dog sound means different things

Dogs are one of the species in the animal kingdom who have mastered the art of communicating with humans. They interact with us by vocalization and body language quite effectively but several times we are unable to understand their signs. So how should we interpret dog’s vocal communications with us via dog sound?

The best way to understand the dog sound is to understand them in the context of the situation they are in.

Different types of dog sound are:

  1. Barking Sound
  2. Whining Sound
  3. Growling Sound
  4. Howling Sound
  5. Groaning Sound
  6. Sighing Sound

Barking dog sound:

  1. Barking Sound: The barking sound of a dog can mean different things and has to be seen in the context of the situation. Bark while playing means that the dog is excited. Bark on strangers while running at home boundary means the dog is territorial. Bark when someone knocks means that there is someone at the door.

Whining sound:

  1. While barking is an aggressive mode of communication, whining is a suttle mode of communication.  After being hurt whining means that the dog is in pain. Whining while standing near an eating bowl means the dog is requesting food. Whining while lying along with leash means the dog wants to go out on a walk.

Growling sound:

  1. Growling Sound: This sound means only one thing – Beware or Stay away. It is often treated as a warning and a precursor of a bite. Dogs who are punished for growling tend to hide their sense of anger by not growling but often jump to the next action of biting. So you should not punish dogs on growling, growling is their natural instinct of warning others and we should use it as a signal rather than a threat. Growling has different intensities i.e a low rumble means I am not very happy, solid growl means stay away from me, and snarl with the showing of teeth means that I will bite you if make next move. Reference Study: Dogs’ expectation about signalers’ body size by virtue of their growls

Howling sound:

  1. Howling Sound: Howling sound can mean different emotions like pain, happiness, sorrow, curiosity. Wolves often howl to communicate with their pack and similarly dogs howl often to communicate with their owners or siblings. Many dogs cannot howl while many dogs howl and express their different emotions.

Groaning & Sighing dog sound:

  1. Groaning & Sighing Sound: Dogs generally groan and sigh when they are satisfied or disappointed. When you find your dog settling on your lap or snuggling you in a blanket and then groan, then that groan means that the dog is satisfied and content with the current situation. If your dog is asking you to play with him but you don’t relent then the dog will most probably groan in disappointment.

Dog Coughing:

Dog coughing can be a non-serious to serious situation. Sometimes dogs smell something which their body want to cough out or sometimes they have some internal issue which is causing them to cough.

If the cough sound of dog resembles the following then you should see a vet:

  • Hacking sound
  • A sound like they’re coughing up a hairball

If you hear a dog hacking sound, and if you fell that “my dog sounds like he has a hairball,” it could be a sign of airway irritation or even a blockage. It can also be because your dog has a sore throat, tonsillitis, an infection or a foreign object lodged in there.

Can dog speak words?

//Some dogs are capable of replicating human speech sounds. When these sounds are selectively reinforced, dogs can appear to be speaking human words, sometimes even sentences. It is most likely that the dogs have no concept of the meaning behind the words they are “speaking” – although as we learn more about canine cognition, one can’t ever be too sure.

The Most Vocal Breeds

//So, what are the most vocal breeds? Many think it’s only small dogs that are loud, but that’s not the case. Some larger breeds can also be quite vocal.

Some of the most vocal breeds include the following:

  • Basset hounds for their mournful sounds
  • Miniature pinchers who bark at intruders
  • Beagles that bay
  • Siberian huskies and malamutes, both of which call out to other dogs with howls
  • German shepherds, when untrained, can be loud and obnoxious
  • Yorkshire terriers that yap at everything
  • Pomeranians and chihuahuas, both of which are toy breeds and very vocal

There are many more breeds that can be vocal, but with proper training and correction, they can learn to be quiet.

Dog Body Language

//Dogs have their own body language, which as noted above can tell you important things about your pup. It’s important to understand them so you can tell whether your dog is barking because it’s scared, happy to see you, or nervous. This can tell you also if your dog is about to snap at somebody.

To decipher your dog’s body language, start by looking at their:

  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Tail
  • Mouth
  • Movement

You can also tell how your dog is feeling by their hair. Yes, dogs can have goose bumps just like humans when they’re aroused or upset along the shoulder, spine and tail area.

Hackles are often seen as indicators of aggression, but that’s not always the case.

Also, if a dog is stressed, they might shed more.

Dog sweating is a sign of stress in some cases as well, and if you see visible footprints, it can indicate they are upset.

When looking at your dog’s movement, notice if they are stiff or moving slowly, which can indicate a problem. If their body is relaxed, they might be happy, but if their tail is between their legs, they might be scared of something.

There are even charts that indicate what your dog may be feeling based on body language. There are actually many more body language indicators you can use, but understanding these can make a world of difference.

I am a veterinary by profession and a passionate animal lover. My passion for animals made me become a veterinary surgeon and my vision is to spread animal health and welfare through online dissemination of information and assistance, like what we are doing at Drwaggers.com.