Why do Tollers Scream?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Breed information 1

Why do Tollers Scream?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers can bark, just like any other dog breed, however, besides a “normal” barking sound, Tollers can have a high-pitched, penetrating bark that sounds like a howl or a scream when they get excited. Our Toller Stippy can “scream” too and it can be very challenging for our ears!

So why do Tollers  scream?   Because they get very excited or eager. When my husband or I play with our Toller Stippy and we act a little “crazy”, extra excited or make funny noises, Stippy can get really enthusiastic and create a very high-pitched, eardrum-hurting sound. Loud and frantic.

Most Tollers will only scream when they are behind a window and see something they desperately want to chase, like a cat, bird or squirrel, which our dog Stippy can do as well but they can also “scream” when playing when they are having fun in the water or due to an exciting stimulus like a ball or irresistible toy.

Of course, Tollers have a normal sounding bark as well and they are not a breed that is neurotic or barks a lot. Our dog Stippy almost never barks, he’s very quiet most of the time. I remember that he first barked when he was about 1 year old. I was so surprised, never heard him bark before that so don’t worry, besides Tollers can sometimes scream they are generally not very loud dogs.

Do All Tollers Scream?

Not all Tollers scream but many do. So if you live in a quiet neighborhood where dog noise will generate angry neighbors, if you are unable to teach your dog quiet manners or if you don’t like dogs who make noise than the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever might not be the breed for you. However, if you have a Toller or if you want a Toller in your life but you don’t like the Toller scream than you can train your Toller not to scream or bark.

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Can I Train my Toller, not to Scream or Bark?

Yes, definitely! Any dog owner, with persistence, can train their dog not to bark and train their Toller not to scream. Tollers do not have an aggressive bark. If they are in a violent situation they most likely have a harsh growl as many other dogs have but they are not likely to bark. If your Toller barks or screams and it becomes annoying you can train him or her.

Most dogs bark, it’s natural to them but sometimes the barking can become a problem. When dogs bark, the owners tend to yell at their dog, reward bad behavior by giving the dog attention the wrong way when they think they’re doing it right or are inconsistent when disciplining. 

It’s important to first determine the root cause or source of the barking. Your dog can have many reasons to bark for example barking out of boredom, out of habit, being left alone, etc. So if you want the barking behavior stopped permanently first find the source of this behavior.

The type of training to stop your dog barking depends on the reason why he or she is barking. Sometimes the most simple and straightforward solutions will work. If your dog, for example, barks because he or she is bored the solution can be to provide your dog with something to do like physical or mental exercise games. Always contact a professional trainer or behaviorist if you can’t manage it yourself. They are more than willing to help you out!

Duck Tolling Retriever Barking

Only reward positive, wanted behavior.

Many dogs bark because they want something. That can be asking for food, a treat, asking for attention, tell you to play with them, to let them out of their crate, throw their ball, etc. Don’t respond. Wait until your dog is quiet. When he or she is quiet for a little while then you give them what they want. Also, when they show the behavior that you want like lying down quietly, not jumping up to people, sit down, go into his or her crate, etc. make sure to positively reward that behavior by telling your dog with a sweet voice he or she is a good dog, giving a treat, playing with your dog, etc. This way you will teach him or her the requested behavior instead of stimulating unwanted behavior.

So, will your dog never bark? The answer is no. All dogs bark. They can bark for many different reasons whether it’s out of fear, boredom, hunger, territorial barking, joyful greeting, attention, excitement, there can be so many reasons and that is normal. However, if your dog barks excessively it’s good to figure out the reason why he or she is barking so much. Here are a few tips for the things you can do yourself to try to stop your dog from barking too much.


 A tired dog is a happy, satisfied do who goes to sleep and is relaxed in your home. Before you leave for work or go out make sure he or she has had enough physical and/or mental exercise. If you don’t have the time or energy to do that you can always have a dog walker (like myself) to walk with your dog in the middle of the day and bring him or her home tired from walking, sniffing and possible playing, running with other dogs.

When you come home after a long day you don’t have to take a long walk or play with your dog if you don’t want to and your dog will be tired, satisfied and less likely to bark because he or she has too much energy or wants all of your attention. 


If a dog hasn’t been socialized (enough) it may begin to bark at people, objects like cars, bikes or other things he or she is scared of or bark at other dogs. If a dog has had many positive experiences with many other dogs, children, all types of people, bikes, cars, wheelchairs, shops, restaurants, the mailman, etc., your dog is less likely to bark in certain situations because he or she knows there’s nothing to be scared of. 


Yes, taking time to get your puppy or dog socialized is a crucial part and will have a tremendous impact on how you can daily interact with your dog, but also how your dog will behave towards your kids, family and friends… and other dogs! I have got good experience ensuring the kids understand this crucial element as well, this book will be a great help.

Duck Tolling Retriever Socialization

Toys, tracking and dog puzzles

To prevent your dog to become bored, which can result in barking excessively or other unwanted behavior like chewing on stuff, it’s very important to give your dog something to do. Your dog will love that! Especially if it’s something he or she can do together with you. This doesn’t take hours of your time.

When it comes to mental exercise adult dogs can get tired after 15 minutes! Of course, not every dog is the same, some have more energy than others and a young puppy will get tired sooner, but mental exercise works so well. I have a dog puzzle, which our Toller Stippy loves to play with. Treats can be placed inside the puzzle and Stippy needs to work out how to get the treats out.

You also have toys in which you can place the treats. I also let my dog Stippy search for treats or his toys (tracking) for which he really has to work that nose and he gets tired within 15 minutes! More tired than after a hike of 1 hour. I hide treats of his toys and he has to find them. You should really try it, it’s so much fun for your dog, for you and he or she will be really tired and satisfied after all this sniffing.

Manage Surroundings

When you leave the house and you will be gone for a while, leave your dog with some familiar scents and sounds if your dog has fear of abandonment and barks a lot because of that fear. Leave some clothes with your scent and keep the radio or television on so the house isn’t so quiet and he or she can’t hear sounds from outside the house that much which can trigger barking as well.

Closing the blinds can also prevent your dog from seeing things outside like a cat or the mailman which can trigger him to bark.

Teach the “Quiet” command

You can teach your dog to be quiet by teaching the command “quiet”. When teaching this command, or any other command or trick you want to teach your dog, use a calm, firm voice to tell him or her to be “quiet” at the moment your dog is quiet and reward him or her with a treat or affection. You can use the clicker training method as well which for me personally works best. 

Dogs bark, most Tollers have the “scream”, it’s natural to them but excessive barking or the loud Toller scream can become a problem for you, your neighbors and sometimes for your dog as well if the reason he or she barks is out of boredom, fear, etc. The good news is, this behavior can be turned around! Hopefully, these tips can help you when your dog barks a lot or to prevent your dog from barking. You can try yourself or contact professionals to help you.

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About us

Hi, welcome to my blog about the amazing breed Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever!

My name is Eline van Stiphout and I live in The Netherlands. Together with my husband Arthur and our sweet Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Stippy, the three of us love to travel and go on outdoor adventures. 

Currently, I’m a professional, fully licensed dog walker since 2017. I gave up my stressful fulltime office job to follow my dream which is working and walking with dogs.


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