Ever wondered what your dog would be saying if you spoke ‘woofish’? Well here are a few ideas of what they are likely to be saying. Can you spot them in your dog. Let us know if you have any to add.
1. Continuous, rapid barking of a midrange pitch: “Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!”
Continuous barking, but a bit slower and pitched lower: “The danger is very close. Get ready to defend yourself!”
2. Barking in rapid strings of three or four with pauses in between, midrange pitch: “I think there may be a problem, or an intruder, near our territory. I think we need to investigate.”
3. Prolonged or incessant barking, with moderate to long intervals between each utterance: “Is there anybody there? I’m lonely and need companionship.” This is most often the response to confinement or being left alone for long periods of time.
4. One or two sharp short barks, mid-range pitch: “Hello there!” - This is a typical greeting bark.
5. Single sharp short bark, lower mid-range pitch: “Stop that!” This is often given by a mother dog when disciplining her puppies but may also indicate annoyance in any dog e.g. when disturbed from sleep or if their hair is pulled during grooming etc.
6. Single sharp short bark, higher mid-range: “What’s this?” This is a startled or surprised sound. If it is repeated two or three times its meaning changes to “Come look at this!” This same type of bark, but not quite as short and sharp, is used to mean “Come here!” Many dogs will use this kind of bark at the door to indicate that they want to go out. Lowering the pitch to a more relaxed mid-range means “Terrific!” or some other similar expletive e.g. “Oh, great!” A dog who loves to jump, will give this single bark of joy when sent over an agility run, or a dog may give this same bark when given their food dish.
7. Single yelp or very short high-pitched bark: “Ouch!” This is in response to a sudden, unexpected pain.
8. Series of yelps: “I’m hurting!”, “I’m really scared” This is the response to severe fear or pain.
9. Stutter-bark, mid-range pitch: If a dog’s bark were spelled “ruff,” the stutter-bark would be spelled “ar-ruff.” It means “Let’s play!” and is used to initiate play.
10. Rising bark: This is a bit hard to describe, although once you’ve heard it, it is unmistakable. It is usually a series of barks, each of which starts in the middle range but rises sharply in pitch – almost a bark-yelp, though not quite that high. It is a play bark, used during rough-and-tumble games that shows excitement and possibly translates as “This is great fun!”