A dog who doesn't bark may be an apartment dweller's dream come true, but can also cause some obvious concerns. Before looking for an un-mute audio button on your dog, consider that some dogs are by nature less predisposed to barking. However, keep in mind that at times there's actually something wrong with a dog who won't bark and that's when it's a good idea to see your vet and play it safe.
If your dog doesn't bark, your first step is determining if he simply doesn't have an urge to bark or if he's actually trying to bark but nothing comes out. If the latter is the case, likely there's a problem and a vet visit is a must to determine why your dog can't bark. Over-barking can cause a dog to literally bark his voice out and become hoarse, but so can conditions affecting the respiratory system, chronic vomiting, metabolic disorders and growths, trauma or lesions near the larynx or trachea.
Not all dogs are fast to voice their opinions. While it's true that throughout history dogs were prized for their ability to bark and warn off unwanted animals and intruders, some breeds remained on the quiet side. If for instance, you own a basenji, certainly nothing is wrong with his lack of bark, but expect to hear other noises including hums, yodels and howls. Beagles are other dogs that won't bark, but they'll actually bay. This is not to say that these breeds are totally silent; rather, while they won't bark in the ordinary sense of the word, they can still make loud vocalizations.
Normal Personality Trait
While most dogs are physically able to bark, just as humans, some dogs can be more on the soft-spoken side. Scruffy may prefer to whine or whimper rather than give out a loud, booming bark. Other dogs may simply not find many good reasons worthy of wasting their vocal cords on. In these cases, count your blessings; most likely there's nothing wrong with your pooch. Some dogs are simply blessed with quiet, laid-back personalities and easy-going temperaments.
The Honeymoon Effect
If you just adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue, you may be dealing with the honeymoon effect. Basically, your little stinker may be holding off his worst behaviors as he adjusts to his new environment. Then, as days go by, he may become more relaxed and his normal vocal personality may finally emerge. That's when you hear dog owners complain about such new behaviors which help provide a more accurate insight as to why the dog was surrendered in the first place.
If your recently rescued dog has a hard time barking and you don't know his history, there may be chances his previous owner had him debarked. Debarked dogs may still vocalize but may only make lower pitched sounds. Alternatively, if the dog just appears not interested in barking, it could mean that's just his nature or his previous owner may have used a bark collar to suppress his bark. Even worse, the dog may have been abused every time he barked. With time and gentle training techniques, you can help your little fellow finds his voice again.
By Adrienne Farricelli
Dogged Health: Ask the Vet: Voice Change
Terrific Pets: Dog Breeds That Don't Bark
Web MD: Laryngeal Paralysis and Barking Problems in Dogs
Vet Info: Larynx and Throat Problems in Dogs
All Dogs Gym: Rescue Dogs go Through a Honeymoon Period
Animal Behavior College: How To Teach A Dog To Speak
About the Author
Adrienne Farricelli has been writing for magazines, books and online publications since 2005. She specializes in canine topics, previously working for the American Animal Hospital Association and receiving certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog