“Barking dog doesn’t bite.” The truth about the expression

Barking dog doesn't bite The truth about the expression.

Barking dog doesn’t bite

You have definitively heard the expression “Barking dog doesn’t bite” and you have pondered about to figure out if it true or a myth. Perhaps you saw that video of two dogs barking to each other but when the fence between them opened, they sheepishly just walked away from each other. Who knows, maybe it is true that a barking dog doesn’t fight. Let us take a look at how everything goes regarding this expression.

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The Idiom

The expression is actually an idiom referring to someone who threatens angrily but usually never acts upon these threats. When the threat is actually considered impossible or very unlikely to be kept due to the condition or position of the person making it, then people would compare it to a dog that keeps barking at someone but never actually engages to bite them. This proverb is considered to have been born in the 16th century in the English language. But its core idea is found in Latin, specifically in the works of Quintus Curtius, a Roman historian.

So, is it literally true that a barking dog doesn’t fight?

Dogs will usually bite at strangers or something unusual, like a critter passing by. If you have dogs that spend their time on a fenced backyard, you will notice that they bark at every person passing by.

This is because they are strangers, as simple as that. However, the action of biting someone is usually a defense mechanism. This means that the dog will try to bite if he feels physically threatened by them.

A dog can also interpret that a stranger is trying to physically assault his human family and will definitively go ahead and bite the offender. It is important to notice that this is not something that applies to all dogs. Certain dogs have been reported to being especially violent against people out of nowhere. This is very likely due to poor training or lack of proper socialization.

When a dog is barking towards a person, he is trying to fend away this person. The dog does this with the hope that they will not make the mistake of trying to attack. Hence, we could fix the expression and say, “a barking dog doesn’t bite if you keep your distance“.

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