Barkathon 5000

When we adopted Toady, there were many things that we didn’t know about him. It was sort of like seeing a sparkle of light through a patch of dense fog—we knew we wanted him, but we had no idea what was in store for us.

One of the things that we did not know is that Toady would be such a barker. We have dubbed him the Barkathon 5000. The loudest, barkiest, most nosy model ever made. Toady barks at people, cars, animals, birds that fly over his head, frogs that hide in the garden, the vacuum, and even paper tubes. He barks when he thinks Manbeast is home, he barks when he is jealous of Mylo or Odin, he barks when you won’t give him his toys, he barks when he wants your attention. He is a barker. At first, it was irritating. We tried everything from positive reinforcement to a spray collar. Positive reinforcement did nothing. The spray collar worked until we realized that it must be really annoying to smell like lemons all of the time when you hate the smell. He is just a dog that feels the need to vocalize his feelings.

We have neighbour dogs on either side of us, both sides separated by fences. Toady knows that there are dogs there, so when we go outside, he runs to the back fence. He trots around for a moment, then stops to listen. If he can’t hear any dogs, he barks once. Loud, playful, and then stops to listen. If no dogs respond, he knows that they are inside. If they do, he has conversations with them about dog things that we silly humans cannot understand. We’re lucky to live in a place where dogs are plenty and they all bark at each other or else I am sure that we would have had a visit from bylaw by now.

The thing is though, dogs are dogs. It’s natural and normal and instinctive for them to bark. It’s their way of telling us when something exciting happens, or that there is a stranger at the door. We could train it out of him if we really wanted to, but it’s part of who he is. And we like him that way. I think that sometimes people forget that dogs are a different species and that to assume that they will behave like humans is irrational. Unfortunately, we do not share logic with them. They don’t care if they wake the neighbors, they don’t care if you are trying to work, they just want you to know something. Just like little kids who stand beside you and say your name over and over and over and over until you respond. It’s just the way they were built and I’m sure we do lots of things that irritate them as well.

Do you have a Barkathon 5000? Or even the next model? Do you do anything that you know irritates your dog?


35 thoughts on “Barkathon 5000

  1. Grady never barked for the first two months I had him. Then in one hilarious keystone cops episode, I stood up from my office chair and when I went to sit, didn’t realize he had dropped his ball in it. I sat, I jumped, I screamed and Grady barked. After that, he seemed to realize he had a voice. And now he appears to be comfortable and proprietary about his home, so he’ll bark at knocks on the door, or odd, random noises that are not part of the daily noise level around here. We live in the country and not with dogs nearby, so we don’t have the over the fence conversations.

  2. When I first adopted the Howler, he barked incessantly when I wasn’t home – nothing worked. I thought I was going to have to put him in doggie daycare so my neighbors wouldn’t run me out.

    BUT as soon as he realized that I was coming back, that he wasn’t ever alone for long, he chilled out. He is still a very vocal dude. He barks at critters outside, he barks at people when they aren’t paying attention to him and he has decided they need to say hi to him…. But he also barks to protect his pack… so I am good with that.

    And then there is the howling…. which I happen to love..

    Wouldn’t trade any of it for the world…

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • That’s sweet. Mylo used to have freak attacks when we would leave too, but then we started leaving the radio on and giving them each a Kong and he’s been fine ever since. Neither of mine have ever howled, even though I would love to hear it! The howler sounds like such a cool little dude.

  3. One of our three barks at most anything that moves or makes a noise. He loves to be talked to and will bark like he is caring on a conversation with us. Chancy carries on conversations with the neighborhood dogs. This was a great post. Hugs and nose kisses from me and the crew.

    • Thanks! It’s nice to hear that Toady isn’t the only Barkathon 5000 out there! Our cat carries on conversations with me, he is the most vocal of our pack but Toady is much louder and much more intimidating.

  4. Me and Nellie are the bestest barkers in all the sunny Mangamahu valley. We love to have barkathons with the neighbour’s dogs, especially at night when it is dark and everyone is asleep. For some reason our family do not appreciate our efforts. We also have barkathons with Farmer Rae’s dogs when they come to work at the kiwifruit orchard. Needless to say Me and Nellie always win. Barking is such fun. Love Nellie and Jasper.

