Do Golden Retrievers Bark a lot? 10 Barks and Their Solutions


Golden Retrievers are not aggressive dogs and are usually known to be quite docile and easy-going. However, they still bark like all other dogs. 

So, do Golden Retrievers bark a lot? No, Golden Retrievers do not bark a lot. Golden Retrievers are actually quiet dogs compared to other dog breeds, but they may bark a lot to gain your attention, scare off a stranger or if they are fearful, scared, stressed, or anxious. 

Barking has a lot of meanings in dogs, and to be able to stop the excessive barking, you need to first learn what is causing it and then eliminate this stressor (cause of the barking) to stop the barking. 

Keep reading to find out how to know why your dog is barking so much and how to train them to stop barking a lot. 

Golden Retriever peeking

Why Do Golden Retrievers Bark?

Golden retriever laying on the grass to illustrate the reasons why do golden retrievers bark

All dogs bark except for one breed, the Basenji. Just like talking is our way of communicating, barking is your dog’s way of communication, and similar to our languages, barking serves a lot of different purposes. 

So, before you start training why your dog is barking, you need to know why they’re barking in the first place. 

Chances are you can already tell why your dog is barking. Just look at what changes have occurred in their life recently. You can also tell why your dog is barking by noticing what they’re barking at, when they’re barking, or what happens that they bark right after. 

For example, if they bark every day while you’re putting on your shoes, then they are barking because they know you’re going to work and they’re going to stay home alone. 

With that being said, it’s definitely a good idea to learn what types of barks there are and identify which is the one your dog uses – this will make it very easy to handle the behavior and stop the excessive barking. 

But first, there is actually a good question that’s worth asking here; 

How did dogs develop so many barks? 

The Basenji - the only dog breed that doesn't bark
The Basenji – the only dog breed that doesn’t bark

If you look at dogs, you will find that only about 2.3% of their communications are barks, and wolves only bark in instances of warning, defense, or dissent. On the other hand, dogs are very vocal, so why did dogs develop the habit of barking more than wolves as they separated from them over the course of the last couple of thousands of years? 

The answer is quite simple actually; they developed regular barking because we liked it and we bred those who barked more than those who stayed silent.

Barking must have been very useful for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Dogs that barked to warn of intruders, to scare off predators, and then to herd sheep and cattle were of immense value to their owners. 

So, over the years, we started breeding dogs that were more useful to us, and the barks developed and branched out to mean different things as dogs’ lives changed with our own.

Nowadays, there are very few dogs that work in farming and along humans compared to those who are living in our homes. 

TLDR; barking is a result of human selective breeding of dogs over the last thousands of years, and it has been – and still is – a very useful behavior to humans. 

Now, let’s understand the 10 different types of your dog’s barking: 

The 10 Different Types of Dog Barking 

Bark TypeSoundPurpose 
Territorial Increasingly intense barks mixed with growls. Alerts humans to intruders or perceived threats and to scare off the intruder. 
Alarm Sharp sequential barks. Often just one or two barks at a time. Alerts to potentially dangerous or concerning circumstances that need the owner’s immediate attention. 
Fearful High-pitched and repetitive barks with lips and ears pulled back. Aggressive posture and fight-or-flight response activated. Fear of something familiar and unexpected. 
Frustration Incessant barking that’s directed at something in particular (object or activity), often coupled with destructive behaviors. Triggered in instances where the dog feels trapped or restricted. 
Play High-pitched barks that are repeated in a series. Coupled with friendly body language.  Invitation to play for other dogs or humans. 
Excitement High-Pitched and repetitive barks with brief pauses. Friendly, energetic, and expressive body language. Indicates excitement about an expected and upcoming pleasant activity with the owner. 
BoredomMonotone and repetitive barking that lasts for a very long time. Venting due to a boring routine or under-stimulating lifestyle, activity, or environment. 
Separation Anxiety Whining, howling, and yelping in a sad or mournful tone. Often coupled with destructive behavior. Comes from being separated from the owner for prolonged periods of time repeatedly. 
Attention-Seeking Non-aggressive barking directed at humans and often becomes progressively louder. Seeking attention and engagement from humans. Comes from the feeling of neglect. 
Social Facilitation Mimicked barking when with other dogs. Triggered by the barking of other canines. 
The 10 Different bark types

How To Stop the Different Dog Barks?

Now, let’s go over each of the 10 barks and find out what you should do in each case.

The Territorial Bark

How does it sound/look?

A dog’s territorial bark is often accompanied by signs of aggression. The dog will stand up and forward their weight while nervously wagging their tail. Their eyes will be round and focused on the object they’re barking at.

Why They Bark?

This bark has one simple meaning: Stay away or else. Surprisingly, Golden Retrievers and Labradors have one of the loudest and scariest territorial barks despite their apparent friendliness.

What to do?

You need to train your dog to stop barking on command when you step in.

