Dogs don’t speak English or any other human language, but it definitely speaks all the time with its keepers, peers and nature. If you own a dog, you definitely know that. Communication is a two-way process, so if your dog is communicating with you, you must be responding to ensure the communication took place. But how can you communicate if you don’t understand dog’s language?
Misunderstanding or misinterpreting dog’s language can create lots of confusion between you and your dog. That’s why it’s very important to know learn how to decipher dog’s language.
Just like human beings, dogs also have two types of communication - verbal and non-verbal. However, to accurately understand their language, you should be actively listening and observing both verbal and non-verbal clues because they often mix up and come. Like for example, a dog barking without wagging tail means one thing and a dog barking wagging his tail means something else.
Dogs make different types of sounds ranging from high pitch to low pitch to purring and purpose is simply to be heard and understood their wants and needs or concerns. However, please note that domestic dogs have a broad and sophisticated vocal repertoire in comparison to stray dogs as study suggests dogs vocalize in a wider variety of social contexts.
Here, we provide an overview of dogs’ most common vocalizations, focusing on their functional– contextual features.
Barks are short, explosive, and repetitive signals, with a highly variable acoustic structure (dominant frequency range between 160 and 2630 Hz), differing between breeds and even between individuals. Barking can mean lots of things - greetings, warning/alerting, calling for attention or simply expression of excitement while playing.
At first, all barks may sound same but as you get familiar with your dog, you can discern the pitch and tone and context and non-verbal cues like wagging of tails and body posture to understand why the dog is barking. Generally speaking, high-pitched barks are greeting while deep barks are alert.
Likewise, while playing with your dog, you must have noticed that it barks in the middle of the play looking at you by which you can tell with confidence that it’s calling for attention.
Conclusion: When your dog is barking, listen carefully the pitch and tone along with the body language to rightly understand you he is barking.
Like barking sound, growling too is contextual and situational. A dog growls to warn and also it growls in play but unlike barking, it’s less repetitive which means you must be quick to interpret. Most dogs growl to warn and if ignored, it attacks like when it’s having foods and if someone goes nearby it growls at first and if still pushes further, it attacks.
But not all growling is a warning. Sometimes, it’s a playful act. Like you know, when you are playing catch and snatch with your dog, it growls but means nothing. In this case, you don’t have to fear but rather play dumb and make things more exciting.
Conclusion: When your down is growling, it's crucial to approach with caution and respect. If a dog growls, it's best to give them space and avoid provoking them further unless the playful act in which case just play dumb.
Dog most commonly whine when they are seeking attention or anxious. They might make the sound when they want to play, go outside, or simply seek your company. Or during the thunders or occasions that they feel anxious or panicked. They also whine to express their needs or when in pains because of physical discomfort.
When dogs experience separation distress, they may whine excessively when left alone. This behavior is often accompanied by other signs of anxiety, such as pacing, panting, or destructive behavior.
Learn more: Can Dog Chews Help with Dog Anxiety?
Conclusion: Among all the sounds that a dog makes, whining is probably the most painful sound for any dog owners. If you notice persistent or unusual whining patterns in your dog, it's recommended to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist to rule out any underlying medical or behavioral issues. If not, just address their needs and wants and well-being when they whine.
As you must know dog is just a sweet wolf under the skin of dog, so that specific howling trait of wolf family is not gone from him. Just like wolf, the howling sound from dogs can mean it’s trying to communicate with fellow dogs, allowing them to convey their presence and location to other dogs, claiming territory, signaling out his/her presence.
It can also mean feeling lonely or having separation anxiety that if they are left alone at home for a long hour, they howl to seek attention or express their boredom. Apart from those usual instances, sometimes dogs howl simply per certain sounds or environmental triggers like sirens, musical instruments, or other sound of howling from other dogs or animals. Ya you are right, those funny dog howling videos that you have watched on Youtube along with someone playing guitar and singing.
Conclusion: Dog howls because that’s what they do does not mean you pay no attention. Sometimes they are cry for help, cry for engagement, and as a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to be available for your dog because unlike wolf, no other packs are going to join your dog. You are his pack.
If your dog is purring, it can very much mean is excited. That’s why purring is also called happy noise. Of course, dog does not purr like cat but nevertheless they do in their specific way that you can feel when it’s excited like going for a ride or just had its best meal and making that purring sound in relaxed mode.
Another rare but fun sound to note is singing sound. Yes, dogs sing. It’s a happy noise to celebrate a gain or repeatedly wanting something as reward. When you are playing with your dog with a reward treat, you can hear that voice which is neither howling nor whining but something a strange-tuned pitch as if trying to talk in your language asking for that treat in your hand. Yes, you got it right.
Conclusion: Nothing makes a dog owner happy than listening the happy voices of dogs. When you find your dog purring/singing, reciprocate to make him feel that he is being heard and loved for it, so that it stays happy all the time.