Deciphering Different Dog Sounds

Key Points

  • Some breeds, like Beagles and Siberian Huskies, express themselves using dog sounds besides barking.
  • Deciphering dog sounds is not as complicated as it seems, as pitch, tone, and body language often offer clues.
  • Noises like howling, singing, screaming, and snorting help dogs to communicate their needs with you.
  • Dogs don’t just bark to communicate. There are lots of different dog sounds our pups use to express how they feel. Sometimes, owners double as detectives in attempts to decipher the different sounds dogs make. Are they barking because they’re happy or are they alerting you to danger? And are they whining because they want you to play or is it because they don’t feel well?


    We’ve all been known a dog who loves to bark. Some bark more than others, and some have deep, rumbling barks while others have yappy, high-pitched barks. Your dog may bark when they hear a noise or see something outside the window. Or, when the doorbell rings, someone comes home, or even to get your attention to indicate that they want to eat, play, or come in from outside. As most dogs bark to communicate, this is likely among the common dog sounds your pup makes.

    Decipher Barking

    Once you’re used to your dog’s distinctive bark, it’s easier to understand what they mean. Clues like pitch, body language, and tail behavior can help. High-pitched barks are welcoming, while deep barks may be an alert. A wagging-tailed bark spells joy while a crouched, angry bark with hackles up can mean fear or aggression.

  • Whining

    Whining or crying is another way dogs, especially puppies, express their needs. A dog might whine for you to take them outside, feed them, or play fetch. The high-pitched cry is their way of expressing what they want or letting you know they’re unhappy. Dogs may also whine when they’re scared (like in a thunderstorm), or if they have separation anxiety and are left alone.