What Different Puppy Sounds Mean

Puppy sounds come in a variety of pitches and tones, ranging from the high-pitched yelps of a puppy to the guttural growls of an adult dog.

Learning what these different types of sounds mean is important when raising or training your pup. A dog owner who understands their furry friend’s vocalizations will be able to better communicate with their pet and, over time, build a stronger bond with them.

Dogs make a variety of noises that can provide you with important information about how they’re feeling.

Some dogs will only whine when they’re hungry or need to go outside to do their business. Other dogs may only bark at intruders, while others still may whimper when they want something from you—a treat, for example.

However, growling is much more serious than any of these other noises and should be treated as such. It’s important to know how your dog behaves when she growls so that you can take appropriate precautions if necessary.


Growling is a warning sign. A puppy will growl when they’re afraid, or if they’re trying to make themselves look bigger and more threatening.

However, puppies can also be playful with their growls, too! They may do it as a way to play with other dogs, or perhaps even you! If you hear your puppy growling in this manner, don’t worry—it’s nothing to be concerned about (unless it’s accompanied by snapping or biting).


Barking is the most common way a dog communicates. Dogs bark to get attention, as a warning, or to ask for something. They also bark when they’re happy and scared.

As you can tell, barking is an important trait for dogs to have because it helps them communicate with humans and other animals. That’s why it’s important to understand each type of bark if you want to be able to read your pup like an open book!


Howling is a form of communication. A dog howls when he wants to communicate with other dogs in the area, and it’s done for several reasons. Howling is a way of saying hello, announcing your presence to other dogs, or alerting them that you’re looking for them. It can also be used as a greeting or response to another dog’s howl.

Howling is also used as mating calls, during playtime and when greeting pack members who have been away from the pack for some time. Howling may also signify pain or suffering if your puppy has an injury or illness that affects his ability to communicate normally with other dogs through barking (which allows him to warn his pack mates about danger).


Whimpering is a low-pitched, quiet sound that dogs make when they are in pain or upset. It could mean one of many things:

  • Your puppy might be asking for attention. If his whimper is long and drawn out, it could also mean he’s hungry or tired and wants you to come closer so that he can rest against your leg or sleep in your lap.
  • If the whimper is short and quick, it may indicate that your pup feels threatened by an unfamiliar person or dog and is asking you to intervene on his behalf (or just get him away from whatever has frightened him).
  • Dogs also tend to whimper when they’re feeling excited but nervous—like when meeting new people or children!


When you hear your dog yip, it’s time to get excited. This high-pitched sound is one of the cutest noises that dogs make, and it’s often a signal for playtime. When your puppy starts yipping at you and her siblings, she’s letting you know that she wants a good game of chase or tug-of-war.

When dogs are playing with each other, they often make little noises like yips and squeaks out of happiness—and when one dog gets tired, he might even give out a yawning noise as well!

It’s cute because we associate yawns with sleepiness in humans (and dogs), but really they’re just another way for dogs to communicate their emotions with each other.


Learning this information is a great first step in understanding your dog better, but it’s only the beginning. If you want to understand your pup even better, there are plenty of resources available to you.

You can start by taking a look at our blog post on dog body language, which breaks down all the ways your pup communicates their feelings through movements—not just sounds.