Essay On Vocal Communication

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Understanding Your Dog's Vocal Communications

Canine vocal communications can be classified as barks, growls, howls, whines, and whimpers. Within those classifications, the sounds can have varying meanings. Your dog’s voice must be taken in context with the rest of his behavior and body language for you to truly understand what he’s saying to you.
Your Dog's Vocal Communications

This baying hound is speaking his mind; he’s seen another dog in the distance and is expressing a challenge. He’s also a tad frustrated at not being able to go greet the dog.

Barking

Dogs bark for many reasons, including alert (there’s something out there!), alarm (there’s something bad out there) boredom, demand, fear, suspicion, distress, and pleasure (play).
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Boredom barking tends to be more of a repetitive monotone. Alert bark is likely to be a sharp, staccato sound; alarm barking adds a note of intensity to the alert. Demand barks are sharp and persistent, and directed at the human who could/should ostensibly provide whatever the dog demands. At least, the dog thinks so. Suspicious barks are usually low in tone, and slow, while fearful barking is often low but faster. Play barking just sounds . . . playful. If you have any doubt – look to see what the dog is doing. If he’s playing, it’s probably play barking.

Baying

Baying is deep-throated, prolonged barking, most often heard when a dog is in pursuit of prey, but also sometimes offered by a dog who is challenging an intruder. The scent hounds are notorious for their melodic baying voices.

Growling

Growls are most often a warning that serious aggression may ensue if you persist in whatever you’re doing, or what-ever is going on around him. Rather than taking offense at your dog’s growl, heed his warning, and figure out how to make him more comfortable with the situation. (See “Good Growling,” WDJ October
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