If you share your home and your day-to-day life with a dog, you may have already noticed that dogs often bark at some people, while others seem not to wake them up even a bit of interest. If you have already experienced this situation when walking with your best friend, you probably ask yourself questions like: "Why does my dog bark at one person?"," Why does my dog bark at strangers? "Or" How to prevent my dog from barking at people? "
In this Animal Expert article, we will help you find answers to these questions by explaining the possible meanings of your hairy barking and why a dog can bark at some questions and not others.
Why do dogs bark?
To understand why your dog barks at some people and not others, you must first know why dogs bark. Although our hairy people mostly use their body language to express their moods, emotions and perceptions about their surroundings, barking plays a very important role in its relationship with people, with other animals and with the surrounding environment.
In their day to day, the dogs bark to communicate different emotions and experiences living, which depends a lot on the environment in which they are and the stimuli they perceive. When we say stimuli, we are not referring only to noises, images or smells, but also to the presence of other individuals in their territory (people, dogs, cats or other animals). Therefore, there are many possible meanings of barking dogs.
To know what each bark of our furry means, we must pay attention to their postures, facial expressions and their meanings. A stressed dog, in addition to barking, usually shows different signs of stress, such as hyperactivity or nervousness, excessive salivation, licking, difficulty getting together, excessive panting, etc. An angry dog that prepares to defend itself, will communicate his mood with other attitudes and postures, such as growling, showing teeth, scratching and sniffing the ground, having very dilated pupils, remaining still with the body remarkably rigid, among others . If you perceive these signals in your hairy, the best thing is get away and respect your space until the animal calms down and regains its usual behavior. Then, it will be essential to identify what is causing these negative emotions in your hairy to establish an effective treatment.
Therefore, we always reaffirm the importance of knowing your dog's personality to easily identify any change in his behavior and know how to act to help him. Also, if you notice that your dog barks excessively or that your dog's character has changed, we recommend you take it to the veterinarian you trust to check your health status. There are many diseases that can cause severe pain and interfere with your hairy senses, so it is essential to rule out any pathological causes associated with excessive barking and other behavioral problems.
And why does my dog bark at certain people and not others?
Now you know that dogs can bark for different reasons and in different circumstances. However, we still don't answer that initial question: “Why doesn't your dog like some people?"Or"Why does your dog only bark at certain people and not others?”.
Again, we will have to tell you that there is no single explanation for this behavior of your hairy To know why your dog barks at some people, it will be necessary to observe the context in which these barks occur. In addition to observing your dog's position when barking, you will also need to look at the attitude of the person to whom your hairy barks.
To help you with this task, we will summarize below the main reasons that can make your dog bark at some people and not others.
Do dogs bark at people for fear?
Fear is among the main causes of barking in dogs. Usually the fearful behavior towards people and other dogs are associated with a poor socialization. Therefore, if you ask yourself the question “how to prevent my dog from barking at people”, the answer is: investing in their early socialization.
In dogs, fear is an emotion that appears right at the end of the socialization stage, which occurs during childhood. If during this period, we present our furry to different people, dogs, other animals and various stimuli, we get prevent fearful behaviors or insecure in adulthood. Although the ideal is to start socializing a dog during its childhood, it is also possible to carry out a successful process of socialization in adult dogs, always with patience, affection and the help of positive reinforcement.
Thus, a dog that has not been correctly socialized during his childhood and has not had the possibility to interact positively with other individuals can show fear in front of unknown people, dogs and stimuli. There are even dogs that act in a fearful and exaggerated way even with people known to have experienced some traumatic experience with people (we'll talk about it later).
However, there are also other possible explanations why a dog barks at people for fear and you can meet them by reading our article "what to do if my dog is afraid of people". In it, you will also find some tips to help your dog and carry out a correct socialization process to teach him to interact positively with the individuals, stimuli and objects that make up his environment. Likewise, sensory deprivation syndrome may be the answer you are looking for if your dog is adopted and you do not know their past, since this disorder appears when dogs have been confined during their development or deprived of the social stimuli mentioned above.
