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10 noises your dog makes – and what they mean

10 noises your dog makes – and what they mean
via @banjotheseadog

Pet parents, fess up: how often have you wished that your dog could talk? Chances are, pretty often. But the thing is, your dog is talking to you every day, all day long – you just have to figure out what he’s saying. It’s not as simple as decoding a bark or howl, the two sounds we most commonly associate with our furry friends. Dogs actually make a plethora of telling sounds, and each has its own distinct meaning. Here’s what you need to know to better understand your canine companion.

Barking

Barking
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You might have noticed that a dog’s bark varies greatly. That’s because barking is a dog’s way of communicating a variety of messages and emotions, including excitement, happiness, fear or even an alert to danger. “With such varying meanings behind a dog’s bark, it’s no surprise that the pitch and forcefulness of the noise – just like with a human’s voice – can imply the reason behind their vocalisation,” says veterinarian Danielle Bernal. “For instance, a fear-driven or panicked bark is often higher in repetition and intensity. This is compared to a monotonous bark that may communicate boredom.”

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, check out these dog breeds that are least likely to bark.

Incessant barking

Incessant barking
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There’s a difference between brief barking and non-stop barking. “When the barking does not stop, it is often caused by anxiety in your furry friend,” says veterinarian Evelyn Kass-Williamson. “Dogs may bark like this because they’re experiencing separation anxiety, or because they’re getting mixed messages from different family members and aren’t sure what to do. Be sure you are consistent when around these dogs, and above all, try to relax so they can, too.”

Whining

Whining
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Like barking, whining can also have a number of different meanings. Though we often associate whining with a negative emotion, that’s not always the case with dogs. In fact, it can simply be a dog’s way of getting human attention, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). What is your pup trying to say? Possibly that he wants to play, eat or go outside. Whining may also be a sign of stress, fear or pain. It’s important to take all factors into consideration when deciphering your dog’s whining.

If your living space is small, you may want to find out what dogs handle cramped spaces best.

Howling

Howling
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Howling is that classic head-back, guttural call that’s most often associated with wolves. “Howling links back to our dogs’ ancestor, the grey wolf,” explains Dr Bernal. “As pack animals, wolves traditionally used this communication method to call to their pack to signal distress or motivate them to regroup for a hunt.” In terms of your domesticated dog, she says, that howl is often triggered by common noises like a siren, the sound of a child’s toy, or the command of an owner.

Sighing

Sighing
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We often tie feelings of boredom or frustration to sighing, but that’s not the case for canines. According to the AKC, sighing is generally indicative of contentment, especially if it’s combined with half-closed, sleepy eyes. If your dog is wide-eyed and fully alert, however, it could be his way of catching your attention and asking for a little TLC or playtime.

Growling

Growling
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Like barking and howling, growling can have a number of different meanings, ranging from being scared to feeling playful. “A hostile growl is often a warning sign to a person, another dog, or object that has frightened the dog. It signals that a serious attack may follow if the growl is not adhered to,” says Dr Bernal. “On the other hand, a playful growl is often easy to identify. The key body language of a hostile growl is missing: visible teeth, flattened ears, and raised hairs.”

Soft noises while asleep

Soft noises while asleep
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When a pup makes soft grumbles, yaps or whimpers while snoozing, it’s not cause for alarm. “This mix of noises simply means that a dog is in a deep stage of sleep, similar to our REM sleep,” says Dr Bernal. “You may notice it’s also accompanied by a faster breathing rate and twitching of the muscles, limbs or eyelids.”

Sneezing

Sneezing
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Don’t be fooled: sneezing isn’t always caused by nasal irritation, allergies or a canine cold. “Many dogs will sneeze with excitement or to get your attention,” says Dr Kass-Williamson. “However, if there is ever thick nasal discharge that is white, yellow or green, it means it’s time to call your vet.”

Snorting

Snorting
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“Like the sneeze, this can be an attention-getter for the very squishy-faced breeds,” explains Dr Kass-Williamson. “However, when the snorting continues for a few seconds or longer, it can sound like your dog is choking. This is called a reverse sneeze and is often a sign of allergy or sinus congestion.” It’s best to schedule a visit with your vet if the issue is ongoing. Knowing what conditions your pet may be predisposed is important.

While you’re looking at cute dog pictures, check out these adorable images of little kids and their big dogs.

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