One 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.