Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or just a dog lover, we’re all familiar with that cute, playful puppy stage in a dog’s life, when they yip, howl and bark while playing with other dogs or with you.
But when do puppies start barking? How can you manage your puppy’s barking, and when does barking become problematic? This post is all about puppies, so get ready for a cuteness overload!
Why do puppies bark?
Did you know that cats only meow to get their humans’ attention? While they may hiss at other cats, kitties only truly vocalize when they want or need something from their owner.
Puppies generally bark for the same reasons – maybe they want to tell you that they need to go out to the yard, or they’re excited because you’ve picked up a favorite toy or their leash!
They may also just bark because they’ve learned that this gets you to come over and pet them or play with them. Be careful that you don’t accidentally reward this type of barking.
At 6 to 12 weeks old, and later on, again at 4 to 6 months, puppies often go through a period of barking at seemingly everything! This typically includes doorbells, ringing phones, and mail deliveries, amongst many other things.
Be careful not to react to this barking so that it doesn’t become a habit – unless you find it helpful. This reaction signifies that your puppy has become comfortable in its new home and family and is getting territorial and protective.
If you have other older dogs in your home or street, your new social puppy will also start copying their behaviors. If your puppy hears a dog barking in their yard at night, for example, your pup is likely to bark back. Or, if a dog in your home barks at a doorbell, your pup will join in. Your puppy may even respond to dogs on the TV!
When do puppies start barking?
As soon as your puppy is one month old, they should be fully able to vocalize. This sound probably isn’t quite a bark yet for the first 2 to 3 weeks of your puppy’s life, just whining and grunting. Then when they are about 16 weeks old, your puppy will likely have begun yipping and barking a little!
Toys to deal with problem barking
- KONG – Classic Dog Toy
- Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound – Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toy
- StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
Which puppies bark the most?
As we mentioned earlier, the main reason why your puppy will bark is to get your attention. This may be because they need something or are excited about a toy or activity.
It stands to reason, then, that some large breed dogs may bark less. Why? Well, this is because large breed puppies are better able to get your attention in other ways. For example, they might put a paw on your leg when they want to go to the yard or for a walk.
Plus, when you’re waving a toy around, a large dog can jump up or bat at it, rather than getting frustrated and barking at it.
On top of this, a large puppy’s toys are unlikely to become stuck in areas where they can’t reach them. Even if you leave balls and squeaky toys on the table, a large dog can stand up on its hind legs and at least try to reach them.
But genetics are also a factor. Dogs like the Border Collie, for example, often prefer to observe their current “herd” and are unlikely to bark much when the mail comes in or while playing. Equally, dogs like the Chihuahua or Schnauzer have significant genetic tendencies towards protective barking and will bark all day long!
How can I deal with problem barking?
As we mentioned earlier, one of the best ways to prevent unwanted barking scenarios from carrying forward into your puppy’s adulthood behaviors is to ignore the behavior. However, inevitably, an excitable young puppy still learning its way in the world will bark to a problematic extent at times. So, what can you do about this?
Well, if your puppy is barking at things they see out the window or door, the most effective way to address this barking is to use a barrier, especially while your puppy is still small. If convenient, you could pull the blinds and curtains. Or, moving the furniture away so that your young dog can’t gain access to the windowsill is a good idea.
But if neither of these measures suits, using privacy film on the lower areas of the windows or a privacy fence or gate to prevent your puppy from gaining access to that room or area may work well.
Maybe the problem is more than your puppy barks when you are about to leave them by themselves? This type of barking can be worrying. Neighbors may complain, and it can be challenging to deal with. But fortunately, it’s easy to deal with this problem while your dog is still young.
The best thing to do is to create a space where your puppy feels safe. Give your puppy a small bed, crate, or another area where they can feel comfortable. Close the curtains or blinds in this room, or cover the crate with a blanket.
You can also turn on a fan, TV, or radio to help your puppy feel safer. Very young puppies enjoy clocks, as this simulates a heartbeat.
Or does your puppy just bark for no apparent reason? If this is the case, your puppy is probably just bored! If this is the case, try giving your puppy a consuming activity that will keep their brain and body occupied.
Stuffing an appropriate Kong toy (order here). with cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, or another dog treat paste will keep your puppy happy and quiet for hours! On hot days, you can also freeze it so that it takes even longer to get at.
Licking is relaxing for a dog and will relieve stress if this is the reason why your puppy barks. But do make sure no sharp pieces can break off the toy.
You can also tire your puppy out before you leave, with games, commands like sit, stay, and lie down, or a nice, stimulating walk!