For a long time there was a view among many scientists that the barking of dogs was not so much informative as it was just a “by-product” which emerged in the process of domestication. Like wolves, barking is rarely used in wild dogs and domestic dogs of certain breeds bark with pleasure, including when they communicate with their owners. Next to men, dogs would not run into the danger of being detected by their natural enemies when barking so it became more comfortable for them to use especially when trying to communicate with their owners.
Speaking about barking, one cannot forget the fact that different dog species can vary greatly in their tendencies to “talkativeness”. This is due to the fact that in some cases, people deliberately seek to breed dogs with certain acoustic properties (for example, guard dogs must notify their owner of the approach of a stranger by barking).
Barking is a natural way for a dog to express many feelings.You should not wean your dog from barking if not knowing the cause. If your dog barks with a definite and appropriate reason, you must reward it. Alternatively “idle barking” or barking to attract attention should be ignored. Most trainers agree that the carrot-and-stick policy (where you reward good behavior with a treat) has always justified itself to be successful. Of course the best way to wean your dog from barking is to teach him to bark on command and offer him the appropriate response when he behaves appropriately.
No less important is the fact that the sounds of your dog’s bark can indicate the health of your four-legged friend. It is known that the barking of dogs who suffer from pain is much more noisy than the barks uttered by healthy animals. If you have a pet that barks for no apparent reason or sounds anxious and noisy, make sure to consult your veterinarian as it may be an indication of a more serious problem.
Al Skender is a Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc. He’s a self-proclaimed expert on the German Shepherd breed, owning several of them throughout his life. He enjoys being outdoors and prefers it to being stuck in front of the television, unless The Office or CSI is on. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet monthly e-zine at barfworld.com/ezine