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Why Some Dogs Don't Bark

 by lucy on 07 Jul 2017 |
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A silent pet may sound like an apartment dweller’s dream, but in a reality, when dogs don’t bark, it can be a major cause for concern. Before rushing Fido to the vet, however, bear in mind that some dogs are naturally quieter than others or have been conditioned not to bark by a previous owner.
 
If your dog suddenly falls silent, the first thing you should do is determine whether it’s because he’s not trying to speak, or if he’s making an effort to bark, but cannot. If the latter is true, chances are there is a medical problem and you should seek your veterinarian’s help. While barking too much can cause a dog to lose his voice, more serious medical conditions such as respiratory infections, metabolic disorders, tumors or growths, or lesions in the throat can also cause your dog to lose his voice.
 
Once you’ve established your pet’s silence is not due to a medical problem, you can relax. Not all dogs are equally vocal and certain breeds, such as bulldogs and greyhounds, are less apt to vocalize their concerns. Some dogs may prefer to whimper, whine or bay over barking. If you’ve recently adopted a shelter dog, his silence may be a symptom of the “honeymoon effect,” during which a new pet holds back his bad behaviors while he adjusts to a new home. Or, your dog’s previous owner may trained have him not to bark using a bark collar or, in worse case scenarios, physical abuse. If this is the case, some patience and gentle bond building can eventually help your dog to find his voice. Some shelter dogs, however, have been debarked, meaning a medical procedure was used to remove their vocal cords and permanently lower the volume of their voices.
 
Though silence is often a non-issue, problems can arise if your dog refuses to bark when he needs to go outside or be let back in. Fortunately, there are other ways for Fido to let you know he needs help. Many pet owners have had success hanging a wind chime or jingle bells by the door at dog height, allowing their pets to page them without using their voice. If your dog scratches at the door, hang the bells over the spot where he scratches. Take him to the door on a leash, help him ring the bells while using a verbal command, and reward him with a treat before going outside. With some practice, your dog should learn to ring you for assistance without ever needing to raise his voice.

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