If the dog you’re walking is barking at another dog, what should you do? Don’t panic, there are several things you can do to address this behavior.
Dogs barking at other dogs while on walks is a common problem that can make your pet’s daily exercise session stressful and unpleasant. However, with the right training and techniques, it’s possible to teach your dog to behave calmly and appropriately around other dogs.
Why Does My Dog Bark At Other Dogs Out On Walks?
While we’re all trying to get more active with our dogs, a manic barking session can ruin every outdoor escapade! If you live in fear of meeting other dogs while walking your precious pooch, it helps to understand why your dog breaks into full-scale yapping every time.
Dogs may bark at other dogs while on a walk for a variety of reasons. Fear, excitement, territorial behavior, or simply wanting to play, are a few of them.
Your dog may be barking because they feel afraid of the other dog… And so they are trying to send a warning to the other dog to stay away. On the other hand, your canine pal may simply be excited and want to play!
A common problem with dogs on the leash is territorial barking. They cannot interact normally with other dogs, so use verbal cues to tell other dogs to stay away. This is often seen in dogs that are overprotective of their owners.
Younger dogs or those that have not had much experience with other dogs may be more likely to bark out of fear or uncertainty.
If The Dog You’re Walking Is Barking At Another Dog, What Should You Do?
It is never fun when your dog starts barking at another dog, and can even lead to hostility from other dog owners! While you most likely want to instinctively reprimand your dog and get out of the situation as quickly as possible, there are some steps you can take to calm the situation down.
Firstly, and most importantly, remember to stay calm. Your dog can sense your emotions, so it’s important to remain composed and not react when they start barking. Avoid getting angry or frustrated, as this can make the situation worse. If you become anxious or tense when another dog approaches, your dog will sense this and is more likely to start barking.
A quick way to get out of a tricky situation is to distract your dog. For example, giving a command to sit or showing them a favorite toy or treat that can be given as a reward for stopping barking. Reinforcing basic obedience commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ can help here.
If these tactics don’t work, you may need to turn and walk your dog in a different direction to regain control of the situation. It is far better to remove your dog before the problem escalates, leaving you safe to work on this behavioral problem another time.
How Do I Train My Dog To Calm Down Around Other Dogs?
Luckily, with some time and patience, most dogs can be trained not to react to other dogs when out walking. Here are some useful steps to guide you along the way:
- Socialization. One of the best ways to address this behavior is to socialize your dog with other dogs in a controlled and safe environment. Gradually introduce your dog to other dogs while on walks, and use positive reinforcement to reward them for calm behavior.
- Distraction techniques. If you see another dog approaching, you can pre-empt any barking by providing your dog with a more interesting alternative. This could be playing with a favorite toy, practicing some training commands, or initiating a game of hide and seek.
- Keep your dog restrained. Make sure your dog is on a leash and collar when you’re out on walks. This will give you better control over their behavior and make it easier to redirect and distract them if they start barking.
- Seek professional help. If your dog’s barking is persistent and difficult to control, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can work with you and your dog to address the underlying causes of the behavior and develop a training plan to address it.
Remember, barking is a natural behavior for dogs, and it’s important to address it in a positive and constructive way. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can help your dog learn to behave calmly and appropriately around other dogs.
If you need any help understanding or dealing with your dog’s behavior, Maven’s vet team is here to help. Serious barking problems may require a qualified behaviorist to step in!
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