Why is Barking So Annoying? A Highly Toxic Noise

6939223.tOne of the main issues we deal here in this web site is about the chronic problem of barking.

(from the Latin nausea)

There are many sides of it but this article is quickly going to focus on the visual representation of dog barking, demonstrating visually why and how that sound is not that, but actually noise. A huge difference.

Firstly, why does barking drive people mad?

Constant exposure to the sound of barking really can induce extreme physical and psychological distress.

The reason for this lies in your autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls core body functions such as your heart rate and breathing.

When you hear a sudden, sharp noise, the sound waves are transmitted to the brain, which interprets them as a potential threat.

The brain then sends signals to the ANS, and we start to feel tense — leading, typically, to an increased heart rate and higher blood pressure.

If a dog barks once or twice, there is no harm done. Our heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. But if the noise is continual, every time that dog barks, your ANS repeatedly fires up, and this starts to have an impact on your endocrine system, which is the collection of glands that release hormones throughout your body.

Your brain tells the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, which is the hormone that prepares your body either to take flight or fight in the face of any threat.

In addition, the pituitary gland can release the hormone called corticotropin, which in turn causes the adrenal cortex to release corticosteroids, which make your body more sensitive to the effects of all that adrenaline.

By now, instead of lying back and wondering how many sausages you are going to burn on the barbecue, you are a cocktail of hormones that is causing you not only to feel anxious, but also immensely angry.

So angry to the point of commiting otherwise unthinkable acts.

Noise is a sound that disturbs, harms.

A dog’s bark contains more than one frequency, actually a series of dissonant frequencies that resembles a tuneless piano note or a screeching violin sound. So when you put all this rotten salad of disgusting sounds, turned noise, one can truly feel its toxicity.

Annoying barking due to Type of dog

The type of dog makes a large difference, too. Young or old, male or female (bitch in heat), large or small, and obviously the breed. Some are extremely annoying even to their own owners.

Barking annoyance due to dog Environment

The environment also plays a role on how dogs bark and thus how their canine vocalization is produced. Is the dog well-cared or neglected? Even if they are overly happy they tend to bark more and louder. And they do.

Barking annoyance sensation is different for each person

The noise of a dog barking can be ignored by one neighbor, yet be extremely annoying to the other who lives the same distance from the dog as does the first neighbor. Sometimes the barking is even exacerbated by its particular pitch, frequency, pattern, or specially its volume, how loud it is. Some dogs are as loud as motorcycles revving up in – your own bedroom.

Spectrograms – The visualization of Barking – What really matters.

Below are a few examples of graphic representations of the noise pollution created by some dogs barking. Of course there are infinite others. These images are called a spectrogram, or sonogram, a visual representation of the collection of frequencies in a sound or other signal as they vary with time.

Without going to technical explanations, basically speaking all a regular person needs to know is that the more ‘spikes’, the more the annoying the sound. Just to look at them you can see how they are ‘ugly’, and so is the noise. Nothing less than environment pollution directly into our ears.

Noise – It’s rape in our ears.

The graphics show intensity (vertical) versus time (horizontal). Please note that they are Not comparable regarding their volume, or how loud they are. We are only concentrating on the frequencies and patterns that make barking so irritating for normal people.

Here they are:

Piano song called Fleur de Feu.


Above is a smooth piano song playing for a few seconds. Just notice the number of spikes and how they are sparse, they are minimum. This is sound.

Now, below pay attention to how different are barking. That is noise.

Barking of a single small dog


Can you notice the spikes?The bursts? The ‘explosions?’ They are the sounds turned noise that makes dogs so detestable these days.

Barking of a pack of dogs



Barking of a large dog barking madly



Howling of a large dog


Just to look at them can make me shiver.

If you want, click on any image to listen to the sound/noise, but only if you want to be tortured. These are real life noises. Also, in case you want to listen and find out how is the noise of several other types of barking and the dogs that produce them, visit http://www.freesound.org/people/Robinhood76/packs/4026/ but, again, only if you want to be tortured.

The same applies for other types of noise pollution like cars, airplanes, car stereos, lawn mowers, construction, bar clubs… The big difference is that these aren’t produced 24x7x365 like dogs are nowadays. Sure, all kinds of noise pollution must be avoided or at least reduced to a minimum.

Noise is harmful. Dog barking is even worse!

One of the other main reasons dog barking is so annoying is also because it’s a sharp, staccato sound. They startle you from nothing, to start. To make things worse, you never know when the next burst of noise -the barking- will occur, and it sets your nerves on edge waiting for it, either consciously or subconsciously. You sometimes can “get used to” a loud continuous noise –up to a point– like a neighbor’s air-conditioning working non-stop, but a dog bark, just when you think/hope the damn thing has finally shut up starts the cycle all over again. (Paraphrased from our commenter S. D. Martin, with our thanks)

We must remember that dogs are not machines, they were created, or mutated, by men for centuries, making their vocalization a monstrous aberration. The images above clearly show that.

This article is just the first in a series of why barking is so annoying. Yes, so disturbing that a single post can not cover it all.

