Friday, 22 May 2009

Learning to become bow-lingual

Postmen, kids, prams and balls, what do these things have in common? Your dog may be inclined to bark at them! But why do dogs like to bark? What are they trying to tell us?

One thing is sure you cannot stop a dog from barking altogether, its natural for them to do this it is their way of communicating with the world. In the same way that we speak, dogs bark.

By law, a barking dog can be seen to be a noise nuisance, and the owner can be taken to court if they do nothing to stop it causing a disturbance. For example a couple from Cheshire had to pay a £1,000 fine recently for their noisy dog.

Apparently another dog in the US has become a world record holder for barking for the longest time. The loud West Highland Terrier, which goes by the name of Onion, has supposedly been barking non-stop for 6 years pausing only to sleep and eat!

Thankfully Onion is not a real life story, but to prep for reality, we have looked at some common reasons why dogs bark to help you understand our canine friends better.

The territorial hound – dogs have been barking for centuries. For them it serves as a territorial warning to other dogs and pack members. Dogs will bark when separated from a pack or during times of fear or frustration. Many dogs bark to alert their owners to strangers viewed as intruders i.e. the postman or other dogs walking by. Breeds such as German Shepherds and Dobermans make naturally good guard dogs because they bark at the right time.

The lone howler - dogs suffering from separation anxiety will often start barking the minute you walk out the door and continue all day long until you come home. This type of barking can be very annoying to neighbours and can also lead to other health problems such as diarrhoea. If your dog is at home alone for several hours a day you might want to consider sending him to a doggie crèche during the week to help him burn off some of his energy.

The attention seekersome dogs bark to get attention. This can often be reinforced by owners giving in to their dog’s demands. Allowing a dog to bark indoors, patting, praising, playing or even just approaching a barking dog to try and quiet it down, are a few examples of how an owner may unintentionally reinforce barking. The rule to remember here is to never reward a barking dog with any type of attention!

The poorly mutt – persistent barking can be caused by a dog experiencing severe pain due to a medical condition. This is often the case with older dogs whose barks can turn into howls. In the case of older dogs the cause of discomfort can often be joint problems these can be easily treated with natural joint supplements, like Mobile Bones.

The boredom barker - a dog’s bark can also be an outlet for its energy. Owners who have boredom barkers can find other ways in which they can channel their energies i.e. going on longer walks, leaving lots of interesting toys out for them to play with and generally giving them the attention they crave.

Once you understand why your dog is barking, getting it under control, with time and patience, can be done. Here are some quick tips on how to curb your dog’s barking habits click here. If all fails you might like to invest in a Bow-lingual, a device which translates your dog’s bark, whatever next?

No comments: