Open Cloze: Why dogs bark
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Read the following article and complete each gap with ONE word
Why Dogs Bark
Thousands of years
, humans began the process of domesticating the dog and shaping what "being a dog" really means. Through careful selection and breeding, an astonishing variety of dog breeds
been created. Desirable traits have been selected for in various breeds that are of a benefit
humans. There are some traits, however, that quickly become undesirable when expressed too frequently. Barking is
example of a natural behaviour that is encouraged in terms of guarding behaviour, but becomes a problem when the behaviour is produced in excess. A recent health insurance investigation revealed
the sound of a continually barking dog was cited as the most disruptive and stress inducing noise
Why Do Dogs Bark?
Barking, in addition to whining, howling and growling, is a dog's natural means
communication. Barking is characterized by a series of short, sharp sounds, that tend
vary little in tone or pitch. A dog's bark
signify territorial protection, exertion of dominance, or expression of some need. Typically, barking is "a means of communication triggered by a state
excitement." Being a natural trait, barking is not considered a behavioural problem, until it is produced
Causes of Problem Barking
Problem barking has a variety of origins. Genetics does influence a dog's tendency to bark. Certain breeds belonging
the terrier family are prone to more frequent barking
breeds such as Greyhounds or Basenjis. Generally, however, excess barking can exist in any breed of dog. The key to solving the problem of inappropriate barking is to determine what external stimulus
triggering the behaviour.
Improper confinement can be a major cause of problem barkers. Improper confinement can include leaving a dog alone in
locked room, or in a dog crate (a tool used for housebreaking and other behavioural modifications).
improper confinements can include restricted tethering outdoors, or even an enclosed yard without proper shelter from the elements. Such confinement can cause frustration
a dog and cause it to bark excessively. Closely associated
improper confinement is lack of exercise as a cause of excess barking. When a dog is not provided with adequate exercise, accumulated energy
released through barking.
Environmental sounds can
trigger barking. These sounds include such things as the barking of other dogs, the sound of passing cars, strange voices, thunder, and mechanical noises such
the ringing of the phone. Noises can initiate barking at different times of the day. A dog may not bark at accustomed sounds
the day, but at night may be incited to a volley of barking, much to the chagrin of the neighbours, by the slightest of noises. Other causes of problem barking can include separation anxiety, or the temperament
the dog: an over-aggressive animal may bark
the smallest provocation. A strongly territorial dog may bark at any stranger, invited or uninvited, entering
Solutions to Excess Barking
Excess barking can be a serious behavioural problem and can mean the termination of the relationship
your dog or the dog itself if left untreated. The following text includes information on how to solve your dog's problem barking
recommended by a vet.
The first step in solving problem barking, is to determine
your dog is barking in response to inadequate shelter or improper confinement. If this is the case, the dog must be provided with a comfortable amount
space or supplied with a doghouse if outdoor shelter is inadequate. Increasing the amount of exercise given
your dog may also help.
In the event your dog is barking
response to environmental noises, or the barking is simply due to its temperament, behavioural modification methods should be used. These methods can include reconditioning using a verbal reprimand
as "No!", and leash correction. It should be noted however, that you should never yell
your dog, as loud noises may encourage your pet to bark more. Also keep in mind the punishment should be applied while the barking is occurring,
order for your dog to associate the unwanted behaviour with the punishment. Also remember to reward your dog
it stops barking.
Indirect intervention methods can also be applied. These techniques can range from spraying your dog with water while it is barking,
using noise producing devices such as "Dog Stop" or "Barker Breaker," which emit loud
high frequency sounds that interrupt barking. These devices can be controlled by the owner, or triggered
the dog's barking. In the event your dog is resistant to
behavioural modifications, more drastic action can be taken in the form of bark activated shock collars.
device is particularly effective when barking occurs in the owner's absence. Shock collars, however, are recommended only after other control measures
failed. A final resort, when all other behavioural modification methods have been tried, and particularly when the dog's life is
question, is a vocal cordectomy (debarking). This surgical procedure involves removal of all or part of
The key to solving the problem of excess barking in your dog begins with
understanding of what is causing this behaviour. Once you have determined a cause,
have a greater chance of choosing the most effective solution (e.g., more exercise) or behavioural modification. Modifying such an instinctive and natural behaviour
barking can be difficult, and may require considerable patience, time, and hard work. Solutions, however, are possible, and worth