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13 Responses to Why is Barking So Annoying? A Highly Toxic Noise

  1. S says:

    I think barking is the single biggest complaint people have about dogs, even though biting, mauling, and leaving piles of excrement are all pretty bad too.

    The problem could be so easily solved if it were standard practice to surgically “de-bark” dogs, just like it is common and encouraged to spay or neuter.

    Yet people think this is somehow cruel. But it isn’t. Dogs do not need to bark. They will get anesthesia when the surgery is performed and will suffer no pain.

    They don’t need to make noise any more than they need to procreate. (Quite the contrary – every living thing’s biological purpose is to procreate! But not to bark.)

    Just think how much more peaceful neighborhoods would be if any dogs living there were unable to create this useless, stress-inducing noise. Just think how much more harmony there would be between neighbors. And just think how few of your neighbors will try to poison your dog!

  2. Peter Bright says:

    It is ultra absurd that society incarcerates dogs unnaturally all year round and then expects them to register no protest about it.

    A barking dog is an unhappy animal. Barking is its distress call.

    Society is deaf to its pleas for freedom.

    There should be no dogs at all in any built up area such as the suburbs.

    No dogs means suburban peace, quiet and safety.

    • S says:

      You’ve got a point there. People shouldn’t own dogs unless they are able to give the dogs the attention dogs want. Dogs are social animals. They shouldn’t be cooped up alone, either indoors or outdoors, for eight hours a day while their human companions work. If you can’t spend time with your dog, don’t have one. It’s selfish and cruel.

    • Peter Bright says:

      After you sign my online petition for universal laws to outlaw animal distress through leaving any dog unattended, the main cause of barking, you may then use the link to reinforce your supportive representations to your local control authority showing that you are not alone with your views.

      Here’s the link:


  3. Catherine Barber says:

    Sadly (to my mind) it seems there is this universal worship of The Dog. The Holy Dog. So everyone must love them and if anyone doesn’t they’re considered inferior and/or despicable.

    So, naturally, one must never complain about them, or try to hurt them, or be seen to reject them in any way.

    If out on a walk in places where people let their dogs off the lead – and one doesn’t have a dog oneself – I can, on occasions, get the feeling one is somehow ‘picked out’ as that wierd undesirable who doesn’t have a dog. So, naturally, must be someone who – (god help us(!)) – DOESN’T LIKE THEM !

    Occasionally I’ve felt that these dog owners with their running-around dogs could get a ‘kick’ out of NOT discouraging their dog/s to run at, and around, one. Which can – to a non-doggie person like myself – feel quite intimidating.

    These dog owners – (I call these ‘dog bullies’)- sometimes seem to just stand there watching (smirking?), making no obvious attempt to call their dog/s back.

    This may be just my experience but I’ve honestly found cat owners/lovers tend to be kinder and more sensitive people. Cat owners seem to be FAR more concerned that their cat/s might bother you; they will ask if you mind cats etc. I think I’ve only experienced ONE dog owner who did that!

    God help us! If any mortal DARED to whisper a suggestion that one could ‘de-bark’ dogs, I could almost bet they’d be LYNCHED !!!!

    I could see sites like Twitter explode with overload if this was EVER aired !!!!

    • Peter Bright says:

      Dog worship like you outline is simple idolatry, no less.

      It’s the most popular form of insanity in the world today.

      • MrMAD says:

        A two-fold insanity.

        One, the insanity of dog owners themselves, who like and still enjoy it by imposing it on others. That’s torture.

        Two, the insanity state to which affected persons are drawn to when subjected to it for a longer period of time.

        Guantanamo Bay and the Waco siege come to mind.

    • MrMAD says:

      Ha, ha!

      So just wait to “Twitter explode with overload if this was EVER aired !!!!”.

      Just in the plans, soon in a computer screen in front of you.

      And, yes, when out for a walk I regularly get the feeling and the bad looks from the dog bullies you mention. What do I do? As soon as the pooch approaches me, I stop, stand still in a somewhat confronting position while verbally asserting my position and then staring at them, now in silence. They always smile sarcastically and say something, usually to their mutt. I still say nothing, maybe for a minute or so, they see I’m serious, and either *they* leave, not me, or correct the situation. Has worked so far.

  4. Dog Dispatcher says:

    I must share this story, I may have shared it long ago, but why not do it again just in case?

    I had bought a nice 3/3 home, my very first (and last), in a nice enough part of town. My neighbor was a cop, and had an old dog that rarely went outdoors (the weather is brutal there). Perfect, I thought!

    About 6 months in, he gave his paid for home to his inconsiderate 20 yr old daughter, her 25 yr old felon, jobless, severely abusive, wife beating husband, and their 3 kids (5 by the time we moved). They had an endless stream of tormented, starved, beaten, robobarkers and dangerous breeds. Another neighbor moved in on the other side of me, with his mauler, a pit/rott mix (which almost killed my cat!). Over a short period, every single house that bordered my yard had 1-2 dogs.

