How to decode doggy barks

  • Living
  • Sunday, 24 Sep 2023

All dogs are territorial and they are primed to let everyone know that intruders are at large. Photo:

Dogs bark for a lot of reasons, and usually friends and owners can tell what kind of message their furry friend is conveying.

The Alerting or Warning bark is the most common. All dogs are territorial and they are primed to let everyone know that intruders are at large. Unless you have super special training, a dog will woof the second someone comes near their boundary.

Their bark tends to be strong and authoritative. It means, "This is my land. I challenge you. Go away!”

From a dog’s perspective, the postman, the courier and the regular people delivering services, are stubborn intruders who are cunningly trying to break in. Each and every time these insurgents challenge the security of the territory, they are vanquished by the brave dog’s barking.

So, when your dog barks at the postman, pet them and reward them when they’re quiet. Or introduce the postman so they are recognised as friends.

The emergency bark is more high pitched, and can signal the dog is frightened, nervous or senses something unusual. It can mean a good, old friend is outside – or they’ve spotted a snake or monkey. The trick is to check the tail. Tails up is happy and tails down means nervous or business.

There are also barks for being lonely or bored. Dogs are very social animals, they can’t live alone happily, and when we’re not with them, they really feel it. Also, pets in pain sometimes bark to tell us all isn’t well.

Whatever is going on, a doggy bark is communication and it’s important for owners to pay attention and to figure out the code. Then, if it’s unwanted barking, train your pet by rewarding them for one woof and then silence.

It takes consistent effort to train a dog but most pets love to please. If you need advice, consult a dog trainer or google positive reinforcement for guidance.

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