Training Tips to Stop Dog Barking at the Fence Line

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: August 7, 2017

Bella is seven-year-old Cattle Dog who lives in Omaha with six-year-old German Shepherd Leo and one-year-old German Shepherd Luka. Their guardians set up a dog behavior training session to stop dog reactivity and help them stop barking at dogs.

After I arrived the dogs settled down very quickly. The guardian had already put rules and structure in place in the home, which helped the dogs have calm energy. The primary dog behavior concern was Bella’s reactive behavior towards other dogs at the fence line.

In the past, the guardians would sometimes pet the dogs when they were barking at other dogs to attempt to soothe them. I taught their guardians Petting with a Purpose, which means that each time you pet your dog you are telling them “good job!” In this case, each time they petted their dog when it reacted to another dog they were telling them to keep barking at other dogs.

When I was chatting with the guardians I learned that the dogs had been bitten by a small neighborhood dog. This negative experience likely contributed to the dogs’ barking at the fence when dogs approached. To help the dogs stop reacting at the fence I used a positive dog training approach called counterconditioning, which you can see in the video below.

In the video above I mentioned that when using the counterconditioning method, our test for calm energy is to have the dog sitting and taking a treat. However, Bella started to stand up during the exercise and what I didn’t mention is that this is okay as long as her body is relaxed and her tail is level with her back or lower. The guardians can also use this method for helping their dogs relax during thunderstorms by playing an audio recording at the lowest volume possible and slowly making the sound louder and louder.

By the end of the session all three dogs were moving closer and closer to the fence line while dogs walked by without barking or getting excited. To keep up this good behavior I would recommend that the guardians sign-up their two more reactive dogs for our Dog Behavior Class: Eliminating Dog on Dog Aggression.

We wrapped up this session with Bella, Leo and Luka’s Roadmap to Success video, which you can watch below.

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This post was written by: Sam Kanouse

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