Barking is a dog thing. You can’t hope for your dog to get up one morning and meow instead of bark. That’s their language and they sure use it to convey meaning to you or the target of their barks.
But sometimes that language becomes a pain for the owner. I’ve seen many owners complain about their dog’s incessant barking even at mundane things, let alone other dogs.
So, how to stop your dog from barking at other dogs? Here’s how:
- Use positive reinforcement through treats
- Teach your dog alternative ways indoors
- Take their attention away from the stimulus when outdoors
- Make the dog familiar with the stimuli
- Maintain a constant distance
- Play with your dog to tire it out
- Use shock collars to bypass the behavior
7 Ways To Stop Your Dog From Barking At Other Dogs
Learn the time-tested methods that reap surefire results.
1. Positive Reinforcement Is A Must
Positive reinforcement works with almost every pet, even with kids. Not that kids are pets, but you get the idea.
I remember a Doberman that had a knack for barking the hell out of himself whenever he’d see other dogs or strangers enter his domain. They’d be his daddy’s friend’s dogs or just stray ones lost on their way.
Now Dobermans are known for barking at what they consider a possible risk. The owner had no luck stopping it from doing so. He used confinement as a solution, which in all its fairness, aggravated the problem.
I was called and I used plenty of premium treats to teach him what was right. Positive reinforcement goes on to tell the dog that he’ll be rewarded for certain behavior. You have to connect the dots altogether for its simple mind to follow easily.
How to do it?
Keep plenty of good treats in your hand whenever you know that there’s going to be another dog on your property.
Then, use the following methods to correct his behavior. The treats are going to act as a bridge between the action and the reward.
2. Teach Your Dog Alternative Ways Indoors
The Doberman I talked about used to bark from inside the house, looking through the windows. I used treats to teach him alternative ways.
I brought my own Huskies and stationed them outside the house safely. Then, I taught the troublesome dog to sit or lie down whenever there was another dog.
Here’s a breakdown of the process for you:
- Station another dog at a safe distance with a friend maybe.
- Take treats in your hand.
- Whenever the dog starts barking, get its attention and then call for action.
- If it responds to sit, down, or lie, feed it a treat.
- If your dog does not know these cues, you may wanna take out plenty of time to first teach it that.
- Remember that there should be a cue first to get its attention. I would simply sway my hand in front of the Doberman and he’ll turn his head towards me.
3. Take Their Attention Away From The Stimulus Outdoors
I didn’t stop indoors. The Doberman’s behavior had to be corrected so he wouldn’t make a ruckus outside the home. He wasn’t much of a barker outside for unknown reasons.
Still, we couldn’t take our chances. I was afraid he could channel his inner demon outside.
I used the same technique outdoors, which I talked about above. I’d get his attention away from the stimuli, give him a cue, and then feed him treats when he’d follow.
You could do that, too. However, as I’d tell you in detail below, make sure that you maintain a constant distance from the stimulus.
How to do it?
- Be vigilant to sense the presence of another dog outside.
- Take the dog away from the site as far as possible.
- Get its attention and give it a cue.
- Feed it treats when it recalls.
4. Make The Dog Familiar With The Stimuli
If the treats don’t work, you could try making the dog familiar with the stimulus.
Because the owner couldn’t use treats his whole life, and his Doberman proved to be more than the meaning of the word stubborn, I had to take things up a notch.
That’s when I reintroduced my huskies but this time quite near to the window.
It took a good two weeks for the dog to get familiar with two of its species standing harmlessly outside. Surprisingly, there was no barking whenever a dog would pass by or the owner’s friends would bring their pets to his home.
How to do it?
- It will take some time before your dog realizes that the threats it was barking at are not threats at all.
- You could use more than one breed for this exercise.
- Make sure that the dogs you use do not bark in return. Otherwise, the ruckus wouldn’t end on either side.
- Bring the controlled dogs nearer and nearer to your dog after you sense that its barking has reduced.
5. A Tired Dog Is A Quiet Dog
This is a good ol’ adage that we trainers use practically. With kids and pets alike, games prove to be fruitful in keeping them quiet.
Before concluding the training session of that Doberman, I advised the owner to play his favorite games with him at least thrice a day or until you see that he’s tired enough for the day.
That way, not only did the relationship between the two develop well but the barking was reduced for good, too.
How to do it?
- There’s a difference between tiring out the dog or abusing it. Do not overdo anything with the animal.
- Tug of war, fetch, swimming, and running is effective in tiring out the pooch.
- Know the individual cues of the dog. If it’s tired beyond its capacity, it will tell you. Stop when it does so.
- Use treats when the exercise sessions conclude.
6. Use Shock Collars As A Last Resort
Besides the methods you just read, as a last resort, you could use shock or bark collars. Now don’t go overboard with terming me as inhumane. I’ve used those collars in almost every training session and on almost every breed.
The results are always encouraging.
When used properly, the collars give you a shortcut to teach the dog solid recall. They are completely humane when you don’t use them to punish the dog.
Basically, they act as a bridge between the stimuli and the cue. They instill in the minds of the dogs that after the shock, beep, or buzz, there will be a cue and after that a reward.
This way, the positive reinforcement finds its way into the behavior of the dog for a long time. I have also written a complete guide on how to train a puppy with a shock collar to stop unwanted behavior.
How to do it?
1. Buy shock collars with three stimulation modes: buzz, beep, and shock.
2. Make sure that you use the buzz and the beep first and only use the shock when the two do not work.
3. The shock levels are hot on some collars. Therefore, always check the intensity on your hand or shoulder before administering it to the dog.
4. Select a shocking level that only makes the dog turn its head. If it yelps or shows acute distress, reduce the levels asap.
5. Rotate the collar from its original position every day to discourage bruising from prolonged use.
6. Only use the collar for a few hours per day or when the barking is at its peak.
7. Make sure to give the dog a cue right after pressing the stimulation button on the remote. Otherwise, the dog won’t be able to associate the two.
8. When the dog’s been able to respond to your cues without the collar, stop using it further.
9. You could even associate the stimulation with the remote and the remote with the cue. This way, when you stop using the collar, the dog will understand the cue even by seeing the remote.
See also: How to train an aggressive dog with a shock collar?
A detailed video on how to stop your dog from barking at other dogs or strangers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are some of the questions that I have recently received from the readers of doggomag.com.
Should I Let My Dog Bark At Other Dogs?
Barking is natural. However, unnecessary barking should be corrected. So, yes, let the dog bark at other dogs only when you know it’s not a pain for you.
Why Does My Dog Bark A Lot At Other Dogs?
The underlying reasons for barking at other dogs could be sensing danger, trying to assert authority, saying “hey” in dog language, or being overprotective of you. Most of the time, addressing the reasons alone could stop your dog from barking at other dogs.
You could use the methods I shared with you above to stop the dog’s barking behavior.
However, know that barking is a natural behavior and you should only intervene when you think it’s getting out of your hand, especially outdoors. Also, get to the roots of the behavior.
Your dog may be overprotective. It may have a troubled past. Or, it could have other problems.
So, learn the reasons, train the dog to stop barking with positive reinforcement, and lead a happy life. Good luck!