Golden retrievers are such peaceful family friendly dogs. Because of this, you may be asking yourself “do golden retrievers bark a lot?” In this article, not only will you find out whether golden retrievers bark or not, but you’ll also find out why they bark, how to stop them, and what not to do.
So keep reading to find out.
So, Do Golden Retrievers Bark A Lot?
Generally speaking, golden retrievers don’t bark much at all, so the chances of them barking a lot are quite slim. That’s not to say they never bark, and there are some golden retrievers that do bark a lot. But generally it’s rare.
If your golden retriever is barking a lot, there are normally reasons behind why they are barking.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Bark?
You now know that it’s not common for golden retrievers to bark, however, there are times when your golden retriever is going to bark, and times where they’re going to bark a lot as well. During these times, you’ll need to figure out why it’s happening.
Here are the most common reasons your golden retriever might bark.
This is the most common reason my golden retriever used to bark, especially as she got older (and a little bit more senile). This is much more likely when you’ve come home from work, but this isn’t the only time it might happen.
As well as this it can also happen when you rile your golden retriever up when they’re playing and especially when you’re going to take them for a walk. (Or in my case, even mention it.)
To Protect You
Another reason that your golden retriever might bark is because they’re trying to protect you. While it’s not as common in golden retrievers, it doesn’t mean it never happens. My golden retriever would bark anytime people would try to playfight with each other in my house. She’d even try to get in between them to stop them fighting.
Likewise if this has happened a couple of times and they get rewarded for it, they’ll think they’re doing the right thing. Once this happens, they’ll begin to do it over and over again.
They Hear Other Dogs
Once again, while this isn’t overly common in golden retrievers it does definitely happen. If your golden retriever begins to hear another dog barking, they may bark as well. Normally this happens more in rescue dogs, as they become used to dogs barking. However, it can occur in any golden retriever.
(Have you ever wondered whether golden retrievers can live in apartments?)
They’re In Pain
If your golden retriever is in pain, they may bark to let you know. If the barking has come about suddenly, and they’ve never barked before, then you should check them over to make sure they’re okay.
Even if there’s no sign of physical injury it may be a good idea to take them to a vet to make sure nothings wrong with them inside.
Maybe They’re Hungry
Another reason that your golden retriever may begin to bark is when they’re hungry, or maybe thirsty. Obviously, they can’t just tell you that they’re hungry, but they can vocalise it by barking. As well as barking, you may also notice that if you get up, they’ll lead you to where their bowl or food is.
They Want To Be Let Out
Maybe your golden retriever needs to be let out to go to the toilet. Once again, they can’t just tell you, but they can vocalise by barking and letting you know. If you notice your golden retriever barking by the back door, and they stop once they’ve done their business, then this is probably the cause
All dogs are pack animals, so if you leave them behind they often experience separation anxiety. Because they’re unable to find their pack or get to them they’re going to begin to start barking to try and locate them.
As well as barking when you’re not there, your golden retriever may also destroy things and whine and cry when you’re not around either.
If your golden retriever is suffering from separation anxiety the chances are you’ll need to take them to a vet or professional to treat them.
Sometimes your golden retriever will bark to alert you that they’re scared. This could be if someone is appearing threatening to them, or sometimes it can be something ridiculous. We put a new ornament in our garden, and my pup would not stop barking at it. I don’t know what it was about it, but she really didn’t like it, and for the first couple of days she’d bark at it every time she saw it.
(As well as barking, you may also notice your golden retriever biting.)
Sometimes They’re Bored
Sometimes your golden retriever will also bark when they’re bored. If you’re not giving them enough to do in the day, or you’re not getting enough exercise then they may begin to bark more and more.
They Want Your Attention
Lastly, your golden retriever may be barking because they want your attention. Have you ever just ignored your golden when they desperately wanted your attention? If so they may try to do everything they can to get it back, which includes barking.
However, while it may seem like giving them attention when they start barking is the right thing to do, actually, you’re only encouraging them to carry on doing it!
(If your golden retriever is drooling, find out whether you should be worried or not.)
How To Stop Your Golden Retriever From Barking
Fortunately, if your golden retriever is barking, there are plenty of ways you can get them to stop. Of course the best way to get them to stop barking is to train them. But it’s definitely not the only method! Here are a few more things you can try!
Exercise Them More
If your golden retriever is barking because they’re bored or have too much energy, then the best thing you can do is exercise them more. You should be exercising them for a minimum of 1 hour every day, but they love spending time outdoors, so there really is no limit.
As well as walking them, you can also take them for swims, hikes and play games with them as well!
Give Them More Mental Stimulation
Another way to try and get them to stop barking is to give them more mental stimulation. Once again, this is going to stop them barking if they’re bored. Some great ways to give them mental stimulation is by giving them puzzle toys to play with, playing mind games with them, and training them.
You should also try distracting your pup every time they bark. This is a great method because you’re neither punishing, nor rewarding them for their behavior. But instead you’re diverting it to something you want them to do.
