It’s not known exactly to what degree genetics influences behaviour, but it’s clear that breed (or mix of breeds) has an extremely powerful effect on a dog’s predisposition to bark.
This is because dog breeds are a result of a process of selective breeding by humans, who chose the characteristics they considered to be most useful to them in each case.
Examples of the ‘noisiest’ breeds are::
Some dogs bark a lot when they don’t get what they want, or when they’re over excited..
An example of this is when dogs bark on their way to the park because they're in a hurry to arrive, but can’t get there as quickly as they'd like to (we ask them to walk at human speed since we can’t let them go on their own).
There is no miracle cure for barking due to frustration or excitement. It’s a question of training your dog on a day to day basis so that she’s able to tolerate minor annoyances that can frustrate her. Here are a few tips:
Some Dogs who bark a lot do so because they’ve realised that this is a successful strategy for getting what they want: if I bark, they give me whatever it is I’m asking for.
We’ve already said that barking is a way of communicating with us human beings, and it’s good that dogs use it to ask us for things. But if yours is one of those that expresses her every need by barking, or simply barks to get your attention, then you need to remedy the situation:
Some dogs bark when they hear an unexpected noise, or when the doorbell rings. They do this to warn the rest of their ‘human pack’. It’s a question of instinct.
The warning bark is one of the most difficult to correct, as it’s a spontaneous and instinctive response, one that makes a lot of sense given the evolutionary strategy adopted by dogs.
There are a range of anti-bark collars on the market for dogs who bark a lot. Some work by punishing the dog with an electric shock if she barks. Others release the scent of citronella, a smell that dogs dislike intensely, or simply a sound and a vibration.
Choosing this way of modifying your dog’s conduct, both for barking as a form of warning and for other reasons, is a personal choice. However, you need to be aware that the European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology (ESVE) and the Grupo de Especialidad de Etología Clínica de AVEPA do not recommend these collars, as they put both the physical and emotional health of the dog at risk.
Many dogs bark when something frightens them: another dog, a person,. or a situation.
If your dog barks when she’s at home on her own, this could be related to what’s called separation anxiety.
The first thing you need to do in the case of a dog who barks because she’s frightened or anxious, is to find out why: what is it that she’s scared of?
Once you’ve identified the root of the problem, with the help of an expert you need to consider a form of therapy that will help to modify her behaviour.
In brief, treating a dog who’s frightened of something involves:
Some Dogs who bark a lot do so due to some kind of health issue. For example, barking can be a symptom of certain neurological disorders.
On the other hand there is a form of compulsive barking. This can be a form of stereotypical behaviour.
The answer always involves a visit to the veterinary ethology clinic for an assessment of the specific case of your dog, so that a treatment can be recommended.