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Best Behavior: Why Dogs Bark

Excerpt from The Good Dog Library: Best Behavior by Dr. Nicholas D. Dodman

To curtail problem barking, it's helpful to determine why your dog is barking. Like most dog behavior, barking is typically a symptom of an unsatisfied need, so determining the cause from a laundry list of possibilities become an owner's first major challenge.

Barking is simply a dog's means of communication, whether directed at other dogs, at members of the household, or at the world in general. It may be an attempt to stake out territory, or warn owners of intruders. Since dogs are social animals, it could be a symptom of loneliness and attempt to get attention—announcing to the world, "Yeah, I'm here too!" A lack of exercise and interaction with humans or other dogs may produce barking, as will boredom when dogs are left alone indoors for extended periods of time.

In a worst-case scenario, a pet may suffer from separation-anxiety syndrome and bark continuously when left alone. Or barking can denote other forms of distress, including chronic pain.

Sarah Wilson sums up: "They hear a noise; they're lonely; they want your attention; they having fun; they're frightened, or their toy has run under the couch. It's their way of letting us know they need or want something, or can be a warning that something is not right."

To understand more about your dog’s behavior, purchase Best Behavior from Tufts Good Dog Library from Your Dog.

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