If you are a dog owner, then you must be privy to hearing random barks from your furry friends. Of course, it doesn’t matter how strong you are, unexpectedly hearing your pet suddenly fire an army of howls and barks while you’re just chilling on the couch late at night can really give you the heebie-jeebies!
In fact, this tendency can be quite irksome, especially if you happen to rely on your dog to warn you in case of any danger.
We’ve been victims of this confusion too, and we cannot begin to describe the thoughts that used to wander in our minds back when our pets would bark at nothing.
This is exactly why this article is all about exploring all the possibilities behind the cause and why your pet seems to do that.
Worry not, they’re not seeing any spirits sitting right next to you (at least we hope so!) or trying to notoriously freak you out! However, it is quite interesting to know that various researchers have studied if dogs have the “sixth” sense.
No concrete information has been substantiated so far, but many scientists believe that dogs barking at ghosts is mostly because they are capable of hearing far better than us, and also have a 10,000 times more sensitive sense of smell.
Basically, barking is dogs’ main form of communication, and the reasons for why they bark are not always completely understandable by us pet owners. Learn more about why huskies howl here.
While some pet dogs can develop a habit of incessant barking if their practice stems from a particular need, for many others, the root cause might be separation anxiety. In fact, it might also be your pet’s way of asking for your attention if they’re frustrated, reinforcing their territory, bored, needy, or anxious.
The pitch and volume of their bark can often indicate what your dog is trying to communicate to you. Since there is an undeniable communication gap between them and us, the only way to identify what your furry friend is trying to tell you is by listening closely to the different sounds he makes.
Did you know that there are a number of breeds that are, in fact, bred to bark? These include species such as the Miniature Schnauzers, Cairn, Yorkshire, Fox Terriers, and more, and bear a reputation for their unabating barking. There’s no denying the fact that dogs develop an emotional bond with their owners.
So, if you are someone who has to frequently leave their pet alone for traveling, vacation, or official purposes, chances are that your dog will forge separation anxiety. Their way of coping with loneliness involves them hearing themselves bark. Also, such dogs tend to circle to and fro while compulsively barking around the house.
Dogs are very territorial by nature, and this tendency reflects in some breeds that bear a very high-pitched, sharp, loud, and authoritative bark. These pets bark whenever a stranger enters their territory, warning them to stay away.
Our furry friends are lauded for their advanced olfactory senses, which are forty times better than ours. Sometimes, when you hear your pet barking uncontrollably, they might be trying to indicate a potential threat. This is because they are adept at hearing frequencies in an ultrasonic range, something that we humans cannot.
So, the next time you’re out with your pet on a trek deep in the woods and hear him barking, chances are that he’s sensed the presence of a fox nearby!
In some cases, our voiceless companions suffering from maladies such as bee stings or brain diseases begin showing signs of dementia. This causes them to often bark skittishly because everything is hurting and going haywire in their brains. If a dog is barking continuously and also looks you directly in the eyes, chances are that he either wants your attention or needs you to do something for him.
They absolutely love heading outdoors for walks or car rides, so your pet might also express his playful mood by barking out of excitement. On the other hand, some high-spirited dogs might even bark loudly to greet their other furry friends, or communicate with them. This is quite similar to wolves that howl to talk to each other in the wilderness. This type of bark will sound musical and happy.
A few pet owners expect their dogs to not bark at all and consider this rebellious behavior, but this is far from the truth. Just like humans, even dogs utilize verbal and non-verbal cues to communicate.
However, in some cases, if your pet’s excessive barking goes out of control, then it is probably time to analyze the situation through a different looking-glass. Extreme barking can also be an outcome of how you’re treating the dog, and whether his needs are being met at all or not.
No matter how troublesome their behavior is, dogs are always bound to consider any kind of attention as an act of encouragement, even if you intend to reinforce the opposite of it. If your dog is indulging in unbearable barking, it’s highly likely that this habit isn’t going to vanish with the touch of a button.
Just as in human babies, the longer a dog exhibits a certain tendency, the deeper it gets ingrained in their system. Moreover, barking can also induce an adrenaline rush, making your dog feel jolly.
While permitting your pet to bark in situations like having a stranger arrive at your place can result in aggression, limiting his barking will alter their mental stimulation and lead to lethargy. After all, a tired dog is a quiet dog!
Sadly, there’s no quick fix to the issue, but we recommend that you always offer him ample exercise, and refrain from leaving him alone for a longer time. If your pet is showing signs of separation anxiety, you can also consider hiring a pet walker who can assist him with physical and social stimulation.
If you think that your pet is barking loudly to get your attention, then a great way to discourage this behavior would be to not respond to such calling. The key is to teach your pet better ways of communication. For instance, you can guide him to nudge his food or water bowl whenever he’s in need of either, or even instruct him to sit towards the door whenever he wishes for you to take him out for a walk! Providing a pet door for them to come and go as they please is a great option for those who have a confined yard–your furry companion will thank you for the freedom and privacy.
If the aforementioned tips do not seem to work, you can also install a white noise machine to lower his barking as a sign of territory establishment or warning.
In such a situation, it is very important to know that rebuking your dog, or yelling at him won’t help your case. This will only make them think that you are joining them in their fun. As dog owners, you must speak firmly, because your pet would simply not understand when you yell “Shut up!” out of anger!
Your dog needs to be trained with positive reinforcement. Whenever he excessively barks, you can sternly say “quiet,” and once he stops for a moment, go ahead and reward him with his favorite snack.
This way, he’ll know that every time he gets quiet, he’ll receive something that he’s fond of. Alternatively, you or any dog trainer can command your pet to “speak,” and then to be “quiet,” so that he comprehends ways to restrain his communication.
Take it easy! Your dogs’ need for compulsive barking is deeply rooted in their innate need to communicate. It’s your pet’s way of innocently telling you if they’re hungry, hurting, protective, happy, bored, or in dire need of a warm hug!
You can always dig deeper to identify what they want based on their pitch and tone. Always remember that allowing such behavior will only invigorate their barking.
So, it is crucial to teach your pets when they need to be quiet, along with the right manners of conveying what they want. Never punish your pets for behaving a certain way; after all, they’re your babies!
A little training, physical exercise, discipline, mental stimulation, and a whole lot of love can keep your pup’s barking under control! Happy parenting!