Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?

With their soft, gentle eyes, floppy ears, and oh-so-endearing personalities, Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world.

The ideal therapy dog, Goldens are typically calm, loving, and affectionate, and you would be hard-pressed to find one with an aggressive bone in its body.

do Golden Retrievers bark a lot
Do Golden Retrievers bark a lot?

However, what about barking? Barking doesn’t necessarily mean aggression, but do Golden Retrievers bark a lot? No, they don’t!

Goldens can be vocal but they are not known to be excessive barkers. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at this lovable breed, see why they don’t bark all that much and learn about what can cause a Golden to get all barky. 

The Instinct To Protect

Some dogs have an extremely well-honed protection drive. Small dogs tend to be yappy as they constantly feel under threat from larger dogs and other animals. They make great alarm systems, as many a Chihuahua or Pomeranian has proven time and time again. 

Golden Retriever and owner
Golden Retriever and owner taking a rest after a long run!

Other breeds like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans were originally bred for their strong guarding drive and some of their instincts still hold true to this day. 

These protective breeds were developed to guard livestock, people, and property, and many of these dogs still retain the instinct that protecting their pack is their job. They will not only sound the alarm when an unwanted visitor appears but they are also known to attack if they sincerely feel that their pack is under threat. 

You know who doesn’t have much of a protection drive? Golden Retrievers! It is a well-known joke that a Golden is more likely to lick a burglar to death than it is to attack or threaten an intruder.

Barking, on the other hand, might be something that a Golden might do. 

Why Don’t Golden Retrievers Bark Very Much?

To understand why Golden Retrievers don’t bark much, we need to go back in time and explore their history. The breed was originally developed in Scotland during the 19th century by Lord Tweedmouth for use as a bird-retrieving dog. 

Golden Retriever walks with owner
A Golden Retriever walks with its owner.

This means that Goldens were bred for quietness when retrieving game birds and for obedience to their owners’ commands – both of which require less barking than other activities like herding or guarding. 

In addition to their history and training, genetics can also play a role in determining how much your pup barks. Studies have shown that certain genes are linked with barking behavior in all sorts of dog breeds, including Golden Retrievers. 

Goldens make awesome service and therapy dogs due to their happy-go-lucky, love-the-world nature. A well-socialized Golden is friends with everyone, and happy to let complete strangers pet them, unlike many other dog breeds that can be more standoffish and aloof

Of course, genetics isn’t the only factor at play here; training matters too! As mentioned above, Golden Retrievers were originally bred for obedience and retrieving – activities that require limited barking from them. 

And because many modern-day Goldens still retain these traits from their ancestors, proper training can help reinforce those qualities and further reduce unnecessary barking.  

In addition, positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training are especially good for teaching your pup not to bark unnecessarily as it rewards them for good behavior instead of punishing them when they make mistakes.  

Why Would A Golden Retriever Bark?

Goldens are not particularly barky dogs, so when they start woofing, they usually are trying to tell you something. Some vocalization is good, and it is one of the ways that your dog will try to communicate with you, so if it isn’t excessive barking, you can just let your pooch do its thing. 

Here are some reasons why your Golden might be showing off its vocal prowess. 

1. Attention Seeking

Dogs are social creatures and a dog as loving as a Golden may simply want to get your attention for a hug, pet, or some playtime. 

golden retriever in the snow with girl
A young girl and her Golden Retriever in the snow

Other telltale signs that your Golden wants your attention is a wagging, erect tail, play-bowing, or excited prancing. 

2. Fear

If your pooch is scared, it may bark to let you know of its distress. It’s important to observe their body languages like ears that are flattened against their head or a tail between their legs. If you see your dog in distress, you might want to check out the cause of the fear and remove it from your environment. 

3. Territorial

Most dogs will bark when something or someone unfamiliar enters their ‘territory’—whether it’s another animal coming into the yard or a person passing by on the street.

Golden Retriever guards property
Golden Retriever standing and guards over a property.

