How To Know What Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You

tiny chihuahua barking in a cute dress

There is a myth that King Solomon could talk to the animals. Although God granted King Solomon much wisdom, that wisdom didn’t actually include the ability to talk to the animals (though wouldn’t it be fun?) That myth comes from a misinterpretation of 1 Kings 4:33.

Have you ever talked to your dog and as he’s listening he turns his head from side to side? He is trying very hard to understand you too.

Although dogs can’t speak human. He does communicate and you just have to know how to translate dog speak into human speak.

There is a science behind how they communicate with each other and how they try to communicate with us.


Here are a few translations of dog barks that can help you understand what they are saying and feeling.

Rapid three or four barks with pauses between. (mid-range pitch):

Something has gotten his attention, but it’s more interest than alarm.

Translation: “Call the gang! There may be some danger that we should look into.”

Rapid repetitive barking (mid-range pitch):

Basic alarm bark. Indicating he hears a stranger approaching. Or something unforeseen is happening that has sparked his attention but is not anxious.

Translation: “Everyone gather around there is danger approaching and we may need to defend ourselves soon.”

Continuous barking (with a lower pitch).

He is more worried now he senses imminent threatening danger.

Translation: There is real danger very close, get ready to do whatever you have to do to save yourself.”

Long barks with pauses between each one:

This indicates social isolation or confinement.

Translation: “I’m lonely, I need someone to be with me, does anyone hear me?”

A growl that rises and falls in volume. (pitch rises and falls):

This dog is fearful-aggressive and very unsure.

Translation: “I’m terrified!” If you come toward me I don’t know yet if I’m going to fight, or run.”

Whining (pitch rises at the end). It may sound like it’s mixed with a yelp.

This dog is excited and is anticipating something.

Translation: “Come on, let’s go now!”

These are just a few interpretations. There are many more ways they communicate what they are saying and how they are feeling. So, see you really can know what your dog is saying.

Here is where you can read more. Or below are a few good books on the subject of listening to what your dog is saying. Understanding the meaning of these different barks, could save your life or someone else’s life if you know when a dog is telling you to stay away.


Lots of people talk to animals…. Not very many listen, though…. That’s the problem.

Benjamin Hoff,
The Tao of Pooh




For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend

How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication

How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language


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