Like many dog owners, you might find yourself wondering, especially after a particularly loud night, if your dog ever gets tired of barking. Surely, all that strain on the vocal cords must tire them out a little. They can’t bark forever, right?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is a bit more hazy than pup owners might like. Despite our close kinship, canines and humans are quite different, and their reasons for making a ruckus are not always easily explained.
Here’s everything you need to know about barking – from which breeds bark the most, to when it's OK to let your dog just "bark it out."
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Do dogs get tired of barking?
There’s no way to know, Dr. Ashley Rossman, a doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist based out of Illinois tells us. In her experience, Rossman says dogs seem to tire themselves out quite a bit. She's seen instances in which a dog’s bark changes after a certain amount of time, possibly reflecting a strain.
Dr. Gabrielle Fadl, DVM, and Medical Director at Bond Vet affirmed in an email there are some circumstances, like when a dog is in a kennel, in which they bark so much that they “lose their voice” for a short while.
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Is it OK to ignore your dog's barking?
It depends. Make sure you take into account why you think they’re barking, Rossman says. If it’s the mailman, chances are you can let your dog bark until your letters and bills are delivered, and the delivery person is out of sight.
If they’re in their cage, however, your dog may need to go to the bathroom, in which case barking should not be ignored. Let common sense dictate your choices, Rossman instructs.
Consider booking an appointment with your veterinarian if barking continues and you're not sure why, Fadl shares. Professionals can help you ascertain what your dog might be trying to tell you and the best way to approach it.
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Do dogs get annoyed by barking?
Probably not as annoyed as we do. “Just like humans dogs are individuals,” Rossman explains, their reaction to another dog barking is going to be different on a case by case basis. Their genetics and the way they were socialized can play into this behavior.
A more dominant dog will likely begin barking when another one does, whereas a more submissive dog won’t pay any heed.
“You have to know your dog,” Rossman concludes.
What dog breeds bark the most?
Individual dogs have distinct personalities regardless of breed, and some just bark more than others, Fadl told USA TODAY. However, watch dogs or dogs bred for hunting and guarding purposes tend to bark more. Examples of these canines include, but are not limited to:
Rossman adds both small and aggressive dogs bark a lot, while standard poodles don't bark much at all.
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Should you ignore your dog's barking at night?
Once again, it depends. If you have a puppy, the first couple of nights they spend in a cage could be pretty noisy as they'll need to "bark it out," Rossman explains.
If they're barking at 3 a.m. though, especially if it's an adult dog, they likely have to go to the bathroom. Smaller dogs have smaller bladders and will need to relieve themselves more frequently.
If an adult dog is barking at night when they usually don’t, it could signal problems with anxiety or cognitive dysfunction, Fadl adds. In this case, it is best to tend to them versus letting them soothe themselves.
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What are the most common reasons for a dog barking?
Fadl says dogs bark for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:
Hearing/seeing something that could be a threat to their territory
Other humans or dogs seen out the window, approaching the door or driving by
Lack of training or socialization
How long should I ignore my puppy's barking?
A puppy is not necessarily always likely to bark more than a full-grown dog, however, "puppyhood is a good time to start training your dog on acceptable behavior," Ladl shares. Good training can result in minimized excessive barking.
The same rules apply with puppies that apply to grown dogs. Think of the source of the barking and use this knowledge to determine whether you should ignore the behavior or tend to it.
If, once your puppy reaches adulthood, excessive barking continues, this may be a sign of an ailment and should be treated as a possible reason for a vet checkup.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Do dogs ever get tired of barking? When it's OK to ignore the noise.