Interestingly enough Arwen has never been much of a barker. For the first four years of her life she would happily sit on our lawn in MI and watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood. She didn’t bark at other dogs, people, trucks, delivery, men, etc. For awhile we weren’t sure she had a voice in that sense.
To a certain extent that has changed, though she still does not bark a lot – we’re not exactly sure when she made the connection, but she did eventually discover that barking has its purposes. Perhaps the first instances were when walking with her, for some reason she gets rather excited about small dogs. Essentially she got barked at first and then she learned to respond. Now – small dog equals bark first, ask questions later. We haven’t let her leash go to find out whether she is more interested in getting to know them or eat them. Discretion is sometimes the better part of valor.
Or it might have been that she first started to bark when other creatures invaded our yard. She loves to chase rabbits, squirrels, black and white squirrels (aka skunks), deer, ground hogs, foxes, and ??? Well oft we don’t get to see what has gotten her excited as it has already skedaddled by the time we get out to check.
The last ‘barking’ thing she learned, and she really has learned it well, is that when she barks things happen, i.e. it attracts Mom or Dad. So “Bark” I want to get out, “Bark” I want to come in, “Bark,” someone is coming, and so forth. For more important things like foods and walks she makes a noise with her mouth and throat – “Arggwgghwant”. (Well that’s the best I can do!)
Pretty demanding, she has gotten. She will even stick her nose in your face at 5:00 in the morning to let you know it’s time to get up and feed her and let her out.
Guess what? Difficult people have learned these kinds of tricks, too.
And guess what again? Unfortunately we tend to jump when they grunt or bark or ???
The truth is we are ALWAYS part of the equation when it comes to difficult people in our lives.
What is the solution? Change your behavior in response to their behavior.
HINT! You can always find kind, positive ways to change your behavior. You don’t have to fight back or retreat.
It’s worth thinking about.
P.S. Sometimes we ignore those doggie head-butts at 5:00 AM. She gets the point and back settles in for awhile.