All dogs bark. Some dogs bark for good reasons, such as at strangers, while others apparently bark for little or no reason at all. If your dog barks at other canines, it cannot only be annoying, but it can pose a risky issue, especially if you’re at a dog park or out and about walking.
Understanding the root of the problem and knowing the proper training techniques to teach your dog not to bark at other dogs is imperative for your pet to learn better behavior around his canine companions.
Why Does My Dog Bark?
Your dog barks for a variety of reasons. He may bark as a warning to another animal, enjoying the excitement of the moment, demanding your attention or a reaction, instigating or playing, as a warning alarm, or sometimes just for the sake of it.
If your dog is barking at other dogs, it may be for a few different reasons. It’s important to observe his body language to understand if the bark is playful or aggressive. If his facial muscles are soft and mouth slightly open, he wants to make a buddy. If your dog is snarling and lunging with a tensed tail, he’s most likely looking for a fight.
While you don’t want your dog to stop his barking entirely, you do want to keep him from barking at other dogs.
Barking for the Right Reasons
There are many forms of barking that exist and you want your dog to bark at the appropriate times, such as if an intruder is coming into your house. Much of this will come from the confidence you show your dog in being able to handle different situations.
To do this, you need to understand your dog and the need for his barking. With the right understanding, you can demonstrate cool, calm, and confident leadership and take control of the situation right away.
Training for Distressed Doggies
If your dog barks at other canines out of aggression, it’s best to keep him out of problem situations while you look for professional help from a certified dog trainer. A trainer will generally advise you to desensitize and counter condition your upset pooch. This kind of behavior modification starts off using the mildest version of the problem stimulus that your dog will notice.
As soon as he notices it, you give your dog a treat that he loves. When this process is done correctly, your dog will associate the sight of another dog with a tasty tidbit and even start to look forward to the sight of other canines because they are now excellent predictors of a succulent snack.
If Fido Just Wants to Play
Sometimes your dog barks when he’s excited and wants to play. Fortunately, there are ways to curb this habit. One of the easiest ways to get your dog to stop barking is using a head halter. Introduce the halter to your dog slowly so that he accepts it willingly. If an unwanted bark happens, lift the leash so that his mouth closes as you guide him into a sitting command.
Now move again and change your direction, drawing his attention to you as you move elsewhere. This stops the barking, gains your pet’s attention, and redirects him into an acceptable behavior in one step.
Another way to keep your dog’s mouth closed is to encourage him to bring you a present or simply encourage him to enjoy carrying objects around in his mouth. This goes along with creating a distraction for your dog to take their mind off of the stimulus to bark.
Yet another approach is to teach your dog to bark on command, or “speak,” and then command him to be quiet. Use treats or verbal praise and then wait a couple of seconds after the dog has finished barking before rewarding him. What you don’t want him to think is that he’s getting rewarded for barking.
There are many ways to teach your dog not to bark at other dogs. The most important thing is understanding why your pet barks and what technique is best to use.