I have found that one topic most dog parents love to talk about is barking. More precisely, excessive and/or loud barking and howling. Apparently many people live with serial barkers, like we do.
So, here are my thoughts on why some dogs bark so much. First, their hearing is far more acute than ours. So we have to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are actually hearing something when they suddenly jump up and start barking and howling hysterically. (We have one barker and one howler).
But why do some dogs feel the need to comment on every sound they hear while others don’t? Some dogs are specifically bred to be guard dogs and protectors. Their DNA literally programs them to alert us to any and all potential threats.
How they define ‘threats’ is another question. It may just be anything outside the norm for the household. This means that the presence of other dogs, or even squirrels, in the immediate neighborhood could be seen as a potential threat. Cars pulling into my neighbor’s driveway always seems to present a clear and present danger to my dogs.
My husband used to joke that our dogs were actually protecting us from invading inter galactic space aliens. Then he realized that he might have stumbled upon the truth. There may really be space invaders (or ancient demons from the underworld, take your pick) who regularly attempt to take over the earth. These predators may emit sounds that only dogs can hear. So the late night attempts at world dominion are thwarted, every time, when the evil doers hear the warning barks of the canine earth protectors.
Invaders fear these protectors. They may be particularly sensitive to the sounds that dogs emit. They may even be rendered powerless when exposed to the frequencies of dogs’ courageous barks.
So when your dogs wake you at night barking frantically, don’t yell at them. Thank them and pull the covers up over your head.