There are so many reasons why a dog may not bark. Each dog has and will encounter so many different circumstances in their life that will shape how they respond to the world. Each dog has their own unique personality that also affects how they interact with the world, their temperament, and how they use their voice.
This article will discuss why a dog may not bark and what you can do to help make them more comfortable to find their voice!
Rescue Dog Doesn’t Bark?
They may have had a troubled past where their barking was severely punished, they may have a myriad of different traumas, they may feel shy, or they may just not want to bark. Whatever the reason, it is important not to worry and to foster an environment that feels safe. A safe environment fosters comfort and comfort allows the dog to be more open to being themselves and speaking. When comfort comes, so will the barking!
When should the adopted rescue dog start barking?
Like individual humans, each dog has their own set of life circumstances that effects how they see and interact with the world. Rescue dogs are no exception.
Traumatizing experiences early in a human’s life can cause slowed development, maladaptive behaviors, among other things. Dogs are no different. If a dog experiences trauma early in life, that trauma will often cause the dog to have slowed development, maladaptive behaviors, and other things.
Rescue dogs are often born into trauma. They are frequently born on the street without consistent food and shelter. A lack of food and shelter constitutes trauma. Additionally, rescue dogs that do not come from the streets, often come from abusive households. Abuse can be, among other things, beating and yelling at a dog for barking. If a rescue dog has lived in a house where they were beaten or yelled at for barking, they will likely shy away from barking to avoid a possible beating.
Regardless of your relationship with the dog and your lack of abuse, the dog’s trauma may still persist. It takes time and trust to allow a dog to grow out of its trauma responses.
Therefore, each dog will take a different amount of time to start barking because each dog has a different set of experiences and a different set of traumas.
So, your rescue dog may bark right away or they may take a long time to feel comfortable enough to bark. However, it is important to be patient and show the dog that they are loved and safe with you.
Why doesn’t my rescue dog bark?
Your dog may lack confidence in their new setting.
A dog that lacks confidence may be afraid to bark. Dogs use their bark as a means of communication, to assert their dominance, to warn, and many other things. If a dog is in a position where it may need to assert dominance or warn another dog to stay away, they may bark. However, the dog could lack the confidence to stand up to the other dog and may choose to cower or submit to the other dog instead of barking to avoid confrontation.
Your dog may have experienced trauma in the past.
As stated before, when a dog comes to you they come with all of their past experiences. Among those experiences can be trauma related to barking. It is not unheard of for a dog from an abusive home to quit barking because their barking caused them to be beaten or yelled at in the past.
Trauma can lead a dog to have negative reactions to things that may seem small to humans, but make all the difference to the dog. These are called triggers, these triggers can have a profound impact on a dog’s ability to feel safe.
The trauma of past experiences plays a big role in a dog’s ability to adapt. Additionally, it plays a big part in their personalities as well as what they are comfortable doing. This all includes their comfort level with barking and whether there is any associated fear around barking because of past trauma.
Your dog’s breed may be less likely to bark.
Some breeds are loud and want to be heard. While other breeds are quiet and reserved.
This disposition extends to their willingness and likelihood to bar. Where a Yorkie may yip at even the slighted leaf falling off of a tree. A Golden Retriever is may just sit and observe as the mailman walks to the front door without a sound.
Different breeds carry different dispositions that greatly indicate their likelihood of barking.
Your dog may have a softer demeanor.
Each dog has a unique personality. Some dogs are loud and expressive which leads them to bark sooner and more often. Other dogs are quiet and reserved which causes them to be slower to make noise. Quiet or meek dogs will likely be quieter and slower to bark.
This is not a bad thing or means that there is something wrong with your dog if they do not bark. All this means is that your dog does not bark. There is no need to worry. All you can do is make the dog feel safe and comfortable and give them the room to eventually find their bark.
Your dog may still be warming up to you and your home.
In every relationship, there is a honeymoon phase where each participant is on their best behavior. This can be the same with dogs. A rescue dog may not show you their full self, including their bark until they have become more comfortable with you and know that this is their new home. With comfort and safety comes openness to be express yourself. This is the same for a dog entering a new environment.
Your dog’s vocals may be strained from overwork in the past.
