5 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Bark When You Argue + 5 Tips

Why Do Dogs Bark When You Argue

Are you quick-tempered? Crabby? Or do people just love pushing your buttons?

Does your dog bark when you’re arguing with your significant other or another person?

Ever wonder what’s upsetting them when you’re the one who’s upset?

If you answered “yes” to at least one question read on to: 

  • Educate yourself about your dog’s (lack of) social skills.
  • Determine if your dog has been so used to seeing you.
  • Know about how your dog’s feeling, and if he’s been agitated for far too long.
  • Find out if you’re doing your part whenever your dog barks after your argument with someone.
  • Learn the reason why your dog barks when you argue: if it’s because of you or the person you’re arguing with.

Why do dogs bark when you argue?

Dogs bark when they see you argue because they’re not used to seeing and sensing this. The noise and tension in the air stress them out. Another reason is that dogs see their humans argue regularly. Thus, the way they react by barking or getting aggressive has become the norm for them.

Do dogs get upset when their owners argue?

While there are some dogs that barely react when they hear their human arguing, other dogs get very upset. They show it by barking, standing between the two of you, and trying to break up the argument.

The reason why there are dogs that get upset when their human parents argue stems from:

  • Whom you argue with.
  • Whom you and your dog live with.
  • Your dog’s behavior and social skills.

Take into consideration as well if your dog knows the person you’re arguing with as well. If your dog’s exposed to that on a regular basis, they may have developed psychological issues.

How does arguing affect my dog?

Arguing affects your dog mainly by stressing them out and agitating them. Some don’t react as strongly as others but can develop behavioral problems in the long run.

Do one thing long enough in front of your dog and he’ll adapt to it.

To put it simply, this all depends on how you raised your dog.

Are you an angry person by nature? Do you mistreat your dog (which, for the love of all things holy, I hope you don’t)?

Take note that dogs know if their human is happy or angry. The determining element of this is the combination of what they see and hear.

Know how there’s a saying dogs can smell your fear? It’s no joke!

Angry face? Yelling? Movement of some sort? They would know. Every single thing you do, not just when you’re arguing, has and will have an effect on your dog.

Dogs exposed to shouting can lead to problems such as:

  • Biting.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Aggression.
  • Excessive barking.

Dogs can also be affected by their parents arguing because they love you.

So let’s debate for a bit since this is a tad relevant. Do you think dogs are capable of love?

We humans like to believe they do. We have the feeling they do especially if we’re loving towards them. If they’re all warm and cuddly and do nothing but snuggle us and have us pet them, our natural instinct tells us they do.

But is there a shred of concrete scientific evidence that dogs are truly capable of love?

Sorry to break your heart, but there isn’t.

That doesn’t mean they don’t “love” us though, so don’t be discouraged. At the end of the day, we define love. And I can see it in my Lissa’s eyes. 🙂


5 reasons why your dog barks when you argue


#1: Your dog is not used to seeing you upset

Your Dog Barks When You Argue Because He's Not Used To Seeing You Upset

They’re used to being in a quiet environment and you’re not the type to yell. So the sudden tension and loud voices startle them.

They’re confused and they’re trying to figure out why you’re upset, and they want to help.

This is why we have ESAs (Emotional Support Animals – dogs specifically in this case) – a story for another time.

Since your dog’s hearing your voice, they use theirs too. They’re trying to distract you because they feel the need to protect you.

When your dog sees you sad and crying, they also feel distressed. They’ll find a way to be involved and do something to help.

If they could grab their toy and hand it to you, it’s certain they would

#2: Your dog is so used to seeing you upset

This applies to people who live with someone whom they argue with regularly.

Has it been a routine to be yelling around the house? Were you expecting your dog to ignore or just get over it?

Because your dog keeps seeing and hearing you yell, it’s become normal for them to yell as well.

Dogs have a tendency to adopt their human’s personality traits.

To put it simply, your dog is mirroring what it sees in you (some traits, if not all – only you can tell). It’s learned to adopt the yelling, translated to either excitement or aggression.

#3: Your dog doesn’t know and/or doesn’t like who you’re arguing with

Again, your good-est boy or girl needs to protect you. So they’ll bark when you argue with someone who’s unfamiliar to them.

Your dog’s wondering who’s making you upset and why they’re doing that. So instinctively, they’ll have to get involved.

Dogs come to our rescue and support us even without us telling them, especially if we treat them well. Remember the question earlier if you think dogs are capable of love?

Yes, there’s no scientific data to back this up. But there’s no denying that there’s an emotional connection between humans and dogs.

On the other hand, say you’re having an argument with someone you live with. The dog asks itself, “Who between these two am I going to choose?”

If you and the other person equally have strong bonds with the dog, it’s likely that it won’t take sides. Rather, it will try to distract you and break up the fight.

