Barking Dog

What Does Your Dog’s Bark Mean?

Humans rely on speech for communication However, your canine company uses a combination of things such as body language, growls, whines, scent, and barks to ‘talk’.  As an owner, you probably wonder what does your dog’s bark mean? If you are in-tune to your furry buddy then you might actually be able to decipher some of the animal’s vocal utterances. However, the pooch’s language is far more complex than some people realize. 

Barks All Sound Different

A dog will use different barks for various situations. Each bark has its own distinct meaning. The barks appear to be emotionally complex. Most canines do not just bark when excited. They also bark when lonely, irritated, sad, angry, frightened, or happy. Each bark denotes a different mood and has variances in pitch and sound which appear to reflect mood.

Number of Barks and Spacing 

The number for barks in a row along with the space between each bark all seem to reflect meaning. A high-pitched bark often shows excitement, happiness or even fear but as the bark gets lower than the dog has typically become more serious. Many owners automatically know if there is an intruder based on the pitch of their four-legged buddy’s bark. A dog who is longing for attention will start to combine a bark with a high-pitched yelp that is very plaintive and begging in nature. 

Barking Urgency and Excitement 

Barks that occur in a row typically show the excitement level of the dog. A single bark is usually the pet’s way of saying it is either annoyed or surprised. A long series of barks shows the animal is excited and a very prolonged, drawn out bark is usually a form of alarm. A single or duo of barks shows a much lower level of excitement and extraordinarily little urgency. When your pooch barks in multiple bursts and then starts repeating them in fast bursts each minute then the pet is trying to tell you that they think the situation is urgent and that there might even be a potential crisis looming. 

Emotional Barking 

The space that occurs between each bark also shows emotion. A quick succession of barks is typically aggressive. A lonely bark with a great deal of drawn out pauses usually means the animal is feeling lonely or sad. 

Why Do Dogs Howl? 

Howling is different than barking but no less meaningful. Many owners think that a howl harkens back to a canine’s wild, wolf ancestry. Usually a howl is issued in acknowledgement of another sound such as loud music, sirens, or another dog barking. The howl is the dog’s way of joining in with the pack and showing a readiness to participate in the excitement. Once the trigger of the howling is removed then the dog will cease the bawling. 

Why Does My Dog Bark When I Leave Him Alone?

In the wild, a wolf pack often divides itself. One half will go hunting or scouting while the other half stays at the den with the youngsters. The canines who remain behind will howl or vocalize to direct the others back home to safety. Dogs who are left alone do perform the same barking to guide their human’s home.

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My dog is a 4 year old lab. He is an excessive barker in the car. It is aggressive and he appears to be stressed. He love to get in the car, but as soon as it moves he barking starts. He also bites at the windows. Any advise to help calm and decrease the aggravation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Great information, I learned a lot I did not know. Thanks for sharing.

Tina Greene

Loved “What does bark mean”!!

Lystra Yale

I have a Japanese Chin who very seldom barks at all. He does talk to me a lot in a very deep voice. He will usually talk to me when he asks to go potty but I am taking my break first. Other times I am on the phone and he will start talking. I would love to know what he is saying, but I am sure it has to do with attention not on him. Most of the time he is very quiet.


Thanks for this informative article!

sharon haines

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