When a dog barks, what is it saying?

Many many years ago I went to a dog training class held at a shelter with the great John Rogerson. He asked us to listen to the barking dogs and to figure out what they were communicating.

I live in a canyon and love to sit on the porch and just listen to the dogs. Can you tell the difference in their bark tones, rhythms, cadence, pitch? Are they lonely, bored, being assertive, excited, frustrated, frightened? One of the first sounds a young dog makes is a whine or a whimper to get her mother’s attention. Mom feeds or comforts her when she whines and soon the puppy learns people respond to that sound too – especially when she wants to eat dinner or go for a walk. Dogs may also whine if they’re frightened by loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks. Growling dogs are giving notice that their ready to attack if you don’t back off. How about howling? The howl communicates excitement, warning, loneliness, or desire. Hounds howl when they have cornered their prey. Lonely dogs howl just to see if anyone else is out there. Howling in dogs is also as contagious as yawning in humans: When one dog howls any other dog within earshot is likely to join in.

This is a great chart to consider what your dog is saying: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/interpreting-your-dogs-barking.html

Listen to the dogs in your neighborhood. They certainly have a lot to say!I’d love to hear what you learn from doing this.

Lezle SteinComment