An Easy Way to Stop a Dog From Barking at Other Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 16, 2021

Layla and Marshall scaled - An Easy Way to Stop a Dog From Barking at Other Dogs

For this Omaha dog behavior training session we worked with Layla (left) and Marshal, a pair of Australian Shepherds who like to bark at dogs passing by their home.

We started out by discussing the dog’s day-to-day routine. I learned that because of Marshals reactivity when he see’s other dogs, his guardians had stopped walking him. Anytime you have a herding, working or hunting dog, it’s crucially important that you are getting them enough exercise.

I shared some creative exercise tips as well as a number of ways to provide mental stimulation, something that many people overlook.

I also went over the importance of rewarding the dogs when they engage and desired behaviors, teaching them manners like how do I ask for attention and some other general dog behavior tips. People often overlook the importance of these things, but they are usually contributing factors when dogs are displaying unwanted behaviors.

Tips to Stop a Dog Barking Problem

Next step I wanted to address the dog’s barking problem. Marshal likes to bark at other dogs he sees out of the window. When Marshal starts barking, Layla chimes in. Each time this happens, the dogs think that they saved the day because after they started barking, the thing that they were barking at went away. This validates the dog’s barking behavior.

I shared an easy dog behaviorist trick to stop dogs from barking out the window. Adding the small change will have a profound impact on the dogs behavior because they won’t be able to verify that their barking made anything go away. This will stop reinforcing some of the barking behavior and should result in the dogs barking less.

But the window was not the only place that Marshal like to bark. If Marshal sees another dog, he starts barking like crazy. In many cases, dogs that are barking are trying to communicate something. Sometimes they are saying that the other dog needs to go away, to let the humans know that there is something nearby, in other cases the dogs have barked so much that it’s become a habit.

If you combine a high energy breed of dog with a lack of exercise and a dog reactivity problem, it’s not uncommon to have a dog develop a barking problem.

To stop the dog from barking at other dogs on walks or outside in the yard, I handed my camera to one of the guardians so they could record me as I shared a number of secrets to stopping dogs from barking. If you have a dog that likes to bark, you should check out the free positive dog training video below.

The engage / disengage game is a wonderful way to stop dogs from barking at other dogs or things they disagree with because it starts to introduce a positive association. Even though Marshal‘s guardian is not a professional dog trainer, they should be able to complete this exercise if they find the right distance and location to practice at. If the dog barks or lunges when it sees another dog, that’s an indication that they are too close. When that is the case, they should stop immediately and move 5 to 10 feet away and then see if Marshal will sit or take a treat. Its not unusual to have to try several distances at first to guage how close you can get.

It’s also important to understand that during this sort of positive dog training, if a dog will not sit or take a treat, that should never be interpreted as the dog not listening or being disobedient. I use the sit to determine whether or not the dog is comfortable or not as dogs will generally not sit near things they are not secure with. So if they ask Marshal to sit, and he does not comply within a few seconds, they should interpret that as being too close and move 5 to 10 feet further away before trying again.

Once the guardians find the appropriate distance, they can start practicing this exercise to stop dogs from barking. There will be some ebb and flow, depending on the energy level and movement of the other dog. In some cases they may need to move further away for one dog and a few feet closer for another.

I’d like to see the guardians practicing this tip to stop dog barking once a day, every day for 10 days. It takes dogs regular practice that is completed consistently to start modifying their behavior. One of the more common mistakes people make when trying to fix a dog behavior problem is practicing for a couple of days and then dropping off.

I’d like to see the guardians practicing this exercise once or twice a day for that 10 days to really get them started. As the dog gets better at this exercise to stop dog barking, they will start to be able to get closer and closer to other dogs without dog barking. it’s a process but if you practice regularly and complete it, the guardians can either greatly reduce the parking problem or stop the dog barking all together.

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

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This post was written by: David Codr