Why do some dogs bark more than others?

Why do some dogs bark more than others is a question that plagues most dog owners, or neighbours of dog owners. Your dog is fine when you’re at home but the moment you go out, he barks non-stop. You know because your angry neighbour has told you. Or maybe your dog barks when there is thunder, or when a car drives by.

A dog that barks at everything and anything can get a bit exhausting, especially if it happens in the middle of the night and when there appears to be no reason for it.

Why do some dogs bark more than others?

  • Genetics and breeding for specific traits can play a big role. According to veterinary behaviourist Dr Stefanie Schwartz, barking was emphasised in some breeds more than others. This trait was likely selected by our ancestors to help guard human settlements. Not all breeds known for barking will necessary be noisy, however. For instance, terriers tend to be more vocal but not all terriers will bark excessively while Huskies and Nordic breeds like to howl.
  • Environmental noise can set them off. Dogs get used to their environments so if a noise is sudden and unexpected (like a knock on the door) that could be a trigger; and noises they don’t hear often like cars backfiring or thunder or sirens if they are country dogs.
  • Barking is also a way of getting attention. It could be your dog’s way of saying, “I need something.” Dogs will keep doing something if they are getting rewarded for it so if you pay more attention to your dog when he’s barking, you’re accidentally rewarding him for his behaviour.

How to stop your dog from barking too much

Firstly, identify the triggers. Once that’s done ask your veterinarian for assistance. She or he will most likely refer you to a veterinary behaviourist for help. But you will need to be patient. Many dog owners won’t seek help or try to work on excessive barking until it becomes a serious issue. At this point, it is going to take time, consistency and a good training plan to break the habit.

Article by Teresa K. Traverse, extracted from PetMD