Interpreting Your Dog’s Bark

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stop dog barking, stop your dog's barking

Most dogs bark. Except the Basenji, believed, by many, to be the oldest dog breed in the world.

But, that doesn’t mean the Basenji is a “quiet” breed; instead, the breed is known for yodeling, which is often louder than many dog’s barks.

Their owners can probably tell what they want and when by interpreting their yodels, just like the average person can read their dog.

So What Is Your Dog’s Bark Trying To Tell You?

Now, let me tell you that each dog is different. And, each bark is different.

I can pick my dogs’ bark out from 100 other dogs, each of them!

So it is important to keep in mind that all dogs can vary a little, but there are some unique consistencies.

Rhythmical Barking

Rhythmical barking is often a sign of “demand” barking.

Demand barking happens when your dog wants something.

Throw my ball

Feed mestop dog barking, stop your dog's barking

I want outside

Give me your sandwich

Stop ignoring me

Are all ways that our dogs demand that WE perform a behavior.

I find this behavior abhorrent.

I don’t want anyone DEMANDING I do anything, unless they are signing my pay check!

If your dog engages in this kind of barking, give him a time out away from you.

Never, ever, ever do what he wants you to do (throw the ball, feed him, etc).

If he realizes that this behavior comes with a “time out”, he will stop demanding your attention with his voice.

Deep Barking

Deep Barking and growling is often a sign of protective barking.

When my dog hears a rattle outside the yard and he doesn’t know what is causing it, he gets a very deep throaty bark.

This is his way of saying “STAY OUT OF MY YARD”.

Obviously, this is not a sound I want to hear when my dog meets someone.

Be very respectful of this kind of bark and sound, as your dog is warning you and the other person/dog what his intentions are and that he is not comfortable.

Don’t “correct” it, because a bark/growl can be a good thing.

But respect that your dog is giving you information about how he is feeling in that situation.

I would NEVER allow someone to touch my dog if he was making these kinds of noises.

Shrill Barking

Shrill barking is a sign of fear.

A fearful dog may want to be protective and scare something away, but his lack of confidence raises the pitch of his voice.

stop dog barking, stop your dog's barkingOften the dog can be seen rushing forward and then backward with ears back and tail tucked.

This is a scared dog.

This dog’s space should be respected.

It is best to let this dog run away or get himself out of this situation or help him gain some confidence.

Forcing this dog to accept a human or another dog when he is showing these behaviors is very dangerous.

Forcing your dog, or correcting him, also ensures that he loses his trust in you.

Dogs can conquer things in their environment only when they trust those they are with to protect them.

If you want to help your dog feel better, you must respect his feelings and work on his confidence, slowly, while not forcing him to feel like he must protect himself!

Constant Barking

Constant barking is a sign of boredom.

When dogs are bored, they often alleviate the boredom by using their voice.

This is even more prevalent in outdoor dogs, or dogs that are left outdoors often.

Because, the dog gets bored and barks and then another dog in the neighborhood chimes in and after a while you have a line of barking dogs.

I think of it like prisoners in solitary confinement; someone shouts and then waits to hear someone else shout back.

When you have nothing else to do, it kills the time!

The best way to avoid this situation, is to never let it happen in the first place.

I don’t leave my dogs outside unless I am home.

I also don’t allow my dogs to bark more than twice in the backyard.

If you want to stay outside, you have to keep your mouth quiet, because being outside is a privilege.

Also, I would rather exercise and then crate my dog for the day than to leave him outside.

Outside, he could break out of the yard or learn this barking behavior.

And, many, MANY dogs have been poisoned because of this behavior!

No matter what, I want my dog safe.

Shrill Constant Barking and Howling

Shrill constant barking and howling can be a sign of distress.

The problem is, that the average distress is NOT separation anxiety!

However, once a dog starts to whine and cry and howl in his crate, people panic and let him out; which teaches him to continue this feeling and behavior. stop dog barking, stop your dog's barking

Not only will it encourage the “behavior” of barking and howling, I think it also helps to encourage the fear and feeling that is associated.

I know, that sounds odd.

But think of it in these terms:

Every time you say “go for ride”, or take your dog to the park, he gets overwhelmingly excited.

