Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing?

Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing?

Author WDF Staff


Most dog owners know their dogs can exhibit different weird behaviors. One of those behaviors is seemingly barking at nothing. We witnessed this type of behavior numerous times, so naturally, a question popped into our minds, “Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing?” We decided to do some exploring and learn more about this unusual phenomenon. Here are the most common reasons dogs unexpectedly start barking.

1. Dogs have better hearing

Humans and dogs have different hearing abilities. Dogs can hear things our ears cannot catch, so sometimes, your dog is not actually barking at nothing. We believe they are barking at nothing because we cannot hear what they hear. Things like squeaking mice in the walls might cause your dog to start barking, and it will seem like they’re just barking at a wall. That means there are all sorts of different sounds your dog might be reacting to - you just can’t hear them.

2. Excitement

Dogs can suddenly start barking because they get excited about something. Perhaps they heard something on the street, or you accidentally said some key phrases like “park” or “food,” and they triggered your dog’s barking. Many dog owners don’t even pick up when they say something their dogs might react to. Their barking is simply a natural, exciting response to something positive they’re expecting.

puppy barking

3. Territory marking

You know how lions roar in the wild at what seems like an empty savannah? They do that because they want to let everyone know this is their territory. One of the possible reasons dogs start barking is to tell everyone this is the territory they’re guarding. They might react to something they might perceive as a threat. Again, their senses are more delicate than ours, so they might sense something we can’t.

4. Frustration

If your dog was peaceful and it looked like they were just napping, then they suddenly start barking; they might be frustrated. The dog was probably getting bored, and we failed to spot early signs. After the boredom reaches its pinnacle, the dog will start barking to let you know they are getting frustrated and demand attention. Dogs that don’t have enough physical activity or aren’t adequately trained or exercised will have a lot of unspent energy. That energy can “boil” into frustration and destructive behavior. If that’s the case with your dog at home, it might be a good idea to listen to them and make sure their frustration doesn’t result in furniture damages.

5. Dogs see better in dark

We already covered the topic regarding dogs’ ability to see in the dark. As we know, they can see better than we can in low light conditions. That means your dog might see something you don’t. The thing they can see might cause them to start barking. Again, to us, it might seem they’re seemingly barking at nothing, but who actually knows what our dogs are seeing.

dachshund licking nose

6. They smell something

Most dog owners already know their dogs have more delicate noses than they do. However, some dog breeds can have a sense of smell that is 100.000 times more powerful than humans. That means your dog might have picked up on something that requires them to bark. It is not uncommon that hunting breeds, like the Bloodhound, bark when they come across an exciting smell. It is their way of letting their owners know, “Hey, I found an interesting smell over here!” Again, that means the dog is not actually barking at nothing. There is a good reason; we just can’t smell it.

7. Disorders

The only reason dogs can actually bark at nothing is if they develop a disorder. For example, older dogs that develop neurologic disorders can bark because they’re in pain or their brain cannot handle the “misfiring” signals. If your dog seems off and they start barking for no apparent reason, it is a good idea to take them to the vet and have the vet perform a detailed examination.

What to do about your dog’s barking?

Dealing with a nuisance barker can be tricky. Dog owners are used to their dog’s barking, but even they can become irritated by their dog’s constant barking. Plus, it can become an issue with the neighbors. You should never enter a screaming match with your dog. The dog doesn’t understand you and will think you are barking at the same thing they’re barking about.

However, there is a way you can help your dog become relaxed and start barking. For example, if your dog can hear a mouse in the wall or smell a fox in the park, their barking is justified from their point of view. You should simply acknowledge your dog’s barking with “OK” or “I hear you.” Some dogs will see that as a sign that you are aware of the perceived threat, and you have it under control. If the barking continues, there are other things you might try. This article might help you - How To Stop A Dog From Barking?

World Dog Finder team

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