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Why does my dog bark at some strangers and not others

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  • Post last modified:20 December 2023

Dogs don’t see us the same way and that’s the truth.

Even humans tends to like a person than another after several observation, sometimes even without interaction.

The question “why does my dog bark at some strangers and not others” is a good one that relates to mankind too.

You don’t expect us to get the same response from people we come across on a daily, even from neighbours, and co-workers.

We are not the same, we don’t carry the same luck and privileges, we don’t have the same level of knowledge, we don’t have the same strength, we don’t have same smell, and we don’t smile the same way.

All these are factors dogs may consider when we come across them and send back a response that is best for our character.

The science behind why dogs bark at some strangers will be discussed on this page.

So, I employ you to grab a cup of tea and to enjoy the details of this discuss.

Reason why dogs bark at some strangers and not others

Dogs are always alert and stay guarded when meeting strangers.

Their awesome smell sense and eyes help them to understand humans better and stay off dangerous people approaching.

You may never understand why your dog is so friendly with one friend of yours and is full of rejection for the second person.

The anxiety, aggression, and happiness they express is not consistent with everybody they come across.

No matter what it is, I believe your dog has a reason for that and has to protect itself from the known, which maybe unknown to you.

See some reason why some of your strangers are being rejected below.

Maltreated the dog in the past

One of the reason why a dog may bark at a person may be due to maltreatment by that person in the past.

A person who has maltreated or poisoned your dog is likely to get harsh response from the dog when he/she comes visiting again.

You may never understand the rationale behind your dog response to the person, but it will be known that such stranger/visitor is highly hated.

However, such person can still make peace with your dog if proper reply is given.

Intimidating appearance

A lot of dogs may detest humans with intimidating appearance, especially those trained for security reasons.

Many a times, people with intimidating appearance are not to be trusted, even by humans.

So, your dog may be sounding an alarm based on what they see.

Many are comfortable with peaceful looking individual who will not hurt them or anybody in their vicinity.

If you’ve ever come across a person whose dressing is intimidating, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Sometimes, you’ll feel like your world is ending when you come across such persons, especially at night.

That’s same reason why your dog may bark at them profusely to protect itself.

Body language and other red flags

Dogs are social creatures that tend to understand human body language easily.

They may understand that a person don’t want their friendship or isn’t good for their household.

So, they may bark or growl to deter such person from entrance, it don’t mean you’re a bad person, you aren’t just the type of person for that environment.

So, when you see a dog barking or growling at a person, it may be a warning sign because you’re not part of the household.

Meanwhile the other person is well known or has features needed to be accommodated in such environment.

So, look at your stranger properly to understand why your do is barking at them.

If you’re a stranger, look inward and understand the situation to make a better decision by turning back.

Unusual is intimidating

Your dog may bark at someone with an unusual feature.

It is likely for your dog to bark at a person on assistive device like wheelchairs and cranes when they’ve never come across such in the past.

It may be strange to them that the person doesn’t move with two legs and bark or growl at such experience.

Artificial human hair may be strange to your dog too and that can propel them to bark at the human putting on such material.

They bark because they cannot understand the science behind such material, so they prefer to stay away from such individual.

Greeting a well-known stranger

A stranger may have accessed your home one or two times and have related with your dog properly.

Such person may get a happy bark when they re-access your home again while the other person isn’t recognized.

In the case of the known, you will see the dog jumping, tail wagging, whining, and performing other friendly gestures that translate to being happy with the visitor.

Strange scents

Dogs are good at detecting scents and can smell your cloths and body from distance away.

When a person is putting on a strange scent, it’s telling about that person.

So, if they come near, the dog may choose to bark at such person, especially when it’s an irritating scent they cannot conform to.

This may be a way of alerting you of evil doers or dangerous persons.


From the points above, it’s easy to conclude that the reason your dog may bark at a stranger and not the other is because of features the stranger possess.

These include their body language, look, smell, how they behave towards you, how they interact with the dog, and their previous experience with the dog.

Sometimes, it’s because they dog seek their attention and is always happy with their presence.

Dogs are intelligent animals who choose their friends wisely, they know who to approach with excitement and who to approach with aggression.

The reason they bark at a particular person is well known to them, so just be watchful and observant.

Do dogs bark at certain people to get their attention?

Many think that dog bark at people because of fear, aggression, or dislike.

However, that’s not the only reason, they may also bark at someone to get his/her attention, especially those in their neighborhood.

They may bark at their owner to get food, care, or for a walk in the street.

So, you can’t conclude why a dog is barking until you are nearby or understand what its intention is.

Dogs bark to get attention and that’s mostly directed to people who have related with them positively.

In happy times, you’ll see them wagging their tails, jumping in anticipation, and other signs of happiness.

Why don’t dogs bark at some people?

Many a times, dogs don’t bark at people they are at peace with.

Such people don’t possess any iota of threat again your dog and doesn’t excite your dog too in any way.

These are regular people that visit your home without trespassing your dog or making it excited in any way.

In summary, it means that your dog don’t like or hate this person.

How to stop your dog from barking at certain people

Sometimes, your dog may bark at a friend who has no evil intention, or a mailman always coming to drop mails.

The best way to move forward if such situation arise is to employ the best positive reinforcement training recommended by dog trainers to teach your dog not to feel defensive and protective around such persons.

This dog training technique uses incentive to encourage your dog to behave the exact way that you require.

That is, you’ll reward your dog whenever it doesn’t bark at a stranger and let it know that if it barks, no reward will be received.

Overtime, your dog will understand and bark not when such person or people are around.


Can you train a Chihuahua not to bark?