Why Does My Dog Bark All The Time?

picture of barking dog
This dog is serious about barking.
Dog barking.

It can be loud or quiet. It can be short yipping, or long howling. It can be cute, or really annoying. So why does my dog bark so much? We set out on a search for the reasons.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Before we start, we want to give a bit of background for this article. On this site, we are all about fun information, so we don't really give advice on dog training. We won't show you how to train your dog to jump through hula hoops or walk 4 inches behind your left foot, nor shall we give you many tips on manners and behavior (for you OR your dog!) We just love dogs and are fascinated by their little quirks. We want to answer the questions you think about, because we think about them, too. However, we have another page with information on training loud-mouthed or ill-mannered dogs.

Barking can occur for many different reasons. In the wild, dogs don't bark as often for communication, but with their human companions, dogs have learned to use barking as a form of communication. Our constant yapping to each other (we humans "yap" a lot more than any dog) is probably where they learned this idea. Also, when dogs are in the presence of other dogs that bark, they seem to learn to bark more.

First up: territory protection. Dogs are protective of their people and places of interest. it is thought that many times, dogs will bark when they think they are threatened, or the people in their lives are threatened. Dogs feel better about their ability to protect when they bark. Oftentimes, when a dog barks at something that he feels nervous about, that thing or person goes away, so the barking fulfills your dogs need. It makes them feel tough, the protector, and reinforces the barking behavior for next time. I know in a pinch, I would feel better about my dog barking if he barked at something that was threatening me! It just doesn't happen very often.

Next, there is the fear and distress bark. This can be similar to the territorial bark. Some dogs will bark when they are afraid of noises or objects in the environment. They may feel that there is something in the area that is potentially harmful to them or their loved ones. Some dogs are afraid of things like thunder or loud noises, and will use barking to communicate their fears. Fear-barking is something that shows you that your dog is unhappy. He wants comfort and hopes to get it from you. Give him a cuddle and use some calming words, maybe a treat or two. Hopefully, you can help him deal with these fears better for the future. Of course, some of our furry pals are plain ol' scaredy-dogs, and there are books and other products to address those issues.

One bark we commonly encounter is one of happiness and excitement. Many dogs bark when they have been home for a while and their loved ones come home. They bark to play with others, and when they see other dogs that they are excited to play with. Dogs can tell from the smell and demeanor of people and other dogs whether they are threatening, so sometimes dogs will bark to get the attention of someone and tell them that they are happy and want to play. You will likely be able to tell if your dog is happy and excited by the sound of the bark and his body language. Sometimes if the barking is going on after you come home, he is probably trying to get some of his energy and excitement out from the day. After all, he just wants you to know he wishes you could be home with him all the time.

And last, but not least, is the dreaded boredom bark. Dogs may feel that they need more playtime and exercise. They use barking and jumping as a way of telling you to get them out there in the world for some fun and excitement! Most dogs love going outside for walks and playing, and some will tell you (quite loudly and consistently, depending on the dog) that you're not giving them enough of these things by barking. Maybe just small amounts of barking at first, turning into long term bark sessions if they really want to get your attention. You can think of it as them giving you a piece of their mind! Dogs want us people to know how they feel and they will get their point across in whatever way possible.

Barking may not our favorite thing that a dog does, but it is a great form of communication, and one that they have developed just to get their message through to us. It is effective, too. Let's face it, unless you are very hard of hearing, a loud bark is impossible to ignore!

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