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Dogs Barking: What They are Trying to Say and How to Quiet Them

Profile picture of the author - Anna Lengacherby Anna Lengacher

Jump to:
Why Do Dogs Bark
How Do You Stop A Dog From Barking
What Is Considered Excessive Barking
Barking FAQ

Barking.  It’s a natural form of communication for every four-legged canine pal.

It’s true some breeds are more prone to barking than others, however, in reality, dog barking is a primary form of doggy talk.

No doubt what motivates a dog to bark will vary between dogs.  Some dogs will bark in excitement, others will bark out of boredom, and still others will sound alarms whenever they feel fearful.

As a dog lover, it becomes extremely important to understand and identify your furry pal’s different types of barks.

How does your dog sound when she is feeling frightened?  What kind of bark can you expect when there is an intruder?  Or how will your dog notify you when she is needing the bathroom?

Today in this space you’ll learn why dogs bark, as well as how you can stop a dog from barking.

You’ll discover what to do, as well as what not to do, to train your dog in being silent.  You’ll learn how to teach your pal the “quiet” command, followed by a dog barking FAQ.

We’ll also share which dog breed doesn’t bark, as well as what is considered excessive dog barking.


Why Do Dogs Bark?

Like it or not, there are a plethora of factors weighing in on why a dog is or is not barking.

Different dogs bark at different things.  What incites a bark from one pal will be totally different than what gets another little fur-ball going.

As a result, it is important from day one to be a student of your dog.

Be alert to how your dog responds to life.  What makes her happy, what makes her feel distressed, and what scares the living daylights out of her?

How does your dog react to different types of stimuli?

Every breed is different and every dog unique.

As you study your furry pal, here are the leading reasons why dogs bark.



Imagine being pent up in a house with no phone, no TV, no tablet, no internet, nothing.  It’s likely you would soon be feeling restless yourself.

The same is true for your dog.

Many dogs will quickly feel bored while you are busy on your devices or away from home.

To avoid whining and obnoxious barking, it is absolutely essential your Fido keeps busy and does not suffer from boredom.

Make a healthy dose of doggy exercise a top priority every single day.  If you haven’t already, build a 30 – 60 minute exercise time into your daily morning routine.

If this is too much to ask, consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your fur-ball in a trusted doggy daycare where she can romp and play with other doggy friends.


Many dogs originated from working dog breeds who were born with a job to do.

Whether it was rescuing travelers, herding cattle, guarding sheep, helping around a farm, assisting police, or something totally different, for centuries canines have thrived when given a job to do.

Today, however, many dogs have shifted into being charming companions.

Work and jobs and mental stimulation are easy to overlook when building your dog’s everyday routine.

So to keep boredom at bay, build exercise into your daily regime.

In addition to doggy walks, you might spice things up with a game of hide-and-seek, doggy puzzles, dog training, and visits to your local dog park.


Excessive energy

Running hand in hand with boredom, excessive energy is another common reason for dog barking.  While a dog may not feel bored, he may just have extra energy that needs to be burned off.

Again you can consider daily exercise to the rescue.  Imagine your pal begins each day with a full tank of energy and it’s your job to have him running on red before each day ends.


Wants Attention

Sometimes your dog may simply bark to get attention.  Maybe there’s something he wants and can’t have, maybe an object is out of his reach, or maybe he simply wants a bit of quality time together with you.



Border Collie barking angrily

Like it or not, some breeds were born to guard territory.  So while today we have security systems and alarms to keep predators at bay, a territorial streak still runs deep in some canine breeds.

As a result, many dogs will bark to sound an alarm when something appears amiss.  Perhaps someone entered their “territory”.  Whether it’s a dog, another animal, or a human, it’s enough to cause an alarm.

In addition to sounding an alarm, your dog could be barking to warn you of danger.  If there is indeed an intruder, your dog may be barking to not only frighten away the intruder but to also warn you of possible danger.



This one is easy to overlook.  However, sometimes a dog is barking out of pure discomfort.

Perhaps your dog has an unpleasant case of the fleas, or maybe worms are bothering her.

Alternatively, she may be experiencing a lack of food or water.

Whatever the cause, irritations can quickly lead to unpleasant barking.


Separation Stress

Some dogs simply hate to be alone.  They feel stress when you are gone, and they are quick to feel lonely on their own.  Hence, they resort to barking.



Not all reasons for barking are negative.  Sometimes your dog may enjoy barking non-stop out of sheer excitement.

She may see you preparing dinner.  Or perhaps the sight of her leash means time outdoors.  Or maybe she just laid eyes on the treat jar.  Perhaps friends have just arrived.

On any given day, there are countless reasons why your dog may be feeling excited about life.

So to unleash a bit of her excitement, barking is to her rescue.


Unfamiliar Sounds

Strange sounds are another factor often weighing in on why a dog may be barking.  High frequencies, loud bangs, and foreign sounds are never preferred by your cute fur-ball.



From cute tea-cup pups to towering dog giants, every breed is prone to some degree of fear.  What causes fear among dogs will vary.  The stimulus that has your miniature Poodle trembling is likely very different from what strikes fear in a wise and mature German Shepherd.

Nonetheless, every breed is prone to encounter fear.  As a result, you can expect barking to be in direct correlation.


Now that you know what causes a dog to bark, consider which of these your dog may be responding out of.

In addition, here are steps you can take to stop your dog from barking at inappropriate times.


How Do You Stop a Dog From Barking?

