10 Translated Barks: Know what your dog is saying

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By Natalie Lester, PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist

Dogs have many different kinds of barks. Read on to discover what they all mean.

One of the main differences between a dog and a stuffed animal is your dog’s ability to communicate with you. Just as we can form sentences and change the pitch of our voice to mean different things, so can a dog change her bark depending on what she is trying to tell you. K9 Magazine recently described the Top 10 Barks and what they mean. I edited the list to make for easy reading, but if you’re really curious you can read the magazine’s whole post here.

1. Continuous rapid barking at a mid-range pitch: “Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!”

2. Barking in rapid strings with a few pauses at a mid-range pitch: “I suspect that there may be a problem or an intruder near our territory. I think that the leader of the pack should look into it.”

3. Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance: “Is there anybody there? I’m lonely and need companionship.”

4. One or two sharp short barks at a mid-range pitch: “Hello there!”

5. Single sharp short bark at a lower mid-range pitch: “Stop that!”

6. Single sharp short bark at a higher mid-range: “What’s this?” or “Huh?” This is a startled or surprised sound. If it is repeated two or three times its meaning changes to “Come look at this!” alerting the pack to a novel event.

7. Single yelp or very short high-pitched bark: “Ouch!” This is in response to a sudden, unexpected pain.

8. Series of yelps: “I’m hurting!” “I’m really scared” This is in response to severe fear and pain.

Frenchy loves to play so Natalie often hears the ar-ruff (bark #9) from her. What is the most common bark you hear from your pet?

9. Stutter-bark at a mid-range pitch: If a dog’s bark were spelled “ruff,” the stutter-bark would be spelled “ar-ruff.” It means “Let’s play!” and is used to initiate playing behavior.

10. Rising bark – almost a yelp, though not quite that high: Used during a rough-and-tough tumble play time, it means “This is fun!”

Even dogs can “talk” too much. There are several options for helping control her chatter. Exercise and lots of playtime will wear her out and she will talk less as a result. If she continues to talk to you in the wee hours of the night or morning, bark control collars are another great way to deter barking. By monitoring your dog’s bark, these collars automatically let her know when she needs to be quiet. Offered in spray, static, ultrasonic and vibration correction it’s possible to train your dog not to bark, no matter how stubborn she is!

Understanding your dog’s bark and working together to communicate can remove the strain excessive barking may have put on your relationship.

What bark do you hear from your dog most often?

ABOUT NATALIE

As the PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist, Natalie manages The Paw Print blog and generates other brand related content including public relations and promotions. Before PetSafe, Natalie worked in the local media covering politics, education, and religion. She is a substitute pet owner to a German short-haired pointer named Bedford in Abingdon, VA, Frenchy the schnoodle in Lenoir City, TN, and all the office dogs at PetSafe’s headquarters in Knoxville. As a pet lover, she is currently searching for the perfect puppy to join her home.

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67 Responses to 10 Translated Barks: Know what your dog is saying

  1. Melissa Weber says:

    I think my dog does the Hello bark the most :)

  2. Brenda Abrams says:

    3. Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance: “Is there anybody there? I’m lonely and need companionship.”

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Brenda, Prolonged barking can really be a problem between pets and their owners. I’m sure you spend lots of time with your dog every day, but make sure she is getting a lot of exercise too. That can really help! Have you ever thought of using a bark control collar? Thanks for reading.

  3. Margaret says:

    SQUIRREL! Let’s look into it!

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Margaret, Dogs sure love squirrels – that’s for sure! They are so cute playing outside and chasing them around. We’re sure your dog is just as adorable. Thanks for reading!

  4. Natalie Lester says:

    Hey ladies, it was tough but we decided to award the bark control collar to Brenda. We hope you’ll continue reading and check back often for more contests. Thanks!

  5. Nancy Klassen says:

    Hi Natalie,
    The very vocal female of my pair of Giant Schnauzers, trills, when we approach the turnoff within Stanley Park for their extended weekly runs. Clearly, she anticipates the bliss of her favorite activity. Her Johnny-Come-Lately companion tries to emulate her every trick including the trilling but obviously lacks the “pipes.”
    Cheers!
    nance

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Nancy, Yes. Girls sure like to talk, especially when they are excited. :) Remember, it is a good outlet for energy and dogs need to bark sometimes. But, incessant barking can really be a problem. Have you noticed her vocals as an ongoing problem? If so, you may want to consider one of our bark control products.

