Training a Shepherd Mix to Stop Barking at Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: April 19, 2023

stop barking at dogs

For this Beverlywood dog training session we worked with Caspian and Sully, helping Cass learn to stop barking at dogs on walks.

The dogs were pretty excited when I first arrived for the session so we spent a few minutes going over some tips to stop dogs from jumping up on people at the door.

Next we went over a number of dog behavior fundamentals; marker words, hand targeting, creative forms of exercise, mental stimulation, the importance of celebrating desired behaviors, how to teach dogs manners, scent games like Cookie in the corner and how to recognize dog consent and body language.

Since Sully doesn’t have a dog barking problem, we gave him a collagen stick from our friends over at Barkworthies and took Caspian out for a short walk to see if we coudl figure out a way to stop a dog from barking at dogs.

Teaching Dogs to Stop Barking at Dogs on Walks

Before we headed out, I asked the guardians to show me how Caspian behaved as they put him on the leash. Since he got over excited, I showed them a trick to help him calm himself down. If you have a dog that like to bark at other dogs on walks, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to help that dog be calm before you start the walk.

Being Easter Sunday, it was difficult to find another dog to practice this technique to stop dogs from barking at other people’s dogs. When we found one, I handed my phone to Caspian’s guardians and took his leash so that I could show them this secret to stop dogs from barking at other dogs.

If you have a dog that loves to bark at other dogs on walks, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below.

This video didn’t start off the way I intended. When you’re using this trick to stop dogs from barking at other dogs, the key is to practice far enough away so that your dog doesn’t bark. Since we were in a neighborhood and working with a dog that we bumped into, we had to make do. But in the future, I would like the guardians to arrange to meet at a park with a friend of theirs who has a dog that Caspian has not met.

Creating a set up where all the elements work in the dog’s favor is an important part of stopping dogs from barking when they see other dogs. Some people object to this or call it cheating. But when you are modifying a dog’s behavior, early practice should focus on helping the dog learn what you want from them. Making it more lifelike comes later.

The idea is to help your dog practice being around other dogs without barking by the handler (you) managing the distance for your dog so it doesn’t feel the need to bark. Then, every time your dog looks at the other dog without barking, you say your marker word and then give them a treat. After doing this for 30 seconds to a minute, you need to give your dog a break and then practice from a different angleif possible. Once you’ve practice from all the angles, then you can take a step or two closer to the other dog and repeat the exercise.

Finding a park where there is a lot of open space and a walking path where may people walk their dogs is an ideal place to practice this if you cant create a set up as described earlier.

A pro tip is to not let your dog meet the other dog when you are doing this exercise. This seems counterintuitive as you want your dog to feel comfortable around the other dogs. But once your dog meets that dog, you most likely can’t use that dog again for this exercise. Having an abundance of dogs to practice with is super important if you want to train your dog to not bark at other dogs. If you don have that, stopping before the barking dog gets to meet the other dog allwos you to use that same dog to practice again later.

I recommend the guardians try to avoid walking Caspian around other dogs. Obviously this is easier said than done. Shortly after we shot the above video, we ran into a dog at a corner where we didn’t see the other dog coming. This gave me an opportunity to demonstrate how you practice the find it away game and give the guardians an opportunity to practice the exercise I went over in the above video.

I would like to see the guardians practicing this trick to stop dog barking at other dogs at least once a week. Dog behavior modification is a numbers game. It’s important that you practice regularly in order for your dog to get better at it. Same thing as humans training to run long distance or lift weights. The more you do it, the better at it you get.

When we headed back home, Caspian was pretty tired. It’s really important that you give your dog and opportunity to rest after the sort of behavior training. While it looks pretty easy to us, it can be very emotionally taxing on the dogs.

I really enjoyed this in-home West LA dog behavior training session. Caspian has some pretty awesome guardians and he’s a great dog to be around. Plus I have an affinity for older dogs so I snuck Sully as many free treats as I could get away with, lol.

We recorded a roadmap to success summary video to help the guardians remember everything we covered (see below). I also invited them to give me a call or shoot me a text if they have any questions down the road.

It’s going to take some time and practice, but based on how I was able to redirect Caspian‘s attention even after he started barking, I’m optimistic his guardians are going to be able to help him learn that when he’s around other dogs, silence is golden.

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This post was written by: David Codr