Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?

Barking is a form of communication among dogs. All dogs bark, even the most refined breeds like golden retrievers. This is because barking has evolved as a way for dogs to communicate with each other over long distances, an essential behavior in the wild when hunting or defending territory from other animals.

Do Golden Retrievers Bark A Lot?

Golden retrievers are a breed of dog known for their intelligence, obedience, and easily trained. They don’t bark often, but it can be for attention or an alarm when they do.

Golden retrievers are some of the best family dogs around and can make great companions for adults, children, and older individuals alike. They are extremely affectionate towards their people but reserved towards strangers; this makes them excellent watchdogs.

However, according to dog experts, they do tend to be more vocal than many other breeds. They are particularly vocal around mealtimes, as they will bark when they want something to eat (and chances are you’ll be doing the same).

As a result of their tendency towards barking, golden retrievers are not recommended for individuals living in apartments or dorms, and they may not be suitable for senior citizens who require quiet.

However, despite these tendencies toward barking at home and other dogs during walks, there have been no studies that actually show that golden retrievers bark more than any other breed.

Do Golden Retrievers Bark More Than Any Breed?

The idea that golden Retrievers bark more than other breeds is actually a myth.

This misconception may stem from the fact that goldens are one of the most popular breeds (in terms of popularity), as well as their tendency toward being vocal when it comes to food; however, there are many less popular breeds raised for guard duty or hunting who are much more vocal overall (particularly with strangers).

golden retrievers

Loudest bark by a dog Guinness world records

The loudest bark by a golden retriever Charlie measured 113.1 dB. Charlie lives in Adelaide, Australia, on 20 October 2012.

Do Golden Retrievers Bark at Strangers?

Absolutely. Golden retrievers have been bred over time to be particularly watchful of their owners’ safety and will not hesitate to alert them if they sense a potential threat.

They are especially wary around people who they do not know well, but once the dog feels comfortable with the person, they may begin barking or sniffing around them instead; this can take anywhere between a few minutes to an hour, depending on the dog’s level of trust for that individual (and how well he knows his owner).

However, even when barking at strangers does occur, it is nothing to worry about; all dogs have an instinctive tendency towards territorial assertiveness, including goldens.

Do Golden Retrievers Bark In the Night?

Many dogs tend to become more vocal when it gets dark out because of their heightened alertness; goldens are no exception. Because they have been trained from puppyhood to watch for danger, the darker an area gets, the more carefully they will look for threats.

Why Does a Golden Retriever Bark?

It all comes down to the dog’s level of alertness. Because goldens were originally bred as watchdogs, they will let you know once they have identified a potential threat.

As long as you’ve properly trained your golden retriever from puppyhood and taught him that barking (and detecting danger) is normal, it shouldn’t be an issue.

However, if your dog has not been properly trained or hasn’t had ample opportunity to develop this instinctive behavior, his tendency toward barking can be more difficult for him to deal with on his own.

You should always correct any instances of excessive barking (especially when directed at strangers) to ensure that your dog does not develop trust issues or become aggressive.

Below are several possible reasons why your retriever may be barking more than usual.

1) Protecting Territory:

Many dogs will bark when someone comes onto their property; it’s an instinctive reaction.  If your retriever has this type of instinctive behavior, it will usually manifest itself with a very confident attitude and general disregard for strangers.

To end this type of barking, you will need to give your dog clear (and repeated) instructions every time he starts; once he understands what is acceptable and what isn’t, the territorial protection instinct should burn itself out.

2) Attention-Seeking:

This kind of dog will usually vocalize when he wants attention, food, or to go out; make sure you teach him from an early age that this is not acceptable behavior!

If you’ve taught your retriever to be calm and collected before addressing a situation, or have provided adequate mental stimulation for him, then this type of barking should not be an issue.

3) Play Barking:

This usually happens when a dog wants to play; he will naturally bark, jump and act excited to get your attention.

You will usually hear it more clearly when he’s doing something like digging or chewing a bone. When your retriever barks in this way, make sure you don’t punish him; instead, try to play with him (or give him his favorite treat).

