dog barking

Dogs use barks to convey loneliness, hunger, playfulness, curiosity, stress, and other needs. They are masters at communication, but their success largely depends on who is listening to them. What do some of the most common dog barks sound like, and how can we answer the call?

Beyond Body Language

Dogs say a lot with their body language. We can often tell how they’re feeling based on how their ears, tail, and posture appear. Interpreting canine body language is essential to learning their needs and being able to effectively provide for them. 

Some dogs rely heavily on their body positioning to convey their emotional and physical states. These dogs may only express themselves vocally when they absolutely have to. Other pups have a unique blend of body language and barking that is highly effective at communicating with humans. 

When It Gets Out Of Control

Some dogs definitely bark more than we’d like. Constant barking can be caused by medical conditions, age, and activity levels, but it can also signal that attention is required to address behavior. In any case, dog barks can be a marker of health, engagement, and safety, and a close look at why a dog barks is crucial. 

Types of Dog Barks

A basic understanding of what certain dog barks mean can help people become better dog owners. When you hear any of the following dog barks, try to connect it with what’s going on in the environment:

  • High pitched yaps can indicate happiness, playfulness,  or excitement. This might be used in tandem with rapid tail wagging, running in circles, or jumping. 
  • Medium-pitched, short dog barks can be a greeting. This may sound like a “woof” or an “arf” and is typically repeated until the dog is satisfied. 
  • Deeper, rapid dog barks are often associated with alertness to danger or possible threats. They use this bark to get their owner’s attention and won’t relax until you see what they want you to see.
  • Howling is typically heard by other people, not the dog’s owners as they usually do it when they are alone. If you hear this coming from a nearby lot or building, read our guide about animal cruelty
  • Whining is a sound distinctly understood by dog owners. Dogs use this to ask for a bathroom break or a taste of whatever you’re eating. But they also whine when in pain or suffering from an illness or injury. 
  • The growl is reserved for the most serious threats. Sure, they could use this during play time, but you’ll likely know the difference between a real and pretend growl. Often a precursor to biting, growling can be a red flag that more training and socialization is needed. 

Your Dog and Their Barks

If you have further questions about dog barks, or are curious about a professional canine behavioral consultation, we encourage you to reach out to us at (732) 531-1212. We also offer doggie daycare for pups that need a little extra fun during the work day.