Why Do Dogs Bark at Sirens?

There are many things that set off a dog’s instinct to bark; other dogs, new people, small animals, and unfamiliar sights or noises are just a few of these. 

No matter what breed of dog you have, it’s likely you’ve heard your dog bark when a loud siren closes in on your home. If you’re unlucky, perhaps your dog barks at every single siren they hear, even if it’s not nearby.

Can’t figure out why your dog barks at sirens? Here are some of the most common reasons why sirens might trigger your pup to bark.

It’s a Potential Threat 

The sound of a siren is strange and threatening to your dog, especially if they can’t see where the sound is coming from. This could lead them to protect their home by barking, which they see as a strategy to scare away potential threats.

It Hurts Your Dog’s Ears 

Dogs have sharper hearing than humans, so loud noises that simply annoy us can cause our furry friends physical pain. If your dog is experiencing physical discomfort from the sound of the siren, they may show other related behaviors at the same time, such as hiding or cowering.

If your dog is only barking and not showing any other signs of being distressed or in pain, it’s likely a fear or protection instinct kicking in rather than a physical reaction.  

It Makes Your Dog Feel Unsafe 

The sound of a siren is alarming if, like your dog, you don’t know what it is or where it’s coming from. If your dog responds to feeling scared and unsafe by barking, it comes from a similar instinct to their urge to ward off a potential threat. 

Their barking likely won’t be aggressive, but rather an attempt to scare away whatever is making the noise.

Do Some Breeds Bark More than Others? 

Barking at stimuli is more characteristic of some breeds than others, and knowing whether your dog is predisposed to excessive barking can help you deal with the problem.

Breeds that are closely related to wolves, such as Malamutes and Huskies, are more vocal in general than others. Additionally, dogs bred for hunting like foxhounds and beagles have strong instincts to bark or howl when they sense a threat. 

How to Stop Your Dog from Barking at Sirens 

If your dog barks incessantly as soon as they hear a siren coming, you don’t have to just accept it. There are several effective steps you can take to reduce your dog’s barking at loud unfamiliar noises.

Use a Bark Collar 

Want to discourage your dog from barking without pain or shock? No-shock bark collars are a completely safe, pain-free way to let your dog know that prolonged barking is wrong.

When the collar senses barking, it emits a warning beep, which is followed by a small buzz if the barking doesn’t stop. In most cases, dogs will learn to stop barking in order to avoid the uncomfortable sensation within just a few uses. 

A collar like this also allows you to manually control when the collar activates. If you want to discourage unwanted behavior, such as running too far from you in a crowded dog park, you can do so from hundreds of feet away with a convenient remote control.

Teach a “Quiet” Command 

While you’re training your dog not to bark using a bark collar, it's helpful to teach a “quiet” or “hush” command that encourages the type of behavior you want to see. You can work on this command when a siren is passing, or any time your dog barks more than you’d like. 

If your dog is barking excessively, have a treat ready for them the moment they stop. Over time, your dog will learn to associate the treat with a word like “quiet” or “hush,” and eventually, they will stop their barking with a single command.

Be Patient

As you’re working on your dog’s excessive barking, it’s important to be patient and not show frustration during your training sessions. Behaviors like barking at strange sounds are deeply rooted in instinct, so it will take some time for your dog to correct them.