Dogs communicate in many ways and barking is certainly one of the most common one. They can also communicate through body language and whining but when specifically talking about golden retrievers you should know that they are social dogs.
Because of the incredible temperament of the golden retriever breed, it's unlikely (but not unheard of) for them to be barking at every little noise they hear.
Compared to other dog breeds, I'd have to say they are moderate barkers. Most people don’t have a problem dealing with excessive barking when it comes to golden retrievers.
If you want a dog with personality, a golden retriever will deliver for sure. Golden retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world for multiple reasons.
Goldens have a lot of desirable traits especially for families. Retrievers in general are very even tempered dogs and they’re able to put up with a lot of guff without reacting poorly. If you have small children in the house that could potentially pull on a dog's ear or tail but you're still set on getting a dog, a golden retriever would be the way to go. Historically, golden retrievers are one of the least aggressive breeds out there.
Many families decide to get a golden retriever because they’re known for being affectionate and loyal to their owners. They're typically great with other animals and new people as well. If you're the kind of person that likes to throw parties and have other over, a golden isn't likely to freak out on your guests.
Unfortunately, this same trait also means that they are often terrible guard dogs. They’re very energetic creatures but they'd rather spend that energy in a game of fetch rather than fighting off intruders.
Golden retrievers are also known for their intelligence. This comes in handy when you’re training your dog and it’s also the reason why golden retrievers are a popular breed among the service dog industry.
From emotional support to therapy dogs and even service dogs, golden retrievers shine when they have a job.
Reasons Why They Might Bark
There are many reasons why your golden retriever might bark and it’s important to recognize these reasons if you want them to stop. They’re trying to communicate a message to you and if you don’t get it then they’ll continue to bark. Depending on why your dog is barking, their behavior can escalate quick so it's important that you receive their message.
Golden retrievers are known for their social abilities and are typically very well behaved around other dogs they've just met. However, it's better to be safe than sorry. Pay attention to their overall behavior to see if any of the other dogs make them anxious or stressed out. A stressed dog will usually bark but they also may growl, whine, pull their ears back, or potentially even snap at others if approached.
Any time that your dog is really worked up about anything they're more than likely going to start barking. One very common issue with dogs is separation anxiety. Because you are your retrievers best friend, they're going to get upset every morning before you leave for work or go on long trips.
Golden retrievers don't only bark when they're in distress. In fact, most of the time they're more than likely barking because they're excited and full of energy. They might see you going for the leash and start barking uncontrollably because they are anticipating what is about to happen. Excited barking is usually accompanied with some tail wagging or jumping around.
Golden retrievers also bark when they want attention. These dogs are very caring and affectionate animals and they expect to get some love back in return. Boredom is a common reason why a golden would bark but they also might be barking because they need to go outside or something along those lines. Don't ignore them completely or else you might end up with a puddle on your floor.
How to Decrease Barking
If you think your golden retriever is barking more than it needs to be, there are a couple of things you can do to get them to ease up a little bit. It's easier to work on their behavior if you know the reasons why they are barking. Knowing what the situation is will help you be able to solve their barking problem.
All barks are not necessarily created equal. The way your dog barks can tell you a lot about what they are trying to communicate to you. It’s important to recognize the differences between the types of barks your dog uses so that you can figure out why they are barking. According to the American Kennel Club, you can use a dogs pitch as well as the sequence of a dog's barks to determine the meaning.
A good indicator of what your dog might be barking about is the pitch that they use. If your dog is barking at a squirrel it's more than likely going to sound different than when they're barking at you when you have their favorite toy. Higher pitches are usually associated with more urgent matters while lower pitched barks are used more to get attention.
Another thing to pay attention to is how often they bark. If your dog feels they need to be heard right there and then, they will bark non stop until the matter is resolved. There could be something wrong so if this is something your dog doesn't do often you should check it out. In times when your dog is mildly annoyed they might bark a couple times a minute.
The most obvious solution to decrease the amount of barking your golden retriever does is by training them. Training is a lot easier and more effective when the dog is a puppy but can still be achieved with an older dog.
One of the first things you can work on is getting them to respond to a "quiet command". Put your dog in a common barking situation and use this command to get him to stop. Keep in mind that training is a lot more effective when you use positive reinforcement. Give them a treat each time they comply with the command.
Dogs tend to feed off of the energy in the room so it's important to keep a positive energy when you're training your retriever. Training can be a long and frustrating process but keeping your cool will make things easier in the long run. Just like when you come home from a long day and you express your excitement to see your dog, they will get excited in return.
However, if you do get tired of them you can always bring your dog to a couple obedience classes. This is a very popular and effective alternative to training your dog yourself. Experienced trainers will show you the best techniques to get your retriever to behave they way you want them to. It also gives your dog the opportunity to socialize with the other dogs in your class.
Just like with children, it's important to let your dog experience new things and new people/animals. Socialization will help your dog to stay calm when having new experiences which will overall decrease the amount of barking they do. Places like dog parks and vet offices can make dogs anxious if they're not used to being around other animals.
Boredom is another very common reason why a golden retriever might bark. Taking them on walks or letting them run around gives them the opportunity to exert energy in a positive way rather than exerting it negatively by barking. Building trust by keeping them happy often makes training them a lot easier.
If you're doing all you can to get them calm down simply ignoring them when they bark might do the trick. Giving them attention when they bark is positively reinforcing the behavior and you'll just be digging a deeper hole. When they see that their barking is getting them nowhere they'll likely stop barking. Remember that positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage good behavior. When they stop barking it's smart to give them a treat or a rub down.
Have any other questions about why your golden retriever might by barking? Give us a comment and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!