A Positive Way to Stop a Dog From Barking at Things They Disagree With

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 10, 2022

stop a dog from barking

For this Malibu dog training session we worked with 7 year-old Terrier mix Xedo, sharing tips to stop a dog from barking at things.

Because Xedo is sometimes territorial when people visit at his home, we met at Malibu Bluffs Park. Anytime you have a territorial dog, it’s a good idea to do introductions on neutral territory, preferably outside.

We walked and talked, and eventually grabbed a seat in the park so I could share a number of dog behavior tips with his wonderful guardians.

Tips to Stop a Dog From Barking at Things

One of the main issues the guardians wanted to work on was Xedo’s territorial and barking behavior when people visit his home. Stopping a dog from barking at people or things is easy if you use the right approach. But to do so, you need to know why the dog is barking in the first place. There are different approaches to dogs who are fearful, territorial, alerting or excited. In Xedo’s case, it sounds like his barking is warning / alerting and to make the thing go away.

After going over marker words, dog consent, a hand targeting exercise and how to redirect his attention from unwanted behaviors with a positive interrupter, we were ready to work on his barking problem. I gave his guardians a clicker and asked a couple of skateboarders to help us practice a positive dog behavior modification technique that I like to call Click for Looks.

If you have a dog that is protective or barks at people or things, you should definitely check out the free positive dog training video below.

The great thing about Click for Looks is that it is a very easy way to stop a dog from barking or feeling uncomfortable around people or things. By clicking when the dog looks at the object, while the dog is far enough away to not be reactive, you can help build a positive association. But it’s crucially important that the dog is not reacting when it is looking at the object. If that’s the case, you need to move away from whatever your dog is barking at, so s/he can calm down. Once your dog is calm again, you can return to the practice area and try again, but do so from five or 10 feet further away. If the dog barks at that distance, you need to repeat that process and add more space until you find a distance the dog wont bark when it sees the person or thing.

It was great to see how well Xedo reacted to this easy exercise to stop dog barking. It will take time and practice. I suggested the guardians make a list of all the things that he is reactive to so they can systematically use this secret to stopping dogs from barking on each one.

This was a really fun West LA dog training session. I asked the guardian to reach out to me if they have any questions or things don’t go as planned. Now that they have some dog behavior tips specific for their dog, I’m confident that they can help Xedo learn that he doesn’t have to bark at things that he doesn’t understand.

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This post was written by: David Codr