You need to train them that once you step in, you’re in charge now. When this happens, I immediately rush to the situation, tell my dog “it’s okay” – which is the Command I’ve trained them on” and step in front of them to show them that I’ve got this and they can stand down.

Body language is very important here, you need to show your dog that the situation is under your control and that they don’t need to be scared or fearful.

Wondering if golden retrievers are even territorial? Read will a golden retriever attack an intruder here.

The Alarm Bark

How does it sound/look?

They are sharp sequential barks, and are often just one or two barks at a time.

Why They Bark?

The Alarm barks are focused on something that startled or excited them and are meant to bring your attention to the matter.

What to do?

You should first acknowledge the bark and address whatever has startled the dog. Show them that you’re aware of it and reassure them that your attention is now directed at the matter.

You should also wait until they stopped barking and give them a treat to reinforce the behavior of stopping barking when you are present. I like to first say something like “thanks, boy” before waiting for them to calm down and give them the treat. This makes the dog anticipate the reward so they stop barking sooner.

Ignoring this type of barking is not recommended as the dog will not stop and it will turn into insistent barking then into territorial barking and take an aggressive tone. This happens because the dog realizes it’s now their responsibility to handle the situation (since the owner is ignoring them and the situation) , so they become more aggressive to send the intruder away.

The Fearful Bark

How does it sound/look?

This is the bark you may hear when the door knocks suddenly or a loud car or motorcycle goes by the house.

It’s often triggered by the action so it happens just after the knock, and it’s loud, high-pitched, and repetitive. It’s often accompanied by an aggressive posture.

Why They Bark?

This bark happens when the dog is disturbed and surprised and doesn’t know what to do.

This is triggered by their “fight or flight” response and it always means they are unsure of what just happened and what is going to happen next.

More often than not the dog will run away right after the bark as happens in the video or they will switch to the territorial barking if they decided to fight.

What to do?

You need to socialize them more.

A dog’s fearful bark is often the result of incomplete socialization. If your dog has been socialized and trained to get used to loud cars, children playing, sudden knocks, and similar sounds, this would not be a problem.

Thankfully, you can still work on socializing the dog whatever their age even though, admittedly, it’s easier when they are puppies.

The Frustration Bark

How does it sound/look?

Frustration barks are a series of repetitive barks that may have some light growing mixed in between them. T

Why They Bark?

Frustration barks happen in a dog whose activity is restricted or are faced with a puzzle they can’t solve. The video above shows a good example because the dog is facing a puzzle they simply can’t solve and get the reward they want.

Even though these barks are often short and last for moments or minutes at maximum, but still needs to be handled correctly to not turn into an issue.

What to do?

To stop frustration barks you need to train your dog on the “quiet” command and solve the root issue if it’s really an issue.

Frustration barks should not be ignored because they can turn into other destructive behaviors like destructive chewing.

The Play Bark

How does it sound/look?

The play bark is a high-pitched bark that is often repeated in a series and is commonly accompanied by a play bow.

In a play bow – as the video above shows – the dog’s front legs are lowered and their rump is raised in the air while their tail will be wagging excitedly in anticipation.

Why They Bark?

This is a “let’s play” invitational bark. The dog used this bark and posture to initiate play with other dogs or even humans.

What to do?

If you can, just play with the dog. However, some people are worried that this may reinforce the behavior, but whether this is a bad or a good thing totally depends on you and your schedule.

If your dog does this a lot, however, it’s a sign that you’re not spending enough time with them and that they are not getting enough fun activities, so you may want to start dedicating more time to your dog.

The Excitement Bark

How does it sound/look?

It’s high-pitched, repetitive, and accompanied by brief pauses. They dog is also likely to be pacing, jumping, spinning, and energetically wagging the tail.

Why They Bark?

This happens when the dog is excited about something. Most commonly, it happens when the dog is anticipating walks, playtime, or reunion with their owners when they come back home after a long day at work.

What to do?

If your dog is doing this excessively or if you this an unwanted behavior, you need to distract them with a “sit” command and train them on the “quiet” command.

However, some dog owners prefer to leave this bark as it’s rarely annoying and by suppressing it you’re suppressing the dog’s excitement, which is not always a good thing. For example, a dog’s excitement for reuniting with their owners is one of the ways they express their love for us and not something you want to suppress.

The Boredom Bark

How does it sound/look?

This is a monotone repetitive bark that can last on for hours with no end. These barks sound very much like howling.

Why They Bark?

Dogs bark like that when they’re bored or lonely. They are basically venting because barking is better than doing nothing, and they are calling for anyone to come to play with them.

What to do?

You should spend more time with your dog and provide them with sufficient mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.

If there is just no solution to you leaving the dog for a long time, you should get them a couple of interactive dog toys.

I have found two solutions that worked for me.

The first was the Furbo interactive dog camera. This is the best option because my dog can actually hear my voice and I can see him, and your dog will immediately calm down once they hear your voice. You can get it here from Amazon.

