Why Dogs Bark: What Fido Might Be Trying to Tell You

by | May 19, 2020 | Dog Psychology

If you’re anything like me, you probably find yourself wondering what’s going on inside your dog’s head quite often.

Is there something he wants you to know? Do you wish he could just speak to you?

Well, there is a way for you to know what your dog is feeling, and that’s by paying attention to his barking.

A dog’s main means of communication is barking, so you can learn a lot about what your dog is thinking and feeling just by the sounds he’s making!

Dogs bark for many different reasons and the patterns and pitches of his barking can mean that he’s trying to communicate different things.

Here, we’ll tell you why dogs bark and show you the different types of dog barks so that you can better understand your four-legged friend!

Why Dogs Bark

Barking, whining, growling, and even howling is the way that dogs can vocally express themselves. Just as people talk, dogs bark!

Some dogs bark in response to stimuli, such as someone ringing the doorbell, and other dogs bark excessively which can lead to problem barking. There are even certain breeds more prone to barking than others.

Here are some of the most common types of barks you should be aware of.

The Alert Bark

Dogs are territorial by nature. They often view your home as their “territory” and will try to protect it from any potential danger.

This means that many everyday occurrences like the mailman or the trash truck can trigger your dog to start barking! 

Strangers walking past your home or cars pulling into your driveway can be seen as threats to your dog, making his territorial instincts come alive.

The Alert Bark is a loud, sharp and authoritative bark that says, “Don’t come any closer, I live here!”

It can be annoying, but please don’t punish your dog; he’s only trying to protect you!

The Anxiety Bark

Up to 40 percent of dogs can suffer from anxiety and most of these have separation anxiety.

Sometimes, the way a dog copes with his anxiety is by barking.

The Anxiety Bark is a very high-pitched, sharp bark that often includes some whining and whimpering. To some dogs, this bark can calm them down or soothe their fears.

If you hear your dog barking like this the second you step out of the door, he might be suffering from separation anxiety!

Luckily, there are ways you can help relieve your dog’s anxiety so he can feel more comfortable throughout the day!

The Attention-Seeking Bark

Some dogs have learned that the way to get attention is to bark! While this can lead to problem barking if not trained, there are several reasons why your dog might be wanting your attention:

  • To go outside/use the bathroom
  • To go on a walk
  • If they’re hungry or thirsty
  • If they want to be petted

When your dog craves attention for whatever reason, the bark might sound short and almost have a quick, melodic ring to it. He might also whine a little, too!

So, it’s important to check on your dog to make sure he has what he needs (yes, even if he barks at you while you’re doing your core yoga stretches)!

The Playful Bark

Dogs, especially puppies, will often let out an upbeat, happy bark if they’re feeling excited or playful. It’s that cute bark that makes us smile!

The Playful Bark is most commonly used when your dog is engaging in play with you or another dog. They might also bark like this if they’re about to go on a walk around the neighborhood or a car ride!

The Response Bark

Remember how we said that a dog’s main way of communicating is barking?

When your dog sees or hears another dog, he’ll let out the Response Bark. It’s a greeting that often crescendos into a robust exchange, but such is dog conversation!

However, dogs barking at each other isn’t always innocent. Of course, when your dog comes into contact with new dogs, it’s always important to pay attention to the pitch of his tone and his body language. Not all dogs react in a friendly way to every new canine he sees!

If there’s whining or growling accompanying this bark, it’s best to keep your dog at a distance.

The Boredom Bark

Bored dogs often resort to barking as a way to release energy or to combat loneliness. It’s the equivalent of a lonely person talking just to hear the sound of their own voice.

If you hear your dog barking with a medium pitch every few minutes, he needs an activity to stimulate his mind! He’s either bored or feeling like he needs company, so maybe grab the leash and take him on a walk around the neighborhood!

Problem Barking and Solutions

As much as we love our furry friends, our own sanity is important, too! 

There is a point when excessive barking can turn into problem barking. This is usually when your dog’s barking disrupts your daily routine or your much-needed sleep.

If your dog bark problem becomes an issue that needs to be resolved, don’t worry! There are solutions to problem barking that can be quick and effective so that you and your pooch can go on living life in peace.

Problem barking doesn’t have to be an obstacle that stops you from loving your pup! Most dogs will stop barking excessively with basic training, exercise, and mental stimulation.

The key is to make sure you’re spending lots of time with your canine; it will be beneficial to both of you!

Happy Wagging

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of why dogs bark. Knowing the difference between these types of barking can make you and your pet’s bond even stronger, and you’ll be more capable of catering to his needs.

So, happy wagging!

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out the articles on our blog about all things health, fitness, and other fun stuff!