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What’s It About?

Barking is one of the many ways dogs communicate with each other and with humans. Think of barking as part of your dog’s language. When a dog barks, he is expressing something and you can learn to understand what he is he is trying to say. In this book, author Turid Rugaas, well known for her work on identifying and utilizing canine “calming signals,” turns her attention to understanding and managing barking behavior. If you can identify what your dog is expressing when he barks, you can take steps to minimise the negative effects of barking in cases where you find it a problem.

About the Author

 Turid Rugaas is a dog trainer and behaviourist and has been studying canine social language for more than 30 years. Her best-selling book and DVD On Taking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals has changed the way we think about dogs and brought a greater appreciation for just how intelligent dogs are.

When was it published? 2008

Who published it?  Dogwise Publishing

Illustrations- Full colour photographs


“It is just one of a number of means of communications they use, but it can be one of the harder ones for us to understand. Turid Rugaas, dog trainer and behaviorist, has studied canine social language for 30 years and shares that knowledge in this easy-to-follow reference book. Learning to understand your dog’s communication signlas will help you build a better relationship with it and allow you to “minimize the negative impact of barking behavior.” Rugaas takes you through six common reasons for barking, and explains them from a dog’s perspective. In each instance she describes how that particular bark will sound and refers to activities normally involved with that behavior. She goes on to analyze what the dog is trying to communicate and to make suggestions for how you should react to it. There are plenty of training tips to help you adjust the dog’s reaction to a given situation and the accompanying photographs illustrate the various scenarios. With a bit of understanding you can distinguish the different types of barking and learn how best to respond to it.” Terry Peters

“Barking is natural; almost all dogs bark. It is one od th amny ways dogs communicate with each other as well as with humans. In this book, author Turid Rugaas, well known for her work in identifying and utilizing canine ‘calming signals’ to interpret behavior, turns her attention to understanding and managing barking. By learning to identify what your dog is expressing when he barks, you can take steps to minimize the negative impact of barking behavior. In this book you will learn how to utilize your knowledge of canine body language to help you communicate with dog before barking gets out of hand, barking characteristics of different breeds and groups of dogs, how to recognize six types of barking and their causes, and step-by-step training methods to solve barking problems.” Editor

“I was very interested in reading this new little book by Turid Rugaas. Ms. Rugaas is known for her compassionate ability to see things from the perspective of the dog, and for helping humans understand why dogs do many of the things that they do. This book is advertised as a “Dogwise Training Manual” and as such presents as a slim, colorful paperback with a glossy finish to the cover… This presentation makes the book ideal as an aid for clients who are dealing with barking dogs. The author stresses that barking is part of the dog’s language; a communication… She then goes on to describe the many ways that dogs are communicating, such as calming signals, body language, and sounds: barking, whining, growling, howling. Ms. Rugaas emphasizes that barking is a “natural way for dogs to express themselves.”… Overall, this book is sensitive to understanding why a dog might be barking and gives detailed advice about how to work through these behaviors. Training techniques are also outlined, such as parallel walking and counter-conditioning. I would strongly recommend this book for beginning trainers and as an adjunct to training for clients with barking dogs. “Animals have feelings and emotions. When things happen to them, they react with emotions be it sorrow, anger, happiness, fear… We cannot let our human arrogance deprive animals of their emotions. We must learn to see them and respect them. We can, if we want to. We must, if we want to be human.” I could not agree more.” Valerie Pollard


To us, the sound of barking is not much more than an irritating noise. To our dogs, it is an important method of communication and a way for them to express their feelings and emotions.

In this book, Turid Rugaas, trainer, behaviourist and expert in dog social language, reveals the many things that dogs can mean by barking. She also provides useful tips and advice on how to manage barking, explaining that once you can identify what your dog is trying to tell you, you can take steps to minimise the negative effects.

In Chapter One, Rugaas considers the common assumptions people make as to why dogs bark. She emphasises that barking is an important aspect of canine communication, and examines its place alongside the dog’s other  means of communication.

In Chapter Two, Rugaas looks at when barking is considered a problem. Although barking is a natural way for dogs to express themselves and therefore should not be punished, Rugaas shows us how to recognise when it has become exaggerated due to stress or a need for attention. She advises keeping records of our dogs’ barking behaviour, introducing us to a barking record keeping chart as well as explaining barking classifications.

Chapter Three examines excitement barking, discussing what kind of situations it occurs in, how it sounds and the activity involved. Rugaas also considers whether this type of barking should be reprimanded, as well as giving advice on what we can do about minimising it. She provides a step-by-step approach of how to deal with excitement barking in the following situations:

  • When you come home
  • When guests arrive
  • In the car
  • At the site of other dogs
  • Due to chronic stress

Rugaas also provides some tips on what to avoid with an excitement barking as well as a word of warning about rewarding the wrong behaviour.

Chapter Four moves on to the warning bark. Once again, Rugaas discusses how it sounds, the activity involved and what we can do about it. She then provides some warning bark case studies.

Chapter Five studies fear barking, again examining the activity involved, how it sounds and whether it should be reprimanded. Rugaas describes the different levels of fear expressed by barking. She then considers what dogs fear and how their barking reaction develops, before providing step-by-step instructions on how to deal with both fear and fear barking. Rugaas also pinpoints methods which will not work with fear barking, and then provides some relevant case studies.

In Chapter Six, Rugaas moves on to guard barking, which she describes as the most misunderstood kind of barking. As in the previous chapters, she explains how this sounds, the activity involved and what to do about it. Rugaas then provides some training techniques for dogs that have learnt to go quickly into a defensive mode.

Chapter Seven studies frustration barking, explaining how it sounds and the activity involved. Rugaas shares with us some frustration barking case studies before giving advice and detailed instructions on how to remedy this reaction.

The focus of Chapter Eight is learned barking, which Rugaas explains often stems from one of the other kinds of barking outlined above. After telling us what it sounds like, the activity involved and whether it should be reprimanded, Rugaas gives us some training techniques for preventing it. She then looks at a number of situations where a dog may have learned to bark, giving us advice on how to deal with them. These include:

  • When you stop to talk to another person on a walk or similar situation
  • When your dog barks at guests
  • Barking in the car
  • Barking for attention
  • Barking when encountering other dogs
  • Barking when the doorbell rings
  • Barking due to unintentional training

Chapter Nine studies breed related barking and other vocal expressions. Rugaas explains that some breeds are genetically dispositioned to bark in certain situations, and that this needs to be taken into account when thinking about what breed to go for. She then examines howling, wining and growling, looking at why dogs vocalise in this way and what it means.

In Chapter Ten, Rugaas gives us the basic recipe we need to follow for solving problem barking of any kind. She also provides us with some important points to keep in mind, before summing up the whole issue of barking..

Fascinating and immensely educational, Ali Brown describes the contents of this book as: “thought provoking simple advice to a commonly misunderstood problem.”


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