He may jump up, dance, whine or squeal but chances are he has learned to lose a little control.

He also puts himself in the emotional state of “over excitement” and happiness.

Just as your dog can automatically put himself in a certain emotional state due to a command or a specific chain of behaviors, he can do the same when it comes to fear and panic.

By giving in, we are teaching him that these behaviors and feelings are desirable.

Babies

All babies learn to self soothe.

Just like the aforementioned list, the average mother knows EXACTLY what her baby’s cries mean.

The baby is hungry, scared, bored, awake, angry…

And, we know that all babies have to learn to deal with their crib and then eventually their beds.

We know that if their needs are met and they are safe, it is best not to always give in to the crying.

We also try not to reward certain emotional states.

Have you ever seen a child panic about EVERYTHING because the parents soothe him?

My plea to you, is not to do this to your dog or your puppy.

Allow him to work through it and self soothe.

Very, very few dogs have true separation anxiety where they will self injure to get out and get away.

Instead, I think most people create some separation anxiety in their dogs.

Again, if you know you have met your dog’s needs and he is not in danger, allow him to self soothe a bit.

Exercise him and wear him out and then allow him to work through some challenges in life.

Your training to stop your dog’s barking, and yours and his life, will be better for it!

Do You Want To Stop Your Dog’s Barking?

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There are 24 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    And ..the jolly..play woof woof when greeting another dog?

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  2. james sorensen says:

    I have a wolf breed. Every once in awhile he will come up to me and start howling. Any idea what he is trying to tell me?

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  3. Agnes says:

    Shrill barking does not always mean fear; in fact, with my barker, it has absolutely nothing to do with fear but pure desperation! When my dog barks like that, it’s because she desperately wants to get what’s on the other side of the fence, or because there’s a fox killing my chickens and she’s telling me to let her out so she can do her job. (She’s an LGD, not a normal pet dog.) In any case, when she barks like that, it means i’d better get up off my butt and find out what exactly is wrong in the world and then create a situation where she can fix it (like leashing her up to track and find the stolen hen).

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  4. Trisha Walsh says:

    My dog Pinky doesn’t bark (rhythmically or otherwise) to tell me what he wants; he fixes his eyes on me and growls. It’s a different tone from the aggressive growl we hear from him when someone he finds suspicious comes to our front gate. My partner says that Pinky doesn’t use that method to communicate with him, in his own words, “Pinky wouldn’t dare speak to me like that.”

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  5. I think my lab bitch is afraid of the dark. Small noises make her wary then she’ll bark and run in ears flattened. I leave her to settle. She has only barked six times in three years otherwise she’s confident and extremely happy with all people and dogs.She’ll accompany me happily in the dark on walks but the garden at night is sometimes scary for her.

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  6. Wilma says:

    What is an LGD?

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  7. Douglas Burnside says:

    My local dog trainer taught me a wonderful method for alleviating type 2, or “warning” barking. When my standard poodle hears something outside the house that she doesn’t like, she barks, “Woof. Woof-Woof. Woof” to get our attention.

    When this happens, I tell her, “Thank you, Amber. You’re doing a good job, warning us and keeping us safe. It’s OK, and you can be quiet now.”

    She actually seems to understand what I am saying (I know, dog’s don’t understand English!) but the idea gets across and she seems proud of herself and settles right down, immediately and quietly. This happens maybe three or four times a week.

    It sounds silly, but it really does work!

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  8. Jeanine Ryan says:

    My dog only has the problem of licking everything and everyone

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  9. Nicki Cartwright says:

    My dog only barks when someone comes to the door. He becomes quite aggressive. So much so that the postman won’t deliver to our home. Apart from that he is sweet and affectionate. Any ideas?
    Nicki
    Uk

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  10. Mario Elia says:

    LGD means Livestock Guardiian Dog

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  11. Lisa C says:

    Our German shepherd / husky mix uses his high-pitched bark when he plays with his friends. If one of the other dogs isn’t playing with him or running with him he barks at them in his high bark to get them to get up and play.
    We stopped Roscoe’s demand barking by looking at him, telling him to stop barking and then turning our backs to him. He’s a smart boy and quickly learned that one quick bark along with nudging us gently was a much more productive way to get our attention. Then one of us says, “Show me,” and he trots off to show us what he wants (go out in the back, play with a toy, sit together, etc.).