  5. We are surrounded by dogs and for the most part Raffles and I ignore them, there’s a big high fence and if they don’t bark we won’t either. But there is a Rhodesian Ridgeback at the bottom which stands silently behind the fence and if we wander in that patch of garden he sets up a ferocious bark so of course we have to shout back.
    It is only short-lived unfortunately. The Producer always calls us in when we bark too much.

  6. I very rarely bark, but the mailman – oh! that guy gets under my skin, so I save my barking for him. I mostly communicate with the dumb, clueless expression that Mom loves. Then I wait for to read my mind.

    Love and licks,

  7. Jackson barks at air…but only when I am home alone. As soon as Dad comes home, he stops. Guess he is guarding the manor for me 🙂 Sweet (irritating) boy!

  8. This was a truthful account of life living with a dog. I like that you are honest and see things from the two and four-legged point of view.I know there are plenty of other noises outdoors in a typical neighborhood that could be just as easily irritating. For example construction on new homes, leaf blowers, or children shouting/screaming while having fun at play etc.I think as long as barking does not become excessive or goes into the late hours of the night it is something dogs do by nature. It is a means to communicate and hopefully they stop if asked 🙂

    • Thank you. I appreciate that you see things the same way as I do. Too many people think that dogs are small people, which is silly thinking in some ways. One of ours stops when asked, the other does not, but he stops once he figures out that whatever the noise is isn’t hurting me (I have a very protective boy). I don’t want to train them to be anything they weren’t meant to be, so it’s fine with me!

  9. Dudley and Zoe both were good about barking whenever someone came to the door or close to the fence, or when other dogs walked by and squirrels in the yard, when the doorbell rang (even on t.v.) but they weren’t incessant barkers. Now that Dudley doesn’t hear the doorbell or someone knocking, he rarely barks at all. He chuffs at me, usually ordering a carrot or some other snack, but that’s about it. Very entertaining read!

    • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Ours aren’t incessant, just watchful. They like to let me know when anything is happening and that’s fine by me as long as they don’t continue for hours and hours.

  10. Charlie Machete is a bit of a barker when he is outside. It drives my boyfriend crazy, but sometimes I like to listen to him and try to figure out what he’s saying. He, too, seems to have conversations with neighbor dogs – even ones that are barking from quite a distance. And his vocalization differs depending on what inspired it. Of course, persistent barking by any dog can be annoying, but I am most irritated by dogs that stare at me and bark assertively. That always seems like they want to be the boss.

    • Yes, persistent barking is not good, nor is assertive barking. I like to listen to the different sounds of barks to try and figure out what they mean too. It’s always good fun.

  11. We have a barker – his name is Rupie! He’s a staffy x so likes to vocalize – he chats away to us with squeaks and squarks when he’s excited but he does also like to bark – when he’s excited, when he’s playing with the other dogs, when a bee sits on the floor and especially when he’s about to get his dinner! It’s not a sweet bark, but it is quite funny! Sometimes it drives us nuts, but your story has put it in perspective – he’s just letting us know things! We had already worked out that he is the ‘lookout’ of the pack so his job is to let everyone else know that he’s keeping an eye on things!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. In the house, Toady usually doesn’t bark a lot unless it’s at obvious things (doorbell, Manbeast coming home), but he does take his squeaky toys and squeak them at us when he wants something. It’s irritating, but it makes me laugh!

  12. I can totally relate to your story our dog Oceana is identical to Toady. Oceana is our alarm clock in the morning and night guided solely by her needs only. She is my traveling companion to Florida because no one will dare approach the car with her inside she is intimidating. On our trips it is our custom to stop at Dairy Queen for ice cream. Viva la Toady & Oceana !

  13. Oh dear, know the feeling. No matter what, they want to be heard! Mind you so do I, I can beat all of them hands down when they start! 😉 It’s so weird because we never had a barking dog until we got Briar. Needless to say, Briar taught Billy to bark and Billy taught Bess, it’s loud and irritating but I’ve realised that it won’t change; cows, dogs, sheep, vehicles, people, they all get the same loud treatment. Thank goodness I live in the country and no one here cares! Toady sounds like a real fun kind of dog, Billy would like him 😉

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