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4 Different Types of Dog Barks and What They Mean


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Dogs bark – Whether you find it frightening or irritating, dogs will continue to bark because that’s only how they communicate. Barking is to dogs what speech is to humans. Sadly, many dog owners do not try to understand how their dogs communicate but spend a lot of time training their dogs to understand their language and commands.

The relationship between pets and owners should go both ways. To help you develop a healthy relationship with your canine companion, here we’re highlighting the four different types of dog barks and what they mean:

1. Alert Barks

Alert barks, as the name suggests, are your dog’s way of alerting you of anything that catches their attention, excites them, or that they find unusual. These are the types of barks that you hear when you have a visitor who is a stranger to your dog.

Also known as alarm barks, these are the most common types of dog barks and are characterized by sharp, short barks. These can stop after one or two barks or can be continued, in strings of two to four, until the trigger is present or until the dog realizes that it isn’t a threat.

Simply put, alert barks are your dog’s way of saying ‘look at that’ or ‘watch out, there’s something here that you should see.’

2. Play Barks

A series of short, high-pitched yips and yaps that lack intensity and sound playful and cheery and are often accompanied by a tail-wagging high in the air and play bow is a sign that your puppy wants to play. Some dogs, however, also exhibit play barking when watching other dogs playing.

Dog barking

3. Exciting Barks

High-pitched repetitive barks with brief pauses, usually accompanied by jumping, wagging, pacing, and/or spinning, display excitement. Dogs exhibit this type of barking when experiencing or anticipating something that makes them happy and looks forward to a walk, food, or when you come home.

4. Demand Barks

Just like human children, your canine friend can resort to whining when they want something from you. It is displayed in repetitive barks while staring at you and generally occurs when your dog wants your attention, toys, and/or food.

Demand barking can be frustrating and may push you to give in to their demands, so they stop whining (just like it happens with children). However, it’s not the right way to deal with it. Giving in to your dog’s demand barking will instill this negative behavior in them; bark to get your demands fulfilled.


Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. The four different types of dog barks that we have discussed above only form the tip of the iceberg. As mentioned earlier, barking is dogs’ primary tool of communication. They use it for almost everything that they want you to know. Get help from a professional dog trainer to develop a better understanding of your dog’s behavior and body language to develop a healthy and happy relationship with your pup.

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