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  12. Christine Pielenz says:

    Livestock guardian dog.

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  13. Tammy Moody says:

    My dog cries. She knows exactly when it’s 3:30 and time for my husband to be home from work. When he is late, she cries and watches out the window, or stares at the back door. Most days it’s OK, but some days it gets on my nerves.

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  14. Yes!! I have a 7 month old little Shih-Tzu and Cinder loves to bark, although now she does come and scratch on my leg and bark to go out, that is great, but just random barking is horrible, we have a old Shih-tzu Oreo, she pesters him and barks at him all the time, he is blind and deaf, does not defend himself against her, have to put her in the Pen to give him some PEACE. How can I get her to stop her random barking??
    Thank you, Juanita

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  15. Christine M Terry says:

    I would like to know about my two dogs and how they bark at each other.
    When the older dog is barking, say wanting food or something, our younger dog snaps at her kind of like telling her to shut up.
    It always scares our older dog and she starts whining, kind of like…mom she is picking on me.

    How do you stop this, I don’t want them to hurt each other, or let it lead to stacking.
    Should I be concerned about it

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  16. Patty Chadwick says:

    Dogs understand far more “English” than humans understand “Dog”!!! Don’t forget it!!! (So who’s the smarter ones?)..

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  17. jim says:

    I want my German Shepherd to Bark more way to quite I hardly ever get a woof sometimes he looks at me and I start to Bark he just looks confused

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  18. Cheryl says:

    I have 2 both toy poodles and both rescue, my problem is Gracie 7lb black as nite barks and me when evr I leave, and snipsat my feet when we go for a walk. she does quit but she does stop when we get to walken. ahn d pee’s on my bed if i dont block my door when i leave. ANY IDEAS ON HER?
    And Faith was a puppy mill dog, she spins every time I go to pick her up, and spins when let out side. When i leave her at home she will pee and shit in the house. tried a kennel inside but that is a mess you dont want to come home to. I understand her spinning, but not the other. she doent mind peeing on my bed either.
    They are both 3.5 years old, do i have a chance in getting them to stop this crap?

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  19. Karen Seeley says:

    My mini Aussie only barks when she knows someone is about to knock on the door. I’ve gotten her to sit calmly and wait until the person at the door address es her but sometimes they chose not to.
    This really upsets her like why be good if they don’t even acknowledge me anyway?

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  20. The same thing works with our Golden Retriever. He likewise seems to relax quickly if we thank him for the warning and tell him we will look after it and he can settle down.

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  21. Helen F says:

    I have two coonhounds, the two year old will try to tree and howl if he sees a squirrel or raccoon. I usually call him to me and if he howls more than two times which he has a loud howl, I go and retrieve him with a leash and bring him inside.

    He also has a bad habit of howling and jumping at the door to get outside. I’ve been trying to ignore this behavior and its very annoying. I just go and sit down and let him calm down and I do this for as long as it takes. Its bad first thing in the morning if he has to pee. This is my biggest problem with him.

    The other coonhound is nine and he only barks if he feels threatened or wants something like food and occassionally begs but he’s getting better at it. I ignore him. Otherwise he is a very good boy.

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  22. DASH says:

    My dog is awesome except she appears to becoming dog aggressive, rescue dog I’ve had for 2 years. The only time she barks is when she wants to play, she runs in tight circles and if allowed to continue too long she jumps at my hands as if trying to stop my flight ( maybe she had police training at some time!). Any suggestions on how to stop this dog aggression behaviour?

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    Minette Reply:

    No police training. If she had police training she would latch onto your left bicep with a full mouth grip and refuse to let go. She is just herding. Teach her to lay down at these moments.

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  23. Jay Smith says:

    It’s amazing! It’s sort of similar to having their own language. My labs are quiet by nature, so when they bark it’s either because something doesn’t sound right outside or they are playing together. I can hear what it is by the tone of their voice. I believe it to be similar to how they understand our language also. Not necessarily words (because they obey commands), but the tone of voice.

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