Ever asked yourself, ‘why doesn’t my dog bark?’
If so, you should know that the reason behind this behavior could be the dog’s naturally calm personality, a health condition, previous training, or more.
In this article, we’ll cover this topic more in-depth, so let’s dive in!
7 Reasons Why a Dog Isn’t Barking
Different things could be the cause of the lack of barking in a dog. Some of these reasons can be problematic and require action, while others are completely normal that you don’t have to worry about.
1. Personality and Breed
Certain dog breeds such as Beagles and Basenjis are known for being naturally quiet and good-tempered. Furthermore, each dog has his individual personality just like us humans, so yours might have a calm character.
Of course, you’ll know that this is the reason behind his lack of barking if he’s always been quiet and hasn’t stopped barking suddenly.
In this case, it’s not necessarily bad that your dog won’t bark. This way, your little buddy won’t bother you or your neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment building. Even better, you’ll know that, once he barks, that he’s alerting you to some sort of threat.
Still, teaching your dog to bark may be useful to let you know if he needs something.
A dog might stop barking if his throat has become hoarse due to excessive barking. Here, the dog may have overused his vocal cords to the point of pain.
We’re pretty sure you can easily know if over-barking is the reason behind your dog’s sudden silence. If he’s been barking too much, it could lead to the inflammation of vocal cords, especially if there has been a lot of coughing as well.
After resting, a dog’s bark should return in full force. However, if it takes too long to come back, the dog may be suffering from laryngitis, which requires medical attention.
3. Previous Training or Debarking
Previous owners or dog shelters may have trained your dog not to bark. If your dog wasn’t a puppy when you brought him to the house, that scenario might be more likely.
Also, a previous owner might have put a bark collar on the dog to prevent him from barking, which might have broken the habit completely. Another rather sad possibility could be that the dog was debarked, which is a surgical procedure where the vocal cords are trimmed.
In the case of being debarked, a dog may still bark, but the sound comes out lower than normal.
If you suspect that your dog might be trained not to bark, you can still encourage him to do so with just the right amount of love and time. We’ll give you some steps on how to train your dog to bark later on.
4. Trying to Adapt to New Surroundings
It’s normal for a dog that has just arrived at a new home to be a bit shy. If you’ve just adopted yours, chances are he’s trying to be on his best behavior during the first few weeks after adoption.
As your dog becomes more accustomed to your place, he should start barking more often.
5. Past Experiences
Sadly, a dog may stop barking if it’s linked to a traumatic experience in the past. Being punished for excessive barking can lead to the dog becoming wholly silent.
To overcome this issue, a loving family and a bit of encouragement is all the dog needs to start barking again.
As a dog gets older, his or her hearing becomes weaker. Therefore, he won’t react to different sounds the way he used to before. As a result, a senior dog will bark less.
7. Health Issues
Having certain health conditions can cause a dog to stop barking. For instance, if your dog is feeling unwell, he might be too tired or sick to bark.
If you suspect that’s the case with your dog, the right thing to do is to watch him closely for more signs of trouble. Being inactive and acting strangely are more symptoms of a health-related problem.
Once you identify the signs, you should take your dog to the vet for a checkup.
How to Encourage My Dog to Bark More?
There are many things you could do to help your dog bark with confidence. Whether he’s been trained not to bark or he’s merely shy, following these steps can encourage him to start barking again.
If you’ve just adopted your dog, your best bet is to give him some time to adjust. Who knows, he might start barking without you having to do anything further.
While waiting, it’s always a good idea to shower your furry friend with attention, exercise, and training. Once he becomes comfortable around you, his lively self should come to the surface.
Take Your Dog to the Vet
If your dog is showing signs of discomfort, take him to the vet to ensure there aren’t any underlying health issues. This way, you might be able to prevent bigger problems in the future.
Plus, a vet’s advice will be tailored to your dog’s individual needs, so you’ll know exactly what to expect of your dog.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your dog with treats and compliments when he shows the desired behavior. You can use this method to make your dog bark again.
Just get your dog’s favorite treats and keep them in your hands. Give him one if he barks, and keep the rest out of his reach so he’ll know that you have more. If he barks again, offer your dog another treat.
Naturally, your dog won’t bark in full force once you start training him, so give your buddy some time to get better.
Sometimes, a dog will start doing other tricks that he’s learned to get the rewards, such as rolling or sitting.
However, you shouldn’t give him any treats until he barks, and only if you tell him to do so. If he gets a treat each time he barks, even without your command, he’ll be louder than you wish him to be.
Never Punish Your Dog
This is a big no-no when it comes to training your dog to do anything. Yelling at your pet or using physical measures will only make a dog confused and upset. He won’t understand why his owner is treating him this way, and he might even fear his pet parent.
Thus, the only way to discipline a dog is by issuing stern commands and not giving him treats when he does something that you don’t want.
Find Other Ways to Communicate With Your Dog
As we discussed before, a dog may have a quiet character, so he might bark only occasionally even after training. In this case, you’d better find other ways to let your dog communicate with you.
A good example of how to do this is to tie a bell to the backyard door of your house. When your dog wants to use the potty, he can let you know by ringing the bell.
How to Prevent My Dog From Barking Excessively?
As we’ve previously mentioned, too much barking could lead to an inflammation of the vocal cords in a dog. So, how can you keep this from happening in the first place?
The best thing to do is to understand what causes this excessive barking and eliminate it. For example, if there’s an object that’s bothering your dog, you can move it to another place in your house.
Also, moving your dog to another room can help calm his nerves and make him bark less so he wouldn’t lose his voice. If that doesn’t work, you can use training as well to prevent your dog from overexerting his vocal cords.
Give him a treat when he stops barking, even for a minute, and pay attention not to reward him if he resumes barking. Gradually, lengthen the time that you wait before giving him a treat when he stops barking.
In the end, your dog should be well-mannered enough to only bark when necessary.
Why doesn’t my dog bark?
It could be that he’s shy, trained not to bark, or having underlying health issues that you need to investigate. No matter the case, we’re certain you can help your dog get his voice back.
All is possible with time, patience, and a loving family.
- The Best Quiet Dog Breeds That Bark Less by The Spruce Pets
- Barking by ASPCA