How To Train a Dog to Stop Barking at the Neighbor’s Dogs Using Counterconditioning

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: July 28, 2017

Dexter is a six-year-old Portuguese Water Dog who lives in Omaha. His guardians set up a dog behavior training session to help Dexter stop barking at the neighbor’s dogs and kids when they are outside.

While chatting with Dexter’s guardians I noticed that he was demanding attention and invading my personal space. I learned that Dexter did not have a lot of rules in place and a lack of rules can lead to behavior issues. I suggested some new rules such as asking Dexter to sit before going outside and including exercise every day to help keep him in a calm state of mind.

I showed the guardians our Petting with a Purpose technique to reward Dexter for good behavior and our Escalating Consequences to disagree with him when he is invading personal space and enforce boundaries. By being consistent with these techniques Dexter will gain self control and ask for attention through manding (sitting for attention).

The guardian’s main dog behavior concern was when Dexter barked at the neighbor’s dog and kids. To help Dexter stop barking we used a Counterconditioning method, which you can watch in the video below.

By using this positive dog training technique we helped Dexter develop self control while watching the neighbor’s dog and kids run around.

A free dog training tip is to separate the stimulus (what your dog is reacting to) by speed, distance and sound. We use a ‘Sit and Treat” rule when using counterconditioning: if your dog can sit and take a treat they are relaxed. When first practicing, be far enough away from the stimulus that your dog can “Sit and Treat” while looking at the stimulus when it is still. Slowly move closer to the stimulus, if your dog cannot sit, move farther away. The more you practice this, the quicker your dog will learn.

By the end of the session Dexter was relaxed in the backyard, without barking at the neighbor’s kids or dog and learning to respect people’s personal space. We wrapped up this session with Dexter’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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