  6. Krista says:

    One of our dogs does the prolonged or incessant barking with intervals. We are RIGHT THERE so he is not lonely. He sometimes does this for no reason OR, mostly when our African Grey makes the noise of brakes on a bus. He will NOT stop………

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Krista, We understand all dogs bark for different reasons. These are just the most common understandings. Have you tried any bark control products? Thanks for reading!

  7. Krista says:

    One of our dogs does the prolonged incessant barking with perfect spacing. Sometimes he does it for no known reason and others because of the ONE noise our African Grey makes. He will NOT STOP.

  8. Midge Cureton says:

    definitely are guarding our or their territory. use number 1 and 2 a lot.

  9. Beverley Deresinski says:

    My dog watches tv and in the beginning, he just barked at shows with animals in them but now he barks so much that it is difficult to watch tv. I have a bark collar for him and he barks right through it. HELP

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Beverley, what collar do you have? We understand how frustrating incessant barking can me. Email me at social@petsafe.net and we can have one of our Bark Control Specialists help you! Thanks for reading!

  10. Barbara says:

    Our 10 month old boxer female is the talker. If her mom has one of her bones she barks and looks at me. At least they don’t fight.

  11. Jacque LaFreniere says:

    I have 4 Siberian Huskies. They don’t bark but rather howl. They yap or bark when playing. It’s the 2 a.m. group “songs” that are a problem. One starts and gets the other 3 + 2 beagles going. They sing the “song” and all end on the same note. Strange huh? I would love to stop the ring leader before the group gets started.

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Jacque, that is unusual! You should record them, we would love to hear! :) Huskies are beautiful dogs. We’re sure you are tired of it. Have you tried any Bark Control products? Thanks for reading!

  12. Jennifer says:

    You forgot two: The “airbark”: mouthing a bark while looking right at you, but no real sound. It generally means: “I want…” or, “Pay attention to me!” and the low growl while looking right at you, which generally means impatience or a reminder that dinnertime is getting close.

  13. cherie says:

    My Yorkie starts barking and won’t stop when we get into the car. Whenever he wants to play is palying, he gets into a barking jag. He does the same when he wants my husband and I to go to bed. I think it’s called the “Spoiled beyond belief” bark…and it’s ok. I know he’s happy and I wouldn’t trade himfor the world.

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Cherie, that’s adorable! I love that he knows when it’s bed time! :) All our pets are spoiled, aren’t they? Thanks for reading!

  14. Dana Roessner says:

    My dog does the Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance, but she won’t come near me and backs off when I try to pet her

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Dana, oh no! We know barking can be trying on a relationship. Have you considered any of our bark control products? Thanks for reading!

  15. Lucy says:

    My guy is a demand barker. Prolonged, incessant barking that has said “Play with me, pay attention to me, me, me, me” since he was six weeks old (he’s now 3 yrs). He understands “No bark” but was driving me nuts in the car, until I got the citronella anti-bark collar. Bingo. No more barking. At this point, all I need to do is hold the device up and tell him not to bark and he stops. He’ll still use his “gotta pee” bark and “Oh, goodie, we’re almost there” bark, but that annoying, non-stop barking is no longer a problem. I didn’t have much success with the ultrasonic devices, but every pet responds differently to various stimuli.

  16. Annette Rizzolo says:

    I have 2 Pekingese males…1 is 7.5 yrs, the other is 2 yrs. The older rarely barks at all, the younger is #1 & #2 Barking…incessantly! Help! He goes into the backyard and echoes his rapid loud lengthy barking and gets the whole neighborhood involved! If I yell out the door “HUSH” he stops for a moment and starts kicking rocks with his hind legs like a bull!!! He’s obviously quite frustrated at this point while I’m watching him. I go in and he starts incessantly barking again! EEKS!!! Is he broken? :~) Never had this problem with my first Peke. I got them both as young pups. They are also very jealous of each other and both are trying to be the Alpha. I know I’m supposed to be the alpha but I’m a wimp and they know it! They are quite spoiled too.

