Understanding Barking

Dogs bark for many different reasons.  Some dogs bark more than others, however your canine friend will usually bark to tell you something.  It may be that they are trying to warn you of a danger, or express happiness and delight when they see their favourite toy. They may be telling you that they are in distress, or even that they are really pleased to see you. Understanding your dog’s bark, by paying attention to the pitch and frequency, will mean that you can address their needs quicker.

Firstly, it is important to remember that if your dog is barking rapidly they are trying to get your immediate attention and normally it is related to a sense of danger or fear.  They are trying to alert you, whether it is because they hear someone coming towards your property, or they can sense something bad is going to happen.  Continuous rapid barking gives you an indication that the danger is very near, and it is usually a midrange pitch.  If they bark three or four times quickly, then pause, then the danger they sense may be slightly further away and it is a warning to you.

One type of bark that you may not hear, but may be of disturbance to your neighbours is prolonged, incessant barking. This barking indicates loneliness, and is a sign that they are not pleased to be left without company.  There can be intervals in the barking, however it starts again after a moderate to long pause.  When they let off a series of yelps, it is to inform you that they are in pain or discomfort.  Similarly, a high pitched yelp is used in response to suddenly pain, for example if you accidentally tread on their paws.

The type of bark that you are more familiar with is probably one or two sharp, short barks with a midrange pitch; a quick way of saying hello, dogs use this type of bark to greet you. This same short bark with a low range pitch is often used when is mother is disciplining her pup; you might hear this where your dog is being pestered by another dog.  Another familiar bark is the playful stutter bark; your dog will use this when they are ready for you to throw their favourite ball and play! Similarly, the rising bark is a happy bark that is used during fun time and shows their excitement.