Skip to Content

Why doesn’t my Labrador bark?

Why doesn’t my Labrador bark?

While having a Labrador that doesn’t bark may seem like a good thing, it can be a bit worrisome when it doesn’t bark at all. In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might not bark and what you can do about it.

So, why isn’t your Labrador barking? There are a number of reasons why your Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador Might Not Be Barking

Below are a number of reasons why your Labrador might not bark much and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.


The first reason why your Labrador might not be barking is that it has a more subdued personality.

If this is the case then it could be that it just prefers not to bark often. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing it means that your Labrador won’t be bothering you and 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 Labrador when it needs help.

If your Labrador is otherwise acting normally and doesn’t show signs of any other weird behavior then this is more likely to be the reason.

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

Still becoming comfortable

If your Labrador hasn’t been living with you for long then it could still be in a stage where it doesn’t feel comfortable with its surroundings.  If this is the case then it is not unusual for it to not be barking much.

Past Experiences

It could be the case that your Labrador has learned not to bark because it had bad experiences with barking in the past. This is especially likely to be the case if it is a shelter dog where it might have had previous owners that treated it badly.


One reason why your Labrador might not bark 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

It could also be the case that your Labrador has stopped barking due to vocal stress. This would be more likely if it was barking a lot recently, if it sounds different when it barks and if it has been coughing a lot.

Previous training

The cause could be that previous owners trained it not to bark. If your Labrador has had previous owners then this could be the case you could try contacting them or you can try to train your Labrador to bark when you want it to.

It could also be that you inadvertently trained it not to bark in the past yourself. If you punished your Labrador in the past when it used to bark 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.

Medical causes

It might be the case that your Labrador doesn’t bark due to being ill or having a medical issue. This would be more likely if it has stopped barking suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or having medical issues such as being much less active.

If it does seem like it might have medical issues, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

What To Do About Your Labrador Not Barking

Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to bark more.

Give it time

If your Labrador has not had much time to adjust to its new surroundings then it’s probably not feeling comfortable enough to start barking.

If this is the case then you can wait a few more weeks to see if it starts barking as time goes by and it starts to get more comfortable.

Make it comfortable

If you think that your Labrador is not feeling comfortable in its current environment then you can help to make it feel more comfortable. You can do this by giving it treats to play with, taking it out for walks and giving it lots of attention.

Make sure it isn’t a medical problem

If it seems like it might be ill or have a medical issue, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored to your particular Labrador and to rule out illness or medical problems as the cause.

Train it to bark

Another option would be to use positive reinforcement training to get it to bark.

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

You can watch the video below for more tips on how to train it to bark.

Things to consider

Don’t use physical measures to make the Labrador bark

Using physical measures to get your Labrador to bark more like electrical collars are not a good way to go about doing it. Physical methods could make your dog scared and not trust you and will not help you in forming a bond with your dog.

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

It could be the case that your Labrador is naturally quiet, this would not be such a bad thing. It means that your Labrador will be much easier to control and when it is loud you will know that something really is wrong.

Train it to bark only when you want it to

When training your Labrador to bark make sure that you get it to do it on command otherwise you might get the opposite problem where you have a Labrador that won’t stop barking since it thinks barking will get it treats. This is why it is important to only reward the Labrador for barking when you tell it to.

Give it other ways to communicate

It would also be an option to give it other ways that it can communicate with you. For example, you could put a bell on the door so that it can let you know when it wants to go outside.