Barking, are you listening?

Yes our dogs bark, but do you know what your dog is saying? I thought about writing about barking today because on Friday Tilley kicked into her guard barking. She does not guard bark often but when she does; I listen. My dogs do not bark needlessly; they will sometimes get on a barking roll due to something that has spooked them but they don't typically bark for the joy of barking.

I was in the kitchen on Friday and Tilley was outside in the back, she could see down the side of the house. Suddenly she kicked into gear; her whole body was saying "intruder." I found this odd but new immediatley there had to be someone inside our yard, inside our gate. I quickly went to the side of the house and the gas guy was there; I hadn't seen him before. He calmly said "I'm reading your gas meter;" and went about his business.

By the tone of his voice I could tell that he thought Tilley was behind a secure fence, she was not. Had she decided to follow through he would have got a big surprise when she came around the side of the fence. She stood her ground, feet spread and screaming out a threat. I told her she was a very good girl and she came around closer to the house and lay down facing the side of the house; obviously keeping a close eye on things.

There is a huge difference in the bark she warned this guy with and her "hey I hear something," bark. Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons, excitement, warnings, alert, frustration etc. It is up to us as guardians to decipher it. You need to pay close attention to a bark, watch your dogs body language. When Tilley was doing her guard barking she had all four legs spread wide and was stomping mad.

Sometimes dogs will simply give a small bark; to let you know that they heard something. Then it is up to you to go check it out. Frenzied barking is not good, no dog should be in a frenzied state. It is very hard to get a dog out of this state let alone communicate anything to them. So setting barking limits is a good idea. I allow about 5 usually, anymore than that and it gets annoying.

Luke will go to the door and bark if another one of the dogs has a toy or bone he wants. He's very smart; you can see the whole thought process that goes into it. But, the bark is a fake bark; I can tell. But it is enough to get the girls to drop whatever they have and go and check it out.

Barking is one way that dogs communicate; you should be listening. If it becomes a barking problem then your action is required. Remaining calm is one of the quickest ways to stop barking. If I am at home with the dogs and for some reason they are sure there is someone at the door; I will approach the door calmly, open it and tell them there is no one there. Remaining overly calm is the secret.

It can be difficult to remain calm when a dog is barking a ton but when you get excited; it makes matters worse. So keep your cool.

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