Barking up the wrong tree?
by Avery Crayton
I get questions about barking almost every day, and unlike other common behavior problems, with barking it’s almost always the same problem and solution. What I tell people is this – barking is natural! It’s one of the most important ways dogs communicate. Energy is their main form of communication, but some barking is normal. It can be:
1) A form of warning or protection.
2) A warning letting others know “this is my territory.”
3) A form of excitement, such as when a dog barks when he wants a ball.
The bottom line is simple–as the pack leader–you should be able to control the barking if it becomes excessive or obsessive, and if it’s normal barking, it isn’t something that you’d consider “a problem.”
In general, when I see people who cannot manage their dog’s barking, I see people who have trouble managing their life too. People who are not balanced. The dog, therefore, is following an unstable leader and is looking to be challenged. He can’t express this lack of stimulation, so he barks. He’s telling you he’s bored! Obsessive barking is the manifestation of a dog telling you “my needs are not being met” over and over and over again. The result? A frustrated human.
Fulfilling Your Dog
What a barking dog needs is the fulfillment formula. He needs Exercise, Discipline, and then Affection. He needs the physical, and psychological stimulation. The question is: can the human commit to this every single day? We have to understand that balance doesn’t happen because we love our dogs. It happens because we fulfill their needs. That to me is the meaning of love.
Is your dog a barker? Tell us all about it in the comments.