How to Figure Out What Your Dog’s Bark Means

FULL DISCLOSURE: The links I share in this course ARE my affiliate links. This means I earn a commission, at no extra cost to you. In fact, sometimes you’ll get a discount or free credits just FOR using my link. 🙂

Find Out What Your Dog's Bark Means

Does your dog's barking sound different to you sometimes? 

Have you ever wondered if the sounds mean different things? 

Let's explore the different reasons dog's bark! 

What Does Your Dog’s Bark Mean?

Dogs are known for their wide array of vocalizations, from whines and yips to howls and growls. Barking is perhaps the most versatile of all the sounds a dog can make. 

Dogs use barking as a way to communicate with their owners and other animals. Identifying the type of bark your dog is using will better equip you to address what they are telling you. So without further ado, let’s get started! 

Understanding Your Dog’s Barking

Dog's Bark
The dog's bark is a series of short, explosive barks that typically last between 1 and 2 seconds. The noise often heard when dogs are barking at night or in the morning can be telltale signs of something being amiss- such as their moods sometimes switching from happy to sad without warning; this could mean they're tired!

Dog's bark for many reasons, and it is important to take the time to understand what your dog is trying to tell you.

Dog's bark when:

  • Communicating the need to use the bathroom
  • Hungry or thirsty
  • Playing and having Fun
  • Bored, anxious, or fearful
  • Alerting owners to danger

If you can learn to identify the different types of barking, you will be better equipped to provide your dog with the care and attention they need. 

In addition, if your dog starts barking excessively, it could signify separation anxiety or boredom.

By taking the time to understand your dog’s barking, you can provide them with the best possible care and build a strong bond between you and your furry friend. 

Needing to Use the Bathroom

Dog's bark for various reasons, from expressing excitement or needing to alert their owners to potential danger. 

While it can be frustrating when your dog will not stop barking, understanding why they are doing it is the first step to solving the problem. 

In many cases, barking is a beneficial training tool. 

For example, if your dog is barking to let you know they need to go outside, you can train them to bark on cue when they need to relieve themselves. 

Barking When Hungry or Thirsty

Dog's bark for many reasons, but one of the most common is that they are hungry or thirsty. 

If your dog is barking excessively, it may be a sign that they are not getting enough food or water. Or that they are just plain hungry. 

Dogs need a balance of nutrients to stay healthy, so it is important to ensure they get proper nutrition. Talk to your veterinarian if you are unsure whether your dog is getting enough to eat. 

They can help to determine how much food your dog needs and make recommendations on the best type of food to feed them. 

In addition to ensuring they have enough to eat, it is also important to ensure they have access to clean water. 

Dogs can get dehydrated quickly, so it is important to provide them with fresh water throughout the day. 

Barking When Playing and Having Fun

Dog's Bark
When a dog barks, sometimes it is because they are playful and happy.

A dog may bark when they want to play or have fun. 

A dog that I care for starts barking when in the middle of playing a game. She gets so excited to be playing with her doggy friends that she can’t help but let out some yelps of excitement. 

Barking Due to Boredom, Anxiety, or Fear

Sometimes, dog barking occurs when they are bored or are looking for something to do. 

If your dog is barking excessively, try providing them with more toys and opportunities for exercise. 

Other times dog barking occurs because they are anxious or fearful. Cesar Millan talks about how to help dogs that are barking out of anxiety or fear. Keep reading to see what he has to say. 

Click here to see if your dog is getting anxiety from being afraid of the dark: https://visionpetcare.com/find-out-if-dogs-can-be-afraid-of-the-dark/

Alerting to Danger

Dog's Bark
Dog's bark to warn people or indicate the presence of a danger. They can also be excited when they see their owner coming home, so it's important that you learn how your dog translates body language into words with his vocalizations!

Barking can be used as an alert system to warn you of danger or strangers. 

My Doberman Pinscher often barks when someone has pulled into the driveway. Heck, he barks when someone even thinks about pulling into our driveway. 

This barking helps us prepare ourselves before company visits which have always been helpful. 

Watch Your Dog's Behavior

Anyone who has spent much time in the company of dogs knows how desperately they try to understand what their people want from them. Nothing is more important to man's best friend than to know he is in close communication with his familial pack. 

To achieve this, your dog will constantly watch for signs of communication from you and adversely converse with his feedback. 

The easiest way to figure out what your dog is trying to tell you is to spend some time observing his behavior and mannerisms. 

Does he sit when you pet him? This could be a sign that he wants you to keep petting him. 

Does he lie down when you ask him to come? This could mean that he does not want to come closer to you. 

Barking Dog Statistics

According to the North Shore Animal League (NSAL) statistics, over 10 percent of all adopted dogs are returned to U.S. shelters because of behavioral issues such as barking. 

Fortunately, thanks to organizations like the NSAL, many of these dogs have been adopted. They have found forever homes regardless of perceived behavioral problems. 

The NSAL provides pet owners with a wide range of services, including behavior counseling, adoption services, and educational resources.  

