Do You Know What Your Dog’s Bark Means?

Animal psychologist shares what your dog is trying to say

By Justyne Yuen-Lee
blox_the_bulldogCredit: Instagram / @blox_the_bulldog

We try to make meaning of our dog’s barks. We know that they’re trying to get our attention, but does it have deeper meaning? Is there something wrong? Is your dog having too much fun? Do you think your dog is seeing a ghost behind you? There is so much guesswork when it comes to our dog’s vocalizations.

dotory.donutsCredit: Instagram / @dotory.donuts

Columbia University’s Alexandra Horowitz, animal psychologist sheds a little light on the subject. Maybe this is a “good morning” bark rather than a “get up and do things for me” bark.

dotory.donuts2Credit: Instagram / @dotory.donuts

Our guesswork usually starts with the likely suspect: context. Most of the time your dog barks to get your attention. You probably assume your dog barks at the window because someone passed by – it’s to let you know there’s suspicious activity outside. And that probably means a squirrel ran up a tree. And these Poms were successful in sighting some bush activity.

zacco_the_beastCredit: Instagram / @zacco_the_beast

And that’s basically the bottom of it. Most of the time your dog barks to get your attention/express distress. These two rascals are excite biting – no danger here! So what does the context of the door mean?

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