A dog's bark is its primary means of communication. As humans we can decipher the meaning behind the barks? Each bark, depending on pitch, frequency, and duration, has a hidden message behind it. Listen closely and find out what your dog is trying to tell you!
Take Note Of The Bark's Pitch
In general, low-pitched barks indicate a threat, aggression, or anger. High-pitched barks reflect the opposite, usually an invitation to come closer or that it's safe to approach him.
The frequency of the barks determines the level of interest, urgency, or excitement your dog feels towards the person or object he is barking at. Barks with pauses in between show a mild to average interest, while repetitive barks means that it's something urgent.
The duration of a series of barks indicates what your dog's next behavior will be. A long, sustained bark or growl is a sure sign that it will act aggressively if cornered, while barks in short bursts indicate the dog is a bit fearful and unsure.
Here's a list of the other common types of dog barks, and the meanings behind each one:
The “Alert” Bark. This is a rapid string of 3 to 4 barks with pauses between each one, and is usually middle range in pitch. This means that your dog sees something of interest, like a stranger passing in the street.
The Classic Alarm Bark. If your dog's barking becomes more rapid and insistent, it's telling you that something's up, and you need to check it out.
The Angry Bark. This bark is easily recognizable, even by non-dog owners. Characterized by rapid barks with very short intervals, this is a clear indication by the dog to keep your distance.
The Soft Whimper. Soft whimpering is a clear sign of a fearful, submissive dog.
The “I'm Lonely” Bark. This bark consists of a long string of solitary barks with long pauses in between. It's your dog's way of saying, “I'm lonely!”
The Yelp. A single yelp, which may also sound like a very short, high-pitched bark, is your dog's reaction to sudden pain or surprise.
The Greeting Bark. This is the usual bark given by a dog to a friendly or recognized face. It comes in the form of one or two sharp, short barks, and can be high or middle range in pitch.
The Howl. When your dog howls, it can mean one of three things: (1) to announce his presence, (2) a social call to other dogs, or (3) it's declaring his territory.
The Want/Need Bark. A high-pitched bark that changes to a whine that rises in pitch at the end is normally displayed by your dog when he wants or needs something from you. It usually follows visual stimulation, such as when your dog sees you holding a new toy in your hand, where it's basically asking: “Is that mine? Can I have it please?!”
The Stutter Bark. This bark has a distinct “Harr-ruff” sound and is coupled with a display of your dog's front paws flat on the ground and its rear end up in the air. This means your dog is looking for attention.
Being able to distinguish and identify the meanings behind your dog's barks will assist you in understanding your dog’s vocal communicative behavior.