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Dog Communication - Chart - Level 4

Vocalizations mean different things depending on the situation. Here you can learn about and listen to a variety of canine vocalizations. (Note that as in humans, pitch and tone are all relative to the dog’s normal “voice” -- a high-pitched and excited prey bark from a dog with a naturally deep bark won’t sound as high pitched as a dog that starts with a higher pitched bark.)

Barks convey diverse messages, and extended barking often combines types.

Prey Bark
Demand Bar
Warning Bark
  1. High pitched, closely spaced prey barks, sometimes including whines, result when a dog spies a critter due to prey drive, the instinct to catch small animals.

  2. Continuous recreational barking, common in dogs confined outdoors, provides dogs an enjoyable but disruptive pastime. Minimizing unsupervised confinement and providing ample exercise reduces recreational barking.

  3. Persistent barks directed at the owner fall into the demand barking category; feed, play with or offer attention when your dog behaves quietly.

  4. A low, deep warning bark says come no closer and often alerts that an intruder approaches.

Growls: These frequently carry a definite threat but can relay more agreeable messages.

Play Growl
Talky Growl
  1. The unmistakable guttural, low-pitched growl coupled with rigid body posture says "back off," and provides due warning to man or beast.

  2. Continuous lighter tone growling paired with relaxed, happy body language during play likens to children shouting while having fun.

  3. "Talky" growls often combine with grunts, snorts, short barks and a wiggly tail, an expressive vocalization indicating anticipation, excitement or happiness.

Repetitive, high-pitched, drawn-out sounds that grate the nerves, provide widely varying messages.

Attention Seeking Loud Whine
Prey Whine
  1. A whine that continues after your healthy dog has eaten, pottied, played and exercised often means "I want attention" and should be ignored.

  2. Whining marked by a lowered head, pinched face, sucked-up or bloated tummy or another "something’s wrong" signal warrants a vet trip.

  3. Slight cold, hunger or feeling generally uncomfortable can cause a dog to whine, an easily remedied situation once you determine the problem.

  4. An unspayed female may whine, carry a small toy and make nests out of bedding when undergoing a false or genuine pregnancy; spaying prevents either condition.
Whimpers and whines: These run together but differ in that whimpers usually sound more distinct and lower-pitched when compared to the continuous high-pitched whine.
  1. Puppies typically whimper from fear or discomfort when separated from mom and littermates, a sound the good canine mom responds to immediately.

  2. Whimpers in older puppies and adults suggest serious discomfort and may follow a loud yelp of pain, indicating the dog is hurt and requires medical attention.

This vocalization presents far-reaching communication between pack members and provides a beautiful chorus most owners enjoy.

Pack Howl
Howl-Bark-woo woo
  1. A siren’s high frequency often triggers a dog to respond like they would to another dog’s howl by politely returning the howl.

  2. Howling provides pack members a bonding experience.

  3. Solitary howling represents a common symptom of separation anxiety, particularly when paired with destructiveness and escape attempts; a professional trainer can help.

  4. Modified howls/barks stem from frustration or happiness, depending on the situation.

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Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on Dog Communication 401:Vocalization

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Karen - 251689   Zephyrhills, FL

12/7/2012 10:33:30 AM

I can't acess the sound.

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Mozie/Care   Ballston Spa, NY

10/20/2011 5:58:25 PM

BOL my pups were so confused they were barking back :)

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Kiki   Naperville, IL

8/17/2011 2:30:09 PM

We have a generally quiet house, but my dog heard these and wouldn't stop barking until I distracted him and called him over.

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Melissa   cheektowaga, NY

6/29/2011 6:38:27 PM

not a good idea to do while your dog is in the room. mine felt the need to respond to all the samples

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