Most people will say that it’s a gift to have a pooch who’s calm and quiet.
Yes, it would be a peaceful life indeed.
There would be no interruptions while you’re sleeping…
and no frequent shushing as well.
But if your dog doesn’t bark, you might be wondering if something’s wrong…
Read on to learn:
- 9 reasons that might be responsible for this.
- When dogs start to vocalize during puppyhood.
- If the behavior’s innate or due to medical conditions.
- Whether you need to be concerned about your dog’s quietness or not.
- 7 scenarios where dogs don’t bark with an explanation why it happens and tips.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- Why doesn’t my dog bark?
- 9 reasons why your dog doesn’t bark
- What to do about it
- When to go to the vet
- 7 scenarios of dogs not barking
Why doesn’t my dog bark?
Your dog doesn’t bark because they’re still young and adjusting in their new home, they’re of a quiet dog breed, or it’s their personality. If they’re rescued, they might be trained to be silent, debarked, or abused. It can also be due to health issues and neck trauma if it happened all of a sudden.
9 reasons why your dog doesn’t bark
#1: ‘Honeymoon period’
“Should I bark…
Uhm, maybe not yet…”
Has it only been a few weeks after getting your dog?
If so, they might be shy and still haven’t got used to their new surroundings.
Rescue dogs, in particular, can be reserved after they’re brought home.
It can be compared to the phase where a couple is still testing the waters.
In their first months of living together, they might hold back. And they may not show some of their true behaviors. Hence the name.
But they might drop their act and start to yap once they become confident.
Just give your pooch some time.
#2: They’re still young
If yours is still a pup, it’s still too early to tell if the behavior is normal or not.
According to vets, dogs usually start to make noises as early as 2 weeks old. But, those will only turn into barks when they’re 2 months of age.
Have you also noticed they’re not barking at strangers?
Well, it’s because your pooch might be too young for their protective instincts to kick in.
They may develop them later on in their life around 8 months old. Or when they’ve formed a bond with you.
#3: ‘Less vocal’ breeds
“I didn’t choose the quiet life…
The quiet life chose me.”
If they’re not a pup and it’s been months already since you had them, relax, it might only be natural for them.
Your dog might be one of those ‘quiet’ types of dogs like Setters, Basenjis, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Shiba Inus.
It might be an unusual thing as dogs are known for their barking. But yes, there are pooches like that.
They’re perfect if you don’t want to worry about getting neighbor complaints every day. You won’t be disturbed during your sleep time as well.
Dogs like Setters are bred to be silent to not scare off birds or rabbits. And they’re a pretty reserved breed as well.
While Basenjis’ narrow larynx makes it impossible for them to bark. But they’ll make ‘yodel’ sounds once in a while.
Fun fact: Did you know that there are records of encounters with ‘mute lap dogs’ in the Caribbean during the 1550s? Based on a study, they can be found in the accounts of Las Casas – a Spanish historian.
#4: It’s just their personality
Every dog is unique, and so is their personality.
If there are dogs who are always yapping for attention, there are also those who avoid it.
Your dog might be shy and doesn’t want to be in the limelight.
Yes, some pooches are like that regardless of breed. They’re rarely heard and will only ‘talk’ when necessary.
For example, when there’s an intruder or if they’re aggravated.
Dogs who are like this may not bark if they’re hungry or going potty. They have their own ways and it’s usually the eyes that do the talking.
#5: Health problems
Is your dog a yapper but turned into a mellow one all of a sudden?
And instead of bark, all you ever hear is coughing?
Oh no. Your dog might have gotten an illness.
This happens when a dog’s trachea or ‘windpipe’ got infected by a virus.
It’s contagious and can be passed on easily to other canines by sniffing or drinking from one bowl. And it may last for weeks depending on the severity.
VCA says that aside from loud coughing after an exercise, there are other signs to watch out for:
- Swollen tonsils.
- Loss of appetite.
- Runny eyes and nose.
According to research, it may take about 14 months for the most common bacteria to cause this to be fully removed from the trachea.
It’s a sickness where the airway swells due to allergens, pollutants, and smoke in the air.
They’ll have a dry cough that lasts for more than a month. Then as it progresses, it may result in damage to the lungs.
Dogs who are old and middle-aged are more likely to have this condition.
Below are its other symptoms:
- Bluish gums.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Gagging after coughing.
This is caused by a tumor in their larynx or ‘voice box.’
Like bronchitis, it’s also an illness where old and middle-aged dogs are prone to.
Here are its other signs apart from not barking:
- Less stamina.
- Difficulty eating.
- Noisy breathing.
- Bluish mucous membranes.
It happens when the windpipe sags. As a result, air can’t go to the lungs easily and it will cause difficulty in breathing.
Dogs who have this will have a dry cough. It’ll intensify when they’re excited, sleeping at night, the weather’s hot, and done eating.
#6: Neck/throat trauma
This is more likely if your pooch tries to bark but nothing or other noises come out.
When the muscles around a dog’s ‘voice box’ become weak, its walls will cave in and will result in this.
It might be caused by trauma in the neck or throat, or due to tumors.
This is usually mistaken as bronchitis as their signs are similar, such as:
- Noisy breathing.
- Altered bark sound.
- Difficulty exercising.
- Coughing after exertion.
Note: Dogs who have this will cough more after eating or drinking.
If your pooch had surgery, they might not be able to bark for a short time.
This is due to the trauma caused by the tube inserted through their windpipe.
But don’t fret, it’ll be fixed in just days.