On some days, however, I have a ton of meetings and I can’t really talk to them or see them. On these days, I bring out an interactive toy like The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball which is currently my dog’s favorite ball.

He literally spends hours on end throwing it around the house, and I think your dog may like it as well (15,000 people seem to really love it on Amazon, too). You can get it here from Amazon.

The Separation Anxiety Bark

How does it sound/look?

Dog’s separation anxiety are stressed barks that quickly lead to whining, yelping, and mournful howling. They are also often accompanied by some destructive behaviors such as:

  • Chewing
  • Scratching
  • Digging at windows and doors
  • Pacing
  • Drooling
  • Sweaty paws
  • Urination
  • Defecation

Why They Bark?

Dogs with separation anxiety become seriously stresses, anxious, and even panic when separated from their owners.

What to do?

If you think your dog’s barking is caused by separation anxiety, they need to see a professional trainer or behaviorist.

Start by first taking footage of your dog’s barking in your absence and send it to the professional, if they confirm that it’s caused by separation anxiety, you need to ask for their help with it.

Some dogs may suffer from severe separation anxiety and may even need medications (the vet will recommend them).

If you’re not sure if your dog’s drooling is triggered by separation anxiety, check out the 12 causes why Golden Retrievers drool here and their solutions.

The Attention Seeking Bark

How does it sound/look?

This is incessant, non-aggressive barking that’s directed at their humans. It doesn’t start loud but it quickly gets louder as you ignore it.

Why They Bark?

The dog is feeling neglected and they are protesting this. They want your attention and to engage with them.

What to do?

The best and most effective way to stop this barking is to give your dog enough engagement and attention on a daily basis. Giving them the stink eye or punishing them in anyway will actually make it much worse.

Just spend more time with your dog, however, don’t do it right after they bark otherwise they will think it worked and you will be reinforcing the behavior.

The Social Facilitation Bark

How does it sound/look?

It often imitate that of the other barks they are triggered by.

Why They Bark?

They are often triggered by the barks of other dogs which they copy. Dogs are social animals and just like us, they copy the behavior of those around them. If your dog spends a lot of time around dogs that bark, they will also start barking more.

They will also bark when close by dogs are barking to let them know of their presence, or puppies will bark when the mother starts barking without even knowing what they’re barking at or why.

What to do?

If your dog is doing it to imitate dogs they spend time with, you need to separate them and re-train your dog to reinforce the “quite” command and other commands.

If your dog is doing it to reply to the neighbor’s dogs, talk to the neighbor, and find a way to solve it. Whatever it is, reinforcing the “quiet” command will help.

How to Tell What Your Dog Bark Means

You don’t have to memorize the 10 different barks of your Golden Retriever, instead, you simply need to understand what makes a dog bark.

Basically, Dogs can vary their barks in three main ways:

  • Pitch
  • Duration
  • Frequency

You can tell how your dog is feeling by understanding these three and what they indicate.

  • Pitch: The pitch of your dog’s bark will vary from one dog to another but once you’re already family with your dog’s ‘voice’, you will be able to tell when their pitch changes. Your dog’s pitch can give their inner motivation like this:
    • A lower-pitched bark: More threatening and meant to scare away the intruder (or you). The dog can be confident or scared and they would still use the same pitch.
    • A Higher-Pitched Bark: Indicates the dog is scared or in pain. The dog may be scared because of uncertainty or insecurity.
    • Mixed with Growling: Growling is always used to threaten.
  • Duration: Dogs can draw out their barks into something that sounds very much like a howl.
    • A longer, drawn-out bark: indicates more intention behind it.
    • A Short and sudden Bark: the dog is surprised by something that startled them.
  • Frequency: Dogs use frequency to indicate the urgency, stress, or excitement for the bark.
    • Fast and repetitive barks: The dog is trying to communicate that something needs attention right away or that they’re very excited about something.
    • Barks at a slower pace: Barks at a slower pace indicate that something needs attention but it’s not of the same urgency as the one before.

Related Questions

Do Golden Retriever Need a lot of attention?

Yes, Golden Retrievers need a lot of attention and they are very attached to their owners. Golden Retrievers need to spend time with their owners every day even if it’s just during walks.

Golden Retrievers are also prone to separation anxiety if they’re neglected by their owners and are not given enough attention. Ignoring your golden retriever will lead them to develop destructive behaviors like urination and destructive chewing.

Is Golden Retriever High Maintenance?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are high-maintenance compared to other dog breeds. They need a minimum of 30 minutes of physical exercise every day and they need to spend time with their owners every day.

Goldens are also large dogs and they are heavy shedders, so grooming them is both time-consuming and costly.

Raising a golden retriever is a life-long commitment that will cost you a lot of time and money, but it will be one of the best decisions in your life because there is nothing in the world like a golden’s love. You can learn how to handle your high-maintenance golden retriever here.

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