4) Boredom barking:

Dogs are brilliant creatures who need mental stimulation to be happy and secure. They have an instinctive desire to explore their surroundings and learn new things, which means that they will always look for new things to do (just like a young child!). So if you teach them how to play with toys when they’re puppies (or even adults), it can also help alleviate boredom-based barking.

5) Alarm Barking:

This is a common behavior among dogs, usually involving something strange happening in the area.

When a dog is startled or frightened, alarm barking startled or excited them and is meant to bring your attention to the matter.

Usually, once you have dealt with whatever he was alarmed about (a loud noise, perhaps), his behavior will calm down and revert to normal.

6) Excitement barking:

This type of barking is usually meant to get your attention, alert you to something exciting (like seeing another dog or animal), or demonstrate excitement and happiness.

Some dogs love barking for the sake of it, and they will bark happily whenever they feel like it! It’s important that you don’t reward this type of behavior; instead, try to focus on getting them to stop by walking away from them or otherwise ignoring them.

If your retriever can see you but can’t reach you, he will continue this behavior if he understands that it’s working (and remember, all dogs are smart). You need to teach him not to do something every time he does it wrong, not to learn that he’s getting the desired reaction.

7) Social Barking:

This type of barking usually happens when dogs are excited by seeing another dog or animal.

If your retriever barks at another dog or animal, try to distract him with a treat before he goes over to say hello; make sure you get the other owner’s permission first.

A firm “NO” is the best way to stop your golden from approaching other animals, especially if he has seen another dog being aggressive.

It’s also important that you teach him a couple of basic commands like sit and stay so that he can learn his place in the pack hierarchy; make sure always to have control over your dog!


8) Scared and/or Nervous (Distress barking):

In this case, your dog is probably trying to alert you to a perceived threat; it’s important that you let him know he’s doing the right thing, so he doesn’t lose his confidence.

It could also be due to hearing unfamiliar sounds (doorbells, knocks on the door, etc.) or seeing something in the surrounding area. If fear or nervousness are the main cause of the barking behavior, then try giving your pet some treats and affection when strangers appear (this will help increase your dog’s confidence), avoid taking him into areas where he has been barking excessively (you can take him for walks only after some of the excessive barkings has died down) and make sure that you’re spending enough time with him to help him feel at ease!

9) Frustration (Distress barking):

This type of barking is usually when your dog wants something and isn’t getting it.

It’s important to make sure he knows that you’re the leader in your home so that he understands his place in the pack hierarchy; ensure this by making him wait for as long as possible before giving him what he wants, teaching him “sit” and “stay” commands or by simply ignoring him if he barks. Never yell at him; shouting will only make things worse.

10) Separation Anxiety (Distress barking):

Nothing will make your canine companion happier than spending more one-on-one time with you! And the best way to stop separation anxiety is by spending lots of quality time with your pet whenever you can; try leaving some of his toys or treats out in the spot where you leave him to get used to staying there.

Part of separation anxiety is fear: if you’ve been ignoring your dog a lot, he will be anxious when left alone and will want to nip this problem in the bud before it escalates into something more serious!

Why Does a Golden Retriever Barking at Night?

If your retriever is barking at night regularly, below are several possible reasons why he is doing so; the first one also covers why many dogs bark at night in general.

1) Your retriever is not enough exercise

You can’t expect your retriever to sleep if he’s not tired! But, if you’ve been exercising him enough during the day, then the chances are that these late-night barks are simply a way for him to show his excitement or frustration – he is almost certainly unable to sleep because he hasn’t had enough exercise.

Give him something else to do in the day: take him for a walk, play fetch with him or throw a ball around (preferably underwater in your pool).

2) Diet:

Eating too much, not enough, too late, or wrong foods can all lead to barking at night barking.  If you’re unsure what to feed your retriever, try consulting a vet or looking online for advice.

