Why Do Dogs Bark at Strangers?

It’s pretty embarrassing when your dog barks loudly at any stranger they meet, and it can make you feel pretty helpless, too. Your pup needs their exercise, and to get that exercise, there’s a good chance that they’ll need to come into contact with people they’re unfamiliar with. 

So what are you supposed to do when they continuously bark at every new face? There are a few different strategies you can employ to discourage your pup from barking at strangers. But first, you need to understand why they do it. 

To help you do that, we’ve compiled this simple guide to what makes dogs bark when they meet someone new and how to put a stop to it once and for all. But for a quick and easy solution check out our no-shock, humane bark collar. Enjoy!

What Makes Your Dog Bark?

It may seem like sometimes your dog is barking for absolutely no reason, but there’s pretty much always an explanation for vocal behavior. It’s important to know what that explanation is if you ever want to get your pup to keep it down.  

Below are some of the most common reasons dogs tend to speak up:

  • They’re hungry or thirsty
  • They need to use the bathroom
  • They’re excited to see you
  • They need exercise
  • They’re bored
  • They’ve been startled
  • They’re in pain
  • They have separation anxiety

Whenever your dog’s barking becomes problematic, consider which of the above reasons explains their behavior, and you’re one step closer to an answer.

The Reason Why Dogs Bark at Strangers

It isn’t always unwelcome when your dog is inspired to speak up when they see someone unfamiliar. It can even be life-saving. Some people have dogs as their companion specifically because they alert you of incoming strangers. 

However, some pups can take it too far and feel the need to make excessive noise whenever a stranger is remotely near them. That can be a real headache.

So why exactly do they do it? Keep reading for some of the most common reasons.

Territorial Behavior

Dogs evolved to be territorial creatures. It’s one of their instincts, and it’s not a habit that they’re likely to just kick all on their own. Once they’ve established a sense of what their territory is, they’re going to speak up when they see that someone unfamiliar has encroached upon it.

Alarm Barking

When dogs are not accustomed to meeting new people, they will naturally be on edge in the presence of strangers. When this happens, it’s quite common that their reaction will be an earful of loud barking. 

This type of barking may not mean that your pup will become aggressive, but you can’t rule it out, either. If your dog is really scared and uncomfortable, they may feel backed into a corner enough to lash out, so be wary.


A dog’s primary means of communication is their bark, and sometimes they’re just using it to say something along the lines of “Hello! Nice to meet you!” when they come across a stranger. 

While some pups — particularly under-socialized ones — may immediately respond to strangers with fear and anxiety, others just get incredibly excited, and they can’t help but say it out loud.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking at Strangers

Okay, you have a better idea now of what might be making your dog bark when strangers come around, so then how exactly do you make it stop? Well, a few different methods are worth considering, and we’ve listed them all below!


Perhaps the best way to deal with a dog that barks at strangers is to get them used to meeting new people. Socialization can start with pups as young as seven or eight weeks old, but that doesn’t mean your older dog can’t become more socially comfortable with a little practice.


For a dog who is socialized enough to enjoy meeting strangers but who gets a little overly excited by them, you may need to consider training. Commands like “speak” and “quiet” are great, but you can also reward quiet behavior with training treats.

Bark Collar

Sometimes socialization and training just don’t seem to do the trick. If that’s the case for you, then you should consider a humane bark collar for your pup. The No-Shock Bark Collar from Pets Pawsabilities is a totally pain-free and highly effective method for training your pup to be a bit more selective with their barking.