Why Is My Puppy Barking So Much?

puppies Puppy Training

Dogs bark for many reasons. Puppy barking is one of their primary ways of communicating with humans, whether it’s to excitedly greet their favorite person or to warn a stranger not to set foot on the property where the dog and its family live.  While barking is natural for dogs, there is such a thing […]

Dogs bark for many reasons. Puppy barking is one of their primary ways of communicating with humans, whether it’s to excitedly greet their favorite person or to warn a stranger not to set foot on the property where the dog and its family live. 

While barking is natural for dogs, there is such a thing as excessive barking. Excessive barking is a bad habit that’s difficult to break in adult-aged dogs, but not impossible. That being said, it’s best to curb excessive barking when the dog is only a puppy. 

Training your puppy in the acceptable ways of communicating with you will supply your puppy with a language he can use, one that goes far beyond “barking.” In this article, you’ll learn how to identify the reason(s) behind your puppy’s barking, and how to proceed accordingly in order to minimize barking and teach your dog when it is and isn’t appropriate to bark. 

An adorable Pembroke Welsh Corgi howls as a depiction of why dogs bark and how to get your puppy to stop barking.


There are three main reasons why your puppy is barking. Those reasons are:

  • To ask for something it wants or needs
  • To communicate how it’s feeling, either good or bad
  • To defend its home, family, or self

All of the above are legitimate reasons to bark. But barking can become excessive if your puppy persists with barking after he has succeeded at communicating his point to you. You won’t be able to train your puppy not to bark. It’s part of your dog’s nature. But you can teach him to communicate in other ways to both get your attention in the first place and also make his specific point known to you. 

For example, the following are the worst case scenarios versus the best case scenarios (a well-trained dog) .

When Your Dog Asks for Something He Wants or Needs

Worst case scenario: An untrained puppy or dog who barks at you, gets your attention, but then does not direct you towards a clue about what he wants or needs. 

Best case scenario: A well-trained puppy or dog will actually not resort to barking when trying to communicate what he wants or needs. Instead, if he wants to go for a walk, he will fetch his leash and bring it to you. If he is hungry, he will sit at his food bowl and may whine. If he needs to go to the bathroom, he will stand at the door and yelp or scratch the door. This dog has been trained with appropriate communication strategies. 

When Your Dog is Communicating How He Feels

Worst case scenario: An untrained puppy or dog that barks at you or in general to express all emotions, both good or bad, is the worst case scenario. When your dog is happy to see you, he may bark as a greeting, but if this barking persists, then it has become excessive. The same goes for playtime. If he’s playing with you and engaged in a game or some other activity, then there really isn’t a need to bark. If he’s barking throughout the game to express his joy, then this is excessive. Likewise, if your dog is frustrated, bored, or distressed and resorts to constant barking, this is excessive and could be considered a nuisance to your neighbors. 

Best case scenario: To produce the best case scenarios, you’ll need to train your puppy with the specific behaviors you would like him to do in the various instances when he may be excited, bored, or frustrated. For example, you can train your puppy to put his paw on your leg to communicate to you that he’s bored and would like to play. You can train your puppy to wag, leap, and roll to express his elation that you’re finally home, rather than allow him to bark to greet you. You can even train your puppy to either find you or go to a “safe place” if and when he’s distressed by something in his environment. 

A defensive small dog barks and bares his teeth to warn someone not to pet him, as can be the case when dogs bark excessively.

When Your Dog is Defending You, Your Home, or Himself

Worst case scenario: An untrained puppy or dog will not understand how to assess a situation or threat. Without assessing the potential threat, the dog immediately resorts to barking and persists until the potential threat is gone. This can be a nuisance if and when the dog believes, for example, that the mailman delivering mail is a threat. From inside the house, the dog may bark non-stop at the mailman until he is out of sight. Similarly, if your puppy or dog barks at other people or dogs when you’re out on a walk, this indicates that the dog has not been properly socialized and trained to regard “new people and animals” as non-threatening. 

Best case scenario: The most important thing to do is train your puppy to discern between threatening and non-threatening people and situations so that he understands when “defense” is needed versus not needed. Making the effort to socialize your puppy will greatly contribute to his ability to discern. By being exposed to a wide variety of people, places, and things, he will learn that most people, places, and things really are safe. This will help narrow his defensive barking to times when true threats are present. It’s impossible to train a dog, no matter how obedient, not to bark when faced with a true threat. That being said, you can train your puppy to recognize many threatening scenarios and how to appropriately respond to each scenario. Many times, the appropriate scenario will involve or include measures to find and alert you to the threat. 


