Barking Decoded: What Is Your Dog Trying To Say When He Barks?
It is believed that dogs understand us hoomans when we are sad, angry, excited or frustrated. Just like us, dogs also communicate. Even though most of the canine conversation is non-verbal, and uses body-language and scents for communication, they express themselves vocally with different sounds of barking. If you have observed them well, you will realize that the tone of their bark differs each time. It changes according to the situation and context. On account of ‘World Barking Day’, let’s read in detail about the various types of barking and what they mean! So next time you hear a bark, you know exactly what your furry friend is expressing. You can easily read his mind and act accordingly.
Barking is not always a sign of upcoming aggressive behavior. It’s just a way of signaling or alarming someone. Gauging the reason for your pet’s barking is not as difficult as you may think. There are three basic components of a bark you need to observe.
The psychology behind the pitch of barking is simple. When you take a spoon and hit two containers with it, one big and one small, the sound from the bigger container is lower in pitch. When dogs bark on a lower pitch they are trying to display their superiority and strength. Often trying to scare the person/ animal/ thing they are barking at. On the other hand, a high pitched bark can be observed when the pet tries to appear smaller or more approachable. Basically, when they’re trying to say you’re welcomed to come closer to them.
A longer bark signals that the pet is making a conscious decision on his signals and the actions to follow. For instance, a threatening or territorial growl at a new person/dog. Shorter and quick bursts of barks could mean the dog is feeling fear or is unsure of whether he will be able to tackle an attack.
The frequency of barks helps judge the urgency or excitement of the pet towards the situation. Continuous and repetitive barking says that the pet is either highly excited or the situation needs immediate addressing as he senses something wrong and is trying to signal you. Non-repetitive barks depict less excitement.
All kinds of barking that you will come across can be assessed based on the above elements. We’ve put down some commonly seen types of barking in dawgies.
Length: Short, with some longer barks in the series
Frequency: Repetitive with pauses after 2-3 barks
Dogs bark when they sense something unusual. Something that requires attention. An alert bark can be observed when they wish to signal you about the incoming whose nature they are most likely uncertain about. When you hear an alert bark, pay heed to what they’re trying to drive your attention to. You can then assure them if you are certain that the cause is not worrisome.
Excited or Happy Bark
Frequency: Repetitive with pauses after 2-3 barks, faster in tempo
An excited bark is the one you may have observed when you return home or when its time for their walk/ play. It is often accompanied by a lot of tail wagging and pacing around. It is just your pets way to express anticipation of a good-time or happiness. Face licks and wet kisses are almost certain to follow after a happy bark!
Pitch: Low, sometimes inaudible to human ears at a distance
Frequency: Repetitive with longer pauses, often accompanied with growls
This is the only bark you need to be worried about and it is a signal of upcoming aggressive action. When a dog feels that the entrant body is unsafe or means harm he will often bark in an above-explained manner. Such a bark intends to communicate that they are the stronger, more-powerful one and if the other has ill-intentions they better be scared as the dog is the one in authority. Such a bark is accompanied by a dominant body language. The head is held high & firm, ears and tail are usually raised higher than the rest of the body. You may even notice hackles on your dog.
Pitch: High, with growls
Frequency: Repeated after brief pauses
Dogs bark when scared. It is their way of calling for help. In a situation where the dog feels threatened or sees upcoming harm to himself, such a bark will be observed. The dog’s ears are down, body slouched and the tail is often tucked between the legs. If the dog is further approached, the growls get louder and longer, with lips pulled back to display teeth – a signal, that if the intruder comes closer, the dog will attack. You never want to go closer to a dog in that position!
Length: Long and whiny
Frequency: Spaced out
When the dog doesn’t have a lot to do throughout the day and lacks mental and physical stimulation, boredom is obvious! These whiny barks can also be accompanied by behavioral issues like biting objects, tearing things apart and scratching. Hence, it is very important to ensure your dog has activities to do.
Frequency: Repetitive with long pauses
Along with good food and a walk, your pet also longs for attention from you. If he’s been ignored for long, this is the type of bark you will notice. Your dog may come and sit in front of you, or try and make a contact, paw you, scratch themselves against you. It is a call for you to lend some attention, cuddles or just play for a bit.
We hope this information helps you decipher what is it that your dog is trying to communicate when he barks. The above conclusions are made basis the behavior of dogs in general. How your dog reacts could, however, be very specific to him. These are broad categories that may help. Other than these your dog may also bark to indicate underlying pain or discomfort. Good health is at the heart of your pet’s well-being. Ensure he is eating a species appropriate, nutritionally balanced clean diet, like DawgieBowl.
Have more questions? Comment below!
FOR INFORMATION ONLY – NOT VETERINARY CARE
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