DSC_0410So I have to write about the unmistakable schnauzer bark.  Wait, most dogs bark but schnauzer-lovers will generally recognize (and often love) the particular bark of a mini-schnauzer.  As I mentioned some time ago in this blog, I did not relate the term “good watchdog” to a barking dog when we first got Caesar.  In fact, I couldn’t understand why there was such a ruckus of barks we could hear in our breeder’s home when we asked to see the parents/adult dogs in the house.  Now when we had spoken with our original trainer about Caesar’s barks and asked him why our dog barks so much more than others, he simply said “because he’s a SCHNAUZER!”  Got it.  It’s a breed characteristic that is truly seen in many schnauzers.

What fascinates me is that like a parent who knows the reason for each of her child’s different cries, body language and mannerisms, my husband and I have also figured out the differences in Caesar’s barks!  Here is a short list of qualitatively different barks that we hear in different situations with our Caesar:

1.  the  EXCITED/PLAY WITH ME bark: my favourite – this comes when Caesar knows that he is close to being served his meal or going to have some play time

2. extension to the excited bark=I KNOW YOU bark: — very similar-sounding to #1 above but will extend for several minutes (or longer) until the person or dog that Caesar is excited about recognizing is near enough to smell/examine and until he has been given what he believes is the full attention he deserves.

3. the I CAN’T GET IT bark: will happen if Caesar loses a toy he is playing with under a couch or other unreachable area – this is usually only a single bark, but it’s often like a pleading cry which can be repeated if necessary if assistance is still required

4, the I DID IT bark: often after performing a task or trick – will often consist of an “aroooooo” kind of extended bark 🙂  I luv this one too!

5. the KEEP WALKING bark: this is reserved for any human or animal passing Caesar’s field of vision from (especially) our front window or one who is walking too close to Caesar or to us – note – this could easily change into the dangerous #6 below…

6. the RUN FOR YOUR LIFE/BLOOD CURDLING/DEVIL DOG bark: this is an ominous one… how could our little cutie have such an incredibly threatening bark that makes the hairs even on our own arms stand?  Where we wonder if he’ll suddenly turn on us with the same horrific sound…which has thankfully not happened.  This bark happens when he’s surprised/taken unaware or has somehow felt that he needs to get in protective-mode for his himself or his parents…  It can happen if someone tries to lift him uncomfortably (even though he will generally do a gentle-grumble with lifting of any sort), it can happen if someone comes towards him/us suddenly, or if he’s keeping someone off our property that he is really distrustful of.  But sheesh!!  It’s the one bark that  completely dumbfounds us (I’m sure we have a moment of jaw-dropping disbelief as we register the sound)… we shake our heads in disbelief as we try to control the psychotic sounds coming from our baby which will disappear as if they’ve never happened when the offender is out of range and then… once we know that this bark has passed and we are alone and “safe” once more, we… yes… wait for it…  we generally burst out laughing.  I believe these barks have happened only once (maybe twice?) a year at most and so they are always  a surprise to all… but it just goes to show you… don’t mess with a schnauzer!!!

You might be surprised to know that Caesar does not bark when we come home from work together.  He may bark variations of the EXCITED/I KNOW YOU  bark above if only one of us has just returned from being out, but rarely when both of us come back together — I guess he knows that all is good 🙂  Within a minute though, he will start his EXCITED bark as he knows he’s generally fed soon after we come home!

These are a few of the barks that come to mind right now as I write these notes.  If I discover I’ve missed a new or a unique one, I shall add it to the list in the future.  If you have noticed any unique barks from your dog(s) – schnauzers or not – do let me know — I’d love to “hear” (read) about them!  Only dog-lovers will truly appreciate these unique differences in barks, I believe (though most pet-owners do learn about the nuances of their pets actions).  If you’re not noticing how different barks mean different things in your home, do take some time to put some meaning to the messages your dog is trying to send you — I guarantee this will only build your bond with your own fur-babies 🙂

Remember: “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”      — Tony Robbins


Dr. Menen


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