WHY IS MY DOG NOT BARKING AT STRANGERS?
Naturally, dogs are expected to bark at strangers. It is one of those fantasies that we have about dogs, we expect them to alert us of any change or danger in our immediate environment, by being vocal about it. So when you have a dog that does not bark when a stranger passes by, you end up wondering “Why is my dog not barking at strangers?”
You see, not all dogs like to bark at strangers. In fact, most dogs are friendly and enjoy human company, they are not threatened or afraid of us. For the more vocal ones, they bark to express their emotions, to warn us of impending danger, to show us they are angry or sad, frustrated or bored.
In addition to warning intruders to stay away or alerting you to a potential threat, a dog might also bark because he’s frustrated or bored, or because he simply wants your attention. Dogs also sometimes bark to express emotions such as fear, anger, or excitement.
Having said that, there are major reasons why your dog may not be barking at strangers at all and we would try to highlight them properly in this write-up.
Your Dog’s Breed.
This may be a major reason why your dog is not barking at strangers. Some dog breeds are known to be less vocal than others. They would prefer to express themselves in other ways apart from barking. These dogs, although very much aware of the noise around them are actually less bothered with them. Because of this trait in them, you will find them doing very well in cities and apartment living where people appreciate less noise and quiet in their homes after a grueling day outdoors.
Some examples of these dog breeds are The Basenji, Shar Pei, Borzoi, French Bulldog, Shiba Inu, Bouvier des Flandres, Bernese Mountain Dog, Irish Setter, etc.
The Dog’s Personality.
This is something we try as much as possible to make dog parents understand. Each dog is unique in its own merit. They have their characteristics and general disposition to things. Just like a human being can be unique no matter the race or gender.
Some dogs are vocal and just like barking, others are just laid back and wouldn’t bark if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. It’s up to you to understand which type your dog fits into.
This one is more true for dogs that have been vocal in the past. Did your dog just undergo some surgery? Or it is simply a case of your dog being unwell. There are a lot of health issues that can leave your dog feeling weak and restless. Some of these health issues include infections like parvovirus, distemper, kennel cough, and leptospirosis. There are also metabolic diseases like diabetes, heart conditions, liver problems, and hypoglycemia.
Health Issues are best treated by vet doctors in veterinary hospitals or clinics.
Adapting to an environment.
This is a common situation especially if the dog has been newly adopted. They tend to be calm in the first few days as they are trying to learn more about this new environment they find themselves in. It makes no point barking at a supposed stranger who might be the one to feed and take care of you later.
Shelter dogs that are newly adopted are usually suspect in this situation. They may not have been getting much personal attention in the shelter and suddenly they find themselves in a new environment where they seem to be getting three times or more the attention they used to get in the shelter. This would make most of them shy, but more so, they would tend to put up the best behavior they can and that means they try to be very quiet and not give any problems as much as they can.
You can compare this stage to how teenage love feels. It feels good but definitely does not last. As soon as they understand and adapt properly to this new environment, their true personalities kick in. If the dog is a vocal one, he or she would likely start barking at strangers coming into what they believe is their territory.
When a dog barks a lot, there is the possibility that his or her voice can become hoarse and even painful to them from overuse. This same dog that has been barking at strangers will suddenly go silent, leaving you wondering “why is my dog not barking at strangers?”
Well, as we were explaining, your once vocal dog now has a stressed vocal chord and hence cannot bark as they used to.
Other things that can lead to vocal stress are cold, injuries to the throat region, and Laryngeal Paralysis or collapse. Injuries and colds can usually be treated with medication but Laryngeal Paralysis or collapse requires surgery. Be sure to contact your vet doctor for advice if you believe your dog is experiencing vocal stress.
A cruel and invasive surgical procedure that involves the removal of a large amount of laryngeal tissue from the dog, making them unable to bark. This procedure has been outlawed in most developed countries but you cannot say the same for the rest of the world.
Depending on where you may be adopting your dog from, he or she may have experienced something like this leading to their inability to bark at strangers. any vet doctor worth the vocation would refuse to perform such surgery but the world can be a cruel place and you never know how far people can go to get what they want.
In all, it is possible that you have been unconsciously training your dog not to bark at strangers from the way you behave with him or her. Remember, our dogs tend to repeat behaviors that we approve of. If for some reason we don’t appreciate or approve of our dogs barking when a stranger is around, their natural instinct would be to stop doing so.
