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Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot? Reasons & How to Stop It

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever barking

Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot? Reasons & How to Stop It

Compared to other dog breeds, Golden Retrievers bark significantly less. Golden Retrievers make great watchdogs, and they are eager to please their family, but they can do so quietly. This dog breed is more likely to bark in a friendly tone, rather than an aggressive way.

Some Golden Retrievers will bark at anything that piques their curiosity, such as a passing car or mailman. However, they will rarely bark for long periods. The most common reason for this dog breed to bark is because they want attention, or they are trying to communicate with you.

In this article, we will look at some of the reasons Golden Retrievers bark, and how often. This will help you determine if a Golden Retriever is the right dog for you.

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Understanding This Behavior

Barking is natural for all breeds of dogs, including the Golden Retriever. You should never punish your dog for barking, as they do not know any better. By punishing your dog for barking, you are confusing and scaring them for a natural behavior that they cannot help.

Instead of reprimanding your Golden Retriever, train them to control their barking positively. Your dog should never feel scared to express themselves, and barking is an essential part of their communication skills. Although excessive barking can be annoying, there is a reason behind it that needs to be treated, whether professionally or at home.

A certified dog trainer or behaviorist can help you professionally diagnose and treat your Golden Retriever’s barking positively. They will be able to give you tips and treatment plans to counteract your dog’s barking if it is necessary to the situation.

Keep in mind that Golden Retrievers are excellent guard dogs. They will do anything to protect their family and they may not always understand a potential threat. Although you may not think a passing car is a threat, your Golden Retriever may bark to alert you and bring attention to the situation. Overall, your retriever may only have the best intentions in mind to protect the people they care about most.

Golden Retriever
Image by: congerdesign, Pixabay

The 5 Reasons Your Golden Retriever Bark So Much

1. Attention

Dogs love to receive attention from their human companions, even if it means that they must display a behavior that is not generally appreciated. Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent dogs, and they will remember certain behavior that gets a reaction out of you, whether it’s a good or a bad one.

In modern times, most dog owners are out of work or doing daily activities that cause them to be out of the house for a long time. When you come home, your Golden Retriever may bark at you and wag their tail, merely a friendly greeting. This will trigger a response from you, such as patting their heads or allowing them to jump up on you. Your Golden Retriever will associate this behavior with something positive which may cause them to repeat this behavior.

If you are perhaps playing with your dog, they may bark from excitement to get your attention and express their feelings. This type of barking isn’t necessarily bad, and it is part of healthy communication in dogs.

2. A Natural Response to Stimuli

If your dog hears or smells something of interest, they will bark as a response. If your dog is hurt, they may bark as a response to pain, or if your dog cannot get something they want such as food or toys, they may let out a loud bark to express their frustration.

Passing cars, neighbors walking their dogs past your house, or external noises that may be inaudible to your ears may cause your Golden Retriever to bark. This is natural and should be in short bursts, anything longer can be labeled as ‘excessive’ or ‘consistent’ barking which can be frustrating for you as the owner.

If a neighboring dog is howling or barking, your Golden Retriever may begin to copy this behavior or even respond to the distressed neighboring dog.

golden retriever playing fetch with ball throw toy
Image by: Katrin B., Pixabay

3. Communication

Barking is a dog’s most prominent communicative aspect, especially when it comes to communication with other dogs, other animals, and their owners. Barking is a key part of a healthy dog’s verbal communication if it is kept controlled and other more negative reasons for this behavior have been ruled out. Golden Retrievers will communicate through barking for several reasons, such as excitement, pain, stress, curiosity, and even encouragement.

When dogs are playing together, they will use verbal and non-verbal cues to communicate with each other. A good example of verbal communication between two dogs is barking, whereas a non-verbal cue will be tail wagging and playful chasing.

4. Boredom

If your dog has been left alone while you are out of the house, or they are not getting enough mental stimulation and enrichment in their life, they may result to barking to get rid of their frustration.

Golden Retrievers that bark out of boredom may begin to howl throughout the day, which can become a nuisance for you and the neighbors. A bored dog can become stressed or depressed quickly, so it is essential to get to the root of the problem and fix it before it can cause any damage. A bored Golden Retriever will also start displaying other unwanted behaviors to alleviate their feelings of boredom and possible distress.

golden retriever puppy biting a shoe on sofa
Image by: Muk Photo, Shutterstock

5. Energy Release

Many people get a Golden Retriever not knowing about their high energy demands. Golden Retrievers are naturally athletic and active dogs. They require daily exercise in the form of running, playing, and chewing. Keeping a Golden cooped up indoors or outside on a chain can cause a build-up of energy that needs to be released.

A mixture of barking and howling is a good indication that your Golden Retriever may need a way to alleviate their energy, especially if they have been laying around all day. By depriving your Golden Retriever of proper exercise, your retriever can become obese, distressed, and bored.

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How Do You Manage Excessive Barking?

We understand that a Golden Retriever who barks constantly can be annoying, so we have some tips to help you manage this behavior.

  • Determine the root cause for this behavior. Is your Golden Retriever left alone for hours at a time with no enrichment and interaction? Then they are most likely suffering from boredom.
  • You will need to find ways to keep them busy while you are away, such as providing them with stimulating toys and activities and access to a large space so that they can release some energy.
  • When you get home, take a nice stroll through the neighborhood with your Golden Retriever so that they can look forward to a nice walk at the end of the day.
  • If your neighbors complain about noise disturbances, it might be best to keep your Golden Retriever indoors with a doggy door so that they can use the bathroom when needed. Keep in mind that weather that is too cold or hot may cause your dog to bark excessively as they are uncomfortable. A cool shady spot with a kennel and fresh water can help combat heat-related discomfort.
  • Take a few hours out of your day to interact with your dog and play with them. You can use various toys and strength-enhancing activities to help them release energy.
  • If your dog barks at random times and it sounds like they may be in pain, a veterinarian check-up may be necessary. This could be your dog’s way to communicate to you that they are in pain or distress, and an underlying illness or condition could be the culprit.
  • If your retriever is barking at passing cars, neighbors, or other dogs through a fence or gate, consider covering that specific area with a dark mesh to prevent your Golden Retriever from seeing the culprits.
  • By providing your Golden Retriever with a comfortable sleeping spot that fits the weather conditions (a thick blanket and pillow for winter, and a shady soft space during summer), along with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and plenty of mental stimulation, you should be able to control your Golden Retriever’s barking.

Should You Remove a Golden Retriever’s Voice Box?

Devocalization or ventriculocordectomy is a common solution many owners use to soften their dog’s bark. However, this is not always the best option, especially if it is not being removed for a good medical reason.

By putting your dog through this surgery, you are removing their primary form of communication. It involves a lot of postoperative pain and can be inherently cruel to the dog. Many veterinarians will refuse to do the surgery on a dog if they deem it medically unnecessary.

If you are concerned and deeply frustrated with your Golden Retriever barking, we urge you to contact a professional behaviorist to help find a solution to the problem. There is a valued reason behind a Golden Retriever’s unwanted barking, and it can take a lot of trial and error to figure it out. Don’t give up though; in the end, you will find a solution to the problem.

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Final Thoughts

Fortunately, Golden Retrievers are not excessive barkers. They will rarely bark out of control in minor situations or for no reason. By choosing this dog breed, you should be aware that there may be some unwanted barking, especially when it is required for the situation, but it will not last long. Eventually, your Golden Retriever will learn when it is necessary to bark.

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Featured Image Credit: Adrian_Sobotka, Shutterstock

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