Why Do Dogs Bark?


Why Does My Dog Bark?

Trying to figure out what your vocal pup is telling you when they let out a string of barks can often feel like attempting to learn an entirely new language. Sure, there may be times you know exactly what your fur-baby is saying, like when they territorially bark at the neighbor’s cat who has strayed into your backyard. But other times, like when you’re just hanging out together watching TV, you may be utterly confused as to why your dog is barking up a storm. Are they itching to go for a walk? Are they over-the-moon happy? Are they voicing some frustration? Typically, your pup doesn’t bark just because they love the sound of their own woofs. They do it because there’s something they want you to know. So, Wagsworth has put together a translation guide that may help you decipher what your four-legged bestie could be trying to tell you.

4 Things Your Dog Might Be Trying to Tell You When They’re Barking

#1: “I’m excited and happy!”

Just as you might let out a celebratory squeal after your team wins the game or your favorite performer takes the stage, your pooch may bark when they feel happy or excited. If your dog starts barking after receiving a new toy, while you’re playing with them, or when they know you’re getting ready to take them for a walk, it could be their way of conveying their sheer delight about what’s happening. This may also be the reason why your dog sometimes barks at their food: They’re excited to eat, and they want to let you know that before they dig in. Think of it as their way of saying, “This looks delicious!” How might you be able to discern if your dog’s barking out of joy? Typically, a bark that’s a little higher pitched and is accompanied with a wiggly body indicates they are feeling the positive vibes.

#2: “I’m frustrated.”

If your dog is feeling bummed out or something isn’t quite going their way, they might express that by barking. Maybe they can see but can’t quite reach a bone or treat that’s under the couch, or they can’t find their favorite toy, or perhaps they just need some extra attention. Just as your two-legged best friend might call you when they’re having a bad day, your four-legged bestie might be doing a similar thing and barking out their frustration—not to mention asking for your help figuring out a solution. A bark of exasperation may start with a low grumble before turning into a woof that gets louder and louder until it gets noticed.

#3: “I’m asking for something.”

Dogs regularly bark to communicate that they want or need something, like attention, a walk, a spot on the couch, or food. If you and your pup regularly go for walks or car rides together, for example, they might bark at the door to let you know they’re ready to go (even if you’re not). Or, if they bark directly at you, they could be asking you to play with them. Similarly, if your dog starts barking when dinner comes out of the oven or while you’re preparing a snack, chances are good that they’re asking you to share. By barking, often in a sharper tone and more persistently than normal, your pup may be letting their wishes be known and hoping you get the message loud and clear.

#4: “I’m saying ‘hello!’”

Have you ever wondered why your dog barks at your friends whom they’ve seen hundreds of times before, or at the dog they pass every day on your walk? Maybe they even bark at you when you walk through the door after coming home from work. In these cases, barking may be your pup’s way of greeting those they know and love or, if they’re particularly social, introducing themselves to an unfamiliar face that they’re excited to meet. The “hello” bark is one of the easiest to spot because it’s typically high-pitched and accompanied by tail wags and happy hops!

There’s one more thing your dog might be trying to tell you: “I want to go to Wagsworth!”

Our award-winning facility is the perfect place for your pup. Here, they can play, socialize with other dogs, be pampered, and more. So, if they’ve heard all about us from their four-legged buddies at the dog park or been here before, their barks might be telling you they want you to sign them up for Day Camp, an overnight stay, or a spa day at Wagsworth. Just don’t be surprised if they want to tell you all about their fun visit when you pick them up!

Does your dog have other entertaining, unusual, or occasionally exasperating behaviors that you’d like to understand better? You may want to check out some of our other blog posts that answer questions like why dogs get the zoomies, sniff everything, and dig holes.