Translate your Dog’s bark
Did you ever want to translate your dog’s bark? Me too!
My black lab, Guinness has about 5 or 6 different barks. All with a different pitch, length and various in repetitiveness. I have always wondered what they meant, (if anything at all) and did a little research on the meaning and reasoning behind a dog’s bark. I think you will find the answers very interesting!
Three variations defined
There are basically three variations of a dog’s barks that determines the different objective of the dog by using sound.
- Variation in pitch
- Variation in length
- Variation in repetition
These variations combined in different ways to communicate specific goals through sound.
Variation of pitch
A dogs bark may be high pitched or low pitched depending on the message they want to communicate. A low pitched bark or growl is generally an alert of caution or danger. The dog wants to portray that he is a formidable foe and as big as his low voice portrays. It is similar to the sounds made by a snare drum or a bass drum.. the bigger bass drum has a lower pitch and a more forceful message than the snare. Similarly, a dog using a high pitch bark is most likely welcoming or greeting another animal or person rather than trying to fend off an intruder with the big dog – low pitched bark. My dog Guinness barks this way whenever I start the 4-wheeler. The is nothing in the world that make him happier (except tennis ball fetch) than to run alongside the 4-wheeler and his exciting high pitch barking says that.
Variation in length
Being able to translate your dog’s bark in relation to the length of the bark will provide you with an added dimension in translating the bark. If the bark is low and long in length the dog is telling the listener “stay away! I will stand my ground! I am big and fierce!” If the bark or growl is low and short, most likely the dog is telling you to stay away but that he is most likely a bit scared or intimidated. Guinness will growl like this if he gets caught doing something naughty and is getting hollered at or threatened with a spanking.
If the pitch is a midrange pitch and is long it is most like to alert “the pack” of a possible danger. “Oh my God guys the neighbor is taking out the garbage” or “UPS UPS UPS!!” This is often combined with the variation of repetition.
Variation in repetition
Barks can be low pitched or high pitched. They also can be long or shorts. Now, let us add in the factor of repetitiveness to our ability to translate your dog’s bark. If your dog barks at a high pitch over and over again he is saying that he is lonely, he wants to play or he wants your attention. Think about it.. if your dog is used to being put in a barn, garage, in your house or some specific place at night and you don’t do it; what happens? woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof woof.. (deep breath) woof woof woof woof woof. Am I right? The dog is trying to tell you “HEY, I’m out here” If you usually take your dog for a ride in the pickup truck and you are getting ready to leave without them what do you hear? The same woof woof woof woof. It portrays a sense of urgency.
A short or nonrepetitive bark at mid-range usually means “Stop it” We have a min-pin / chihuahua cross that frequently reminds Guinness that she does not need her butt sniffed (again).
It is conveyed with a quick snappy single bark in Guinness’s face. He understands and darts away. This is the same bark that the grandchildren get if they bug the dogs a little too much or they just want to be left alone.
If the bark is short and low and nonrepetitive it most likely is a warning to stay away or beware of me. This is what happens if they hear a sound at night or someone walking upstairs or a car goes by.
By the way…
If you do barks too much you might want to check out this article – Do shock collars really work?