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Why do dogs bark? (8 Reasons)

Why do dogs bark?

Why do dogs bark? Dogs bark for a lot of different reasons.

  1. Dogs bark as a greeting
  2. Dogs bark because of anxiety
  3. Dogs bark for attention
  4. Dogs bark to create an alert
  5. Dogs bark in warning
  6. Dogs bark because other dogs are barking
  7. Dogs bark out of boredom
  8. Dogs bard from excitement and playfulness.

We have a lot of guides on how to train your dog to stop barking. But in this post I’m going to go over each and explain the different reasons behind dog barking.

Like most things, there are times when barking is appropriate – you want them to alert you to smoke in the house or a person at the door.

Other times, barking is just a nuisance – perhaps they’re bored, and you can’t play right now.

Resource: My #1 favorite resource for effectively training your dog not to bark is Doggy Dan. His methods are gentle and effective and right now he’s offering a $1 trial so you can check him out for yourself.

What are some reasons that dogs bark?

Understanding why your dog is barking can help you determine if it’s a warning bark that you need to listen to, or if its a bark that you need to address through training.

Barking while greeting

Barking while greeting

Most dogs go CRAZY when their people come home.

They are excited they want to tell you hello and how happy they are to see you.

Barking because of anxiety

When a dog is anxious or nervous, they will try to tell you.  Most dogs have a slightly high-pitched anxious bark.  Others may whine a bit with it (mine both do).

This bark can be a way to self-soothe your pup’s anxiety.  Or they may be looking for a bit of comfort to soothe their frayed nerves.

Barking for attention

Your dog may want attention for any number of reasons.  They may need to go outside for some bladder relief.  Or they may be bored and want you to play.

Every dog seems to have their own bark to get your attention.

Some whine as they paw at your arm.  Others may use a sharp single bark to try to get your attention.

dog barking in tall grass

Barking an alert

The alert bark is the “heads up!” of the canine language.  Your dog lets you know when someone is at the door.

They let you know that they heard a noise.

Some dogs are so “alert” that they let you know when the wind blows.

For most dogs, the alert bark is a repetitive bark in their middle sound range.  Most dogs bark super-fast for this one.

Barking in warning

Not to be confused with the alert bark, the warning bark means business.  They’re concerned that there may be danger.

There might be another animal on the property that your dog finds threatening.  Or maybe they smell smoke.  It’s a bark to take seriously.

Instead of barking rapidly, this is usually a three or four bark set with pauses in between.

Your dog might also growl a little between barks.  They’re determined to make sure you take them seriously.

The Barking Bandwagon

The Barking Bandwagon

We’ve all experienced the bark-a-thon.  This is the bark-fest that starts when one dog in the neighborhood barks and then every other dog in the area joins them.

As annoying as many of us find this phenomenon, the dogs are just socializing.  Think of it like talking to your neighbors over the fence.

Barking out of boredom

Dogs become bored.  And the smarter the dog, the more quickly and thoroughly bored they can get.

This bark is often just one or two sharp barks with a pause and then repeating the process.

A bored dog barks to release excess energy… kinda like talking just to hear themselves.

medium sized dog standing on road barking

Barking from excitement and playfulness

This is my favorite!  Your dog might start off barking in a lower voice, but each vocalization might get a bit louder.

They may go from single barks to a series of barks.  They may even sound close to yelping.  But this is not a bad bark… quite the opposite.

Compare this barking to a people laughing and talking together.  Your dog is talking excitedly!  They’re telling you how much fun they’re having!

Should you train your dog not to bark?

In my research, I realized that you can’t stop a dog from barking until you know why they bark.  The training message is different depending on the reason the dog is barking.

Should you train your dog not to bark?

To bark, or not to bark?

You don’t want to teach a dog not to bark a warning.

And you want them to alert you to things that may be going around your home.

But you also want to guide them on when it’s appropriate to bark and when they should let you handle it.

Once you know why your dog is barking, it’s much easier to figure out if you should put a stop to it.

Recommended Dog Training CoursesEdit

There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.

  1. Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer
  2. Brain Training for Dogs

These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.

The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.

For more information on training your dog, check out How to get your Dog to Quit Jumping!! 

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