Many dogs bark, but some dogs bark a lot more than others. Occasionally this leaves people thinking that their dog is just barking at them. Although this may be true some of the time, dogs bark for many other reasons as well. Nevertheless, this will leave many people wondering: why do dogs always bark at me?
Dogs bark at you because they are excited, bored, or want your attention. Dogs can also bark because they feel anxious or territorial, and there are some clinical causes for excessive barking in dogs.
In this article, we will explain all of the different reasons dogs bark at people and how you can tell the difference between them. We will also be answering some commonly asked questions about dogs barking and providing you with some additional things to consider about this topic.
Reasons Your Dog Always Barks At You
There are six main reasons why dogs bark. Usually, dogs bark because they are excited or bored. However, attention barking, alarm barking, and anxious barking are not uncommon. In addition to this, some dogs bark due to being in pain or experiencing canine dementia. Here are the six reasons your dog always barks at you.
Your Dog Is Excited
Excitement barking is extremely common in dogs. Dogs who are prone to excitement barking are likely to bark during exciting times, such as when their owner gets home, when they are about to play or go for a walk, and when they are about to meet a new friend.
You can quickly tell if a dog is barking due to his excitement by his body language. A dog who is barking from excitement will likely:
● Be wagging his tail
● May jump around or on others
● Will appear to be happy (tongue out, eyes relaxed)
● May “play bow.”
● May run around excitedly
Your Dog Is Alarm Barking
Many dogs bark to alarm their owners or visitors. This can occur both inside the front door, out in the yard, and when a dog is nervous in an unfamiliar area. You can usually tell if a dog is alert barking by his body language. A dog who is alert barking will likely:
● Appear alert and nervous (perked ears, wide eyes, hair standing on end, etc.)
● Have stiff body language
● May jump or lunge forward while barking
● It could appear to be aggressive if the dog is extremely nervous
Alert barking could occur with any strange sight or sound, including strange people and dogs. Therefore, it is crucial that owners of alert barking dogs work on training consistently. This will make their dog more confident and less likely to alarm bark.
Your Dog Knows Barking Gets Your Attention
Some dogs bark because they have learned that it will get their owner’s attention. This could occur whenever a dog wants to play, get petted, or is begging for food. Attention barking can be very excessive and last a long time.
Although this can be a tough habit to break, ignoring attention barking consistently is the only way to stop this type of barking effectively. As for the body language in an attention-barking dog, they will likely appear to be fixated on you. After all, their goal is to get you to pay attention to them.
Your Dog Is Bored
Boredom barking is another common type of excessive barking. Unlike attention barking, dogs do not necessarily bark at their owner because they are bored. Instead, they are likely just barking because it is a pleasurable and self-rewarding activity for them.
You can relieve boredom barking by giving your dog more physical and mental stimulation. Playing games like fetch and tug of war can provide both great mental stimulation and exercise for dogs.
In addition to this, going for daily walks and providing your dog with appropriate toys can also help reduce boredom barking as well.
Your Dog Is Protecting His Territory
Some dogs bark as a way to protect their territory. This most commonly occurs when strange people, dogs, or other animals come around your home. However, territorial barking can sometimes happen in areas where a dog frequents outside of your home as well, such as a familiar park.
Territorial barking can appear to be very similar to alarm barking, and the main difference between the two is that dogs will only bark territorially to protect familiar areas. You can tell if a dog is territorial barking if he is on his home turf and appears to:
● Have stiff body language
● Appear to be alert and nervous
● May lunge or jump forward while barking
● May growl or snarl
● May appear aggressive if very nervous
Although a dog will be very unlikely to bark at its owner to protect his territory, it is not uncommon for dogs to bark at strangers in this way.
Since territorial barking can turn into aggression, owners must consistently work on training for this type of barking. Owners who have a dog who likes to bark territorially may also benefit from a dog trainer specializing in this and aggression.
