Baboons yell “Hey” when danger approaches, sounding exactly the same as humans would under similar circumstances. And, I am told dogs learned to bark after they were domesticated as hunting animals as they tried to imitate the sound humans made on hunting expeditions. (I have my doubts about that one, because coyotes will “bark” at your approach if they are caught in your trap). But dogs WILL bark and that is sometimes a good thing and sometimes bad.
I suppose a bark is a good thing for a squirrel dog, since that is the way he or she says, “Hey, guys, I got one up in the top of this hickory.” Further, I feel certain a ferocious bark is a good skill for police dogs to possess, since their job is to intimidate criminals into submission. (Sometimes those dogs give teeth to their argument). But, for the most part, a barking dog is a bad thing.
Mark Twain wrote about an obnoxious barking dog in Pudd’nhead Wilson. He has Wilson say, “I wish I owned half that dog.” His companion asks, “What would you do with half a dog?” The guy replies, “I’d kill my half.” That’s how Wilson got his nickname of Pudd’nhead.
Last night we were visited by a dog who kept up a regular regimen of the most irritating sounds known to mankind. Beating on the window did not discourage him. Yelling out the door did not interrupt his avocation. When I went out there and walked directly towards him, he turned coward and retreated, but he stopped down the road a piece and continued his infuriating aria, entertaining distant neighbors. I wish I owned half that dog. (I would find who owned the other half and donate mine on certain conditions.)
My first dog, Fuzzy, came into my life when I was three. He was a great companion, often called “Danny’s Shadow.” He was a very polite puppy, but when he reached adulthood, he enjoyed conversing with the moon. Pop did not like that and tried to train him out of it by way of a razor strap, but Fuzzy was a recalcitrant student. One night he even turned on his teacher and Pop came in cussing with a bloody knuckle. I hate to admit it, but I was a little proud of Fuzzy that night. Even then I understood that you cannot train nature out of a natural being. It is sort of like the sin nature, isn’t it? As Hamlet said, “The cat will meow and the dog will have his day.” Or night.
I am on the city council here in my town and we do have a contract with Animal Control. I shall do my best today to get word to those folks that we have an unwanted conversant on a regular basis. As much as I hate dog jail, that is the place for our vocal visitor until the owner finds a way to keep his animal otherwise occupied. If that dog thinks he is imitating a human out there behind my house, I’d like to know how he got that idea. If a person sat on a stump near my house and said the same thing over and over in a loud voice, I would humbly ask him to say it somewhere far far away or or to shut up.