Jack Russel Terrier barking out loud


Now that you know what causes a dog to bark, let’s dive into how you can stop your dog from barking.

1. Build trust. 

Take time to build trust and truly get to know your dog.  Whenever your dog begins barking, work to understand what is motivating her.

Is she craving attention, perhaps she is bored, or maybe she is feeling super excited.

After you understand why your Fido is barking, you are then able to better respond to her barking.

2. Be the pack leader.

That’s right.  Dogs operate in packs.  If you don’t step up and lead, your dog will and you’ll be left to follow.

To help your pal understand that you are the leader, spend quality time together doing things you both enjoy.  Play games together, train, reward good behavior and learn a few tricks together.

3. Be consistent. 

This cannot be emphasized enough.  If you stick to the rules only half the time, your Fido will see no need to obey you 100% of the time.

For complete obedience, it is crucial you are consistent with your dog each and every day.

4. Ignore the barking 

This may seem ridiculous at first.  However, oftentimes a dog is barking simply for attention.

Perhaps she is frustrated because her favorite toy is out of reach.  Or maybe she wants to play one more game in the backyard.

Consider why your dog may be barking and if it’s pure attention that she is seeking, ignore the barking.

Imagine a child having a wild temper tantrum.  If you immediately cater to what the child wants, you are only reinforcing the behavior and assuring the child that whenever they throw a temper tantrum, you’ll quickly oblige.

Similarly, instead of rewarding your dog’s demand for attention, ignore the barking.

Wait until your dog calms down again, and then lavish her with your full attention.  She will soon get the hint.

5. Teach your dog to carry.  

Play fetch and teach your dog to retrieve.  Expose your dog to the joy of carrying items around.

As a learn to carry, their mouth will be full and they are unable to bark.  It’s a win-win every time.

However, avoid giving them items to carry right when they are barking.  Otherwise, they will think you are rewarding them for making noise.

Instead, wait until your dog is quiet and then have them bring things to you.

6. Distract. 

If your dog is simply barking at a harmful stimulus, quiet your dog by distracting her attention.

You might say a verbal command or shake a tin can full of coins.

Alternatively, you could slam a door shut or bang a drawer open.

Try squeezing a squeaky toy or squirting a water bottle in your dogs direction.

Your intent is not to scare your pal.  You’re just changing her focus.

7. Teach to bark on command.

Whether it’s “quiet,” “enough,” or “hush,” teach your dog to first bark and then be silent on command.

To encourage barking, you might sound an alarm or try barking at your dog.

Once your dog begins barking, say “quiet” or whichever cue word you’ve chosen and then interrupt the barking by distracting your dog.

After the barking stops, wait a few seconds and then reward your dog with a favorite treat and lots of positive praise.

By waiting a few seconds to reward your dog, you are making it clear that the treat is a reward for obeying you, not for barking.

Continue repeating this until your dog responds consistently each time.  Then phase out the distraction until you are able to simply say “quiet” and your dog obeys.

8. Utilize white noise. 

If your dog is easily startled, turn on a white noise machine.  The steady and unchanging sound will quickly cover small, incidental noises.

9. Don’t yell. 

No matter what, refuse to raise your voice at your dog.  Even if you yell “Quiet!” while she is barking, she will simply think you are joining in on the barking escapade.

Instead, ignore the barking and reward your pal with quality attention after she is calm.

10. Get a bark collar. 

Bark collars are designed to set off an interrupter while your dog is barking.  Common bark collars will either release a blast of air, sound a high-frequency pitch, emit a splash of citronella spray, or cause an electric shock.

(To your dogs chagrin, the citronella spray releases an unpleasant smell and is bad to the taste.)

Bark collars should never be used as a replacement for training.  Instead, utilize bark collars only as an addition to quality doggy training.

Also, always consult a professional first before utilizing a bark collar.

How to stop a dog from barking.


What is Considered Excessive Dog Barking?

“Excessive dog barking.”  It’s a term people often toss around lightly.

Yet when can you know for sure that your dog really is barking more than what is normal?

According to the Dog and Cat Management Act, excessive dog barking is when a dog creates noise that continues to a degree that unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort, or convenience of a person.



How do you stop nuisance barking? 


First, discover why your dog is barking.  Unless she is in danger, ignore the barking until she is silent.  Then wait a moment before rewarding her silence with a treat.

Why does my dog keep barking? 


Look for what is motivating your dog to bark. Perhaps it is boredom, excessive energy, discomfort, excitement, fear, or unfamiliar sounds. Alternatively, he/she may be sounding an alarm.

What does it mean when your dog stops barking?


If your dog has recently quit barking, it may be a direct result of inflammation, vocal stress, a recent surgery, or because he or she is not feeling well.

Are there dogs that don’t bark? 


Yes.  The Basenji is considered the quietest dog breed. While Basenjis don’t bark, they have no problem getting their point across through yodeling and various forms of body language.





In Closing

If you have a dog who is prone to lots of barking, then take heart.  Change is now within your reach.

Look for what is motivating your dog to bark, then follow the steps above to avoid future doggy melt-downs.

And always, whether you are disciplining or rewarding, be consistent, be firm, and be kind.

If you are still looking for your perfect little puppy, you can browse our available puppies here.

Whether you are hoping to purchase or adopt a puppy in Indiana, New York, Los Angeles, or somewhere in between, we’ve got you covered.

Now we’d love to hear from you.

Do you have any additional tips for training a dog not to bark?  What is working for you?  Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time,

VIP Puppies


Profile picture of the author - Anna LengacherAs the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.

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