Some Tips to Stop Dogs From Barking at Other Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: February 24, 2023

stop dogs from barking

For this Woodland Hills dog training session we worked with a family of Australian Shepherds; Jake, Tokey and Uno, sharing tips to stop dogs from barking at other dogs.

I started working with the dogs behavior as soon as I walked through the front door. Knowing that they like to jump up on people at the door, I shared a tip to stop that unwanted behavior using the guess which hand game.

When dogs have undesirable behaviors, one of the first things I ask clients is if they have taught the dog what behavior they do want from their dog. Most people simply assume the dog will know that what we perceive is wrong is wrong to the dog. That is almost never the case.

I suggested the Guardian practice this exercise to stop dog jumping with each dog separately. Grabbing a handful of treats then exiting and closing the door behind them as they leave the home. Then turning around and coming back inside and presenting two hands on either side of the dog’s snout so they can guess which one has the treat while they’re in a sit.

The guardian was amazed at how little jumping the dogs did for me using a variation of this exercise. If the guardians practice this a couple of times a day with each dog for a week, perhaps two, they should notice it big difference in their jumping behavior when guests come to the door.

We covered a number of other dog behavior fundamentals; how and when to use marker words, hand targeting, the appropriate time to introduce a cue, potty training, cookie in the corner and other mental stimulation exercises. Adding a couple of snuffle mats and toys and feeding her dogs out of them can provide enrichment and mental stimulation which is important for independent thinking breeds like Australian Shepherds. Combined with regular exercise on the daily and spot  exercise before events can set the dogs up for success (such as exercising the dogs before a walk).

How to stop dogs from barking

Towards the end of the session, we took Jake out for a short walk so I could show his guardians an exercise to help him with his barking behavior at other dogs.

Dogs bark for many reasons and people usually react to the barking, which makes it worse. All attention is rewarding too dogs  – and anything your dog is doing before you give it attention is what you are specifically rewarding them for. So if your dog is barking at another dog and you tell them to stop, you are accidentally training your dog to bark.

In Jake’s case, sometimes he barks because he wants to play with the other dog, and other situation he barks because he wants the other dog to move away. In the course of discussing this, I learned that he also pulls on the leash which led his guardian to purchase a prong collar.

Unfortunately prong collars have a lot of nasty side effects. Studies show that using a prong collar releases cortisol, the stress hormone, into the dog’s blood. Since dogs learn by association, if Jake pulls to get towards a dog (either because he’s happy or wants them to go away), and the collar bites him in the neck, that’s going to cause him to think that the other dog is the source of his discomfort.

Fortunately for Jake, his guardian understood that was happy to switch over to a harness which is a much better tool. While it would be nice if there was any tool to stop an unwanted dog behavior, that’s not the reality. We have to teach and train our dogs to do the things we want them to do, just like humans.

To train a dog to stop barking at other dogs, I decided to go over the engage disengage game with his guardian. If your dog barks at other dogs, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below

The great thing about the engage disengage game is it helps the dog build a positive association with whatever it was that they were barking at. But the key is you have to be far enough away so that your dog does not bark. If your dog barks, that’s an indication you are too close and you need to immediately move 5, 10 or 15 feet away and try again.

Stopping dogs from barking at other dogs it’s all about setting them up for success.  I recommended that Jake’s guardian exercise him and then give him 10 minutes to rest before she practices this exercise and arrange for a friend with a dog to help. Having the other dog under your control makes things much easier when training a dog to stop barking. These small prepatory steps makes it an easy way to stop dogs from barking.

I would like to see Jake’s guardian practicing this tip to stop dog barking for 5-10 minutes per practice session, once a week in different locations (preferbly away from busy and distracting environments) for the next six weeks straight. It would be better if she could practice a couple of times a week, but getting into a regular routine is key. Jake didn’t start off barking and lunging this way, it gradually happened. It can gradually get better as well, if we put in the time.

After we got done filming the secret to stopping dog barking, we headed inside so that I could show the Guardian a few additional dog behavior tips.

We wrapped up this Woodland Hills in-home dog behavior training session by recording a roadmap to success summary video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr