Your dog barks to communicate. It is much like human speech, or more appropriately, a baby's cry. You need to listen to the bark to determine what your dog is trying to say. Your dog may bark to alert you to a stranger, an unidentified noise outside, another animal, to get your attention, during play, to go out, to come in, or because the mailman has just dropped off the mail. But there are many other reasons why your dog will bark and it could be because your dog is stressed.
A dog does not naturally bark all the time. Some dogs do have more to say than other dogs but for the most part, a dog only barks when he needs to. Should your dog be barking incessantly, your dog may be unhappy.
How do you know if and when your dog is barking too much? Pay attention to when your dog is barking and what triggered the vocal communication. Was the barking a normal response? Did it linger too long? Does your dog seem to be barking at nothing? Identify the trigger and then work to modify the vocal response. Check out Victoria Stilwell's website Positively and Linda Michaels' (dog psychologist and trainer) suggestions on curbing your dogs' excessive barking.
If your dog is barking too much, he is trying to tell you something. As guardians, it is our job to listen. As a mother learns to interpret her baby's cry, so must a dog guardian learn the different barks of her dog. Ignoring, covering up or hindering the barking only hurts your dog and your relationship. Listening to what your dog is telling you will help strengthen your bond and contribute to the health of your pooch.
Related: Is your dog safe in the yard?