Dogs bark; it’s part of their natural behavior, and dogs use barking to communicate may different wants and needs (their “I’s” –the way they tell us I want, I need…). Sometimes dogs bark to get attention or to ask for something; for example, some dogs will go to the door and bark when they need to go outside to the bathroom. Just like you raise your hand when you need to use the bathroom, a dog may bark to say “Please let me outside now!” Dogs may also bark as a way to warn or alert other dogs or people; for example, a dog may bark when someone rings the doorbell of the house or when the mailman comes to deliver a package as a way of saying “Someone’s here, but I don’t know who.” Barking may also be used to communicate with other dogs; a dog may bark to introduce himself or to show that this is his territory – as a way of saying “This is my corner of the couch!” Dogs may also bark when they are excited, scared, or surprised. However, not all of these barks sound the same. The volume, tone, frequency, and duration of a dog’s bark will give you some clues about what the dog is trying to say with their bark.

  • How do you think a dog would bark if they were trying to tell you about a stranger approaching or if they were afraid?
  • And how do you think a dog would bark if they were playing or trying to let you know they needed to go to the bathroom?
  • How might a dog’s bark cause you to change your behavior?


Children will learn how dogs use barking to communicate with other dogs and people and that there are variations in barking, depending on what the dog is communicating. Children will learn to pay attention to a dog’s bark and use this information to better anticipate and understand a dog’s behavior.

Vocabulary Words to Highlight:

Communicate, Territory, Frequency