware when the dog jumps up to your face:
So then I looked what the always worsening Google has to offer and I got to see more crap "advice" dominated by that webmd.com full of copied, thin and medically mostly wrong content.
And worse, did you notice? They (1) split thin content over multiple pages, and (2) they manipulate the "back button"! Both so that you cannot leave the site fast: this reduces their "bounce rate" and so improves their search ranking. Outright EVIL, and Google supports that!
Therefore now, here's the truth: Why do dogs bark? - And what to do about it!
From the cynologist Tim Carter at the cynology hub MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG.
"my dog barks at everything!"
No, without training the dog barks only at:
- what agitates the dog
- what scares the dog
- what bothers the dog.
Anything else is just trying to add bloat to list points: all is included in the above three.
So identify which it is, and you can control the barking dog!
Just don't even wish to stop dog barking altogether, because ... see 5) below!
"why do dogs bark at nothing?"
Dogs do not bark "at nothing", no. When you think "there's nothing" it's just that:
- you don't hear it
- you don't smell it
- you don't sense it
- you didn't see it.
It's one of these four, nothing else.
"why do dogs bark at night for no reason?"
There's always a good reason for dog barking, and at night again the dog barks because:
- something agitates the dog
- or something scares the dog
- or something bothers the dog.
- you either find out WHAT and then SOCIALIZE the dog for the stimulus
- or you live with it unless you die from it.
"why do dogs bark at me?"
Because you haven't learned all that is offered at MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG, and dogs notice when people are ignorant or negligent.
This really is true, hence why I underlined it:
- dogs do notice when you ignore them - particularly as guest in a dog owner household pay respect to the dog first and you'll be treated SO MUCH BETTER
- and dogs do notice when you don't care about the potential danger from that leaf that blows in your path.
"BARKING is TALKING"
No, I now know this isn't the full truth:
That is: Despite how annoyed we feel that "the dog is barking too much", the dog has been communicating with body language much more by then, and realized no one listened = watched, no one acted on what the dog communicated all along.
- When we people notice that we are not being given the requested attention, we start SHOUTING.
- When dogs notice this, they start BARKING.
Most dogs, including German Shepherds, really only bark (shout!) when they experienced and so expect that their body language alone may go unnoticed.
Dogs learn this fact as early as puppy age: "These people don't see what I show them, I gonna have to bark it out loud!"
In fact, people are way more talkative than the most barkative dog:
- We talk about everything we feel, hear or see - even to ourselves...
- More so: Many people talk to some imaginary entity they hope or fear exists...
- Kids are even being taught to!
- And: Many people talk to their plants too...
Dogs normally avoid barking because it drains a lot of energy - see the explanation of Energy Tools in the Dog Training Toolkit if interested. Or just go shouting at your spouse or boss for a while and see how exhausting that is.
"sleep barking is a sign of sickness or of bad dreams"
No, like in people and other "higher developed" species, the dog brain processes life during sleep: it saves the experiences from the day with emotions so that they can be readily remembered.
"many dogs suffer compulsive barking"
No, compulsive barking is so much rarer than commonly copied, it is almost non-existent!
Instead, such dog is horribly STRESSED, and you should provide stress relief to the dog, or else the dog:
- will become sick
- and may end up biting someone.
Because, the more comprehensively the dog is socialized:
- the less agitates the dog!
- the less scares the dog!
- the less bothers the dog!
But no dog is going to chew on the best chew toy forever... (and it isn't a toy, it's a "chew treat")
- And so particularly at night when boredom sets in, the stressed dog continues to suffer!
- And then likely also barks more at ordinary stimuli which the dog would otherwise ignore.
Now living like a dog, certainly right next to the dog...
... teaches me dog lessons that obviously cannot be learned any other way. And so now I also know a lot more about dog sleep, and even: its impact on dog barking.
Now with the most POPULAR WRONGS about Why do dogs bark cleared from the mind (or not?):
What to do about it?
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