Types of Dog Barking

Getting To Know Your Dog’s Barking Language!

A Barking Dog

A Barking Dog


Dog barking is one of the most common forms dogs use for vocal communication and all dogs bark. Some barks alert dog owners of pending danger. While other alert owners of people approaching their house. It can also mean that the dog has a want or need. There may be times when this barking can be excessive and disturbing.

Another factor is not all dog barking is equal. There are different types of barking vocalizations which we will share. You may have felt “My dog barks and how can I stop him?” Before you can take any corrective action, you must first know what is causing his barking behavior.

You may have noticed your dog’s barking in different contexts. Depending upon the situation, he may have a high-pitched sound or repetitive barks and some body language may be associated with the bark.

Over time you will get to know your dog’s barking sounds and body language that’s associated with the bark. Remember, you cannot read your dog’s mind. You can make an educated guess as to what context they are communicating to you.

Don’t forget about the 3 bark rule. If someone comes to the door your dog is allowed to bark up to 3 times before you say “quiet.”

For further reading, check out our article on “Clicker Training To Stop Dog Barking.”

Video – What Dog Barks Mean

Below is an excellent video explaining what the different types of dog barks mean. Take a look!



Understanding Your Dog’s Barking Language

Barking Dog

Barking Dog

Understanding your dog’s barking language can be difficult at first. Don’t worry, you can in time understand his barking behavior language.

The dog barking language can be broken down into three types and they are:

  • Bark Pitch
  • Bark Duration
  • Bark Frequency

Bark Pitch

A bark pitch can range from low to high. A lower pitch tends to mark aggression, suspicion, or cautiousness, and would like to be left alone. Higher pitches are positive and they tell others they’re not a threat or an invitation to play. This high pitch bark can also be used when they are suddenly frightened.

If you wish to communicate safely with a dog, you could use this principle when approaching a new dog. For example, use high-pitched sounds yourself to indicate that you mean no harm.

Bark Duration

The duration of a dog’s bark or sound indicates their mental stability in a hostile / non-hostile situation. A dogs bark duration can indicate whether he is feeling threatened, fearful, or dominant. Longer lower tones indicate the dog will not back down if a threat is imminent. We advise you to not aggravate him any further if if this is the case.

Shorter burst growls indicate that a dog is scared about dealing with an attack, and would prefer not to fight at all if possible.

Bark Frequency

When your dog hears other dogs barking in the neighborhood, it’s not uncommon for them to bark lazily once or twice, lay down, circle around and repeat the process. This behavior indicates that your dog is paying attention to noises in the area. But, they’re not particularly interested or excited about what is happening.

Alternatively, if someone like a guest or even the mailman approaches the door, your dog probably barks far more often, at a quicker rate. This indicates he is paying close attention, and/or is excited to see who is at the door.

Any sound that repeatedly happens usually points to enthusiasm or urgency. A brief bark can signal an interest while barking on repeat could mean your dog really thinks something significant is afoot.

If your dog should combine these barks, determine if it is time to play or show concern. Each dog will bark differently. One may be more vocal or make different sounds than other types of dog breeds.

Meaning of Dog Barks

We will now share some of the meanings of repetitive dog barks.

  • Single Bark: A single bark might suggest a dog is curious or slightly annoyed. For example, he might be asking, “what you doing?” or saying, “stop that”. However, barks that come in quick succession with very short pauses between them may indicate the dog is feeling more aggressive, worked up or excited.
  • 2 Barks: Rapid strings of two to four barks, with pauses between are the classic “alarm” barking pattern. They mean something like, “Call the pack! There is something going on that should be looked into! A long string of solitary barks, with deliberate pauses between them, suggests a lonely dog asking for companionship.
  • 3 Barks In a Row: It means changes to, “Come look at this!” to alert the pack to a new event. Single yelp or very short high-pitched bark: “Ouch!” This is in response to a sudden, unexpected pain.

Why Do Dogs Bark?

Dogs bark in a variety of function types, and you will need to know and identify which type is motivating your dogs barking behavior. Once you know the specific area, you can then treat that type of barking problem.

There are eleven types of barking that you will need to know your dog uses to communicate and we share those below.

Unknowingly, you may be rewarding your dog for his barking by giving him your attention.

Your dog may use barking to get what he wants, especially if he is rewarded for it. He will learn to use this type of barking for his benefit.

Let’s give you an example, your dog may bark for attention but will go on to bark for other things like food, play and walks. It’s important now to train your dog to be quiet on your command to stop his attention-related barking. You can train him to do another behaviors like “sit”, “down” or “quiet”.

As you get to know your dog over time, you should be able to identify why your dog is barking by the hearing of a specific type of bark. For example, a dog’s barking will sound different when he wants to play as compared to when he wants to come in from the yard. You will have to teach your dog to bark less and there is no easy fix for this. It will take some time to eliminate this barking. So, be patient in the training to eliminate this barking.

