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Why do dogs bark while they eat?

Updated on February 6, 2010

Dogs really do have some strange habits. Although these furry four legged friends have been the companions of humans for thousands of years, they still manifest some perplexing quirky habits. Barking is a dog thing. Exercising the vocal chords seems to be a gratifying habit especially if it earns the dog attention.  Barking is also a dog’s way of communicating with humans and with other dogs. Some dogs bark at anything under the sun. However, barking at its own food would be a peculiar habit. If only dogs can talk then we wouldn’t be left guessing what goes on inside Fido’s mind.

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Barking to get attention

Dogs bark to communicate. Barking is generally done to get attention. A dog that is barking while eating may be thanking the master for the home cooked meal. Sick dogs are commonly given easy to digest food. The dog may have gotten use to eating boiled chicken and rice so that it would bark at doggie bowl filled with unappetizing kibble.  The growling and the barking is the dog’s way of asking the master to fill the bowl with people food again.

Dogs are food motivated

Let sleeping dogs lie should be accompanied with Leave eating dogs alone. Eating can be the highlight of a dog’s life. Dogs know when it is feeding time. Notice how the dog would whine and seem to be antsy. “Hey pop, open the kibble bin. Come on feed your baby”. Dogs are food motivated and as such they are possessive of their food. When the dog barks while eating, it is warning anyone – humans and animals not to get too close or else it will attack.

An act of dominance

Dogs in the wild have a well defined hierarchy. The alpha male is accorded with respect. The leader of the pack will have a first go at the prey.  While eating, the leader will growl and bark to warn other dogs lower in rank to wait for their turn to eat. Barking while eating is an ingrained habit.

Resource guarding

Have you ever considered why a dog would gulp down the food as fast as it can? The dog is guarding its food! Again, this is an ingrained habit. The dog may not show an aggressive behavior to its favorite person, the one that customarily provide the food but the dog would commonly bark, growl and manifest an aggressive behavior if another person or another animal will approach the vicinity where it is eating. Barking while eating is the dog’s version of the police’s “Crime scene, do not cross” yellow line.

Controlling dog barking

Know the reason why the dog is barking. The cause can be as simple as the dog’s own reflection on the metal dog bowl. The dog thinks that another dog is sharing the food. Being a territorial and a food motivated animal, the dog will bark. Disrupt the dog with a can filled with coins. Every time the dog starts to bark, rattle the can and give a No Bark command in a firm voice. It would be a good idea to separate the dog from other pets when it is eating.

this dog won't eat before it barks at another dog

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