Some dogs bark incessantly until trained not to. Others let out a loud howl at the sound of something specific. Dogs may bark when hearing noises that infer danger or trigger a flashback to a bad experience. Other times it's the everyday sounds that gets Fido riled up -- unzipping the leash pouch to signify a walk or hearing other dogs play in the neighborhood.
Some dogs are notorious for barking at unfamiliar sounds, such as a police car or ambulance siren, car horns or fire works. Because a dog is a pack animal, he may interpret the siren as a sound of communication, much like wolves do. Other outside sounds that make dogs bark are the barking of other neighborhood dogs, the trash truck coming up the street and loud, lawn-maintenance equipment.
Jingle the car keys, open the garage door or unlock the cupboard where the dog's leash is and your pooch is likely to to bark from excitement. These every day occurrences are noises that signify to your pup that something good is about to happen. Joyfulness that you are home, anticipation of going for a drive himself or the eagerness to go for a walk makes a dog bark in anticipation.
If you purposely want to make your dog howl, you can train him to do it on cue. Find something, like a harmonica, that mimics the real noise that makes her howl. Make the noise and wait. When she barks, give her plenty of praise and a treat. Keep doing this until she eventually knows to do it every time she hears the manufactured sound. In addition, you can train your dog to let out one bark simply on command. The tone of your voice and the saying "Bark once!" can signal the bark response.
When a dog feels threatened or in danger, he will likely warn his owner with a bark. The trained dog will stop barking when the owner comes over, assesses the situation and lets the dog know everything is all right. These sounds include the creaking of an open door during the night and foot steps from strangers near the house. In addition, the sound of the doorbell may send your pup into a high-pitched bark due to anxiety about who's behind the door.
By Lisa Finn
About the Author
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.