We can imagine some dogs would think the same as humans. They won’t take sides unless they prefer one over the other.

#4: Your dog is feeling agitated

When people are fighting, we humans get bothered too. We wonder what the fuss is all about and we just want it to stop.

Dogs feel the same. It’s also possible for them to feel like it’s them you’re upset with.

Say you’re in the middle of an argument and your dog’s barking nonstop, you get irritated and yell at them.

Great. Now they think you’re upset with them.

Of course, you didn’t mean it, but watch if they’re:

  • Peeing.
  • Shaking.
  • Whimpering.
  • Averting eyes.
  • Whale eye-ing.
  • Doing the classic puppy dog eyes.

You may also want to observe if your dog’s becoming more aggressive or anxious.

#5: Your dog lacks social skills

Your Dog Lacks Social Skills

Unfamiliarity would make anyone uncomfortable, not just our best friends.

Dogs often react in fear or aggression due to lack of socialization, albeit not all.

Limited exposure to other dogs and people also leads to other problems such as:

  • Reactivity.
  • Sound sensitivity.
  • Generalized fearfulness.
  • Nervousness around people and other dogs.

Your dog may also potentially be hard to handle and scared of adventures.


5 tips on what to do if your dog barks when you argue


#1: Are you always arguing?

Before wanting to fix your dog, fix his surroundings first. And that starts with you.

You’re their human, their dog parent. You need to keep that in mind and keep them on your priority list, too.

When you start feeling like you’re ready to shout and yell and argue, do these:

  • Don’t do it.
  • Step back.
  • Slow down.
  • Take a deep breath.

Maintain your composure and say what only needs to be said. Keep yourself contained and stay calm.

You’ll be surprised that your dog will act the same way because they can smell you doing it. By “the same way” I mean not opening their mouth to yell, meaning bark. 

#2: Has your dog adopted your behavior?

Exposure to quarrels on a regular basis puts your dog on edge. It will repeatedly try to settle the fight itself if it’s a constant thing.

If your dog has turned very aggressive due to this, start making changes as mentioned in tip #1. Your dog is a mirror of your personality. So if you’re calm, so are they.

If it’s gotten to the point where you don’t know how to handle your dog anymore, seek professional help. There’s always a fix even if you have an older dog.

According to Dr. Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC, an expert in dogs, older dogs learn slower, but they’ll remember.

So you can teach an old dog new tricks. Patience is always key.

#3. How often and with whom do you argue?

It’s challenging if the person you repeatedly argue with shares the same household. This is very stressful for your dog.

It’s not a question of who you should get rid of – that’s completely unnecessary and please don’t resort to that.

Minimizing the quarrels and putting your dog’s best interest at heart is what you can do best.

And while we’re on the topic of self-betterment, eliminating difficult people helps. But if that’s not an option, we can learn how to deal with them.

#4: Have you ever asked yourself how your dog feels?

Assess your dog. Observe them.

As mentioned before, there are many signs and behaviors to watch out for. While you’re their fur parent, they could also be secretly mad at you.

In this particular case, you might’ve shouted at them. This falls under “If you don’t like it, why should your dog?”

Dogs translate shouting differently than humans. It may work on another person to shut them up, but dogs see it as a means to get even more excited.

Another thing is if you make them hang out with people or other dogs that they don’t vibe with. Of course, this is problematic if the “offending” party shares the same roof, so opt to seek a professional.

Dogs live in the moment. So there’s no need to worry if they’re mad at you for a given time – they’ll get over it.

Don’t forget to make it up to them as well if you treated them mean!

You might also want to check out: 9 real reasons why it looks like your dog hates you

#5: How do you conclude arguments?

Again, when you’re upset, so is your dog.

Let’s say you’re arguing with your significant other and your dog sees this over and over. Your dog is highly likely to associate your negative mood with your partner’s presence.

If your dog is close to both you and your SO, they’ll will side with whoever has the stronger bond with them. As a result, might be aggressive towards the other person.

What you can do is to keep your disagreements low-key and speak calmly as much and as often as you can.

In another instance, you might have gotten your dog used to jumping and hugging you when you get home. Then you’re having a bad day so when he did, you scolded him.

Don’t give your dog mixed signals. Be consistent because this messes with them.

Your dog needs to be able to rely on you, so if you’re reliable, your dog will be too.

Now if you’re furious and don’t know how to handle yourself, stay away from your dog.

Remember, dogs can sense how you feel – the tension, your facial expression, the tone of your voice. They’re sensitive so they’ll be agitated.

Please, don’t ever respond to their barking physically. It’s NEVER acceptable to hit your dog. As humans we should know better and act humane.

Try to remain patient. Violence and/or yelling is never the solution.