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  • Writer's picturecaissiecanineinstr

Caissie Canine Instruction: Why do dogs bark at each other?

We begin this week’s “RUFF TAILS” featuring a beautiful almost 2-year-old German Shorthair Pointer named Walle.

I joined my family as a puppy in August 2021. However, my first year I spent a lot of time at the vet’s and even an overnight hospital stay due to GI issues. My family has been successful with foods that agree with me now, including my favourite veggies, cucumber, carrots, and broccoli. My mom and dad save the broccoli stalks as they are my high value treats.

I enjoy my play dates with Astro (another GSP) and my off-leash pack walks with other “dog” friends on the trail. My mom and dad say I am highly food motivated, very determined, have high energy, and I learn new tricks quickly. My family says I am reactive towards some people and dogs but have improved beyond what my family could’ve have imagine after just 4 sessions with Paul and introducing the E-collar. My mom and dad would love to introduce me to scent training, and I know I would love it!!!! But one step at a time.

Welcome to Doggie Dialogue

Many of us have seen dogs bark at each other through fences and gates, and even through the front window of a house.

This is how dogs communicate, in fact there are many ways dogs communicate with each other. Whether the bark is out of fear, loneliness, excitement, territorial, or attention seeking, each type of bark serves a purpose.

The dogs that “bark” through the fence or at the front window, are letting everyone know “I am protecting this house”. This is a territorial behaviour.

Some dogs are bred or trained to be good “barkers”. A barking dog will alert homeowners to help protect their home, and even bark and protect the home, when owners are out for the day. Some dogs are trained to bark, if assisting in a particular task. For example, Beagles are often trained for hunting.

This activity is known as beagling. Beagles will run for hours and are quite vocal while doing the “chase” to let everyone know they are “on it”. My dad had 3 Beagles, all outstanding hunting dogs. Beagles have also been used for detection work at the U.S. border, because of their excellent sense of smell. Beagles, like Terriers, and Chihuahuas are more vocal than other breeds.

Many dogs will bark out of excitement or even whine when greeting another dog or person. Some dogs get so excited they may even jump up. Teach your dog to sit, before having anyone approach, therefore curbing the desire to jump.

Learning your dog’s barking behaviour will help you “understand” your dog better.

Dogs that are very social, that go to doggie daycare, and are allowed to run freely and play, can react differently when on a leash. When your K9 is on a leash, even a very-friendly dog, when walking within your own neighbourhood, your dog can get excited, bark, “frustrated” and lunge towards another dog just out of sheer frustration.

Not being able to socialize with the other dogs and say “hello” can upset your social pup. This is very common. You may even notice your dog accompany their excited bark with a “play bow” trying to encourage the other dog to come and play. Again, if you want to engage with the other dog, have your dog sit, and maintain a calm disposition, as the other family approaches. If you do not wish to greet the other family, then kept moving, and keep your dog engaged on you.

Some dogs will bark to self-soothe if they are fearful or have separation anxiety. This type of barking is typically high-pitched.

Other dogs may bark to get attention, for a treat or a toy, DO NOT reward this behaviour. Wait until your K9 is calm and quiet then reward them in a positive manner.

Smaller dogs will bark out of fear, especially at larger dogs, as this is their biggest weapon.

This type of bark will be a lower pitched and last longer, therefore delivering the message, to back off. Our dog, Daisy, being a COVID puppy, never met a lot of people in her early years, therefore she will use this type of bark when new people approach her. This is out fear.

She is learning to trust people and continues to improve every day. Learning her different types of barking, has helped us understand her behaviour.

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