Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot? (What to Expect)

All dog breeds have a way of communicating. Some use noises and body language while others use their paws to get their message across. Goldens prefer noise, and if you own a Golden Retriever, you probably know that they enjoy a good bark. But if you’re thinking about adding a Golden to the family you may want to know if Golden Retrievers bark a lot?

While Golden Retrievers do bark, they are not a breed that barks excessively. While distress is the most common reason for a Golden Retriever to bark, they also bark when excited, happy, or seeking attention. So, their occasional barking is more often friendly than aggressive.

This article will expound further on the reasons why Golden Retrievers bark and what you can do to minimize the barking if your Golden is barking too much.

A barking Golden Retriever.

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Why Golden Retrievers Bark

Golden Retrievers bark for a variety of reasons. As noted, barking is a way of communicating with you. But if you fail to respond or understand the message, your dog will continue barking. It’s therefore essential to figure out the cause.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why your Golden Retriever barks a lot:

Goldens Bark When They’re Distressed

Not all barks are the same. What this means is that not all barks mean the same thing. Different barks try to communicate different feelings or emotions, and it’s key to decipher your dog’s message to determine the source of the barking.

Golden Retrievers bark when they’re distressed about something. For instance, slow barking or growling indicates that your dog is feeling threatened. He thus resorts to behaving defensively. Your response would need to reassure him of his safety—get rid of or move away from whatever it is he finds threatening.

You also will want to check whether your dog is in pain. Is the dog limping or crying? If in pain, take him to see a vet. A visit to the vet is also advisable if your dog started barking recently out of the blue or you have no clue what’s causing it. This way, the vet can check if there are any injuries or medical issues you’re not aware of.

Distressed barking can also be a sign that a stranger is around the dogs home or family, doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Golden Retrievers aren’t aggressive enough to make good guard dogs, as they’re unlikely to physically attack an intruder. They are, however, very vigilant and protective of their homes and families, making them excellent watch dogs.

A good watchdog will alert you to a stranger or potential danger anywhere around your home or family. This is a situation where a Golden Retriever would bark, and rightfully so!

An an owner of a Golden Retriever, you will come to know the distinct sound of a distressed bark. So no matter the reason, a distressing bark from your Golden is something that should be investigated by you right away.

Golden Retrievers Bark When They’re Excited

Golden Retrievers are a high energy dog that are full of excitement. For instance, when your dog sees you reaching out for the leash, they might get quite excited at the thought of what will follow (i.e. a walk or ride in the car). As such, they’ll start barking as they jump around and wag their tail.

Your dog could also start barking when you come back from work or during playtime as a way of expressing their delight. This kind of bark is a bark of pure joy! I love it when my Golden starts jumping up and down and barking a bit as it’s a sign that they’re happy and ready for fun. To me, it’s a very life affirming bark!

Goldens Bark For Attention 

Golden Retrievers would love nothing more than your constant attention. If your Golden Retriever wants your attention, and he’s not getting it, he may start barking loudly.

Since Goldens are loving and affectionate dogs, they expect the same from you. If you’ve been ignoring your dog for some reason, he might try to get your attention by barking. For example, a Golden puppy may start barking if you turn away from him or chat with someone else when he desires your attention.

Since you obviously can’t give your Golden Retriever attention all of the time, this could become a problem bark if it becomes a regular habit. More on this below.

They Are Undergoing Stress or Anxiety

Under normal circumstances, Golden Retrievers get on well with other animals and people—including strangers. They behave companionably around other dogs—including those they’ve just met. However, this might change if another dog makes them feel anxious or stresses them out. 

If your dog gets stressed, he will bark a lot. Also, he might start whining or growling. He could also snap at other dogs or people who try to approach him. Your dog might also bark when new people come to visit. In this case, he’d be trying to be protective and communicating that strangers are unwelcome.

Fortunately, most Golden Retrievers take their cues from you. For instance, if a stranger enters your home and you’re comfortable and relaxed with it, your Golden generally will be as well.

Personally, if I’ve indicated that I’m okay with a stranger, and my happy dog who loves just about anybody still isn’t okay with them and continues to bark, I take this as a very serious sign not to fully trust this person.

Golden Retriever puppies learning to bark. Cute!

If a Golden Feels Isolated (Separation Anxiety)

Golden Retrievers are highly social dogs, which makes them popular as family pets. These mild-tempered dogs are friendly, affectionate, and loyal to their owners. They love to spend time playing, going for walks, cuddling on the couch, and generally being around their family.

