Why Do Dogs Bark?

As pet owners, we tend to think of dogs excessively barking as an annoyance, but there are various reasons why dogs bark as well as using several different types of barking to communicate their meaning. Here are the most common examples of barking.

Reasons for Barking

  • Anxiety: Dogs with higher anxiety levels may bark when they are left alone or have a fear of loud noises such as fireworks and thunder.
  • Attention-seeking behavior: Dogs may bark for interaction when you are engaged in another activity, such as working on the computer or interacting with people.
  • Territorial aggression: Dogs will bark at windows, fences, people, other animals and cars that go by.
  • Resources: Dogs may also bark when they are in need of resources such as food, water or need to eliminate.

Excessive Barking

Excessive barking can be considered a nuisance—especially from your neighbors! Knowing why your dog is barking is key to modifying the undesired behavior. Partner with your veterinarian or an animal behaviorist to help determine the cause of your dog’s vocalizations and determine the best approach to behavior modification. Positive reinforcement is always the preferred method of behavior modification, which includes distracting your dog while he is barking with a treat or praise, or through clicker training, which is a small noisemaker used to reinforce a desired behavior. The use of bark collars is not recommended as this may cause the dog to become fearful and may initiate other undesirable behaviors.

Other Canine Behavior Issues:

How to stop excessive barking

How to housetrain a puppy

Dealing with canine separation anxiety