While having a dog that doesn’t bark may seem like a good thing, it can be a bit worrisome when it doesn’t bark at all. My dog never had a problem with barking but there are some that do so in this post I will detail some causes of why your dog might not be barking and what to do about it.

So, why doesn’t my dog bark? There are a number of reasons why your dog might not be barking. The main ones are a timid personality, needing time to become comfortable in its new surroundings, an illness, age (bad hearing), bad past experiences and previous training to stop it from barking. 

While an overly quiet dog isn’t something to be too concerned with by itself. It would still be worthwhile to figure out why it isn’t barking. Also having your dog learn to bark in certain situations so that you can help it such as when it wants to come inside.

Reasons Why Your dog Might Not Be Barking

There are a number of reasons that your dog might not be barking that I will mention below.

Personality

It could be the case that your dog is naturally quiet. This would be more likely if it has always been quiet, it otherwise has been acting normally and if it has not stopped barking suddenly.

If it does seem to be naturally quiet it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing since it means that your dog won’t be bothering you or your neighbors constantly. It also means that, when it does bark, it will be because something really is wrong so you’ll be less likely to ignore your dog when it needs help or when it’s alerting you to danger.

With that being said, there are situations where having your dog bark can be helpful such as when you want it to let you know that it wants something. You can get your dog to do this with training that I will discuss in the next section.

Still becoming comfortable

If you recently adopted your dog from a shelter it could be the case that it is still becoming comfortable with its new surroundings. In this case, it would be likely that it will begin to bark more over the course of a few weeks. You can help by giving it lots of positive attention, training and by playing with it.

Past experiences

The cause might be that it was punished for barking in the past so it does not bark so much anymore. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter and if it has always been quiet.

Age

One reason why your dog might not be barking as much as it used to could be that it is getting older. When dogs get older their hearing declines so they won’t react to sounds as much as they would when they were younger. This can result in them barking less.

Vocal stress

If your dog has stopped barking suddenly it could be the case that it has a sore or swollen throat. This would be more likely if it stopped suddenly after barking a lot and if it has been coughing a lot.

Previous Training

The cause might be that it was previously trained not to bark often. This would be more likely if you got your dog when it was no longer a puppy. In this case, you could try getting it to bark more by following the tips mentioned below.

It could also be that you have inadvertently taught it not to bark in the past yourself. If you punished your dog in the past when it was barking or you rewarded it when it did not bark but it normally would then it could have learned not to bark. If you think that it might have happened then you should take measures to correct it that will be discussed below.

Related: Why does my dog sleep in another room?

Medical Issues

The reason why your dog isn’t barking as much could be due to a health issue. It could be that your dog is not feeling well so it doesn’t have the strength to be active and bark a lot. If your dog has been acting strangely lately and it isn’t as active as it normally is then this could be the problem. If you think that it is then you should take it to a vet and make sure it’s nothing serious.

What To Do About Your dog Not Barking

Below are some options you have when trying to get your dog to bark more.

Give it time

If you have recently adopted your dog, one option would be to give it time to adjust to its new surroundings and to become comfortable around you. However, it would also help to give it lots of positive attention, training, exercise and to play with it to help it become more comfortable.

Make sure it isn’t a medical problem

If it has suddenly stopped barking and it has been showing signs of being in discomfort the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you should be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being ill.

Train it to bark

Another option is to train your dog to bark more with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your dog for displaying the behaviors that you want to see from it and stop rewarding it when it stops displaying them.

To do this get some treats that your dog likes in your hands, give one of them to your dog so that it knows you have them then keep the other just out of its reach until it barks and then give it to it.

You’ll probably find that your dog won’t just begin to bark straight away so start out by rewarding slight growling and then gradually require more and more until it starts to bark.

It will probably start doing the other tricks that it knows, such as sitting or rolling before it starts barking. But, eventually, it should start to make noises that you can then build up to barking.

Make sure to only reward your dog when it barks when you tell it to and not to give it the impression that barking when it wants will get it rewards a loud dog can be worse than a quiet dog.

Watch below to see how to do it.

Things to consider

When you’re training your dog to bark more there are some things to keep in mind.

Don’t use physical measures to make the dog bark

It might be tempting to use physical measures to make your dog bark more but you should avoid doing so. If you punish it then it might not know why it is being punished and it could lead to it having feelings of resentment towards you.

It may just be a timid dog which isn’t so bad

Another thing to consider is that your dog might just be more on the timid side which wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it is since it will mean that it will be better behaved and easier to manage.

Train it to bark only when you want it to

When training your dog to bark as mentioned above, it is important to train it to bark only when you tell it to bark. If you reward it for barking when you do not tell it to bark then it will likely start barking all the time which is not likely what you want.

Give it other ways to communicate

If you can’t get your dog to bark more then another option would be to give it other ways to communicate. For example, you could tie a bell to the door to the backyard so that it can let you know when it wants to pee.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.