Trip to obedience school barking up wrong tree


Annabelle, the furry member of our family, barks. She barks at other dogs,  rabbits, squirrels, birds, people, wind, thunder, grasshoppers and nothing. I dislike her barking for a number of reasons, but mainly  because her barking makes that the two of us going to obedience school was a complete bust.

It usually is the "nothing" that makes me yell at her. "No!" I say in a loud, harsh, demanding voice that is many times more annoying to anyone listening than her bark, but I can't help it.
Apparently, neither can she.

I just heard about intensive research on the reasons dogs bark. The research conducted by Mark Feinstein and Raymond Coppinger was later incorporated into a book. Their findings: It is not unusual for dogs to bark incessantly at nothing.

Really. I bet similar research would show that humans incessantly hollering "No!" at their dogs to stop them from barking doesn't work, either.

The two researchers believe that barking began eons ago when the undomesticated dog rooted through the garbage in order to find something to eat. Barking got them a good seat at the table, much like the demanding customer in today's restaurants. Once the barking started, much like tasting the first potato chip, it couldn't be stopped.

While the barking is but a snippet from the book that delves into all facets of dogs, I shall stop with this bit of information, for I fully understand. I've been there. I've cleaned up the garbage.

Years ago, with our first dog, I came home one noon only to find that I couldn't open the back door. Something was blocking it. I pushed and shoved until I managed to open it enough to see Molly, our first Keeshond, backed up against the door trying to keep it from opening. Once inside, I found the door under the sink open, the garbage can tipped over and a very unappetizing mess scattered from wall to wall.

That's when I started barking.


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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