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Understanding Dog Vocalizations - Why Does My Dog Bark At Me?

Posted by Dr. Jessica on

dog howling and barking outdoors

Dogs communicate in a variety of different ways. They use scent, body language, whines, growls, and barking. Recognizing the different types of barks a dog makes can help to decipher what message he’s trying to convey. 

Why Does My Dog Bark at Me?

Humans have countless words to vocalize wants, needs, and emotions. While dogs can’t talk, they have their own way of communicating similar things. 

They Need Something

A dog may be letting their pet parent know they need to go outside, they want to play, or they’re hungry. In some cases, they may bark at their pet parent because they’ve come to expect something from them. In essence, they’re encouraging a behavior — such as a ball toss, pets, or attention. 

They’re Saying Something’s There 

Some dogs may bark when they hear a car pull into the driveway or when someone knocks at the front door. They may also bark when they see an animal outside the window. They’re alerting their pet parent to something, whether their pet parent knows it’s already there or not. 

They’re Bored

Barking could indicate that a dog is bored or stressed. They’re telling their pet parent that they want to do something fun. Providing exercise, attention, and stress relief for dogs — such as chew toys — can help to curb the noise. 

They’re Scared

Dogs can be afraid of many different things, such as sudden sounds or unfamiliar people. Barking in such situations could tell a pet parent that their canine is frightened or anxious. Pet parents wondering how to help a dog with anxiety should speak with their primary vet. The vet can offer dog advice, tips, or prescribe dog anxiety medication. 

They’re Giving a Warning

The dog may be telling a stranger or other animal to stay away. If the person or other animal comes closer, the dog may become more aggressive. 

How to Develop a Healthy Dog-Pet Parent Relationship

A pet parent needs to learn what a dog’s barks mean. When they do, they can respond appropriately — whether it’s opening the back door so a dog can go outside to relieve themselves or assuring them that they’re not in any danger. Pet parents may also seek out dog training tips to help curb excessive barking.

Pet parents should pay attention to the pitch and spacing. The lower the pitch, the more serious the dog. A dog that’s playing and happy will have a higher pitch than one who’s trying to warn a potential intruder to stay away. Dogs that are lonely or bored may have a much higher pitch, sometimes on the verge of yelping.   

The number of barks and their spacing can also clue pet parents into what their dog is saying. If he hears a sudden noise, he may give a single bark in surprise. Several barks in quick succession could indicate aggression. 

Learn to Understand What Barking Means

Learning to understand their expressions, moods, and thoughts can help ensure a dog’s health, happiness, and overall well-being remains in a good state. If pet parents have any concerns or dog behavior questions, they can also consult with their an online vet like Fuzzy for guidance.

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