Is it true that dogs can smell people's fear?
You probably already heard that dogs can smell our fear and may even bark at identifying this emotion in some people. Although there is no 100% proven explanation for this capacity of our furry, the truth is that they have a much more developed senses than ours, especially if we talk about smell and hearing. And that would be one of the possible explanations for its ability to identify a fearful person.
When we feel fear or other extreme emotion (stress, anxiety, overexcitation), our body releases somehormones to the bloodstream and body fluids (urine, sweat, etc.), which alter our body odor. Although these substances may go unnoticed by other people, the powerful smell of dogs is able to easily identify the alteration of the smell in the body of the person experiencing this emotion. In addition, when we feel fear, our body also adopts certain postures and facial expressions different from when we experience a state of relaxation or happiness. A person who is afraid of dogs usually adopt a defensive or apprehensive posture when in the presence of this animal. Remember that fear is an emotion that can lead to organic and involuntary reactions.
As dogs primarily use body language to communicate, they are also able to perceive alterations in our usual postures and identify some signs that indicate this state of tension. By identifying the defensive or apprehensive posture in some people, dogs may bark at feeling stressed or fearful in this situation, or just to scare away and frustrate any attack attempt that could be born of this person in a defensive state.
Do dogs bark at certain people to get their attention?
Although we usually think that a dog barks to those who do not like them, the truth is that our hairy ones can also bark to get people's attention They want and invite them to play or receive their caresses. In fact, there are many dogs that bark when they are very excited, either to perceive the presence of their favorite people, to know that it is time to walk or because their tutor takes their favorite toy.
If your dog barks at some people to express their happiness when they see them and invite them to play, you can observe other positive signs and friendly in their body language. For example, the classic happy tail, raised and waving with enthusiasm, open and friendly facial expressions, or putting your ears back when caressed or to ask for the caresses of this person.
Do dogs bark at some people to defend their territory?
Dogs are territorial animals that can be very protective in relation to their home, their guardians and their objects. The presence of people, dogs or other unknown animals in your home, can make your dog feel that its territory is invaded and your resources are threatened, so you will have the natural need to preserve them and protect them from any threat. However, a possessive dog tends to resort to aggressiveness and react negatively even to people known for fear of losing their toys, their food or their guardian.
The resource protection It is a natural behavior in dogs and other animals. However, overprotection in relation to people and objects tends to greatly harm the social life of our hairy and living in our home. In addition, in the attempt to conserve their resources, dogs can have aggressive attitudes that are very dangerous for themselves and for everyone around them. Therefore, a possessive dog needs to receive adequate treatment to learn to control your negative reactions and to interact positively with people, animals and the stimuli that make up their environment. If you notice that your dog is very possessive of you or its objects, we recommend you immediately find a qualified professional, such as a educator or a canine ethologist. In addition, if your hairy is very nervous or more aggressive than usual, take it quickly to the veterinarian to monitor his health and rule out any pathological cause.
On the other hand, if you have adopted or are thinking of adopting a new dog, remember the importance of present it correctly to your hairy. If you incorporate a new puppy in your home abruptly, your dog may feel insecure and be more possessive in relation to its territory and its resources, acting aggressively in relation to the new furry. Therefore, the introduction of a new dog in our house must be careful to avoid fights and land disputes.
In Expert Animal we give you some tips to favor the coexistence between a new puppy and an adult dog. In addition, you will need to prepare your home for the arrival of the new furry: each dog must have its own environments and objects (feeder, drinking fountain, bed, toys, etc.). Thus, you can favor the interaction of your dogs and avoid subjecting them to unnecessary fights and contexts of high stress. And remember again the importance of correctly socialize your dogs to teach them to interact in a positive way and to enjoy an optimal social life.
Do dogs bark at some people and others not because of bad education?
The unconscious training It is much more common than you can imagine. Daily, many tutors reinforce unwanted behaviors in their dogs without even perceiving it, for example, by offering them a treat or pampering them to momentarily cease some unwanted behaviors, such as barking, crying, etc. Precisely for this reason this phenomenon is known as "unconscious training".