In this regard, the best thing you can do is to start training your dog to bark at strangers especially if that is what you want from them. To start off, it is important that your dog can obey simple commands like ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘stay’.
Learn more about basic commands here DOG TRAINING GUIDE: BASIC DOG TRAINING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
After which you may consider getting some training supplies for your dog. In this situation a dog Leash, Some Treats, and someone to assist you are all you basically need. According to PB Getz from wagwalking.com,
There are three methods that you can use to train your dog to bark at strangers.
The Hello Friend Method
The Pick Your Cue Word Method
The What Do You Hear Method
Let’s summarize each method for easier understanding.
1. The Hello Friend Method.
Take your dog into a room where people always come in through the door like a bedroom or kitchen. Make sure your dog is in the sit position here.
Enlist the help of your friend, get them to knock on the door.
If your dog barks, praise them and give them a treat, if they don’t just act normal till your dog barks.
The next phase is to get your friend to knock on the glass or windows.
If your dog barks, praise them and give them a treat, if they don’t just act normal till your dog barks.
As your dog begins to understand what is expected, you can switch things up, by using other rooms and enlisting the help of more people.
2. The Pick Your Cue Word Method.
The whole idea here is to get your dog to bark on command, so first, choose a cue word for example “bark”
Put your dog on a leash and attach it to something in the room, step out of the room and call your dogs name.
When your dog realizes that he or she can get out of the leash to answer you, they will likely bark. At this point you come into the room, praise your dog and offer some treats.
Repeat the process till your dog understands what is expected.
Next thing is to add the cue word “bark” immediately your dog barks.
You can take it to the next level by getting someone in your household to repeat the same training with your dog.
3. The What Do You Hear Method.
This method is geared more towards dogs with tendencies to vocalize their feelings. It is mainly aimed at encouraging the dog to bark at strangers when you want them to and ignoring other occurrences.
Each time your dog barks at a stranger, interact with him or her. Ask questions like “What’s it?” while rewarding them with praises.
For the dogs that are quieter, encourage them to check what is happening. This way, your dog will start to understand that you expect some form of engagement when a stranger comes around.
When this works and your dog has understood the whole process. Begin to teach her the quiet command. This will help your dog not only to interact with you by barking when a stranger comes around, but it will also help to teach them to be quiet on command.
The next step is to try the command in more complex scenarios or simply put, outside the house.
So that’s it. if you have wondered “my dog is not barking at all‘ or “why is my dog not barking at strangers?” You have not only possible reasons but also the steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you.
OTHER RELATED QUESTIONS.
When do puppies start barking at strangers?
Puppies start barking at strangers immediately they find their louder voice. This usually falls into their 6 to 12 weeks of age when they start trying to socialize. This means they would not only bark at strangers in this phase, but they will also bark at unfamiliar objects and noises too. They would usually calm down after the 12th week and repeat the same phase at about the 4th to the 6th month of their age.
How to make a puppy bark at strangers.
You can make a puppy start barking at strangers by training them to do so. Using “the Pick Your Cue Word Method” works well in this instance.
How to teach a dog to bark aggressively.
You do this by encouraging your dog to bark at any instance. Use a cue word or command like “speak” or “bark”. Whenever you are indoors and your dog is outside, issue the command. Reward your dog when he or she barks. With time the protective instinct that comes with a dog barking will be reinforced in them and they would bark at anything they believe to be potential threats aggressively.
Why does my dog bark at some strangers and not others?
A dog would bark at some strangers and not others based on the aura or characteristics which the stranger exhibits or a memory that the stranger triggers in the dog. A stranger that gives the aura of safety, confidence, friendliness, and trust from a dog’s perspective will not be barked at, but a stranger giving the aura of anger, violence, and aggression would be barked at as they would seem to be a potential threat.
My 5-month-old puppy doesn’t bark.
As far as you can confirm your dog does not have a medical condition or undergoing some vocal stress, then you can chuck your dog’s behaviour up to it being a function of the breed or personality
Hi, I am Charles Nwankwo Editor-in-Chief, Mydoggything.com. Gleaning from Professional Dog Trainers, behaviorist, Registered Veterinarians, and Breeders. We are passionate about making dog care easy for you. My job is to make sure that you get the best-updated dog care information to understand and take care of your dog or dogs.