At What Age Will Your Puppy Learn How to Bark?

Before starting to bark, your puppy's first vocalizations may be grunts and whines. When do they start barking? Learn more in this article!
At What Age Will Your Puppy Learn How to Bark?
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

During the first week of their lives, puppies are not yet capable of producing complex sounds. Nevertheless, they’ll very quickly learn how to bark. Moreover, this is a sign that their body is developing healthily.

Barking is a primary sound

Barking is a fundamental part of canine nature and dogs are the only representatives of the canine family who use barking as their main sound. Wolves, foxes, and coyotes usually howl rather than bark, as they must communicate between long distances.

What makes the barking of a dog so special is that it’s their main form of expression. Through it, they can establish a relationship of understanding between humans and their kind.

A dog reveals a lot about itself when it barks. They do so to express their feelings and moods, to warn their owners of danger, or to indicate their needs.

However, excessive barking can be a sign that there’s something wrong with their bodies. A dog that barks too much may want to communicate a state of pain or irritation caused by illness.

A small barking dog.

Therefore, if your dog shows any changes in his behavior, such as barking too much or becoming aggressive, it’s advisable to quickly take him to the vet.

So when will your dog learn how to bark?

Puppies begin to open their eyes at around the second week of being born. Little by little, they begin to vocalize grunts and moans, in search of breast milk and warmth from their mother.

The first barks are very soft and short, almost inaudible. They start making these sounds when they are between 7 and 10 weeks old. However, some breeds can take up to 20 weeks before they start communicating with barks.

At this stage, care must be taken not to unconsciously “spoil” or condition them. The dog can easily associate barking with getting attention and getting what they want – very similar to human children. It’s important not to reward or pamper the animal too much when it’s first starting to bark. Although undeniably cute, it can become a worrying or unwanted bad habit in adulthood, causing excessive barking.

At first, the puppy copies the barking he hears from adult dogs, whether in daily life or while watching television. Over time, the puppy will begin to recognize their own barking. In addition, they’ll assimilate the different types of barking they can produce, depending on the context they find themselves in. This is how the dog will learn how to bark.

What is your dog trying to tell you when it barks?

There isn’t just one reason why a dog will bark at people or other animals. Regardless of when your dog starts barking, every time they do they may have different reasons for it. They may also be communicating their different moods.

Similarly, there isn’t just one kind of bark. Different types of barking serve different purposes depending on the context the animal is exposed to, starting from the moment they learn how to bark.

Most frequent causes for barking in dogs

  1. Stress: Dogs can bark to relieve stress and release accumulated energy.
  2. Enthusiasm: Many dogs tend to bark when a situation or impulse excites them excessively.
  3. Boredom: This is a consequence of sedentary life. Dogs bark because they get bored of doing nothing and try to get some attention.
  4. Frustration: Some dogs can start to bark when they feel upset or need to express their frustration at not getting what they want.
  5. Inactivity: Lack of energy-spending exercises or activities can lead to excessive barking.
  6. A warning call: Dogs have sharp senses and perceive danger more easily than humans. They can bark to warn us of threatening situations or to indicate situations of vulnerability or danger.
  7. Unconscious conditioning: The dog believes that barking will get him food or affection more quickly.
  8. Health problems: Some diseases, vision and hearing disorders, and the aging process can cause the dog to bark more than normal.
  9. Shyness or defensive behavior: Some dogs that weren’t raised in a sociable environment or with a lack of healthy contact with other animals and people will often be nervous and bark defensively.
A white dog barking.

Is it true that some breeds tend to bark more than others?

Yes, it’s true that some breeds bark more than others. However, their education and social integration process will usually teach them to behave properly or control their impulses in different situations.

If you want to avoid excessive barking problems with your dog, it isn’t advisable to choose breeds that tend to be more alert or distrustful. This is the case of the Yorkshire Terrier, the Miniature Schnauzer, the Fox Terrier, the Beagle, the Chihuahua, the Pekingese, and the Miniature Poodles or Toy Poodles.

We hope you’ve found this article useful and…happy barking!

Source of featured photo: nathanmac87

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