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When your dog barks, it can mean a variety of things depending on the tone of the bark and the surrounding circumstance.
An excited alert bark may welcome a familiar person who is approaching. A deep bark combined with a growl may be a warning to a stranger approaching. Or you dog may use a short quick bark to alert you of a need. For instance, he's ready to go outside to the backyard and needs you to open the door.
Try listening to the tones of your pooch's vocalizations as well as assessing the situation, and you'll find that you may start to understand you canine's lingo a little bit more.