To most people, a dog’s bark just means a simple bark or a sign of aggression, but dog enthusiasts understand that similar to us humans, dogs produce a wide spectrum of sounds, and all of these have a distinct meaning. These can range from a friendly play call to aggressive warnings, and you can learn about these adorable animals’ intentions with their bark. Although we don’t have a dog-to-human translator just yet, fortunately, it’s easier to understand them than you imagine.
11 Types of Dog Barks & Their Meanings
1. Repeated Short Barks
Easily one of the most commonly heard bark, and it is also referred to as the alert bark. A dog produces such bark, either when it is startled or excited by something. Alert barks are usually accompanied by a dog peeking out the window or trying to locate the origin of something. In these, dogs usually tilt their head. Although these are not threatening, they can become annoying. Fortunately, you can train your dog to stop or at the very least, minimize the number of alert barks.
2. Repeated Harsh Barks
As the name suggests, this type of repeated barking has a harsher undertone, which makes it clear that the dog wants something or someone to stay away. These barks are usually produced along with wagging or tucking of the tail and showing teeth. Unless it is your dog, it is best to leave it alone.
3. Woof-Woof Bark
This is another form of alert bark, similar to repeated short barks; however, in this, the dog isn’t looking at the source of disturbance and is usually startled. The woof-woof bark quickly transitions into growling or dog returning to a calmer state, which is ruled by the situation. In this, a dog’s hackles are usually raised.
4. The Play Bark
Perhaps one of the most obvious barks, as you’ll be seeing your dog’s body language clearly during this bark. In this, the dog wags its tail while raising it in the air, running back and forth, pawing at the air, and even rolling on the ground with short barks with a slight rumbling noise in between. This type of bark makes it clear that the dog wants to play.
5. Growl and Bark while Circling
Whereas the previous bark was easy to understand because of the body language, this one’s easy to decipher because of how it sounds. If you see a dog growling and barking, it means that the dog is scared of something, and wants it to stay away. This is not necessarily a sign of aggression, still, if you approach a dog that is scared, it may bite out of fear.
6. Growl and Bark while Charging
While the previous barking accompanied by circling was a tell-tale sign that the dog feels threatened, this type of barking simply means that the dog will attack. Usually, guard dogs are trained this way, to attack intruders. During growling and barking, the dog will charge and lunge forward as a warning, and this is the best time to leave it alone because it won’t hesitate to charge you and bite you.
7. High-Pitched Bark
This is also quite an obvious bark, if a dog suddenly or surprisingly gets hurt, it will produce a high-pitched bark. This should not be ignored because your dog only produces such sound when it is in pain, and you must stop immediately whatever you are doing to the dog. A dog can quickly become aggressive if the pain continues. A dog can also produce such sounds when they are sad.
8. Whimper and Whines
The previous bark is a sign of sudden pain, which is temporary, and dogs usually return to a calmer state shortly afterward. The whimpering and whining are a form of concerning bark that should be taken seriously, as these mean they are in a considerable amount of pain after an injury usually. These can also be a sign of internal issues, and if a dog whines, it must be rushed to a veterinarian.
9. Single Barks with Long Pauses
These barks are not directed towards anyone or anything, but dogs bark this way when they are bored, and trying to entertain themselves. Dogs require mental stimulation along with their physical exercise to stay calm, and if their requirements are not met, they easily get bored. Additionally, these barks also mean that the dog is saying, it is lonely.
10. Single Low to Medium-Pitched Bark
While most of the communication occurs via tail and body language in the doggy world, sometimes it becomes necessary that dogs become vocal, and such is this bark. Trainers often call this the correction bark, and it occurs when a dog is clearly giving hints to another dog that it wants it to stop; however, if another dog is unable to pick up its hint, the dog will produce a single low to medium-pitched bark to tell another dog to stop, and not do it again.
11. Repetitive Barks while Staring
It isn’t a sign of aggression, but it is among one of the main issues many dog owners face with their dogs. This is a form of demand barking, in which the dog is constantly barking as it wants to get your attention or get whatever you have in your hand. Demand barking is something dog learns over a period of time that by barking people usually give them attention. Thankfully, it can be corrected with proper training.