Some dog owners have often wondered if there is any point in barking back at their dogs.
Indeed there are often online trends that encourage dog owners to bark at their pets to generate a reaction.
But is it a good idea, should you bark at your dog?
We don’t recommend it. Doing something to intentionally bother or startle your dog might get a funny video, but over time, it can erode your dog’s trust in you. It can also put you at risk of being bitten or lead to your dog feeling like they need to protect themself from you, the person your dog should feel safest with.
Why you shouldn’t bark at your dog
All dogs are different and even a dog that you know can act out of character at times.
If you bark at your dog then, frankly, your dog won’t have any idea of what you are doing and he’s likely to find your actions confusing, stressful or even threatening.
Your dog could respond in a number of different ways but if he feels scared or threatened by your actions then you could end up being bitten as he tries to deal with it.
You could also end up with a dog who no longer trusts you and is always on edge wondering when you will bark at him again.
It’s simply not worth the risk to your relationship with your dog or to your safety.
There is a current trend circulating online of people barking at dogs to get a reaction, simply so they can record a ‘funny’ video.
The big problem with this type of behaviour is that it’s not only cruel to the dog, but it’s also dangerous.
Barking in your dog’s face can be confusing, stressful, or even be seen as threatening.
That confusion or frustration leads to big reactions such as your dog baring teeth or trying to get away.
Every dog is going to react differently to this trend depending on their mood and overall temperament, but in general, this is not an activity to do with your dog.
Some dogs will bark or vocalize back at their owners, licking their lips which can be a calming signal that the dog is trying to defuse a situation they find uncomfortable, or even showing teeth or seemingly trying to get away.
Most dogs become surprised or shocked by unexpected behavior from their owners.
While some dogs will tolerate this behavior, others understandably may react out of fear or discomfort by barking, lunging, snapping, or even biting out of fear/discomfort.
Barking at a dog also involves staring which can result in that dog reacting defensively to the person staring at them.
You never want to make and maintain eye contact with a strange dog, and even though you know your own dog well, staring is still not a good idea as it can cause dogs to feel uncomfortable.
Any activity that involves getting physically close to a dog and then trying to startle or scare them carries an increased risk that a bite could occur.
Even dogs who are not normally aggressive can lunge, snap, or bite when scared or startled.
So we ask you, is it really worth the risk to your relationship with your dog or to your safety to bark at them? We think not.
We hope that this article has helped you to understand why you shouldn’t bark at your dog.
It’s a dangerous and cruel activity that can put you and your dog at risk.
If you are looking for ways to have fun with your dog, then there are plenty of other activities that you can do together that don’t involve scaring or confusing them.