Thoughts on Barking


My human was worried that my breed (border-aussie) meant I would bark a lot. I have known a few dogs who constantly yapped.

I have better things to do - like nap.

I do not bark

I do not bark when a human comes to the door.

It is her job to deal with humans. Did she not handle this before I got here? Of course she did. Why would she expect me to do it now?  Besides, I don’t speak their language, but she does.

I don’t bark at other animals.

I watch, but why tell them what I am thinking? If I am going to chase a cat, I am not foolish enough to announce the idea first.

I do not bark at weird noises.

Again that is her job. I have no idea why the freezer is making that noise. Nor can I reach it do anything about it.  I don’t know  why the neighbors don’t have sense enough to turn down their radio. But barking will only add more noise to an already noisy situation. That would be foolish.

And loud.

And I am trying to nap.

I do not bark at dinner time or to ask for a treat. She should know it is time to feed me.

If I walk over the treat box, she should be paying attention. If she isn’t, I will give her my “feed the dog” stare. That usually works. Not always - refer to this sad, sad day.

I do not bark to ask to go out.

Why would I? She fed me. She saw me drink that big bowl of water. She knows what happens next. If she forgets - she is easily distracted - I pace.  If she ignores that I will nudge her a bit. Toward the door if possible. If not, I keep sticking my head into whatever she is doing.

If she ignores even that, I am forced to resort to border collie mind tricks. It is not hard.

I just look at her, intently. Unwavering. Sending mind waves into her brain.

You would be surprised how effective this is. I can even wake her up from a sound sleep this way.

I don’t have to make a sound, I just stare.   

When I do bark

I bark when we are going outside.

I can tell by her shoes whether this is a real walk or a ‘make-it-quick’ walk. Either way, when she starts to put her shoes on, I bark. Building up enthusiasm for the event, encouraging her. You know, like geese honking to one another. She needs the encouragement.

I bark when she leaves.

She used to think I meant “Please don’t leave. I will miss you terribly. I don’t know if I will survive the day without you.”  I think it made her feel good, so I never bothered to try and explain. I only had to keep it up until I heard the car back out of the driveway.  

Then she watched a documentary about an arctic wolf pack and she figured it out. In the pack, any trip is preceded by barking and howling. A rah-rah go team sort of thing. Even by members of the pack who were staying behind to care for the pups or guard the den.

Or in my case, to nap.

I hated that she was disappointed but I guess it’s best she knows the truth. I am fine without her all day.

But I do want to support her efforts with a rousing cheer:

“Go pack alpha. Do the job. Make that money. Buy me treats.”