Barking up wrong tree just part of a dog’s job

By Ted Blankenship

They say (I don’t know exactly who) that the dog is man’s best friend. If it is a MAN’S friend, it’s not going to be a little yapper or a Poodle. It’s going to be in the size range of a Great Dane or at the least a German Shepherd. 

Man and dog have been close friends for at least 15,000 years. Despite what you’ve heard, dogs didn’t evolve from wolves. They probably would tell you they were if they could talk. But they’d be stretching the truth. They evolved from a common ancestor along with grey wolves, and followed man around East Asia and licked his face and jumped up on him with muddy paws (the dogs, not the wolves). 

People who own these animals today love them because they are loyal companions, and because they will chase away burglars, and unfortunately the occasional postman or guy from UPS. If there is a drawback to this friendship, it is barking (the dog, that is).

Barking, according to animal psychologists (really), is a natural form of communication among dogs. The dog is saying to other dogs, cats, humans, or lamp posts and mail boxes that there is a opossum in the back yard, and if it isn’t dead, it soon will be. 

Barking can be useful, according to these animal psychologists. The dog can be telling you there is a potential threat, like a bigger dog who may rip you to shreds. Useful as it may be, barking creates a problem that needs solving. Barking, as we have pointed out, can be handy, but we’re talking about serious, ear slitting barking. The psychologists say this excessive barking may begin at sunset and continue through the night. 

There are techniques that may stop it-but unfortunately, may make it worse.  In those cases, the only thing to do is to sell the mutt to someone in another city. 

First, we need to find out why our dog is barking. We could just ask him, but that would result in a fit of barking, and we don’t want that. So, we have to guess. Is the dog hungry or thirsty? We know the answer. A dog is ALWAYS hungry. Is the dog bored? 

Of course he is. The answer is to take the dog for a walk. If it is nighttime, you can wear your pajamas, but be warned: the dog will not recognize you in your “jammies” and  will bark at you. The neighbors will awaken and they will be rolling in the grass laughing. That will cause the dog to bark some more.  

Traditionalists will insist that just saying, “NO” in a loud voice when the dog barks will do the trick. Unfortunately, this will translate as barking to the dog and he will naturally reply with a louder bark before licking your face. 

Show him who’s boss—lick HIS face. 

Contact Ted Blankenship at

tblankenship@cox.net

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