All Bark: Figuring Out What Your Dog is Telling You

Kevin Dixon

A few years ago, a friend recounted that when her young nephew visited their home, he was frightened by the family's very talkative chihuahua-mix. While the dog loved kids and didn't mean him any harm, as a child who hadn't grown up around dogs, he didn't know how to understand what she was saying to him. What he interpreted as aggressive meant any number of things-- most often, "Hey kid, throw me that ball!" Understanding the basics of what dogs tell us with their bark is important for anybody. Seasoned of dog owner knows that our dogs communicate a whole range of things with a bark, from "Feed me," to "Help me," to "Get Off My Lawn!" Even non-dog people will come into contact with a dog at some point, and while being afraid of a friendly hello is unfortunate, misunderstanding a warning bark could be dangerous. To help us brush up on our bark skills is this great interactive tool from PBS to practice identifying what a dog's bark is saying. It takes you through different types of barks, and as a dog owner you may even find yourself scratching you head at some of the examples.

What's Your Dog's Bark Telling You?

So, how good is your bark-identification game? Give the quiz a try and let us know how you do!