Barking dog, little biter?
Once again, the wise Spanish proverb hits the mark with his reflections. And is that the barking dog is not a biter. But why? This article analyzes why barking dogs are alerters and do not look for problems, why canine noise does not mean that they are going to bite and why wolves do not bark.
Barking dog, little biter
The least barking dog is the Basenji breed, a dog of African origin that does not bark, but rather grunts and moans to express its moods. As for the most barking dogs, among them are the cocker spaniel and the Yorkshire terrier.
The fact that a dog barks but does not bite is a matter of adaptation to its environment when it comes to relating. This is stated by Miguel Ibánez, an expert in animal behavior and professor at the Complutense University of Madrid. “The dog warns its interlocutor with grunts and barks so as not to bite him,” adds Ibáñez.
Barking dogs are alerters
The barking dog is not very biting because it is also a great alert and, therefore, knows how to avoid the conflict in which a bite occurs.
A dog may bark and growl to intimidate and dissuade another dog or person from its behavior. The dog may feel threatened, intimidated or detect that they have invaded its territory and, therefore, warns of its anger with the barking, without thereby going to attack.
These situations occur when another dog gets too close to the barking dog, who considers that they have invaded his space, but it can also be due to the dog feeling fear or wanting to assert itself in front of another dog, even if it triples in size .
Hence the comic situation of a Yorkshire terrier barking at a German shepherd. All dogs will easily understand the message that the barking dog sends them: it does not intend to bite them. And for this reason, even if the other dog doubles its size, it will not be taken for granted or attack, unless other types of circumstances converge, such as a bitch in heat in between.
Barking does not mean that the dog is going to bite
However, people have more difficulty interpreting that warning bark, which usually seems to us the prelude to an attack, although it is the opposite. In fact, when a dog is not a barker and pretends to bite, his canine body gestures warn: they growl, tense muscles, bristle hair on back.
These signs are the prelude to a bite. “But while a dog barks in order to warn, it will not take the action of biting,” explains Ibáñez.
The fear of the dog can be different depending on the situation it faces. So, according to a study by the Belgian expert on canine behavior, Joël Dehasse, 40% of dogs with fear bite because they feel cornered, something that happens when they are afraid of the vet and have no way out.
The dog emits barks of many types, which help it communicate from different states of mind, such as euphoria or nervousness, to dangerous situations, such as the entrance to the house of a stranger with bad intentions.
Barking dogs that are not biters do it in a certain way, which makes clear their end of notice that they are angry. Because, among other things, they do not accompany the barking with other signs such as showing teeth in a threatening way and they do not make the hair on the back stand up.
Wolves are not barkers, why?
The wolf is the ancestor of current domestic dogs, however it is not a barking canid. The reason is a matter of survival. Going unnoticed when attacking prey or dodging potential enemies is an effective way to stay alive. The wolf has incorporated this behavior into the genetic memory of its species.
Domestic dogs, however, have modified their behavior based on their coexistence with people. So the way the owners educate their dog also depends on the fact that it is more or less barking.
The reinforcement, more or less consciously, of the dog’s barking behavior, through caresses or kind words, implies that the dog nods the bark as a way to solve all kinds of situations, even if it is not going to bite.
The size of the dog does not necessarily influence whether the dog is barking but not biting. There are small breed dogs, such as the poodle that are not barking, although there are small dogs that are, such as the Yorkshire. The fact that the dog is barking and not very biting is due to a question of adaptation to the environment and how the dog is educated.