Our advice in terms of training your puppy not to bark when barking is not necessary has everything to do with the basics of training your puppy. Training your puppy with basic commands will provide your dog with a language of communication. You can train your puppy in the basic commands of “sit,” “stay,” “down,” “come,” “drop it,” “lie down,” and so forth. For new puppy parents who are struggling to train their puppies, we highly recommend bringing your puppy to a professional puppy training course like the one offered at Petland Texas.  

As your puppy learns commands like “come” and “sit,” for example, you can use these if and when your puppy barks inappropriately, such as barking from the window as he watches the mailman deliver mail. By commanding your puppy to “come” in this instance, you are giving him something productive to do and teaching him that the appropriate response to the mailman does not involve barking from the window. Dogs are fast learners and by learning from you what you want him to do in these various situations will effectively train him to understand how to please you.

An angry long haired Chihuahua is in a Monday mood, growling but still adorable.

In fact, for every non-threatening instance in day to day life, you can train your puppy not to bark simply by offering alternatives in the forms of commands. By giving your puppy a “productive job” to do, even if it’s to offer his paw to new people to shake hands or to roll over and present his belly when he’s excited to see someone, you will see how he eagerly performs his important job in order to please you! 

Perhaps even more importantly, you can and should train your puppy how to behave when a threat is legitimate. Legitimate threats include:

  • What your dog should do when he’s inside the home and a trespasser is outside the home
  • What your dog should do when he’s outside the home in the yard and a trespasser enters the property
  • What your dog should do when you are out for a walk, at the dog park, or otherwise not at home in the dog’s “territory” and another dog or person threatens to attack or attacks

In all three of these scenarios, barking to get your attention and your help is not only necessary, but the right thing to do. Especially when it comes to trespassers or other legitimate threats to the home, it’s best to train your dog to alert you so that you can protect the home. Your dog should not be encouraged to engage with the perpetrator by attacking, as this could backfire as a liability. 

All this being said, it’s important to also understand that if and when your dog is faced with a true threat, especially when you’re not around, your dog will respond “true to his breed.” Depending on the breed, your dog will either “fight or flee.” More often than not, your dog will fight, regardless of its breed, if the threat is serious enough. This is the nature of canines. Always keeping your dog within your sight if he’s not safely inside your home is the best way to protect him from threats. 


There’s nothing more heartbreaking or worrisome for owners of puppies and dogs than discovering from a neighbor that the dog has been barking when left home alone. This is a nuisance and disturbs the peace of your neighbors, which can cause social discord for you personally. But that’s only a fraction of the distress you may personally feel if and when you learn your dog has been barking excessively in your absence. 

The main reason that excessive barking occurs when a puppy or dog is left home alone is due to separation anxiety, which can also manifest as destructive boredom and frustration. Certain breeds are more prone to experiencing separation anxiety when they’re left home alone. This is because these breeds are truly “companion dogs” who need to be with their owners for the majority of the day. 

If you discover your puppy or dog is barking excessively in your absence, there are a number of things you can do to eliminate his separation anxiety and keep him calm and entertained while you’re gone. You might try all of the following, or some combination of the following ideas.

  • Exercise your dog for up to an hour with high-intensity games like fetch or a long run before you leave him alone for hours. This will tire him out and possibly help him to sleep for a portion of the time you’re gone.
  • Give your dog a dog puzzle or Kong before you go, so he has a game that he can play all by himself.
  • Invest in an electronic treat dispenser that has a camera and speakers so that you can monitor your dog, talk to him, and dispense treats remotely from wherever you are. 
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to stop in on your dog when you’re gone, ideally at the midway point of your absence, to go for a walk, play games, and otherwise keep him company. 
  • Hire a professional dog walker to take your dog for a walk, play games, and spend time with him for an amount of time you can afford, i.e. 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or more. 
  • Explore the possibility of obtaining a license for your dog to be an emotional support animal, in the event that this would be appropriate and your job would permit it. This way you could bring your dog with you to work. Please note the laws for the state you live in, and be advised that businesses will have the right to deny your emotional support dog access, as emotional support animals do not possess the same rights as service dogs. 


That’s everything that Petland Texas recommends for new puppy parents who are worried that their puppies are barking too much. Lastly, we’ll add that if your puppy persists with barking, you should not hesitate to bring him to see the veterinarian. The reasons for barking that we covered in this article addressed the emotional reasons behind barking. But it could be the case that a puppy or dog is excessively barking due to a health issue. It’s very important that you bring your dog to the vet to rule out a physical health problem. Vets are also extremely helpful with regards to separation anxiety and there are medications available for puppies and dogs that your vet may prescribe if needed. 

We hope you found this article informative. Thanks for reading, and we wish you the best of luck with your furry friend!