Do you know what these dog barks mean?

Dog barking

Unless you’re Doctor Doolittle, you’ll often be confused by your dog’s barks. While it’s sometimes obvious (someone has rung the doorbell) other times our pooches seem to be woofing at nothing at all. However, just because we don’t speak the same language, doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot they want to tell us.

As devoted dog lovers, we like to believe we know what our dogs are trying to say. But this isn’t always true. Read our guide to what their woofs mean, and you’ll be an expert in speaking dog in no time. After all, knowing the difference between ‘Let’s play!’ and ‘I’m lonely!’ is sure to make for a more contented pup and a happier life together.

Some barks will mean your dog is in pain. If this is the case, reliable dog insurance could help you cover the cost of vet fees.

Getting started

When trying to work out what your dog is saying there are three things to pay close attention to: frequency, pitch, and duration of the bark.

When it comes to the frequency, a short series of barks is intended to get your attention. A common cause would be fear or excitement. It entirely depends on the dog and the situation.

Excited dogs are known to give off high-pitched barks, while dogs who feel frightened may emit low-pitched barks. Obviously what counts as high- or low-pitched will depend on the breed of dog. A scrappy Yorkshire Terrier will sound a lot different to a burly St Bernard.

Short barks are a sign that they’re excited or have been startled. While a prolonged series of barks could mean something else entirely.

7 common barks and what they mean

Get off my territory!

This type of bark is often heard when strangers approach or enter a dog’s territory. Your dog will let out a short, sharp bark or two to warn you something’s happening. This alarm bark is usually followed by a short burst of deeper barks.

If you don’t intervene and assure the dog that everything is alright then it will increase in intensity as the intruder approaches. This usually stops when the intruder leaves or your dog no longer sees them as a threat.

I’m bored!

Dogs that are left alone at home can become very bored and easily start barking without any particular trigger. It’s characterised by a monotone, repetitive bark that can last for hours. A source of much annoyance for nearby neighbours!

If you think your dog is bored, then try investing in some stimulating toys or getting someone to visit or walk them during the day. Anything to help them get some exercise and mental stimulation.

I want attention!

All dogs crave attention from their owners and if you don’t give it to them, they will resort to barking to get you to give in to their demands. Most of the time, your dog will bark or whine incessantly for food, toys, or attention until they get it. Unfortunately, this behaviour is often reinforced by pet owners who get the message and quickly give in.

It’s easier said than done, but you can curb your dog’s attention-seeking noises. By ignoring the whines and woofs your faithful pooch will soon learn barking isn’t getting them anywhere and stop. However, this is no excuse for neglect. Dogs require a lot of care and interaction with their owners. If they bark incessantly at you then it might be you’re not meeting their reasonable needs.

When our habits change we need to give some understanding to how they affect our dogs. For example, how might the lockdowns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have affected our dogs?

 Research from dog welfare charity the Dogs Trust shows owners reported an 82% increase in reports of dogs whining or barking when a household member was busy.

I’m excited!

Dogs have a great approach to life and often get excited, even by the smallest things. High pitched and repetitive barking, with brief pauses, is a sign they’re happy and can’t wait for an expected event. This is often accompanied by pacing, jumping, spinning and wagging their tail. What a great welcome home after a hard day at work!

Let’s play!

A short, high-pitched, playful series of barks often accompanied with a play bow and a wagging tail. Whether with their human pack or other dogs at the park, dogs love to say that they’re ready to play.

No matter what their intentions, sometimes play can get out of hand. That’s why you need the best dog insurance in place in case of injury.

I’m lonely. Come back!

Whining, yelping and mournful howling when we leave home are just some of the ways that dogs suffering from separation anxiety can let us know something is wrong.

Sadly, this barking is often interrupted by intentional pauses as the lonely dog listens for a response. The RSPCA says that 8 out of 10 dogs don’t cope well when left alone. The charity has useful guidance on what to look out for and how to help your dog overcome this.

I’m confused

Like humans, as dogs get older their cognitive abilities can decline. Canine cognitive dysfunction, sometimes called canine dementia, can cause your older dog to become confused and withdrawn.

This can lead them to bark in a repetitive or monotonous manner for a variety of reasons, such as they’re scared, disoriented, or frightened. If your dog develops canine dementia, it’s important they feel safe and comfortable.

As dogs get older it becomes increasingly important that they are covered by dog insurance to cater for their changing needs.

Protect your dog today

No matter how close we are to our canine companions and how much we understand their needs, sometimes they can have an accident or become ill. Having the right insurance cover means .

Purely Pets offers 15 levels of lifetime cover, including cover for vets’ fees ranging from £1,000 to £15,000.

In addition, all policyholders have access to the 24-Hour Vet Helpline, providing you with advice from a team of veterinary professionals.

Get a quote for straight forward dog insurance from Purely Pets today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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