To a dog, voice and audio signals are very important. Dogs don’t speak our language and must therefore use other methods to communicate with their humans. A dog’s bark is one of the very few resources that he has to be able to effectively communicate with us. As a pet owner, it is important to understand where your dog’s bark comes from and how to be able to distinguish between a bark used as a happy, greeting, a bark used as a warning, and a bark used to tell us when something is wrong.
Barking has deep origins that trace back to the ancestorage of the wolf. In 1991, biologist and animal behaviorist Dr. Raymond Coppinger and linguist Mark Feinstein suggested that a dog is much like an immature or young wolf. While wolves may be the closest relatives to the dog, they very rarely bark. Young wolves, on the other hand, are different from adult ones as they will often bark and will do so for very different reasons. They will bark or yelp to attract the attention of their mother when they are alone or hungry and as the young wolf grows older, they will use the bark as a sign of dominance as they become more assured of themselves.
Coppinger and Feinstein believed that a domesticated dog’s behavior greatly resembles that of a young wolf and that as such, dogs never really grow into full (adult wolf) maturity. As it is already mentioned, “little wolves” have a tendancy to bark, so it comes as no surprise that domesticated dogs are also apt to do so.
However, this suggestion only explains the origin of barking but not about whether barking transmits information to other dogs and animals.
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