4. Playfulness

Dogs love to play, and some pups may bark when playing with other animals or people to encourage interaction or get their playmate’s attention.  

5. Frustration

If your Golden isn’t getting what they want (like not being able to reach a toy), it may bark out of frustration. You can sense this sometimes as your dog looks intently at what he wants, prances around, and otherwise displays some other agitated behavior. 

Golden Retriever barks continuously
Golden Retriever barks continuously asking for a treat!

6. Excitement

An excited pooch’s bark is the best! It is high-pitched, playful, and non-threatening. It can even sound like a shriek! 

If you’re grabbing the leash, ball, toy, or something super exciting, your dog might start barking its head off in pure joy and excitement at the fun to come! 

Not all excitement-based barks come from walks though; some pups will bark at visitors that they like or during mealtime too! 

7. Boredom

Just like humans, dogs need stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If left alone for too long without anything to do, some pups might start barking out of boredom—so make sure your pup has plenty of interactive toys around!  

Golden Retriever barks at the park
Golden Retriever barks at the park upon hearing loud noises.

8. Pain

If your pup suddenly starts barking for no apparent reason, it could be due to pain or discomfort. Watch out for any physical signs that might indicate pain such as limping or licking parts of his body more than usual (which could indicate an injury).  

9. Anxiety or Separation Anxiety

Just like humans experience anxiety, so do dogs, and if your pup is feeling anxious—perhaps due to loud noises like fireworks—they may start barking out of fear which should be addressed before it develops into a full-blown phobia which could lead to more serious problems down the line.   

dog barks due to anxiety
The Golden Retriever barks due to anxiety when the owner leaves for work.

Separation anxiety is also a common behavioral problem with many dogs. It has varying degrees from a mild whine as you get ready to leave the house for the day, to a full-blown howling, screaming, barking fest that goes out for hours and drives all your neighbors batty. 

Excessive barking at nothing is one of the key symptoms of separation anxiety. This condition needs to be addressed before it escalates into something more severe. 

If you think your dog might be going down this path, it might be worthwhile to consider a canine behaviorist or training to nip the problem in the bud. 

10. Hunger

Some pups just can’t contain themselves when mealtime rolls around and will start barking (or even dancing!) until they get fed. Make sure you feed them on time according to their recommended feeding schedule so that hunger doesn’t become an issue down the line.

How To Stop Your Golden Retriever From Barking?

Firstly, it is crucial to understand that some barking is healthy for dogs. It is the way they communicate with us, and suppressing all their barking tendencies totally might not be healthy for them as it is part of their natural behavior.

Golden Retriever and owner at the park
The dog owner brings her Golden Retriever to the park.

Whether they are signaling danger or simply trying to tell you something, you might want to pay a bit of attention to your Golden when he or she is barking, especially if it is relatively uncommon. 

However, barking for extended periods can be annoying, not just for you, but for your neighbors as well! Fortunately, there are some solutions to help you deal with an excessively barky Golden. 

1. Determine the Reason Behind the Barking 

When trying to figure out how to stop a dog from barking, it’s important to understand why they are barking in the first place. Common causes of excessive barking include fear, separation anxiety, boredom, seeking attention, and territorial protection. 

Knowing why your pup is barking will help you determine the best course of action to take to get them to calm down. 

2. Make Sure They Have Enough Exercise 

Dogs need physical activity and mental stimulation for them to remain content and quiet. If your Golden isn’t getting enough exercise each day then it may start barking as a form of entertainment or relief from boredom. 

Try going on more walks or engaging in interactive play like fetch or tug-of-war with your pup each day. This should help keep their energy levels balanced and minimize their urge to bark unnecessarily.  

3. Give Them Attention When They Are Calm 

If your pup has been known to bark excessively due to them seeking attention, try rewarding them with positive reinforcement when they are being quiet instead of paying them attention when they are barking. 

This will help teach them that being calm is far more rewarding than making noise all the time! Also, make sure that you provide plenty of affection throughout the day so that their need for attention is met without resorting to excessive barking behavior.