Sharing Some Tips to Stop a Rescue Dog From Barking at Other Dogs or People

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 3, 2021

For this Santa Monica dog training session we worked with Birdie, Jalapeño and rescue dog Nugget; Sharing tips to stop Nugget from barking at people and dogs.

Nugget really lucked out. Formally a street dog, he was literally rescued off of the streets of Tijuana. His new guardian brought him home to meet Birdie and Jalapeño and it did not go well. It is not unusual for street dogs to be territorial or reactive towards other dogs or people due to their pre rescue experiences.

We spent a good portion of the session discussing foundational elements of having a dog.  Making sure that everyone is communicating in a way that Nugget understands, providing enough exercise, mental stimulation and enrichment is very important when you have a fearfully reactive dog. although many people disregard these elements, making sure the dog is happy, its needs are being met and healthy is a big part of any canine rehabilitation program.

Because of his level of fear and anxiety, I was not able to work with nugget directly. Instead I coached his guardian up through the exercises while I worked with Birdie.

Stopping Dog Barking or Aggressive Behavior

One of the exercises that we went over is something called the Engage Disengage game. It’s designed to help dogs feel comfortable when they are exposed to other dogs or people. If you have a dog that barks at dogs or people, you should check out the free positive dog training video below.

Stopping a dog from barking at dogs or people is all about creating a positive association. It will be important that the guardian choose her locations to practice carefully. You don’t want to pick an environment that is too busy or stimulating. That can add additional elements that will make things more difficult. You also want to make sure that the dog has plenty of open space. If a dog feels cornered or trapped, they can often amplify aggressive or territorial behaviors.

I would like to see the guardian practicing this technique with Birdy on a leash and Nugget either tethered on a loose leash. That way Nugget can be handled by her primary guardian while the other helper walks Birdie back-and-forth.

Because of the intensity of her dog reactivity, I mentioned that medication may be a resource that may help with the dog aggression. Sometimes meds are able to turn the intensity of the aggressive behavior low enough for a dog to process things a little bit easier. Living in Santa Monica, Nugget will be exposed to people and dogs on virtually every walk. The more a dog practices a behavior, the better at it they get.  In a perfect world, I would have Nugget’s guardian walking in a controlled environment. That way she wont be caught off guard by a dog coming around the corner unexpectedly. But since that is a tall order for such a heavily populated area, doggy prozac can be a real game changer.

It’s possible we may need to set up a follow up session or two to build on Nugget’s progress. Fortunately, Nugget’s primary guardian is very passionate about dog behavior and training which will help out considerably.

To help the guardians remember all of the dog behavior tips I shared in this in-home Santa Monica dog behavior training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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