Barking is a way dogs tell us they are hungry or thirsty, need some love, or want to go outside and play. They can also alert us to potential security threats or intruders. If we can interpret a dog barking sound, it helps us to distinguish between nuisance barking and when our dog is trying to share important communication.
Here are 10 examples of why dogs bark and what their barks mean, courtesy of K9 Magazine:
- Continuous rapid barking at a mid-range pitch: “Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!”
- 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.”
- Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance: “Is there anybody there? I’m lonely and need companionship.”
- One or two sharp short barks at a mid-range pitch: “Hello there!”
- Single sharp short bark at a lower mid-range pitch: “Stop that!”
- Single sharp short dog barking noise at a higher mid-range: “What’s this?” or “Huh?” This is a startled or surprised sound. If it's repeated two or three times, its meaning changes to, “Come look at this!” to alert the pack to a new event.
- Single yelp or very short high-pitched bark: “Ouch!” This is in response to a sudden, unexpected pain.
- Series of yelps: “I’m hurting!” “I’m really scared” This is in response to severe fear and pain.
- 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.
- Rising bark – almost a yelp, though not quite that high: Used during a rough-and-tough tumble play time, it means “This is fun!”
If your dog’s barking has become a nuisance, there are several options to help control his chatter. Exercise and lots of playtime will wear your dog out, and he will talk less as a result.
You can also train him to be quiet in just a couple of weeks using one of several bark control options. Our unique PetSafe® Spray Bark Collar emits a quick, harmless spray that teaches your dog to stop barking. The electronic collar is rechargeable and water resistant. It comes with refill cartridges that provide 35 sprays each. The collar’s sensor can distinguish your dog’s bark from other noises, so it won’t be activated by other dogs in the neighborhood or home.
Excessive barking can put a strain on any pet parent, especially if your dog is bothering the entire neighborhood or apartment complex. Understanding why they bark can help you know the type of training they need to help quieten the noise.