Woof! If you own a dog I’m sure you are very used to hearing this barking noise. Dogs constantly make this noise to receive human attention when they want something. These wants can vary from walks to being hungry or just wanting to be noticed. My dog, Sammy, loves to bark. I have been woken up countless times in the middle of the night because she wants to sleep in my bed or wants to go upstairs. Sometimes she will bark just so I will play or cuddle with her when my attention is given to something else. While these barks can be extremely annoying at times, they have a surprisingly rich scientific history.
The wolf who dogs are descended to doesn’t bark at all. Instead, the bark is an effect of humans connecting and domesticating dogs throughout time. “Barking is mostly used to communicate with humans instead of other dogs. Dogs slowly learned this trait over time to find a way to show us if they need or want something. Humans preferred dogs who barked and liked certain acoustics abilities more than others. The dogs with stronger barks were bred more and throughout time this rare trait became very common in our furry friends.” (Pongracz 1). It is very clear why we as humans chose this trait, due to us being able to better communicate with our dogs. Without the bark, it would be very difficult for the dogs to grasp our attention. This can also explain why these barks are very loud and get our attention easily. We purposely breed loud dogs so that future ones could have this trait.
This selective breeding clearly affected how modern dogs act today. While the bark can be annoying at times, it helps us to communicate with an animal that can’t use words. Yet, even without words, we can understand them extremely well which shows why this trait was selected. When Sammy barks it is always nice and adorable that she is trying to talk to me. It gives me a further understanding of what she needs and can benefit both of us. The bark is an extremely useful trait and it is very clear why it was selected by our ancient dog-loving ancestors.
Londen UK. (1997) . Barking in family dogs: An ethological approach. Pubmed 9(2):10. Doi: 19181546/pubmed226.