They might have also had a long yapping craze which made their voice sound hoarse.
And they never spoke again.”
It’s also possible that your pooch has been socialized well when they’re young. They rarely feel anxious or insecure so they don’t often bark.
Your dog might have also learned to be quiet and only ‘speak’ when they have to.
Their previous dog parents might have taught them.
Also, you might’ve said a firm “no” to them when they snarled during puppyhood, and they remembered it.
If that’s the case, it’s a wonderful thing so don’t sweat it.
#8: Trauma due to mistreatment
Are they a rescue who has been like that ever since you got them?
If yes, they might have been abused by their previous owners whenever they barked. That’s why they learned to be ‘silent’ in a cruel way.
Those people might have also used a shock collar or inflict trauma on their neck. And those made yapping difficult or impossible for them.
This is truly heartbreaking and unforgivable. Aside from not barking, your pooch might also feel nervous all the time.
#9: They’ve been ‘debarked’
This might be connected to the previous reason.
It’s an inhuman surgery wherein the tissues around the vocal cords are removed. As a result, it’ll be impossible for a dog to bark again.
But they can still make noises like whining and whistle which sound like this:
They might also cough and gag after it, and swallow with difficulty. Eating may also be hard for them.
Trivia: In a study in Japan, 86% of the respondents said that barking is the most problematic behavior their dogs have.
What to do about it
Aside from being their way of communication, barking could also indicate stress and anxiety.
So a dog who seems to be healthy and quiet in nature isn’t something to be worried about.
If they’re still a pup or it hasn’t been that long since you’ve got them, just be patient.
Give them some time to open up and feel more confident. They also need your help in this so you must attend to their needs.
You need to make time to bond and play with them as well to build trust.
Doing those things will also help if your dog has been through traumatic experiences.
They may not be their old selves again as their wounds might be too deep. But bonding with your dog’ll lessen their anxiety. So they’ll surely feel better too once they feel your love.
When to go to the vet
You must have your pooch checked by an expert if they:
- Stopped barking for weeks.
- Whine or cough very often and not yap.
- Never bark at all – even when you’ve had them for months.
They might have a medical problem and are in pain. Some cases might need a treatment plan, while some may even require surgery.
By doing this, you’ll also know how to care for them at home. As well as the things you must avoid to not worsen their condition.
7 scenarios of dogs not barking
#1: I’ve never heard my dog bark
As mentioned earlier, some dogs are naturally quiet due to their breed or personality.
They might have also been trained and socialized well before so they rarely bark.
And if these seem to be the case for your dog, relax. You can now put your mind at ease because they’re perfectly fine.
But if they’re adopted very recently, they might not be comfortable yet with their new home. So, just let them be and make them feel secure.
And also, this is sad, but they might have been a victim of abuse before.
Do they cower and feel anxious all the time?
If so, they might have been debarked or taught to be silent using force. And it caused trauma in both their mind and body.
It would be best to know their real situation or if they have other issues.
At home, avoid doing things that scare them and make them feel safe instead. And build trust by feeding them treats and bonding with them.
#2: My 5-month-old puppy doesn’t bark
If your pupper is not yet a yapper, it might be due to their young age.
They might still be in the ‘adjusting’ stage so they don’t find you or your house to be something they should protect.
It’s because those instincts need time to be developed through time and bonding.
A pup may also start to bark even later than 16 weeks old. And some may start after a year and it’ll depend on every dog.
Just give them time and make them feel at ease. Who knows, they might surprise you and turn into a chatterbox!
So for now, enjoy your peace. 🙂
#3: Dog doesn’t bark but whines
Whining is usually an attention-seeking behavior. But, it can also be due to pain or anxiety.
If they’re adopted, they might have been mistreated in the past. They can also be debarked that’s why they can only produce those sounds.
But if it happened all of a sudden, they might whine because of an injury or illness. And they might need some medication.
Also, it might be due to your dog’s nature and personality. Some dogs may prefer crying than barking when they want something.
#4: Dog can’t bark and coughs
They might have a medical condition or trauma in their neck or throat. Especially if their coughing is excessive and with some signs mentioned earlier.
You can’t do anything about this by yourself. So, you must have them checked at once to find out what caused it.
By doing this, you’ll know the treatment plan for your dog. And how they must be taken care of at home.
#5: Dog doesn’t know how to bark
If it seems like your pooch hasn’t discovered their voice box yet, they might not be comfortable yet.
Or it can be that they haven’t been exposed much to other dogs or have been taught to be like that.
There are some dogs who didn’t bark for months until they had a sibling who yaps a lot.
It can also be due to their breed and attitude.
You can let them just the way they are or teach them how to ‘speak’ on command.
To do that, you need to know what things excite them most. If it’s a toy, use it to get their attention.
Hold it and lure them. Before they bark, say your cue word of choice. When they do speak’, give them a treat.
Repeat it until they learn how to yap even without a reward.
#6: Dog not barking anymore
If they suddenly became quiet, they might be suffering from stress or anxiety. But it can also be due to a trauma in their neck or sickness like throat cancer.
If all medical issues were ruled out after a check up, you can seek a dog behaviorist then.
#7: Senior dog no longer barks
Sometimes, due to old age, a dog may not be as vocal and active as before. They might prefer to just lay down and not care too much about other dogs or even strangers.
But, it’s not always the case. There are possible illnesses they can get when they’re old.
If it’s related to barking, it can be chronic bronchitis or throat cancer. It can also be a problem with their voice box or windpipe.