As many dog owners may already know, dogs bark for many different reasons, and barking is often a crucial tool when it comes to dogs communicating with humans.
Luckily, people can usually figure out why a dog is barking due to their body language and the context of the situation. But the question remains, can dogs understand a dog’s barking as well?
Like people, other dogs can usually gather what another dog’s bark means. However, they are not communicating in the same way that people talk to each other. Rather, they gather a rough idea of how the other dog is feeling. For example a dog can tell the difference between a scared barking dog and a happy one.
In this article we will be explaining everything that dog owners and animal lovers need to know about why dogs bark.
We will also be answering and getting into whether or not dogs can understand each other’s barks.
Alright, let’s dive right into it!
Why Do Dogs Bark?
There are many different reasons why dogs bark, and these reasons can range greatly depending on their context.
For example, some dogs bark when they are happy and excited, while others will bark when they are nervous or afraid of something.
As you can probably imagine, a dog barking out of excitement and a dog barking out of fear will look very different from each other.
Here we will be explaining all of the differences between the many different types of barking in dogs and how you can tell the difference between them.
Dogs are Saying Hello
Some friendly dogs will bark as a way to say hello. Usually, this will just be a few friendly barks, and the dog will always have loose and relaxed body language.
Relaxed dog moves with fluid motion, and their eyes and ears will be relaxed. Their tail may also be wagging, but it does not need to be.
They are Excited
Many dogs will also bark when they get really excited, and this is a completely normal and natural response to excitement in dogs.
An excited dog will likely be wagging their tail, and they may also have bursts of energy. As a result, excited dogs may also be jumpy.
Dogs are Alerting their Owners of Something
Many dogs will bark when someone is at the door or even just walking in front of their house or yard. This is called alert barking, and its purpose is simply to let their owners know that someone, or something, new is around.
Usually, these barks will be short and somewhat monotone. This barking can also either go on for a short amount of time or be excessive depending on the dog and the situation at hand.
They are on Guard Duty
Dogs will also bark as a way to guard their property or territory. This can appear to be somewhat similar to alert barking, but they are more likely to appear alert.
They may even begin to appear aggressive if the barking is ignored by the trespasser. A dog that is guard barking will have stiff body language, ears pointed forward, and they may lean their body forward or lunge as well.
In addition to this, a dog that is guarding their territory may also snarl, growl, and attempt to bite in severe cases if their original message was ignored.
They Are Nervous Or Scared
Nervous, anxious, and afraid dogs often bark as well. Like guard barking, fearful barking dogs can also become aggressive if their initial signals were being ignored.
A fearful dog will have their ears pinned back against their head, stiff body language, and their tail tucked between their legs.
In addition to this, they may also be crouching low to the ground, have their hair standing on end, and their eyes wide with the whites clearly visible.
Their barking will often be high pitched and monotone as well.
They Have Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety commonly causes dogs to bark or even howl excessively. This loneliness causes them to become anxious, and they will bark as a way to comfort themselves.
Barking caused by separation anxiety is almost always excessive, and it only occurs when a dog is separated from their owners.
A dog suffering from separation anxiety may also pace, try to escape an area, engage in destructive behavior, and even have accidents inside of the home.
Separation anxiety is a very serious condition, so it is always best to visit the vet if you suspect that your dog has separation anxiety.
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Your Dog is Frustrated
Frustration barking usually occurs when a dog wants to get to something but can’t. As a result, this type of barking usually happens when a dog is in a fenced in yard, is tethered to something, or is walking on a leash.
This barking will usually be excessive, and it tends to go on until that thing that they want to get is out of sight.
Your Dog is Bored
Boredom barking occurs as a result of a dog being under exercised and under stimulated mentally. When this happens dogs will sometimes start to bark as a way to entertain themselves.
A bored dog will appear restless, and they may pace, chew on inappropriate objects, and get into places that they shouldn’t.
They Want Attention
Some dogs will also bark excessively as a way to get their owners attention. This barking is usually monotone and goes on until the owner gives them the attention that they are looking for.
Luckily, there are ways to stop this behavior if you would like to. However, you may need the help of a qualified dog trainer in order to stop this behavioral issue effectively.
Your Dog Needs Something
Dogs will often bark for their owner’s attention if one of their needs hasn’t been met.
For example, it is common for dogs to bark when they need to go outside to use the bathroom or if their water bowl is empty.
This kind of barking should stop once you have figured out what the dog needs and provide it for them.
Barking can be a Warning Signal
In some cases barking can be a sign that a dog is in pain or is experiencing a medical condition such as canine dementia.
Usually this barking will be high pitched and accompanied by both other symptoms and vocalizations such as yelping, whimpering, and whining.
However, this is not necessarily always the case. As a result, you should always take your dog to the vet for a professional opinion if you believe that an injury or medical condition is causing your dog’s barking.
Do Dogs Understand Each Other’s Barks?
Yes, dogs can understand each other’s barks. However, their barking doesn’t work in the same way as words do when people are communicating with one another.
However, dogs can easily discern the meaning behind the reason for another dog’s barking by the pitch and frequency of their barks. In addition to this, dogs can also easily read the body language that other dogs give off.
This means that, although they cannot communicate in a precise way like we can with words, dogs can loosely communicate how they are feeling to other dogs through their barking.
For example, a dog barking because they are excited and a dog barking because they are afraid sound very different from one another.
Dogs can tell the difference between not only these two very different types of barking, but most of the other reasons we have listed in this article previously as well.
Being able to interact with other dogs is actually an essential part of canine survival. After all, dogs need to be able to tell if another dog is being playful or aggressive towards them.
In fact, it is believed that wolves, the ancestors to dogs, are able to communicate in a similar way as well.
Dogs bark for a ton of different reasons, and it has been discovered that dogs can likely tell the difference between the many different types of barking in dogs.
They can do this by reading the other dog’s body language and listening to how the bark sounds.
Although this may seem to be incredible, being able to communicate with members of their species is essential when it comes to playing and interacting with their environment.
Why Do Dogs Bark at Each Other at Night?
Dogs could be barking at each other during the night for a few different reasons. If they see each other, this barking could be due to frustration of not being able to get near each other.
However, dogs can sometimes also become anxious due to separation anxiety or sounds that occur during the night. As a result, dogs could be easily reacting to another dog’s fear or anxiety.
Why do Dogs Bark at Each Other Through the Fence?
Most often, dogs barking at each other through the fence are exhibiting frustration barking. This occurs because the dogs want to get to each other, and they are becoming frustrated because the fence is separating them.
Being able to see, but not go near each other, is a very frustrating experience for dogs.