These educational resources help families understand why their dogs are barking and many more topics. https://www.animalleague.org/

Further studies by the Humane Society of the United States have found that 41 percent of canine behavioral problems involve excessive and inappropriate barking. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/how-get-your-dog-stop-barking

Barking Dogs Have A Reason

Dog's Bark
Dogs can bark because of stress. Sometimes they warn you that something or someone is near, like another animal, for example!

Dog experts will tell you that every time a dog uses its voice, it has meaning. 

Decoding your dog's bark will help you communicate better with your dog and help you decipher a whole host of other issues about your dog. 

By understanding what your dog is trying to communicate with his bark, you can respond in a way that will help him feel more comfortable and improve your relationship. 

Dog Trainers Define Dog Barking

Figuring out why dog's bark is not an exact science, but many experts have made great strides in understanding the critical components of barking. 

For example, National Geographic Cesar Millan says there are four elements behind a dog's bark,, and each carries its clear message. 

The following are the four main reasons he states in his canine publication, “Cesars Way.”


Dog's Bark
Some dog's bark because they are bored.

“I am Bored!” Cesar cited a case when he worked with a dog named Fella. Fella is a Jack Russell Terrier and Greyhound mix. Both of these breeds have high energy.

When Fella started barking constantly, his owner's sanity was being tested. They loved Fella and wanted to help him. 

There were two main reasons why Fella was barking so much. These reasons were boredom and separation anxiety. With Cesar's help, Fella's owners began accurately addressing Fella's needs. 

The owners put Fella on a vigorous exercise routine. This routine called for lengthy walks and playtime before and after work. 

A routine addressed Fella's separation anxiety followed to the point. The owners would leave him for very brief periods. When Fella was comfortable, they extended the time they were gone by just a little bit. 

They built up this way until they could leave for the amount of time they needed to run errands and perform other activities. 

This routine helped Fella know that he was not abandoned, rather cared for and loved. 


“I am Confused” – Sonny, a German Shepherd, was rescued from a situation that left him confused and afraid. After this traumatic experience, he did not understand people's intentions. 

This ordeal made it hard for Sonny to trust the new company, and he reacted by barking loudly and often. 

Sonny was able to master his fear and confusion through extensive socialization and a rewarding system. 

When Sonny was socialized, he was calmly offered a treat as soon as he saw a stranger or came in contact with a potentially overwhelming situation. 

At first, these treats were given instantaneously. As each situation came up, the treats were handed to Sonny slower until Sonny showed signs that he did not need the treats. 

The owners also needed to learn to stop enhancing his anxieties. 

The owners were offering affection anytime Sonny would start barking loudly. This confused Sonny, and so he would continue barking.

The barking decreased as soon as the owners learned not to offer affection until after Sonny had stopped barking. 


Dog's Bark
The dog barks sometimes because they get scared.

“I am Scared” – Hootie was a fantastic dog in agility. He quickly became the best and might even reach the National Olympics level. 

The poor pup had his dreams squashed when a group of noisy skateboarders unintentionally barreled down on them while they were out for an afternoon walk. 

Since then, Hootie had a lot of fear when he came across young people. He would cower and bark whenever a young person came within eyesight. 

His fear left him stymied and unable to socialize. Due to his fear, he could not even compete. 

To help cure Hootie's panic-based barking, he had to experience young people head-on. 

For this, Cesar brought over his two young sons, Calvin and Andre. 

Hootie was slowly introduced to Cesar's children. Eventually, Hootie realized children were nothing to fear. Once Hootie realized “small people” were nothing to fear, the barking stopped. 

The owner's fear also had to be addressed since Cesar was convinced that dogs pick up on their owner's anxiety. After Hootie's owner and Cesar had talked, the owner was able to seek help and overcome her fear. 

Dog Experts- Deciphering the Bark

Cesar uses a widely acclaimed behavior guide called “How Dogs Think.” Canine psychologist Stanley Coren wrote this book. 

“How Dogs Think” provides valuable insight into the way dogs think and learn. 

By understanding how dogs view the world, Cesar can better help them overcome behavioral problems. 

The book hones in on the precise interpretation of dog barking. 

Coren says, “The underlying rule seems to be that the longer the sound, the more likely the dog is making a conscious decision about the nature of the signal and the behaviors to follow.” 

Coren further discusses how repetition and intensity play an important role in dog barking. By examining this, he empowers the dog owner to read their dog's urgency and react accordingly. 

And remember, with all behavioral modifications, considerable practice is essential for any dog training to be effective. 

The link to “How Dogs Think” by Stanley Coren, Ph.D. is listed here: 

 (This is my affiliate link, meaning a small portion of the sale is returned to me. This does not change the cost for you, and in some instances, you may even recieve the product at a discount). 


Here is a link to a video about dogs barking: https://www.google.com/search?q=dog%27s+bark+meaning+you+tube&rlz=1C1FKPE_enUS996US996&oq=dog%27s+bark+meaning+you+tube&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i10i160l2j33i22i29i30.5409j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=__jLPYvPCBMDTkPIPwqGQoAs15

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.