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Annette, dogs do love to bark and it’s good for them to expend their energy. Incessant barking, however, can strain your relationship with your dog – and your neighbors. Have you considered any of our bark control products? Thanks for reading!

  17. Debbie Graff says:

    I have 6 dogs, a Doberman,a pitbull mix. aboxer mix,a min pin, i shitsui, and a long hair chihuahua. The min pin barks at everything, especially at mealtime, He will not stop until he gets is food. All of the others join in and its so noisy I can’t hear myself think. They also bark whenever they hear anyone near the house. It never stops. I don’t know how the control all of them. Help

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Debbie, thanks for reading! It sounds like you have a very full home for animals of all sizes! We can imagine it would get a little noisy. Have you considered or used any of our bark control products?

  18. jonathan compton says:

    My Setter will sit by the door when she knows i’m leaving w/o her. She knows when she is going too.
    She lifts her head and has this constant high pitched bark, that I can’t get her to stop HELP, neighbors find it less than amusing.
    thanks,
    Jonathan

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Jonathan, Your girl just wants to go with your everywhere – don’t you wish that was possible? :) Have you considered using any of our bark control products while you are away? Thanks for reading!

  19. Marcia Hills says:

    I have an English Springer Spaniel. The only bark we can’t seem to control now is the one when someone knocks or rings the doorbell. He goes crazy thinking that whoever it is is here to see him. He then wants all their attention. How can we get him to stay on his bed wheile we let the guests in and stay there while we visit?

    • Natalie Lester says:

      Marcia, I love Springer Spaniels! I have a Boykin Spaniel myself, and she is a sweetheart. Have you considered using a remote trainer to teach her to go to her bed and stay? They can really give you a great communication system with your pet, and enhance your relationship. Thanks for reading!

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  23. Brindha says:

    I have had my dog – a 5 yo lhasa apso male, adopted from a shelter, for a month now and today while we were playing, he gave me 2 loud barks, for the first time- i couldnt tell what the barks were, as they were new :)…

  24. Max says:

    Does the bark collar still work if she is swimming in the lake?

    • Natalie Lester says:

      A few of our Bark Control collars are not waterproof, so depending on the model the collar may not need to be submerged. Please email the model number on the collar to CCC3@petsafe.net and we will be happy to provide further information.

  25. Diane says:

    My Pom is such a sweet loving little guy, but his separation anxiety – OMG. Absolute chaos and sounds like I am killing him!! For the last week we have been using a bark control collar. The difference is already night and day. It took a lot of soul searching to take this step, but he is calmer, and doesn’t try to bite me on my way out the door any more! I hate when it goes off, but I and my neighbors love the calmness. I don’t have to re-home him thanks to the collar.

  26. Meghan says:

    My dog does the prolonged incessant barking. . .which I call the Chinese water torture bark. She does it all day, every day, and sometimes even does it through the night. My husband and I give her tons of attention, and we have another dog she plays with, so I don’t understand how she can be lonely. She barks as often as a slow drip from a leaky faucet.

  27. John kooper says:

    hello Natalie, I have a female bichpoo and shes adorable i just have one problem is that every time she see a stranger and at night she starts barking . can u help me please? Thanks a lot, and i love your replies to the people here :)

  28. Logan says:

    Tonight my female lab has barked a little bit. She’s almost twelve and doesn’t bark hardly ever (I walk her everyday). It sound like, “woof… woof”. She’ll pause in between a few barks and then completely stop for a while. It isn’t urgent sounding, nor is it territorial (whih she will do sometimes unless I tell her to stop, which is normal). So idk… I was hoping you knew what her bark my be for. Is she in pain? Does she need our help? She does stay outside so.. yeah. I ‘m hoping you have an answer!

  29. Mypuppyiscute says:

    Your the best

  30. Meg says:

    My six year old pug-boston terrier mix barks loudly during play with his bottom up and his tail wagging. My boyfriend just adopted a five year old boxer who doesn’t bark very often at all. She acts as if she wants to play with my dog but as soon as he starts barking, her face changes and she goes to attack him. She grabs him by the neck with her mouth if she gets him, but we usually grab them both and pull them apart. What can I do to get my dog to play without barking, and to let the boxer know that this is not a threatening bark if he does do it?

