Training Tip Interpreting Dog Barks and Noise 

Training Tip: Interpreting Dog Barks and Noise 

Dogs use body language as a method of silent communication.  However, they use their voices as well.  Dogs can bark, growl, whine, and howl to get their point across.  Barking is the most familiar sound that dogs can make. We often ask ourselves “why” dogs bark.  We are here to help!

Dogs can bark simply to say “hi”, “pay attention to me”, or to warn of trouble ahead.  Some dogs even bark when they are bored, lonely, or experiencing separation anxiety.  It is important to determine “why” your dog is barking.  You will need to be careful how you respond to each bark.  For example, excited dogs love to bark.  If their owner yells at them to stop, the dog may believe that you are barking back.  This means that you are teaching them that barking is okay, which is opposite of the lesson you want them to learn.

Dogs may have a “whining” tone to their bark.  This normally means that they are wanting comfort.  This could also mean that they are frightened by loud noises, or they need to go outside and potty.  If this behavior begins to be too much, ignore the dog until they are quiet and then reward them with praise or petting.

Growls are very easy to understand.  Dogs who growl give notice that they are ready to attack if you do not back off.  It is important that you prevent your dog from growling as it is a sign of aggression.  Finally, if your dog howls this means that they are excited, lonely, or they want to warn you of trouble ahead.  Howling is very contagious meaning if one dog howls, another will do the same.

It is important to determine the type of bark that the dog is trying to portray.  Once you have a good understanding of this, you can determine proper ways of correction.