Why do dogs bark?
Dogs are animals that have been around since before recorded history. They were domesticated from wolves over 10,000 years ago. Some say they originated in Asia but there is no proof of this so far. Today, dogs are used for hunting and protection purposes mainly in the form of guard dogs or pack animals. However, they can also serve other functions such as companionship or playfulness (and sometimes even both).
The reason why dogs bark is due to their evolutionary past. When humans first started domesticating them, they did so for different reasons than what we see today. For example, some of the dogs were bred for hunting and guarding duties while others were bred purely for companionship purposes.
The purpose was never to make them perform any specific task.
However, once these dogs had been trained, they could then be used for certain tasks. A good example would be the German Shepherd Dog. These dogs were originally bred for herding livestock and protecting them from predators.
Later on, the breed evolved into a family pet with many different variations including the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Great Dane. Both breeds, despite being completely different, have been used for roles in films.
As a result of their evolution, these dogs would then be able to produce offspring with similar traits. This was done purely to improve the breed as the years went on. While humans may or may not have been involved in selective breeding, the dogs were still able to reproduce and create offspring that was better than them.
It is this reason why most dogs bark today. They are able to sense danger and raise the alarm by barking. While the barks may not always sound the same, it is a way for dogs to communicate effectively with one another.
A growling dog means they are hostile while an aggressive bark means they are ready to attack. A playful bark lets other dogs know that it is indeed playtime while an alarmed bark tells other dogs to stand down as the situation is dangerous.
Dogs barking excessively can be a problem, however. If you own a watchdog, then it would be good if they only barked when there is a genuine threat. If a burglar approaches your home for example, it would be good if your dog barks to let you know.
It wouldn’t be so good, however, if your dog starts barking at every person that passes by your house whether they are a stranger or not.
Other dogs may start barking for no reason at all. This can be due to several factors. It may be due to a lack of exercise or mental stimulation.
If they aren’t given enough attention, they may start barking for your attention. This is especially the case if you are a first time dog owner who has recently got a dog. As a result of this, you start paying the dog more attention and it learns that barking is an effective way to do this.
New studies have shown there are also other reasons why dogs bark excessively. For example, if your dog is sick, it may be due to pain. If this is the case, then they will probably start barking more as a result of the pain they are feeling.
It could also be due to loneliness or the fact that they are bored. This means that if you work all day and leave your dog alone at home for long periods of time without any play time or exercise, then this may cause them to bark excessively as a result of being left alone.
It could also be that they are trying to tell you something. What that is, however, we may never know. Dogs are able to pick up on certain things quicker than we can.
In fact, science has proven that dogs can smell things in extremely low quantities. This means that they may smell something that you cannot and as a result, they start barking to try and get your attention to see if you can help or resolve whatever the issue is.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The dog that rarely barks: Why the courts won’t resolve the war powers debate (JL Entin – Case W. Res. L. Rev., 1996 – HeinOnline)
- The place of the dog in superstition as revealed in Latin literature (EE Burriss – Classical Philology, 1935 – journals.uchicago.edu)
- Barking and mobbing (K Lord, M Feinstein, R Coppinger – Behavioural processes, 2009 – Elsevier)