Therefore, whenever you travel or leave for work, your Golden Retriever is bound to get upset. This situation makes the dog feel lonely and isolated. As a result, they could get bored or have separation anxiety issues and resort to repetitive barking.

This, of course, isn’t good for the dog and won’t make the neighbors happy either. Typically, this is an extreme response in a Golden and shouldn’t be a problem unless he or she is being regularly ignored for long periods of time.

You Encourage Their Bad Behaviour

If your Golden Retriever learns to expect rewards when he barks, they will do it more often. Therefore, avoid giving him extra attention, toys, or treats when he barks. Instead, offer rewards only for good behavior.

In addition to the above reasons, consider when your dog started barking. Your dog may have been triggered by an event or change in his usual routine. The timing and location might also provide useful clues, e.g., just before meals or bath time.

How to Minimize a Golden Retrievers Barking

While your Golden Retriever’s high energy levels might not bother you, your neighbors might not feel the same. 

To reduce the barking, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind it. This will help you take appropriate measures to address the issue. Fortunately, Golden Retrievers are intelligent dogs; hence, they’ll usually only bark if there’s a good reason. 

So, once you identify the trigger, you can help make the necessary changes.

Provide Dog Training

If your dog is reacting to people, it might be necessary to teach him how to differentiate between family, friends, and strangers. This calls for training.

A dog trainer will teach your dog commands to cease barking, as well as the occasions when it’s okay to bark and vise versa. Always reward your dog with positive reinforcement when he responds well. This will encourage him and also help him understand what’s expected of him. 

Watch the below video for tips on how positive reinforcement can help stop your dog from barking a lot: 

Learn how to stop your golden retriever from inappropriate barking.

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

Note that it’s best to start dog training when your dog is still a puppy, although older dogs are trainable as well. It’s just easier when they’re still a puppy. Furthermore, training should be done along with plenty of socialization. If your Golden Retriever is not well socialized, he will not know how to behave in public. Thus, he will often bark and react awkwardly. 

Socializing your dog will enable him to handle the outside world. He will learn to not react to everything unfamiliar with a sense of alarm. Try to expose your Golden Retriever to outside stimuli more often and offer rewards when your dog doesn’t bark. 

Finally, be patient. It will take time for your favorite pet to change their behavior. For your part, be consistent in helping him to identify good and bad behavior. 

Give Your Golden Lots of Attention

Ensure that you offer your dog lots of attention by spending time with him. This is because it’s natural for them to want attention from you—their owner and best friend. 

Avoid leaving your canine friend alone for extended periods—more than 5 hours. Let him know that he’s safe and cared for. This will help to calm him down, thus toning down the barking.  

If due to your work schedule or lifestyle, your Golden finds himself home alone on a regular basis, you may want to consider getting another dog. Of course, this idea isn’t for everyone but in my experience it’s very comforting for a dog to still have a friend and part of their pack around even when you’re gone.

It doesn’t have to be another Golden Retriever. It doesn’t even have to be the same sized dog. I’ve had a Golden Retriever and a small dog (terrier) at the same time, and they got along very well.

Keep Your Golden Retriever Occupied

Golden Retrievers are active dogs, so they’ll get bored fast if they’re not busy with something to do. Give your furry friend time to play and exercise. An hour of exercise every day is advisable. Go for walks, run around, or play fetch, to keep him active and healthy. 

A well-exercised dog is a more relaxed, calmer dog. If your dog isn’t keyed up from excess energy all the time, his need to bark will be reduced.

When you are away, ensure you leave your dog with toys, puzzles, or bones to keep him engaged or distracted. A chew toy like this one from will keep him busy for hours.

Also, make sure to switch out your dogs toys every so often, so they don’t get bored. A favorite toy that has reappeared after a couple of weeks can provide for several days of entertainment. You could also consider taking him to a doggy daycare if it’s convenient for you.

Understand Your Dog

Every Golden Retriever is unique and will respond to different triggers. Learn your dog, what he likes or dislikes, and what sets him off, causing him to start barking. This will help you eliminate some of the triggers or help him through situations where he needs to be calm.

Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers are amazing companions. They are loving, loyal, and non-aggressive. However, their loud barking might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The good news is that Golden Retrievers are not usually excessive barkers.

Therefore, in addition to addressing the other triggers, strive to offer your furry friend appropriate socialization and training to help calm him down. While this will not stop the barking completely, it will drastically reduce it, making life easier for both of you. 

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Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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