There is always a logical explanation for why does my dog bark at me or why does my dog bark at other dogs or why does my dog bark at nothing. There are many conditions, outside influences, and environmental factors that cause puppies to howl and yelp. Understanding how these factors, influences, and conditions affect your dogs behaviour will help explain the reasons why dogs bark, and will give me clues on what I can do to stop my dog from barking. After reading this article you will be able to answer the following questions about your pets barking:
- why does my dog bark at me?
- why does my dog bark at other dogs?
- why does my dog bark at nothing?
- why does my dog bark so much?
- why does my dog bark at night?
- why does my dog bark at people?
- and much much more!
check out this video of Ralph barking at the hoover…
Why does my dog bark at me?
Before answering the question ‘why does my dog bark at me?’, let’s explain an interesting fact about canine barking: there are only about 10 general reasons why dogs bark (or to put it another way, there are only about 10 causes, influences, or triggers that induce or stimulate a dog into barking). When you are able to isolate and identify the stimulus (cause) of your pets barking, then you will be able to provide an answer to the question ‘why does my dog bark at me?’. Now, instead of focusing on the questions ‘why does my dog bark at me?’ or ‘why does my dog bark at other dogs?’, we need to focus on the causes of the barks and howls (the stimuli – the factors, conditions, and influences that arouse an action, which in this case is our pets barking)! So, how do we do this?…don’t worry, it’s not that hard, read on!
Why does my dog bark at other dogs?
Remember, in order to answer the question ‘why does my dog bark at other dogs?’, we need to focus on the stimuli causing our pets barking and growling. And, to reiterate, there are only about 10 stimuli that induce a dog into barking. So, let’s define the 10 or so stimuli, and then you will be able to answer just about any question you would ever have on why dogs bark!
Why dogs bark – the top 10 stimuli that cause my puppy to bark:
- Being frightened, surprised, or scared – this is an appropriate answer for the questions ‘why does my dog bark at the vacuum‘ or ‘why does my dog bark at me‘. When your puppy is frightened or scared they will often times look to their owner for comfort and reassurance. Puppies will bark at anything that startles them or scares them (like an unusual or extreme noise or bang, sudden darkness (turning the lights out), or a sudden unexpected move or action by someone or something).
- Communicating and responding to other canines barking – the answer to this question is pretty self-explanatory ‘why does my dog bark at other dogs‘ but, it is also applicable to ‘why does my dog bark at night‘. Your pet will often howl when other dogs in the area start howling as a response to the other dogs. One canine in your neighborhood may start barking, and then another barks, and before you know it every dog in the neighborhood is howling and yelping. This type of barking is essentially like when I call one of my friends on the cell phone and ask them ‘what are you doing?’ or ‘where are you?’ (dogs in the neighborhood are communicating with one another in the same manner…’what are you doing?’ or ‘where are you?’.
- Being hurt or injured – is your pet whining or growling? This would be another applicable answer to the question ‘why does my dog bark at nothing‘ (remember, dogs don’t bark at nothing!) or ‘why does my dog bark so much‘. Pets will often yelp and howl when hurt or injured, or suffering pain from some type of medical condition. If your pet wont stop yelping and you perform a thorough ‘health’ check on your pet (looking for an injury, insect bite, cuts or bruises, etc.) and don’t find any obvious signs of injury, and you just can’t seem to figure out why they’re barking, they could have a medical condition. Routine exams at the vet are always a good idea to make sure your dog is healthy and stays healthy!
- Playing or greeting – this is an applicable answer to the question ‘why does my dog bark at people‘ or ‘why does my dog bark at me‘. Puppies love to bark when they get excited. Many times my pet wont stop barking when introduced to or greeting someone or another dog, and often barks when playing (this type of bark is usually a ‘happy’ bark and is usually accompanied with jumping and panting).
- Lack of exercise, inactivity, and laziness – is your dog lazy? Here’s an appropriate answer to the question ‘why does my dog bark so much‘ and ‘why does my dog bark at nothing‘ (believe this, dogs don’t bark at nothing!)! If you don’t make sure that your pet gets plenty of exercise and activity, your puppy will bark because they will have an excess amount of pent-up energy and stress. It stands to reason that exercising your dog (taking them for walks or runs a minimum of 1-2 hours per day) is therapeutic for them. Dogs need exercise. Puppies need to play and have fun. It makes them healthy and happy (a healthy, happy, tired puppy will bark far less than a lazy/unhappy dog).
- Isolation and loneliness, anxiety and confusion – this would be a primary answer to the question ‘why does my dog bark at night‘ but could also be applicable to ‘why does my dog bark at nothing‘. Canines are by nature sociable creatures (animals that live in packs and family groups). When your puppy is isolated and left alone for long periods of time and has little or no interaction with you or other dogs they will yelp and howl because they are unhappy, bored, and sad. Canines will also bark when they are confused and suffer from anxiety. Just spending time with your dog helps curb the anxiety and loneliness. To prevent your pet from being confused, ensure that you are always consistent in how you interact with your dog and be consistent with any type of training method you are trying to teach them for how to get your dog to stop barking.
- Protecting their territory – this would be an applicable answer for the questions ‘why does my dog bark at other dogs‘ or ‘why does my dog bark at people‘. Canines are very territorial creatures and will often fiercely protect their territory. Often times a dog wont stop barking when someone or something approaches and/or comes into what they consider their territory, or when someone or something is threatening them. As someone or something gets closer and closer to the dog, the dog will generally bark more and louder, will be extremely alert, and may even display aggression. Usually, these ‘territorial barking’ clues are easy to identify!
- Looking for attention – do we really need to ask this question ‘why does my dog bark at me‘? Dogs will bark when they want something, like for someone to play with them, for someone to feed them, for someone to let them outside, for someone to pet them, for someone to fill their water bowl, etc. If you’re wondering how can I stop my pet from yelping and howling when they need to go outside, then you will need to teach them another means of showing that they need to go outside besides barking
How can I get my dog to stop barking now that I know why he barks?
Now that we have learned how to break down our pets barking situations into causes, influences, and triggers (by isolating and identifying what stimuli induce our dog to bark), we should now be able to answer questions like ‘why does my dog bark at me‘ or ‘why does my dog bark when I leave‘ or ‘why does my dog bark at the tv‘. Hopefully you have learned a few effective techniques you can use to get your puppy to be quiet after you have identified the true reason for his excessive barking. In order to solve some of the more difficult barking problems (like barking at night, or howling at other dogs) be sure to check out our articles on the use of electronic stop barking devices. Stop barking devices are a very effective and humane means of controlling even the most stubborn pets! Our articles on these devices will define how they work, what they are, how effective they are and will show which products are the best, and which ones to avoid. Click the following link to read an article we’ve written on this subject… ‘anti barking devices designed to be humane but effective‘.