If to get your dog to shut up you always offer him a snack, a caress or you allow him to do things that are normally prohibited (for example, getting on the couch or bed), your hairy probably will assimilate the act of barking with getting something Which is of your interest. Then, you can start barking excessively with the sole motivation to get your attention and get what you want.
The same it can happen with other people, such as relatives, friends, neighbors or visitors who frequent your home. If your dog barks only at one person or at some people who often frequent your home, you can pay attention to how these people react to your dog's barking. If you notice that these people give a treat, a piece of food or a caress to make the dog stop barking, probably, your dog has assimilated the act of barking this person / s with getting something that interests and pleases .
Do dogs bark at certain people for traumatic experiences?
Unfortunately, many dogs have a history of physical or emotional abuse and have lived traumatic experiences that hinder their relationship with people or with other animals, and may even lead to phobias. We must not confuse fear, which is a fundamental emotion for survival, with phobias, which are characterized as disproportionate and exaggerated emotions against certain stimuli.
If your dog is afraid of certain people, it may bark at them, try to escape and even react aggressively to defend against a possible attack. However, if we talk about a phobia, the dog will react in an exaggerated and uncontrollable way, demonstrating the state of panic that dominates your body. A diagnosis of phobia is complex to treat, it takes time and a lot of experience. Thus, It is essential to work with a specialist in canine behavior and education to help a dog that suffers from phobias to regain their self-confidence, slowly relearn to trust people and be able to interact with them in a positive way. Unfortunately, integral cure is not always possible, but a good quality of life can be provided to the dog with a positive environment, controlled exposure to unknown persons and the use of alternative therapies, such as Bach flowers, aromatherapy, acupuncture, among others.
If you have recently adopted a furry and you perceive that he is very fearful or behaves uncontrollably in the presence of other people, we recommend you go to a veterinarian specializing in canine ethology (veterinarian ethologist). This professional can, first, verify the health status of your dog and rule out any disease or imbalance in his body. Then, you can design a treatment based on specific guidelines according to the needs of your dog and analyze the possibility of using drugs or alternative therapies to provide a better quality of life for your best friend.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my dog bark at some people and not others?, we recommend that you enter our Behavior Problems section.
why do the dogs bark?
Dogs can bark for several reasons, the main ones being the following:
- Frustration: If we leave the animal alone without being able to do anything, or if we do not pay due attention every day, it will feel frustrated, as well as boring and therefore bark. To avoid it, it is very important that we play with him, that we take him out for a walk and that, in a nutshell, we dedicate him time.
- Separation anxiety: If you spend a lot of time alone, or if it is a dog that depends a lot on us, you can develop anxiety. To help you, we can give you a kong while we are away and follow these tips on separation anxiety.
- Health and / or old age problems: as it ages, the dog may lose hearing and / or have health problems of old age. As a result, it is normal for him to bark when he feels that there is something dangerous. We, like his caretakers, have to be by his side and try to calm him down with classical music or with walks (we never have to give him toys, treats or caresses when he is in that state since he would interpret it as a prize for being wrong).
- Problems with other dogs: if he has not socialized well, or if he has had any conflict with other dogs, he will bark to get the other animals to stay a certain distance from him. Therefore, it is important to consult with a professional to help the furry to know how to interact with those of his species.
How to prevent people from barking?
There are several things we can do to prevent people from barking. The first and most important is take him for a walk every day. A tired dog will be an animal that, in general, will not be so eager to bark. But, in case you do, we will take a bag of dog treats with us and we will give you one every time we see that someone is approaching. In this way, you will gradually associate humans with something positive (candy).
At home, since the first day, It is necessary that we dress in older people's clothes, with hats, scarves, ... in short, with all kinds of costumes and clothing. Thus, every time we go for a walk the dog will not feel intimidated by anyone and can enjoy being outdoors. For the same reason, it is also highly recommended to invite different people to the home, which will give you a treat.
We hope these tips are useful for your dog to stop barking at people 🙂.