Domestic dogs can also bark while communicating with each other, inviting them to play or warning to stay away. Barking does not necessarily convey the mood of the dog; its body language also matters.
Why do dogs bark?
Dog barking is not just the creation of noise, it is a way of communication between animals. It is used along with other communication tools: sight, smell, posture, and movements. Dogs bark when they want to attract attention in cases of:
- desire to play;
- defense of territory
- demand of attention
Domesticated dogs tend to bark. During experiments, scientists concluded that barking is predominantly domesticated dogs, and their wild relatives rarely use this method of communication.
Animals who reside under the strong care of the owner often resort to barking. For instance, people take their pets in their arms, protecting them from danger. Although the dog is not in danger, she does not refuse from the barking: it appeals to the bestial hunter/gatherer instincts.
Wild animals, dogs of medium and large breeds use other communication tools, so there is no urgent need for voice expression of emotions. Scientific studies have shown that dogs use barking more often to convey information to a person than to communicate with each other.
Х dog barking solutions
Sometimes a dog barks for no reason, when she is left alone at home or in many other different circumstances. Incidentally, the pet behaves so loudly not because it is harmful and wants to annoy the owner, but because it experiences strong emotions of a different nature and thus tries to attract the attention of the owner.
There are several methods for weaning a dog to bark,so let’s have a closer look:
1. Talk to your dog
We all know that dogs have a well-developed hearing. Besides, we know that dogs can memorize words and associate them with certain phenomena. However, dogs are capable of more: they can understand at least the general meaning of human speech. People who often talk with their dog notice that the dog begins to respond more consciously to their words and even whole phrases.
As you know, the ability to perceive speech significantly contributes to the development of the brain. Therefore, it does not surprise me that the dogs with which the owners are talking have a special, meaningful expression on their eyes. Moreover, the reactions of such a dog to human speech are so accurate that they can shock even those who are fully convinced of the dog’s mind.
2. Watch your emotions
The dog also focuses on the emotional state of the owner. Arriving at the house, the dog begins to observe the condition of the members of her new family. According to their emotions, she quickly learns how the family relates to certain phenomena.
For instance, she remembers which family members love when she climbs on the sofa or asks at the table, and who is strongly opposed to this. She adopts the mood accompanying the arrival of guests, fees for a walk, cooking, meeting for a walk, etc. Some believe that dogs adapt our attitude towards thunderstorms and therefore learn to fear thunderstorms directly from their owners.
Applying punishments, the owner also creates emotions, but only negative ones. In large numbers, these emotions destroy contact. Although the question of how many negative emotions a dog can endure without losing confidence in the owner remains open. There are cases when a dog instantly lost confidence, when the owner began to apply punishment during training, for instance, shouting at a dog or tugging on a leash. Having experienced this treatment, the dog may need a lot of time to restore confidence in the owner, although some dogs remain incredulous.
Modern trainers have a saying: “There can be no second chance to create a first impression.” This saying reflects the properties of emotions: when you get acquainted with a new phenomenon, the impression of this phenomenon is formed instantly and remains forever. This instant learning mechanism is essential for survival. It helps the animal to be able to quickly distinguish between dangerous phenomena and manage to avoid danger promptly. When people start applying unpleasant emotions to dogs, the dogs react as well. Moreover, we can never say how punishment affected the dog. It turns out that with punishments, we can very quickly wean her to cooperate with us or discourage the desire to learn some skill.
3. Observe the expression of the dog’s internal state
The internal state of the dog can be very simply determined by the signals. These basic conditions provide enough practical information about the dog’s behavior in everyday life. If your dog is troubled, try your best to calm her down. The easiest way to do this is if you approach her in a calm, friendly tone. Goodies or affection often help.
For example, if you understand that a dog does not like meeting with a particular individual, separate the dog from him. Try to understand in advance in which situations your dog begins to get nervous, and how you can quickly calm him down.
4. Consider the dog’s wishes
Do not force the dog to always do only what you want! This does not comply with the rules of living together in a family: in a good family, the needs of all its members must be met. Therefore, family members try to find a compromise, yielding to each other. Suppose that in half the cases the dog is inferior to you, and in half – you to her. Dogs are developed, creatures. They have their desires. These desires are often associated with the satisfaction of instinctive needs, which you were not able to notice and satisfy.
5. Respond flexibly to dog behavior
Now we know that every dog is an individual. The behavior of a dog is not a spontaneous shot from nowhere. This is the result of the flexible interaction of the dog’s internal state and environment. Throughout life, the dog accumulates individual experience. But when she gets into various situations, she builds her behavior flexibly, inventing tactics along the way.
6. Set boundaries without penalties
If you still need to adjust the behavior of the dog, you can:
- Teach your dog alternatives (for example, a dog is taught to bring a toy instead of jumping on a guest).
- Deprive of success from undesirable actions (for instance, a piece of sausage stolen from a table is taken from a dog).
- Ignore unwanted action (for example, an obsessive attempt to attract attention).
7. Create the signals that will help you build a contact
Dogs naturally have a strong interest in humans. They tend to focus on people, can understand their emotions and pointing gestures and direction of gaze. However, it is useful to enhance this quality through special exercises.
We can only assume that the barking habit developed under the influence of evolutionary processes and as a result became a mean of communication with a person. It’s enough to just say “Hello” to her calmly and gently sweep the coat.
- Respond to the initiative of the dog to talk with you (let it not be every time, but when you want it.)
- Pay attention to the dog daily: play and caress the pet.
- Use alternative parenting methods to show your dog what she can do and what she can’t.
- Learn some rituals that allow you to regulate certain situations in life, for instance, giving out food, going for a walk, and the rules for using the sofa. Dogs are well trained. They can independently learn the rules of behavior by observing your movements and emotions in a given situation.
- Use reconciliation signals to wash and dress the dog, give medicine, etc. (see book and articles on signals of reconciliation)
A pleasant side effect of such communication will be that the dog’s soul begins to unfold. Her eyes will gradually become more meaningful, her mood will increase, the motivation for the cooperation with you will increase. This means that it integrates better into your life.