Understanding the Meaning of Dog Noises

Dog noises are a means of communication used by canines. Barking, whining, growling or howling are the noises that you are most likely to hear from your dog. Knowing how to interpret these can help you better understand your pet.


Barking is the most common dog noise and may be used for different purposes. Firstly, barking can be a hello from your dog and may signal excitement. In addition, barking can also signify that the dog wants your attention and would like you to play; the dog may use the barking as a means to warn you about a possible danger.

Some dogs may bark when they get bored or are alone.

Most dogs will bark when hearing a familiar noise such as the door bell, a car passing by or even some well known songs.


Whining is used by dogs from early puppyhood; puppies whine when they want to attract the attention of the mother. The mother will typically respond to whining by feeding or comforting the puppy; after the puppy leaves the mother, he will continue to whine to ask for food and comfort.

Dogs may also whine when they want to go out.

Thunderstorms and loud noises may cause fear in a lot of dogs and whining is a way to express fear.


Growling is a clear sign that your dog is ready to attack. This is a warning sign for strangers or even you as an owner and if used in excess may turn into a problem. Dogs that growl excessively are aggressive and require professional training or behavioral therapy.


Howling is a canine sound that may signal excitement, loneliness, desire or it may also be a warning sign for other canines.

A dog may howl when isolating his prey.

If the dog is lonely, he may howl and wait to hear other fellow canines, in attempt to communicate. Howling can be a problem, as it will cause a chain reaction; the dogs that hear the howl of your dog will start howling and there will be a lot of noise; it may take a few hours for the dogs to stop.

Dogs may be trained to stop barking, growling or howling. The excessive use of noises may turn into a behavioral problem; for example, your dog is used to you feeding him or comforting him whenever he whines; he will use this tool to control you. You should know how to respond to your dog; you should let your pet know that you are the leader and you decide when you feed him and when it’s time to play. Try ignoring your dog a few times when he whines and this should help your dog understand you are in charge.

Barking may be difficult to stop as it may be caused by several triggers including door bells or car alarms. Detecting why the dog makes certain noises is important when dealing with the problem.