Why do dogs bark?

As a technical matter, the reason dogs bark is because people bred them to. None of the ancestors of dogs bark - wolves, for example, which are the wild animals that people domesticated to become dogs, do not bark. Dogs were gradually selected for making noise - vocalizing is more human, so dogs that did it would tend to be the dogs people liked and bred. As dogs started to make noises, the ones that made noises at intruders were valuable as a sort of ancient burglar alarm. The trait of barking gradually became part of the modern dog over several thousand years for these reasons.


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The question becomes: why is my dog barking? Lots of owners have this problem - their dogs will bark on into the night, annoying the neighbors and keeping everyone from sleeping. Dogs bark for a number of reasons in modern times, and if you want to stop your dog from barking, you have to tailor the solution to the reason for the problem:

Barking at Intruders

Many dogs bark anytime they see anyone come near their territory - usually the back yard. Sometimes anything can set them off - cars, animals, pedestrians, etc. If this is a problem with your dog, try confining the dog to an area where it can't see streets or sidewalks. Higher fences can work well, as can keeping the dog in the house.

Barking to Get What They Want

A lot of dogs learn that you'll do stuff for them if they bark. Primarily this happens to get in and out of a door - dogs will figure out if you let them out every time they bark at the door, and they'll keep doing it. The only solution for this is to stop rewarding them for the bad behavior.

Barking Out of Happiness

Only training is going to solve this. Many dogs bark just because they are excited or happy. That can be frightening for guests with some dogs.

You can also look into getting dog bark collars for your dog.

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