Dogs and barking go hand in hand! It's one of the first things people think of when they picture a dog, and many owners have trouble getting their pups to stay quiet!
You'd think that having a dog that doesn't bark would be the dream scenario for most people. But it can be worrying, especially if your once loud dog suddenly goes quiet. Some even bark out of pure boredom!
Canines use barking to communicate. It's how they alert you to trouble, get your attention, and let you know how they're feeling. Puppies start to squeak at around three weeks old. By four months old, it turns into loud barks. Dealing with barks is a normal part of dog ownership, so a lack of vocalization can cause concern.
If you want to learn more about why your dog doesn't bark much, you've come to the right place.
Is a Quiet Dog Such a Bad Thing?
Realistically, having a quiet dog can be great. If you live in an apartment or condo, it'll save you a lot of drama with your neighbors. In some cities, barking dogs can result in tickets and steep fines for owners.
But the important distinction is trained quietness and unnatural quietness.
Ideally, you should invest in training to teach your dog to remain quiet when barking is inappropriate. But if you've never heard your dog bark or it suddenly stop out of nowhere, that's not something you should not ignore.
5 Common Reasons Why Dogs Don't Bark
There are many reasons a dog might not vocalize. Most of the following reasons are not a big deal and can be easily fixed. However, others might require a trip to the vet.
1. Breed Tendencies
Not all dog breeds are barking machines. Some are genetically predisposed to being quiet. It's one personality distinction that many owners look into before adopting.
Some of the quietest dog breeds include:
- Australian Shepherds
- St. Bernards
On the opposite side of the loudness spectrum, we have breeds that tend to bark incessantly. These include:
- Siberian Huskies
- Fox Terriers
- Basset Hounds
- German Shepherds
Before you panic about your dog's lack of vocalization, do a little research about breed tendencies. You may have a naturally quiet dog and have no reason to worry.
Your pup may bark occasionally, but quieter dogs tend to save the noise for moments when they truly need it.
2. Changing Temperaments from Aging
Sometimes, dogs go quiet as they get older. That's not something you need to worry too much about. The change is gradual, and you may notice it as your dog nears their senior years. Some pups get quieter once they reach maturity. The change all comes down to energy.
Puppies tend to be the loudest of the bunch. They're bundles of energy, always looking to play and cause a stir! But as dogs get older, their energy supply wanes. They don't have the fuel to bark for hours on end, so they get quieter. It's a byproduct of aging and one of many changes you'll notice as your dog gets up there in years.
Fortunately, it's not a huge issue. The exception is when it happens suddenly. If your dog stops barking out of nowhere, we recommend taking a trip to the vet to rule out any medical issues.
3. Unknown Traumas
Here's an unfortunate reason why some dogs don't bark. If you adopted your dog from a shelter and don't know much about its past, there's a good chance it could have experienced trauma. It's not something any dog owner wants to think about, but it's a common reality.
Training is normal, and many dogs learn when to be quiet. But people who don't want to wait on training to see results might go to drastic means to shut their dogs up.
Shock collars, while unpopular today, are still used by many.
They injure the dog, using concepts of negative reinforcement to teach the dog to stay silent. Some owners even invest in a controversial surgical treatment known as "debarking." This surgery removes vocal chord tissue, eliminating or greatly reducing a dog's ability to bark.
There are many things that could have happened in your dog's past to deter them from making a peep. If you suspect that's the case, consider going to a dog behavioralist. They can work with you and your dog to get to the bottom of the problem and see if there's any way to make your pup more comfortable.
Anxiety is another issue that causes dogs to go silent. Many people don't realize that canines can experience complex emotions like depression and anxiety. It's common when entering new situations.
Maybe you just moved into a new home, and your pup is still getting the lay of the land. The new environment can be overwhelming, forcing your dog to hide and cower in fear.
If that's the case, you need to do what you can to make your dog feel confident again. Spend more time with your dog, give it time to get used to its new surroundings, and remove any potential anxiety-causing factors in your home.
Usually, anxiety resolves itself when you take steps to avoid triggers. Dogs get used to new things and start to feel confident over time. But if they don't, visit your vet for assistance.
5. Medical Issues That Cause a Dog to Stop Barking
Unfortunately, there are some medical issues that could cause your dog to stop barking. In all of these cases, you must seek veterinary care. They can get a proper diagnosis and recommend treatment that makes a difference.
Diseases that impact the larynx or respiratory system can make it difficult for your dog to make noise. The tone of their bark might change or soften. The severity of the issue will affect damage to the vocal cords.
Your dog may also experience temporary barking issues through surgical complications or excessive vomiting. For the former, it's usually intubation that causes trouble. The process can damage tissue in the throat, resulting in soreness. For excessive vomiting, the constant regurgitation can irritate the vocal cords and tissue in the throat.
Don't hesitate to get help from your vet if you suspect medical issues are to blame for your dog's lack of barking. Suppose you notice that barking changes suddenly; book an appointment as soon as possible.
A Final Word
It's not always an immediate cause for concern when your dog doesn't bark. It is important to pay attention to how it changes and any other behavioral shifts accompanying it.
If your dog stops barking suddenly or has noticeable personality changes, get help from your vet.
In most cases, a lack of barking is normal, but there are a few instances when it's not. At the very least, a trip to the vet can rule out any serious trouble and help you enjoy the perks of having a quiet dog.