Golden Retrievers might have had their origins in Scotland, but they have fast become one of the world’s most popular dogs! Goldens are renowned for their friendly, enthusiastic, and devoted temperaments. If you’re considering adding a Golden to your family, one of your questions might include whether they tend to bark a lot.
All dogs bark to some degree, but the good news is that the Golden Retriever is not a breed prone to much barking. But this does not mean they might not have the occasional barking session.
Here, we go over what might cause a Golden Retriever to bark and a few tips on managing a dog that barks too much.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
All dogs bark (except the Basenji technically, which makes more of a yodeling sound) to express emotion when calling to other dogs and humans or for territorial reasons. Let’s take a closer look at why dogs bark.
Many dogs bark as a way of warning others to stay away from their property and family. Some dogs are much more territorial than others, and you’ll commonly see other behaviors along with the barking, such as growling and specific body language to scare away the intruder.
While Goldens are not as territorial as some other breeds, if something or someone is perceived as a threat, a Golden will likely bark. That said, while Goldens are excellent guard dogs, they aren’t aggressive.
This is one of the most common reasons that dogs bark. They do it as a way to communicate with animals, humans, and other dogs. It might be used to gain attention, especially if you are focused on something else.
A Golden trying to get your attention will bark in a repetitive way that will potentially get louder until you respond.
Dogs sometimes bark out of pure joy and excitement. Golden Retrievers are energetic dogs and are full of exuberance and happiness, so it’s not out of the question that they will bark when particularly excited.
Before a walk, when you come home, or even during play, Goldens will bark to say hello and just show you how happy they are at that moment.
Anxiety and Stress
Goldens are easygoing dogs that don’t tend to get overly stressed or anxious. However, it does happen. For example, most dogs are afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks or if another dog is acting aggressively. In cases like these, a Golden Retriever will likely bark.
The barking can sometimes be accompanied by whining or growling, and if they are particularly stressed, they can potentially snap at someone too close to them.
But Golden Retrievers take their cues from their owners. If you’re relaxed around someone they don’t know, the dog will also be more relaxed.
A dog that’s alone may bark because they are unhappy. Goldens are prone to separation anxiety because they are social breeds that form strong bonds with their loved ones. Excessive barking can also be a sign of boredom while left alone.
Besides barking incessantly, a dog experiencing separation anxiety will whine, cry, and howl. They are also capable of destructive behavior and inappropriate elimination inside the house.
Dogs will sometimes bark because of a natural reaction to something. Goldens might bark in frustration if they can’t reach their ball, or they might bark if startled by something. Sometimes, dogs bark when they hear something unusual inside or outside or when they hear another dog barking.
Usually, this kind of barking lasts for short periods and doesn’t continue for too long unless the event that caused the barking to begin with is also ongoing.
What If Your Golden Retriever Barks a Lot?
Since barking is a natural form of communication for dogs, punishment is not the right way to go. This will only confuse and scare them, so you’ll need to look into using positive reinforcement training. You can do the training yourself, but be sure to first read a few books and online articles by reliable dog trainers.
You can also speak to your vet and consider hiring an animal behaviorist or a certified dog trainer to help you with the barking issue.
Tips for a Barking Dog
Before jumping into training, you first need to figure out what is causing your Golden to bark so much. Sometimes, just addressing the cause could put a stop to the behavior.
If you suspect that your Golden is barking while you’re out, you’ll need to ensure that your dog has something to keep them from feeling bored and lonely.
There are a few steps that you can take to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety, but tips that might help are to give your dog enrichment toys. Goldens are intelligent dogs and these can help keep them occupied.
For lunch, try to go home so you can spend time with your Golden. If that isn’t possible, ask your family, friends, and neighbors to stop in or hire a dog walker. You can also consider getting another dog, particularly since Goldens are quite social.
Take your dog for a long walk after you get home so they can expend that pent-up energy and spend quality time with you.
If your Golden seems to be fond of barking at everything and everyone who passes by the house, try putting up screens and curtains so your dog can’t see the sidewalk.
Keeping your dog occupied and removing triggers can help. This may include removing the chair that your dog uses to look out of the window, for example.
Training is essential here. Good training can teach your dog to stop barking on command or to only bark when it’s okay. Just remember to keep the training positive and to only reward for successful results.
If your Golden tends to bark for attention, be sure to give them plenty of attention when you’re there. It’s best if you don’t leave Golden Retrievers alone for more than 5 hours at a time and to shower them with affection and attention when you’re home.
The good news is that Golden Retrievers are not known to be barkers. But like most dogs, they will bark, and if they weren’t appropriately socialized while puppies, they might be more territorial than the average Golden.
But on average, Goldens will only have occasional barking stints at the usual suspects and won’t necessarily dig in for long and loud barking sessions.
The other good news is the intelligence and loving devotion of Golden Retrievers make them quite trainable, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to train any annoying barking habits out of them.
As long as you take good care of your Golden and ensure that all their needs are met, you should end up with a dog that will only bark when necessary, like when you get home for a great walk and petting session.
Featured Image Credit: Jon Osumi, Shutterstock