  31. Pingback: INTERPRETING DOGS’ BARKING | Bioventures

  32. Linda says:

    I have a Dog who barks to get the play going. And if I try to stop him from barking, he thinks he did something wrong and stops the play. Should I just let him bark?

  33. henry says:

    bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark

  34. Lorna says:

    We have had our two almost-6-month old Cavoodle sisters since they were 8-weeks old (they are booked in for de-sexing on Friday). Sandy is very vocal whilst Noodles hardly ever makes any noise. Sandy has a particular yelp she uses to alert us that either she or Noodles needs out to potty. This was working fantastically well until the past couple of weeks when sandy has been using the potty yelp but neither pup has pottied. Sometimes she will use the yelp 4 or 5 times in succession and each time we don’t want to risk ignoring it and take them out.,. but nothing! Today the pattern continued but she then pee pee’d on a rug straight after coming in from one of the non-productive potty visits! Any ideas how we can break this pattern please? Thanx so much.

  35. Judith-ann says:

    Hi – thanks for the article very interesting – I just have one question – I have a miniature poodle, she sleeps at the end of our bed on a rocking chair and sheepskin – twice now in the middle of the night she has woken us up howling – freaks us out – very very haunting sound – what is she trying to say?

    • Tony says:

      Howl (often sonorous and prolonged)

      “I’m here!” “This is my territory!” “I hear your howls.”

      Dogs use this to announce their presence, socialize over a distance, and declare territory. Although it may sound sad to a human, the dog is quite content.

  36. Lucy riding says:

    I think my dog says let’s play the most

  37. visit says:

    Exceptional Blog!

  38. Constance says:

    My mini dachshund is 4 years old! He’s quite the barker. We’ve gotten a complaint from our HOA and I’m unsure what to do. He had all of those barks: the “hi”, “come play” “ouch”….. He’s very protective when new people come to the door. I’m upping his exercise….. But I’m not sure what else to do! The PetSafe bark collar has cut the barking I’m half but one neighbor still complains. She’s crazy!!! BUT….. How can I curb the barking. HELP!!!!

  39. 6457 says:

    why dose my dog bark at other dogs

  40. Jane says:

    Hi there,

    my 18month old setter/spaniel cross, usually settles into bed at night but this last week has begun barking after i’ve gone to bed. We’ve recently moved house (3months) and our friends live nearby, their dog comes to visit most days and they love eachothers company.

    During the day she barks at strangers that go past our gate (it’s always locked), that’s a deep prolonged bark but at night it’s single barks, maybe a minute apart. She does this for about 30mins, then seems to settle.

    I am wondering is my dog missing her new friend at night?

    thanks,

    Jane

  41. Evelyn says:

    can my smart lttle sheba inu tell the gender of your dog by the sound of its bark?

  42. Shawn says:

    Our dog “Chica” (Mexi-Dog Rescue) barks at animals on the TV all the time. She even recognizes the jingles to pet commercials and runs to the TV to wait for the animals to appear. (1. Continuous rapid barking at a mid-range pitch: “Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!”) She is a very reactive dog.

  43. Mike says:

    Our dog (a 4yr old Westie) barks constantly at the TV, attacking it every time he sees other animals on it. Will the stop dog bark collar citronella work??
    Thanks

  44. ConfusedPitOwner says:

    I have a gorgeous pitbull x lab boy that never barks, or growls literally barked once or twice since we got him a month and a half ago. Today he just randomly started barking (and it’s a deep loud bark four or five times with even spacing). We did have someone pull a prank on us this morning and messed with our door then took off when I opened it. But he hasn’t stopped barking since. HELP our neighbor above us has a newborn baby I don’t want to upset them!

  45. john says:

    Does this apply to all normal dogs or as well to deaf ones we have a deaf dog and at night she goes thru most of all the barks just curios is all

  46. Brittani says:

    We have a yellow lab who is almost one. He barks at people all the time. He is never aggressive and his tail wags as he barks at them but I would say it is the first two types of bark. He is the sweetest dog and would never hurt anyone but he scares people. I was just wondering if you had any ideas on how to get him to stop. Thank you so much.

    • Sarah Folmar says:

      Hi Brittani. We can understand how barking could scare some people, especially from a larger dog. The PetSafe Brand offers a variety of different bark control options, and they are all available on our website. Please let us know if you have any additional questions, and we hope that you are able to find the right solution soon!

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