One way to distract them is to give them a command which automatically interferes with them trying to bark. For example, next time they bark, ask them to sit down, or point to somewhere you want them to go and get them to go there.
As well as this, if there’s something they see that’s causing them to bark, you can try to obstruct their view. If it’s something they hear, you can try and drown out the noise.
Find Out What’s Causing Them To Bark In The First Place
One of the best thing you can do is find out what’s triggering the barking in the first place. Sometimes it will be if they see a cat outside, other times it might be certain noises that they hear that cause them to bark.
If they’re a rescue dog, then there might be even more reasons behind them barking, so you should try to figure out everyone. Once you’ve done this, you can begin thinking of things you can do to stop them from barking.
Try Ignoring Them
This doesn’t work every time, but it is important to make sure that when they’re barking at you, you don’t pay attention. If you ignore them for a minute and they carry on barking, the next step is to remove them from the room.
What always works for me, is to get up and tell them to leave without any emotion or looking at them. Once they’ve left, close the door behind them, and wait for them to calm down before letting them back in again.
And once you do let them back in, don’t give them any attention or reward them for being quiet. This way they’ll learn that barking won’t get them the attention they want.
Reward Them & Give Them Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement and rewards are one of the best ways you can get your golden retriever to do what you need them to do. If your golden retriever is sitting quietly and nicely make sure you give them some positive reinforcement to let them know this is behavior that you like.
As well as this, when they’re barking and they stop when you tell them too, make sure you reward them as well. Doing this lets them know that when they’re quiet is when they get the most positive reinforcement, and they’ll be quiet more often.
If your golden retriever is still a puppy, then you need to make sure that you’re socialising them. Socialisation from an early age is going to get them used to a whole range of stimulus in their lives. The more things they’re used to, the less likely they are to be startled or fear things in their environment.
Not only is it going to get them to stop barking, but socialisation is also a great way to make sure that your golden retriever knows how to act around other people, dogs and small children.
Make Sure You Stay Calm
When your golden retriever is barking, they’re going to read your body language and gauge how you react. If you react by either acting excited back, shouting, or being aggressive, then they’re going to think barking is normal.
Instead when your golden retriever is barking around you make sure you stay calm and steady. This calm and steady energy will rub off on them, and they’ll begin to act a lot more calm over time as well.
While it won’t stop them straight away, it is going to be a lot more effective than shouting at them to try and get them to stop. Or by giving them treats.
In the same vein, make sure you’re not encouraging them to bark when you get in either. I used to have a really bad habit of riling up my dog and getting them excited when I used to come home once I’ve finished work. But by doing this, I only encouraged them to bark constantly.
Make Sure You Train Them Properly
Lastly, you need to make sure that your training your golden retriever from the beginning. Not only will training them stop them from barking, but it’s also an important way to guide them through life.
Remember, as a pup, they’re not going to understand how our world works, so you need to help them.
If you’re not sure how to train them, then I highly recommend using Brain Training For Dogs. It’s a training course based on positive reinforcement instead of punishment. This way your golden retriever is going to enjoy being trained, and they’re not going to resent you if you act too harshly towards them!
What Should You Avoid Doing?
As well as doing all of the above to train your golden retriever, there are also a few things you’ll definitely want to avoid doing. If you do any of the following, then not only is it unlikely to stop your golden retriever barking, but it could actually make the problem worse.
Never Reward Them For Barking
First of all, make sure that you never reward them for barking. If you’re giving your golden retriever a treat to stop them from barking, then you’re inadvertently rewarding them. Likewise if you stroke them to get them to stop, or anything similar, you’re still rewarding them!
Don’t Shout At Them
When you shout at your golden retriever you’re going to do one of two things. The first thing is that you’re likely to scare them. But the second more likely thing is that they think you’re joining in. If they think you’re joining in, then they’re only going to be encouraged to start barking more.
Never Hurt Them
This is by FAR the most important rule. No matter what, you should never hit, slap or hurt your dog in any way. This is going to be extremely damaging to them, and they’ll most likely end up resenting you for it. What starts off as simple barking could quickly turn into other forms of aggression.
Don’t Use A Muzzle When You’re Not Around
Some people muzzle their dogs when they’re not around to stop them from barking. However, this can be extremely dangerous. They may not be able to drink, and without the use of their mouths, it’s the same as you being unable to use your hands.
So make sure you’re not muzzling them!
Don’t Use A Spray Collar
Some people recommend using spray collars and electric collars, however, these really aren’t recommended either. Not only has their effectiveness not been proven, but your golden retriever may end up getting the wrong idea about why they’re getting sprayed. Which in turn, could cause even more problems later on.
As you can see there are a whole bunch of reasons your golden retriever might be barking. And before anything you’ll need to pinpoint the exact cause before treating it.
When you begin to treat the barking, you should always have the end goal in mind, so training is essential. However, in the meantime, there are plenty of things you can do to stop them from barking!
If you liked this article make sure you check out the rest of the website, otherwise have a great day!