3) It needs to pee:

Another reason dogs bark at night can be a full bladder; if your retriever is not sleeping because it needs to pee (because you haven’t let him out when he wakes up), he will bark until you feed him or take him outside.

If the weather’s not good, try to find a warm place for him to sleep or put a blanket on top of his bedding so that it gets softer and more comfortable as well.

4) It hears noises:

Dogs hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans do, and many of the sounds they hear are higher than we can hear. He might also be hearing noises that you don’t.

5) Separation anxiety:

Unfortunately, this is another common reason why retrievers bark at night.  If you’re leaving your retriever alone for long periods of time during the day (at work) or night (sleeping), then it’s natural that he starts to worry when he can’t see you and may begin to bark as a result.

6) Your dog sleeps in an uncomfortable area:

Sleeping in an uncomfortable place can make your retriever anxious or nervous during the night, as well as causing him to bark at other noises (see point #4).  A dog’s bed should be soft, warm, and well-cushioned; it can also help put a blanket on top of the duvet or pillows.

7) You have inadvertently reinforced the behavior:

Remember that dog-speak is more important than what you think or say; if your retriever has learned that it gets the attention, it craves when it barks at night, then it will keep doing so.

It may also be barking loudly at night if it realizes that its nighttime antics get your attention!

How to get your Golden Retriever to stop barking at night?

1) Give it exercise:

If you give your retriever something meaningful or fun to do in the daytime, then it will be less inclined to bark.

Exercise is perhaps the most important thing you can do to control your retriever’s nighttime barking.  If you have been giving it enough exercise during the day, then the chances are that he will be tired and therefore less likely to bark.

golden retrievers play game

2) Make sure that everything’s okay with its environment:

For example, if there are any changes in sleeping or eating, you should probably try to make it as comfortable as possible by sleeping on a softer surface, putting cushions around the bed, etc.

Remember that your dog may be barking because it isn’t comfortable in its bedroom; thus, make sure that it has a comforter or blanket so that he can sleep comfortably.

3) Make sure it’s not hungry or thirsty:

Make sure that you are feeding him the right amount and type of food. If he’s eating too much, then take him for a longer walk; if not enough (or the wrong types of foods), try consulting a vet or looking online for advice.  Food can sometimes be the cause of barking at night and is worth checking!

Another reason dogs bark at night is that they need to pee; if you’re concerned about whether your retriever needs anything, then take him out of the room to check his physical condition.

4) Train your Golden Retriever:

Sometimes, training dogs is all you need to stop them from barking at night.

Dogs are often good sleepers but have been known to bark when they are anxious or bored; training your retriever to stop barking during the night can be done by either going to a behaviorist, using one of the many books on dog training available online, and/or asking an experienced friend for help.

5) Don’t reward the barking:

When your retriever barks at night, try not to give it attention.  It will soon realize that barking at night does not get the same reaction as barking during the day, and therefore will be deterred from continuing this bad habit.

6) Use a bark collar:

This is perhaps the most controversial way of getting rid of barking in dogs since it is a quite old-fashioned way of dealing with nighttime barking. However, if you are desperate to find ways to get your dog to stop its barks at night, then using this device might work.

Make sure that you consult a vet first before trying any manner of anti-barking solution.  Remember also that these collars are not meant for constant usage; consult your vet for a solution.

Bottom line

Dogs can be very vocal at night, and it is important to understand why they bark so that you can put a stop to this frustrating behavior. In addition, many dogs will bark if they are bored or anxious; as such, make sure that your dog has something meaningful or fun to do during the day for him not to bark.

Barking at night normally can be easily solved by giving him more exercise and increasing his activity levels during the day.

As with any other problem, barking should be checked first before attempting to solve it; if your dog has some underlying health problems, then this must be treated before you can work on reducing its nighttime barking.

References and Further Reading

Duffy, D.L., Hsu, Y., and Serpell, J.A., 2008, “Breed Differences in Canine Aggression,” Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Flint, E.L., et al., 2014, “A Survey of Public Attitudes Towards Barking Dogs in New Zealand,” New Zealand Veterinary Journal.


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