Some Tips to Help a Rescue Dog Stop Barking at Unknown People and Dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 29, 2021

For this Omaha dog training session we got to work with an sweetheart of a rescue dog; Scout, a 2 year-old Dalmatian mix who is reactive when seeing other dogs

Knowing that Scout is sometimes uncomfortable around new people, I left a trail of treats from her door to where I was waiting so that she could get some nice positive reinforcement before she met me. After a few dog behaviorist tricks, Scout was relaxed enough to go for a short walk with her guardian and I.

When we returned home, I chatted with the guardian about Scout’s background and offered a number of dog behavior tips that should help the dog feel more comfortable around strangers as well as things to do when the dog is anxious, nervous or reactive.

One of the things we discussed was using a marker word to help scout learn what the things are that she does that her guardian likes. The more that the guardian marks and rewards the dog when she voluntarily offers these behaviors, the more the dog will offer them. And the more this happens, the better the dog will understand what it can do that makes her human happy.

I suggested a few of mental exercises like PB on a lick matt, feeding out of a snuffle matt or an Omega Paw treat ball that the guardian can incorporate as well as some creative forms of exercise. Dalmatians have a lot of energy and need exercise and mental stimulation periodically throughout the day to stay mentally sharp and physically satisfied.

To help the dog get over its barking behavior when seeing new people or dogs, I decided to show the guardian the engage disengage game. This is a wonderful way to create a positive association with things that a dog may want to bark at.

Check out the free positive dog training video below to learn how you can use the engage disengage exercise to stop a dog from barking at people or dogs.

It will be important for the guardian to go slow so that she doesn’t trigger any growling, grumbling or barking from Scout. This is probably the most common mistake people make with this technique to stop the dog from barking at things. But this is an easy exercise anyone can do. You dont have to be a professional Dalmatian dog trainer like me to use it.

The idea is to progress very slowly and reward the dog a ton with good timing so that the presence of the thing that the dog likes to bark out now becomes an indicator that the dog is going to get a treat. A foundation of positive dog training. It also helps the dog practice being calm and relaxed around whatever that person or thing is.

I’m hoping the guardian can find some situations to practice this exercise on a regular basis. The more that she practices without the dog reacting, the more comfortable scout will become. Ideally once a day, but the more practice (provided the dog is relaxed and not reactive) the better.

I mentioned that we may need to set up some behavior adjustment training also known as bat to further help Scout if the engage disengage practice doesn’t stop the dog barking problem completely.

To help the guardian remember all the dog behavior tips that I suggested in this in-home Omaha dog training session, we filmed a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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