    ***There was NO time of day that it did not sound like the inside of an animal shelter.***

    I simply could not escape it. If I went in the living room, to watch TV and to avoid the noise from my bedroom side, another barker, on that side, would start up. One was literally 5′ from my dining room window, the other 10′ from my bed.
    My entire backyard was lined on both sides with barkers. I had a huge, awesome yard- my first yard! I had so many plans for it! Not a single thing I planned was ever finished. We lost the use of that yard even before we had a chance to really use it.

    Still, had the dogs owned by the abusive felon not been there, it would have been do-able. Not all neighbors were completely rude, but I lost the will/ability to fight on multiple fronts because all of my energy went into those psychos. Of course other neighbors hated the felon family, but would not even sign a letter to help……

    No amount of ear plugs, gun muffs, noise canceling headphones, and other such things were enough to get me any peace. Befriending the dog, giving it treats, yelling at it, yelling at the owner, using an air horn to wake them up 5x a night, and more, none of it gave us lasting peace.

    No amount of complaints, tickets or offensive/defensive action were to interrupt this wife beaters fun time abusing us! We tried everything legal and illegal we could think of, short of killing the dogs. We were on our last legal recourse when my job transferred me. This was using the HOA to force them to move or sell- would have been a tough road.(I am still amazed anyone bought the place, I bet they had maulers too.)

    People used to tell me that I was just oversensitive and/or nuts, if I brought up the incessant dog racket at my place. They did not believe the stress, anger, and damage it caused. They thought I must just need to relax some (oh the irony…), or maybe I am just a hater.
    Then they visited.
    Afterwards, I got apologies.


    Dog barking is a serious issue in and of itself, but even if you think “whatever”, you need to know one big thing: if the owners do not give a fuck about ruining your sleep with the dogs racket, you better believe they do not care for your safety! Neighbors with pit bulls and other related fighting dogs are a MAJOR, life threatening, hazard. Nice suburban families have pits that are just as deadly as thug dog fighters! Don’t let them fool you.

    Often fatal, or near fatal, dog attacks come after years of nuisance complaints that were not taken seriously.

    Which brings me to my very last point (if you even read this far, BRAVO):
    CONTROL YOUR DOG OR IT MAY BE KILLED! And it is unlikely to die in a humane way, because your average person cannot get the meds vets have, and shooting guns off attracts too much attention. The backyard avengers seem to prefer poison- ever seen a poisoning? IT IS HORRIBLE. I lost a cat this way, it was awful.

    YOUR PET will pay for YOUR crimes! Nope, this is in no way fair, but it is what happens when you drive people nuts with barking or threatening maulers.

    Do you, dog owner, have any idea how far past the breaking point someone has to be to even consider this, let alone carry it out? WHY push people there? I am sick even thinking of killing another creature, but I cannot let my kids get mauled because of your lack of care.

    Also know that many people are quietly going about their business, offing these horrible “pets” instead of bothering with a legal system that does not care one bit.. The awful owner will not get a chance to threaten the victim, they will just wake up to a dead, or rehomed, dog.

    I hate this. I love all animals and always loved dogs, and was raised with them. YOU make this happen ODORs.

    • MrMAD says:

      Hi DD,

      It’s nice to hear from a Considerate dog owner.

      Like you said, “It shouldn’t have to be this way”. The few persons like you are paying the price for the disregard of the majority, but, hopefully, it’s starting to change, I’ve seen a number of changes. Hope for the better.

      Thanks again for your great comment.

  5. Bassett says:

    It is even worse when you are living with an animal hoarder. It costs a smll fortune to feed a pack of dogs and cats,, never mind t0he vet bills.
    Thesepeople will never get it through their minds, they are ruining your life with the noise and dog crap

  6. Tom Duggan says:

    Excellent read…

    How does one cope, or change their mental approach to deal with dog barking? I do not want to discuss how to get the dog to stop barking, or any other topic. I am specifically interested in how one adapts themselves to cope, not surrender, to a negative influence; in this case, a barking dog.

    I’m a firm believer that one has the ability to change themselves and “turn a negative in to a positive”. So this may not be exactly the right place to discuss this, but if there is a detailed explanation as to why dog’s bark is toxic, there should be a reasonable expectation there is a solution on how to deal with it?

    I am a professional photographer and contract computer programmer that works from home which is a small apartment.

    The computer programming is done 100% at home, while the photography itself is about 80% performed on location, but the photo editing is done 100% from my home office work station.

    That being said, my landlady has a pit bull, which I believe to be a pup.

    When she is home, the dog is fine. When she leaves for work in the morning, the dog goes berserk at the drop of a hat (or, in my case, pen stylus :P )

    I can turn on a fan to create white noise, or turn up my music. But there are times when I would rather not have either of those distractions; there are times I prefer relative quiet to enable me to concentrate on the task at hand.

    Luckily, the dog does not bark at night and I know I can get a good night’s sleep.

    I know I can confront the landlady in a positive way asking her intentions of training the dog.

    Without getting in to detail, I have a very good deal here and while moving is an option, it would affect me financially.

    So again, how does one deal in a positive way of dealing with the noise within themselves? Not moving to another place…not reporting the dog…not confronting the dog owner…not employing outside influences (fan, music, etc…)…

    Did any of that make any sense???



    Hopewell Junction, NY

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