Just like humans, dogs can get a little horse. Meaning dogs can experience vocal strain. If a dog comes to you and they are not barking it could be because they put a lot of strain on their vocal cords in their last situation. They may have had to bark to keep themselves safe, to ward off other dogs, or claim their territory. There are so many possible reasons, but whatever the reason for a dog’s vocal stress, it is important to allow them to rest and heal. Just as you would do for a human.
Your dog may have been trained not to bark at their previous home.
Some dogs come from a situation or prior home where they went through training that taught them not to bark. This type of training would likely persist even when the dog is removed from the environment in which it was trained. If this is the case, you can continue to reenforce the training by researching debarking techniques and applying them to your daily life with the dog. However, that is not necessary if you are not particularly concerned with barking. If you refrain from punishing the dog when they bark, even if it is infrequent, the training will likely fade though may not ever fully go away.
In sum, this is a personal preference thing. If you would rather have a quiet dog that is slow to bark, you can continue to reinforce their prior training. On the contrary, if you are looking for a dog that is loud and can serve as a warning system, you can refrain from reinforcing their training and maybe even encourage the dog when they bark.
Your dog may have a medical condition that prevents them from barking.
Just like humans with speaking, dogs can have medical conditions that make it hard or even impossible to bark. Some owners cut their dog’s vocal cords to force a dog to stop barking. Some dogs have medical conditions from birth or an incident during their lifetime that make it hard or impossible to bark.
Regardless of your dog’s medical condition, it is important to stay connected with your vet to ensure that all medical conditions are well managed and the dog is healthy.
Your dog may not be comfortable yet.
With comfort and safety comes openness to be express yourself. This is the same for a dog entering a new environment. A dog needs to feel out a situation to make sure that they are safe in their environment. If the dog is able to get to a place where they feel comfortable and safe, they will be more likely to open up and be comfortable enough to express themselves. Expressing themselves includes barking.
Your dog’s past experiences and trauma may cause them to be afraid to bark.
As stated before, past experiences are likely to shape how a dog sees the world and interacts with it. If a dog was beaten in the past, it is likely to be timid. The trauma they experience shapes them, just like it does humans. If you are dealing with a dog that has past trauma, it is important to show them that they are safe and to do your best to go above and beyond to ensure that the dog knows that you are safe.
Building a healthy, safe, and stable environment is crucial when trying to help rescue dogs with past trauma adjust to their new life in their new environment.
Your dog may be older.
Younger dogs tend to be louder than older dogs. They tend to want to use their voices and bark. Older dogs are often more reserved and are quieter.
What should you do about your dog Not Barking?
If you have a dog that is not barking, there are many things that you can do to help the dog adjust. The most important thing to do is make the dog feel safe.
To make a dog feel safe you can show them a space, such as a kennel, that is just theirs. This will help them to feel like they are at home or can make a home for themselves.
Another thing you can do to make a dog feel safe is to prioritize positive reinforcement and refrain from negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement will only echo the maltreatment and trauma the dog felt in the past. This will not help them to establish new and healthy coping mechanisms in their new home. Positive reinforcement will allow the dog to feel like they are being rewarded for their behavior. This is often a better and more effective way of enforcing positive behavior than negative reinforcement.
As stated before, trauma often causes a dog to develop triggers. These triggers cause the dog to react poorly to different stimuli. It is important for an owner to learn to manage these triggers. By managing a dog’s triggers an owner can help them to feel more comfortable in their environment. This will allow them to feel comfortable enough to find their voice and bark.
If a dog refuses to bark, it may be a sign of trauma. The only thing you can do is create an environment where the dog feels safe and at home. This will allow the dog to become more comfortable in the home and said comfort will allow the dog to feel comfortable making noise and barking.
How to make a dog that doesn’t bark bark?
There are dogs that bark and dogs that do not. There are dogs that have gone through unspeakable trauma and those who have not. Regardless of the kind of dog you are lucky enough to receive when adopting, it is important to take into account all of the circumstances they encountered before they met you. Those circumstances often shape the way a dog will react to its new environment with you. Barking is often something affected by trauma. So, it is important to be patient with your new rescue dog.
If a dog isn’t barking, there is not much you can do to force the dog to bark. It should not be a priority to force a dog to bark, but only to make the dog feel comfortable and safe. The bark will come eventually if the dog is able to feel like they are safe and comfortable.
However, if it is important for you to have a dog that barks, it may work to use positive reinforcement to reinforce the dog’s barking when they do it.