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Barking of a dog is very unpleasant. It drives the listener to nuts and often makes the person very angry as well, regardless of whether the person is the owner of the dog, a friend of the owner of the dog, a neighbor, an intruder or a total stranger. If it starts barking in the middle of the night, like it happens in India, it spoil sleep of everybody in the area. No amount of disciplining the dog is sometimes adequate to stop a dog marking spontaneously. And once it starts barking, it goes on and on and on non-stop for a long time. One wonders if the dog knows when to stop barking !
Repeated and untimely barking of a dog quite often results in a fight with the neighbor, quarrel with a friend or even a divorce.
But before you punish or beat up the dog for annoying you and making those few moments of your life miserable with its barking, stop and think what reasons there may be for its barking. Just as a baby has reasons for crying and you cannot ignore it but must find out the real reason and attend to it, so does a dog have a reason for its barking. Let us try to think of the reason from a human’s point of view.
Hungry – There may have been a delay in giving the dog its regular meal. If you think that the time hasn’t yet come for its meal then may be the quantity of the previous meal was not adequate. We give a fixed amount of meal to a pet at its meal time. But just as a human we may have a different amount of hunger at every meal time so does a dog. So if a dog is barking, first thing you can do is to offer it some food.
Thirsty – If the day is warm, a dog may need more water to drink. Check the bowl of water for it.
Another dog – If a dog senses the presence of another dog in its vicinity, its first instinct is to protect its territory by warning that dog by barking. You may need to train or re-train your dog accept the fact that the neighbors may have another dog as pet and that dog is not threatening its territory rights. You may organize a meeting with the neighbor's dog and introduce each other just as you would to your neighbor.
Noise – We are used to living in quiet surrounding. High pitch noises are usually in disco clubs, pubs or at functions inside confined area. However, those sounds are unknown to your dog. So if there is an open fireworks going around in a nearby open ground or a loud music being played in a nearby house, the dog ill be afraid of it, threatened for its existence and so start barking insistently. If the dog is not tied with a leash at that time in the backyard, it will try to run away and escape from that surrounding. We get a notice of advice from a nearby school ‘to take the pets inside the house and secure’ when fireworks are to be played during its annual celebration.
Smell – Dogs are very good at detecting and identifying a smell. That is why they used for checking for drugs. (Cats and mice also have similar ability. But they can’t be trained or controlled). So if a dog detects an unfamiliar or unpleasant smell from a neighbor or a visiting friend, it may start barking.
Detecting Danger - A dog can detect an intruder or danger to the family even before we hear a sound or see a shadow. Then it starts barking. The unknown intruder may be a human or a snake or a mouse or just anything moving. At that time a thorough investigation of the house and surrounding is warranted.
Mind reading : We know very well that a friend approaches us with unpleasant thoughts about us, quite often we feel uneasy in that friend’s presence or at times develop a sense of enmity. Dogs are also mammals just like us. Although its brain is less than one percent capacity of a human brain, some dog may have this difficult. In that case it may detect the minds thoughts of visiting friend or a neighbor.
Friendly attachment: As a family pet the children play with the dog and in turn it becomes a friend. When the child is happy, laughing and playing the dog also shares the same feeling with the child. So when the child starts crying for whatever reason, the dog wants to share its discomfort and starts barking, as barking is the only way it knows how to express its feeling.
Consider All Aspects
So whenever a dog is barking, for which you do not see any visible reason, consider all these aspects of its reason to bark.
If from your experience you know any other reason, please share it with the other readers by putting it in the comment box – thus making this article even more useful to other readers and dog owners.