Not all dogs bark. However, all dogs vocalize, and barking is a form of vocalizing. Vocalizing is how dogs alert us and communicate with us. Therefore, all dogs do vocalize to some extent. Although some dogs are quieter than others, there is no such thing as a non-vocal dog.
Even the Basenji, the ‘barkless’ dog, vocalizes. Albeit in a yodeling fashion. Northern breeds like the Siberian Husky are very vocal, but they don’t have the typical woofing bark. Instead, they howl, also called singing. Of course, they will chuff and grumble too. My husky grumbling reminds me of Scooby-Doo talking, and her singing woo is adorable – to my ears anyway!
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Some breeds are less vocal than other breeds. The predisposition to barking will go back to what the breed was bred for initially. For example, breeds used as guard dogs would have been encouraged to bark to scare off predators or intruders. In contrast, companion dogs would have been encouraged to be more quiet and sedate.
Medical issues such as problems with the larynx will stop a dog from barking. However, if your dog was previously a barker and suddenly stops, you should take them for a check-up with your vet.
Can A Dog Not Know How To Bark
It is doubtful that a dog will not know how to bark. Barking or vocalizing is deeply ingrained into our dogs. Barking is how a dog expresses itself, alerts us to its needs, and warns us of any perceived danger. Barking comes naturally to dogs.
If you have just brought a puppy home, it is normal for the puppy to be quiet until it feels comfortable in its new surroundings and settles in. Likewise, a new puppy will try to be quiet and not draw attention to itself until it is confident in its new home and the new humans it is living with. Likewise, a rescue dog is more likely to be quiet and try not to draw attention to itself until it feels more secure in its new home.
Some dogs are naturally more quiet than others. They are simply happy and don’t feel the need to vocalize. It is also possible that your dog is calm. They would rather sit back and observe than draw attention to themselves. It is helpful to understand why a dog barks before deciding if your dog knows how to bark.
Why Do Dogs Bark
Dogs will bark for many reasons. However, they do not bark to annoy us or get back at us. It may feel like that sometimes, especially if the barking seems excessive, but a dog barking is trying to convey a need that they have. You can differentiate the different barks if you listen closely, much like you can with a baby crying. Some common reasons that dogs bark are:
- Alert of perceived danger or intruder
- Greetings, a hello to someone or another dog
- Medical issue, such as canine senility, illness, or pain
It may seem like your dog is barking at nothing, but something to bear in mind is that a dog’s hearing is far superior to ours. In addition, a dog’s ears are also sensitive to noises such as wind, rain, and high-pitched noises that we may not hear.
A dog may also bark if someone comes to your home. This can be a warning that someone has entered your home or is at the door. Additionally, the tone of the doorbell ring may trigger the barking. Or, it could be a greeting to the person. Again, the tone of the bark will alert you.
Your furry friend may bark at another dog or person as a salutation or a warning to stay away.
A dog feeling bored, stressed, or anxious if left alone may bark continuously. This bark is quite distressing to hear and annoying for your neighbors. In addition, dogs have been known to damage their larynx from continual barking from separation anxiety and boredom.
Dogs will also bark from frustration and boredom. Again, the barking will help relieve some excess energy, but this type of barking usually becomes a problem.
When your dog is scared, it will bark. This is to deter the perceived threat from coming any closer.
Sometimes your dog will vocalize to get attention from you. They may want to go outside, come back inside, get water or food, or get a belly rub from you. My husky will chuff for me to open the door for her when she wants in or out. If I have taken a chicken out of the oven, she will stand and sing at it for a minute or so, she can smell it, and she wants it!
If your dog is ill or in pain, they will probably vocalize this, whimpering or whining. Another thing to be aware of is that more senior dogs can suffer from canine senility. This may result in them barking randomly or stopping barking altogether. Either way, you should consult your vet.
If your dog is not vocalizing but usually does, it may have a problem with its larynx or respiratory infection. A trip to the vet should be arranged.
My Dog Doesn’t Bark
If you have had your dog checked by a vet and there are no medical issues, you have found the proverbial pot of gold. You have a quiet dog. Many people will envy you and your dog! People will wonder how you get your dog to be so quiet and calm. Congratulations, your dog has its needs met and is quite happy and content.
If, however, you have only brought your new dog home, then give it time. Once it has settled in, it may find its voice and become more confident in its environment.
How Do I Stop My Dog Barking
It is easy to reinforce vocalizing in your dog accidentally. You give it attention every time it barks. Even negative attention is still attention. If you yell at your dog to stop barking, it thinks you are joining in and encourages them to bark more.
Rest assured that you can train your dog to bark less. And it can be done using non-aversive methods. You can instruct your dog using positive reinforcement methods. A trainer using positive reinforcement methods will be able to help.
You can start by ensuring that your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. Then, reward positive behaviors and quiet times. For example, ignore the bark and reward the silence. Your dog will soon associate being quiet with rewards.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and can afford it, get a reputable dog walker to take them out during the day while you are out. Or if a friend or relative can pop in during the day to break up your dog’s time alone.
It is also a good idea to try to leave your dog with no views of the windows. This way, it will reduce stimulation from people or other animals outside, distracting them. Leaving the tv or radio on while you are out can also soothe your pet and help them feel less lonely. A treat-dispensing toy such as a kong with frozen food can also entertain your dog for hours while you are out.
Breeds That Don’t Bark
Some breeds are less prone to be barkers. But every dog is different, and a specific breed doesn’t guarantee a quiet dog. Many of the quieter breeds are larger, but don’t worry; a few smaller dogs make it onto the quieter list. So here is a list of some breeds that are known for being not so vocal:
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Glen of Imaal Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Irish Setter
- Australian Shepherd
- Shiba Inu
- Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier
- Scottish Deer-hound
- French Bulldog
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Bernese Mountain Dog
I hope that you found this article helpful.