Remember, there are some dog breeds known as barkers and it will be difficult to decrease barking in these dogs. Below are the top fifteen barkiest dog breeds:

  1. Beagles
  2. Siberian Husky
  3. West Highland White Terrier
  4. Miniature Schnauzer
  5. Cairn Terrier
  6. Yorkshire Terrier
  7. Chihuahua
  8. Silky Terrier
  9. Toy Poodle
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  11. Miniature Pinscher
  12. Dachshund
  13. German Shephard
  14. Boston Terrier
  15. Pomeranian

If you own one of these breeds, it may take a little more patience and time to stop them from barking, but it can be done.

How To Recognize Barking Types By Sound

Below are the eleven types of common dog barks. Get to know them and you then can try to stop this barking with regular training sessions. You may not want to stop all of the barks mentioned below. Select the ones your dog uses that are irritating to you and family members.

  1. Play Bark: High-pitched bark often repeated in a series. This bark usually makes a “harr-uff” sound and is playful in spirit, not aggressive or irritated. It’s always a sign of happiness. Purpose: Serves as an invitation to initiate play; often coupled with friendly body language.
  2. Territorial Bark: Repetitive and increases in intensity. May be mixed with growls. Purpose: Alerts owner to intruder or perceived threat (friend or stranger). Stems from fear and insecurity.
  3. Alarm Bark: One or two sharp, sequential barks. Purpose: Usually warranted. Alerts owner to potentially unusual, dangerous, or concerning circumstances. Should be acknowledged by the owner.
  4. Excitement Bark: High-pitched and repetitive, with brief pauses. Purpose: Indicates exuberance, and is used when greeting owners or a pleasurable activity. The body language is expressive. Can indicate lack of impulse control.
  5. Fearful Bark: High-pitched and repetitive, lips pulled back. Purpose: Fear of the unfamiliar. May be coupled with aggressive posturing and/or avoidance.
  6. Boredom Bark: Monotone, repetitive bark, often lasting for hours. Purpose: Venting due to an under-stimulating lifestyle or environment.
  7. Frustration Bark: Incessant barking often directed at a desired object or activity. Purpose: Due to circumstances beyond the dog’s control. Often exhibited with other destructive behaviors. Can be triggered in instances of restriction.
  8. Attention Seeking Bark: Incessant, non-aggressive behavior directed at a human. Purpose: A protest for interaction, engagement, basic care, or stimulation. Often due to neglect.
  9. Separation Anxiety Bark: Whining, yelping, and mournful howling. Purpose: This is a serious behavioral problem. It is coupled with destructive behaviors in the house. This requires professional intervention.
  10. Social Facilitating Bark: Mimicked barking triggered by social interaction with other dogs. Purpose: This is environmentally triggered, it is attributed to outside influence and can be corrected.
  11. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Bark: Age-related, non-sensical barking with no apparent trigger. Purpose: Indicates confusion and requires intervention. Your dog may be lost, trapped, frightened, or scared due to his cognitive decline.

Reasons For Excessive Barking

We shared some of the common causes of dog barking, we now turn our attention on what dog owners can do to reduce or eliminate some of the excessive barking.

If your dog is barking, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When and where does the barking occur?
  2. Who or what is the target of the barking?
  3. Does it occur when you are away?
  4. Is the dog being left alone for long periods of time?
  5. What things (objects, sounds, animals or people) trigger the barking?
  6. Does the dog have the opportunity to engage in daily exercise, natural behaviors, and physically and mentally stimulating activities?
  7. Lastly, excessive barking is usually an indicator of an underlying issue such as pain, fear or distress, the presence of a trigger (passers-by, other dogs barking) and a failure to meet the dogs’ mental and physical needs. This includes: insufficient exercise, mental stimulation or social interaction.

When you have determined the reason why your dog is barking you can take corrective action for the specific bark your dog is displaying.

A Dog Barking Extinction Burst

This is another classic case of dog barking. The cure for this bark may seem extreme, but it works. Let’s share an example:

  • Your dog barks.
  • Ignore your dog.
  • He now barks louder and longer and keeps getting louder.
  • Ride it out. Your dog is learning that attention seeking barking is ignored.

Continue to ignore your dog even when his barking is at its worst. If at any time you glance at your dog while this bark is happening, your dog will think I just need to bark for 10 minutes while I’m standing 2 inches from my owner’s nose. He needs to learn that any type of vocalization will not work.

Only when he is quiet does he have your attention. It’s recommended that you should walk away when your dog starts his barking. This will prevent you from accidentally glancing at him to think he has you’re attention.

When he is quiet you can reward him with verbal praise and give him a food treat.


In this article we shared the eleven different types of barking your dog uses to communicate with you. Some barking is good because of their nature and will alert or warn their owners of danger. While others can be serious in nature that you may need to correct the behavior.

Some of the advice given here may seem to be tuff love to your pet. Don’t worry, they still love you. As the owner you need to be in control at all times.

Otherwise, they will be willing to take control and may your being together difficult and challenging.

One final thought, all dogs bark. That is their only way they can communicate to you. So, don’t get upset when they do it. You can control those barks that are excessive through corrective training.

The bottom line is your dog ultimately is protecting you and in some cases warning you of impending danger. Take heed to your dog’s barking and body language that is associated with the bark.

We shared the top 15 barking dog breeds to let you know how easy or more difficult you may have with these breeds to control their barking.

Good luck!

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