We all know dogs to be surprisingly good at communicating with us, considering that they don’t speak. Instead, they use dog vocalization and body language to express how they feel, what they want, or what they need. However, even when we feel that we can “understand ” what they’re saying, there will still be times when it’s hard to figure what dog sounds truly mean. We try to translate dog noises into text so that you will know exactly what your pooch is trying to tell you.
In general, there are six kinds of sounds that dogs can use to communicate with other canines and humans. While most dog noises are used to express frustration, such as when your dog whines to be allowed to go outside, dogs can also vocalize their feelings of pleasure. However, happy dog noises don’t sound very friendly either. Below are just a few dog sounds that you may notice, along with what they mean.
Dogs bark for various reasons, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Alarm: For times when they notice something bad
- Alert: For times when they notice something
- Bored: When they want to get your attention
- Pleasure: During times they want to play
While it may not seem like it, the communication methods that dogs use aren’t just used to attack your ears — they can also tell you when something important happens. For example, the bark of a bored dog will tend to be monotonous and repetitive.
However, a distressed dog suffering from separation or isolation will have a repetitive and high-pitched bark which will get higher as it becomes more stressed. A bark of alert will be a sharp, staccato sound while the bark of alarm will have more intensity compared to an alert.
Dogs will usually sigh and groan for two reasons: showing their disappointment and contentment. For example, a puppy could moan and groan when they settle down for a nap while an adult may sign in relaxation when they sleep on your lap. However, if your furbaby asks you to take him/her on a walk but you don’t take them outside, then they might let out a long sigh or groan to indicate their disappointment towards not getting what they wanted.
We mostly associate growling with warning or aggression, but instead of taking offense to this behavior, it’s best to try and help your pooch get more comfortable with the situation. Moreover, if your dog isn’t growling out of hostility and is instead grumbling lowly, it may indicate that he’s happy. It’s common for dogs to growl when they’re playing and is appropriate when their body language shows that they’re simply having fun.
Howling can be triggered by high-pitched noises such as the sound of police and fire sirens. Other times, you can also teach your dog to howl when you howl. Howling, in general, is known as how dogs communicate with other members of the pack. It can be used for various purposes, such as:
- Looking for other pack members
- Call the rest of the pack to hunt
- Call others as a form of a distress signal
Some dogs may also howl for humans when they are highly distressed, which is common among dogs suffering from separation and isolation.
A yelp or whimper will often indicate when a dog is in pain. This can happen for a wide range of reasons, such as when a dog bites another dog too hard during play. Whimpering may also indicate excitement, such as times when an owner comes home after a vacation and is often paired with jumping, barking, and licking. Keep in mind that regular whimpering is softer and is less intense compared to whining.
When a dog whines, we usually hear high-pitched vocalizations and are mostly produced through the nose while its mouth is closed. A pooch might whine when it needs to go outside, wants something, feels irritated by a leash, wants attention, or is separated from a beloved companion. Whining is usually an indication of stress with the dog, and most often sounds like a dog crying but is exaggerated.
While some dogs can replicate human-like sounds, not every dog will be able to “speak” to us. Even if they can say a few words, dogs have no way of understanding what they say to us. However, as owners, it’s our responsibility to learn how our dogs communicate with us and how we can communicate with them to ensure that we can provide everything our fur babies need.