Clinical Causes Of Barking In Dogs
Occasionally a dog’s barking has a clinical cause. The two most common health conditions in dogs that cause barking are pain and canine dementia. Therefore, if you notice symptoms for either of these conditions, along with excessive barking, then you should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Some additional signs that your dog might be in pain include but are not limited to:
● Whining, whimpering, and yelping
● Shaking or trembling
● Limping or having difficulty walking
● Increased heart and breathing rates
● Reduced appetite
● Excessive panting
● Avoiding being touched and hiding
Some signs of canine dementia include but are not limited to:
● Appearing disoriented
● Suddenly acting strange around familiar people and animals
● Having accidents
● Eating and drinking difficulties
● Unable to find otherwise familiar spots such as food and water bowls, their bed, etc
● Changes in their sleep (usually sleeping during the day and pacing at night)
● Appearing restless
Why Do Dogs Bark At Me And Not Others
Dogs may be barking at you and not others simply because your body language around dogs makes them nervous. Dogs frequently try to read human body language to learn our intentions and friendly or pose a threat. Here is a table explaining what to do and what not to do when approaching a dog:
|Behavior||Can This Make Dogs Nervous?||What to do Instead|
|Extended eye contact||Yes||Limit eye contact, but still appear friendly|
|Quick and erratic movements||Yes||Move slowly and have fluid motion|
|Leaning over them||Yes||Crouch down to appear less threatening|
|Walking right up to a dog to greet them||Yes||For nervous dogs allow them to approach you first to make them more comfortable|
Why Does My Dog Bark At Me And Not My Husband
The most likely cause for a dog barking at one owner and not the other is that he has learned that he can get attention from that owner by barking. If you give in to your dog’s barking by giving him what he wants, but your husband does not, then you likely have an attention barker on your hands.
Why Does My Dog Keep Barking At Me For No Reason
Although dogs don’t bark for no reason, boredom barking can appear this way to some owners. As a result, boredom barking is the most likely cause for a dog to appear to be barking for no reason.
In addition to this, canine dementia can cause a dog to seem to be barking for no reason, especially when the condition is in the early stages and other symptoms haven’t started yet. However, canine dementia only occurs in elderly dogs.
Why Does My Dog Bark At Me Aggressively
Dogs most commonly bark aggressively when nervous or anxious, and your dog is likely barking at you in this way because of this. The cause could be you, someone else near you, or something else altogether.
It is essential to be very cautious around a dog barking aggressively, even if it is yours. If this becomes a frequent problem, it is crucial first to take your dog to the vet to rule out any possible health conditions and seek help from an animal behaviorist or a dog trainer qualified to work with potentially aggressive dogs.
Should You Punish Your Dog For Barking
Punishing a dog for barking is not very effective at stopping the behavior, and it can even make barking worse. As a result, you should never punish your dog for barking and instead work on reducing this behavior through training.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Barking At Me
Training a dog to stop barking is dependent on what is causing the dog’s barking, even though you are teaching the quiet cue for most of them. For example, reducing excitement barking requires a much different training approach than reducing territorial or alert barking.
Here are all of the ways that you can stop your dog from barking at you.
The most effective thing that you can do to reduce attention barking is to ignore it entirely and reward your dog with attention after he is quiet. This will need to be done consistently by everyone who comes into contact with your dog.
It is important to note that the barking will likely worsen before it gets better as your dog becomes frustrated for not getting what he wants. It is crucial to pull through this period.
Once your dog realizes that barking is no longer giving him attention, then he will stop doing it.
To reduce boredom barking, you must provide your dog with more physical and mental stimulation. This can include going for walks, playing games, and even trying some canine sports such as agility.
Although doing this will likely stop your dog’s boredom barking altogether, you can also teach the quiet cue along with this.
Territorial And Alert Barking
The only way to stop territorial or alert barking is to teach the quiet cue and relieve anxiety and aggression if present. To teach the quiet cue, you reward your dog whenever he stops barking and say the cue: “quiet.” It would help if you kept practicing this and eventually say it while he is barking.
In addition to this, you should seek help from a vet, animal behaviorist, and a qualified dog trainer to relieve any aggression issues.
Excitement barking is normal, and it is usually nothing to worry about. However, if your dog is barking excessively out of excitement, teaching the quiet cue will reduce it.
Barking As A Result Of A Health Condition
Unfortunately, the only way to reduce barking caused by a health condition is to get this condition treated by a vet. As a result, you must take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect that your dog’s excessive barking is caused by pain or a condition such as canine dementia.
Things To Consider
There are some other things to consider when it comes to dogs barking at you and others. These include paying attention to your dog’s body language and when you should seek professional help for your dog’s barking.
Here are the things that you should consider about dogs barking.
Pay Attention To Your Dog’s Body Language
It is crucial to pay attention to your dog’s body language while he is barking. This way, you can better understand the reason behind his barking and work on reducing it. In addition to this, discovering the cause of your dog’s barking will help you realize whether or not you need professional help to work on reducing it.
When To Seek Professional Help For Barking
You should seek professional help for your dog’s barking if:
● Your dog is showing signs of pain or a medical condition
● Your dog is showing signs of aggression
● Your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety
● You need help with teaching the quiet cue
● You need help with reducing attention barking