Tips to Help a Santa Monica Dog Get Over a Fear of Strangers

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 5, 2019

For this Santa Monica dog training session, we work with 3 year-old Jack Russell mix Aggy who barks at people passing by the house or strangers who come inside.

Dogs that like to bark at strangers or people passing by the home often are reacting because it works. They bark at someone and they move away. Since this accomplishes the dog’s goal, its validating or rewarding and promotes the barking behavior.

When you are training a dog to not bark at people, its important to first make sure there are no other issues in play. In Aggy’s case, anxiety is a contributing factor so we spent a good portion of the session working on creating a healthy leader follower dynamic through passive training, petting with a purpose, establishing and enforcing rules and increasing the dog’s daily exercise.

Next up I tackled the dog barking problem. When I train a dog to not bark at things, I like to use desensitization and counterconditioning. By having the humans knock on tables and walls at times no one is walking by or at the door, we can help lessen the dog’s barking when people knock on the door. I also suggested a few maintenance tips like covering the bottom of the window so the dog can’t see people passing by.

Since Aggy is barking at people out of anxiety, I wanted to show the humans how they can create a positive association with new people. I headed outside to do some prep work then handed one of the guardians my camera so we could film an easy way to stop a dog from fearing strangers.

I wish we had filmed this secret to helping a dog learn it doesn’t need to bark at strangers, but my mini camera light did a alright.

The guardians will need to arrange for people Aggy does not know to come by so they can practice the secret to stopping a dog from barking at strangers. If they practice a few times a week, in concert with the other things we covered, it shouldn’t take long for the dog to learn it doesnt need to bark at unknown people.

To help the guardians remember all the dog behavior tips we shared in this in home Santa Monica dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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