... or Why Dogs Bark So Much
Rather, she and colleagues say barking is the auditory signal associated with an evolved behavior known as mobbing,a cooperative anti-predator response usually initiated by one individual who notices an approaching intruder. A dog barks because she feels an internal conflict―an urge to run plus a strong urge to stand her ground and defend pups, for example. When the group joins in, the barks intimidate the intruder, who often flees."
Well, maybe. Maybe not. I can say for sure that my dog has a special bark noise that he makes when he's calling to to the dog next door and she makes the same noise right back. It's kind of an excited, higher pitched barking that he makes no other time. The corgi people among you will also agree that the odd sing-song greeting that they make when one of the pack (in this case, Sami or I) return from outside the house. Not sure if that's technically a bark, but it sure is vocalization.
Anyway, the conclusion of these researchers - that dogs don't have a special message when they bark - is in direct conflict with something I saw in a magazine 10 years ago which instantly made the whole thing clear to me. I still cling to this interpretation:
That photo of Stedman, by the way, is one of our little games called "Feet Face". This is the whole game: you hold out your legs and say "Who wants to play Feet Face?" Then the dog comes over and puts his head between your feet. Then you stare at each other. It never gets old! Does he look unhappy to be trapped between feet? He's not - he's entranced with happiness.