What Do I Do If My Dog Is Barking at Another Dog? 10 Tips and Recommendations
A dog should behave well at home and on walks, treat people appropriately and react calmly to other animals, without showing aggression without reason. The character and behavior of our puppers depends largely on proper education and systematic training. Let’s look at how to teach your dog to stop barking at other dogs.
Why do dogs bark?
It’s important to understand that barking is the natural way dogs communicate. In the wild, dogs don’t make unnecessary noises because successful hunting or sheltering in a safe area depend on that.
For a pet, on the other hand, barking is not a manifestation of aggression towards dogs, animals or humans. It’s a canine language characteristic of all breeds and ages, a communicative means by which a dog expresses its emotions, its mood, communicates with its owner and its relatives.
That being said, frequent unreasonable barking might be the result of improper training. It might also have a natural cause: the animal is sick or reacting to a certain irritant.
Why do puppies bark?
When a puppy enters a new home, it’s difficult for them to adapt due to their unstable psyche. Especially small breeds, which tend to be more excitable, and any reaction develops in them proactively. Therefore, for these pets, you need to start socialization as early as possible.
Even puppies of dwarf breeds that don’t require frequent walking, need full-fledged communication and development. And it’s impossible without knowing the world around them, which isn’t limited to the walls of the apartment or the owner’s car. The more information they get in the first months of their life the more adapted and confident they will grow.
It helps to help your puppy get used to all kinds of noises and strangers. But it’s important to do this gradually, without causing them to develop phobias. Encourage your puppy’s curiosity and exploration of the source of noise or strangers. Avoid negative experiences!
Initially, their aggression toward strangers might be a defensive reaction and you should analyze what may have frightened them and correct the situation. However, aggressive behavior quickly becomes a habit for the puppy, once they realize that it helps them to avoid unpleasant situations. If you leave them alone after they display aggression, they’ll see it as encouragement, and later on it will be very difficult to wean them from barking and trying to bite strangers.
Why do adult dogs bark?
Adult dogs who have no socialization problems usually don’t bark without a good reason. Barking is always a signal that something is going wrong. So when a dog barks constantly, owners, not knowing what to do, stop reacting to these signals as something cautionary or alarming. If owners stop paying attention to their pets’ constant barking instead of looking into its cause, it soon becomes a habit with their dogs. On any occasion or without any reason at all, their pets will bark in an attempt to get their owners’ attention. In this case, it’s very difficult to stop your dog from barking at home and on walks.
To fight the constant barking, you need to understand its cause. Often, when left alone in an empty apartment for a long time, animals begin to bark and howl from boredom. In this case, you should consider changing the daily routine.
Barking may be an excessive manifestation of guarding instinct, when dogs react to any noises or voices at the door. In this case, you can try to divert your dog’s attention. Switch it to toys, training, socializing. If they try to resume barking, you should let them know you forbid them to do that and take them back into the room. You should discourage barking in every possible way, especially at night, when guarding instincts are heightened.
If your dog constantly and monotonously barks at home for no apparent reason, it could be a sign of illness. Excessive barking can also indicate overexcitement, sometimes it’s chronic and stressful for the animal, which requires a behavioral specialist.
Common reasons why dogs bark
It’s likely that your pooch will start barking because they get overwhelmed with emotion when they meet another dog. This is a reaction that’s most common in young puppies that are rarely out for walks and haven’t yet had time to become accustomed to the presence of their own kind.
Very often a dog that barks aggressively at the sight of another dog feels uncomfortable. Perhaps at this point they are not at all ready to make friends and are asking you for help and communicating their need for privacy and security.
Raising your voice and pulling on the leash, even to the point of yanking the dog away from the object they’re barking at, is absolutely wrong. What’s more, it will cause the opposite of the reaction that you hope for, reinforcing behavior that, conversely, you’d like to correct.
- Inappropriate reactions to other dogs, accompanied by barking, often signal that the dog is afraid, very scared or feeling aggressive. Barking is accompanied by submissive gestures. The dog licks its lips, stretches its neck forward, and hides behind its owner.
- Barking is a means of attracting attention if a dog is bored or calling for play. Our furry friends are known to be curious, but they also build their relationships and determine their social position through play. If your pet wants to play with another dog, barking will be short, intermittent. The dog wags its tail vigorously, goes down on its front paws, lifting its croup, or brings sticks or toys to its companion.
- There is a category of dogs that don’t get along with their kin and assert themselves through loud, threatening barking accompanied by growling. If a dog bares its teeth, wags its tail and makes frightening postures, be prepared that it may attack another dog. So monitor its behavior closely and keep it on a leash.
- Often dogs will bark at other animals while outside the fence. The dog is not so much guarding its territory but feeling annoyed, insecure and even afraid. The barrier, the inability to overcome the barrier provokes the release of adrenaline. The pet becomes overexcited, barking hysterically and loudly. Aggression is directed at everything outside the barrier.
Why is my dog barking at nothing?
Many owners endow their pets with human-like intelligence and feelings. Dogs are indeed very intelligent, they can be sad, happy, and miss their owners. They can see and hear much better than we can (including in the dark), but they know much less about the world around them.
Yes, sometimes dogs growl persistently, looking, for example, at the corner of the room, and many even begin to dig the floor there. At the same time, they either look frightened, or very menacing.
There is a logical explanation for this mystical occurrence:
- Your dog does hear something, but the source of the sound isn’t in the corner or under the floor but outside or comes from the neighbors above/below. This is especially common in blocks of flats. Sound easily penetrates through the walls bizarrely distorted in these mazes, and comes out somewhere under the baseboard of your apartment. Three floors downstairs a child may be playing and the dog perceives the barely audible sound as a signal of some incomprehensible danger. This is why they try to react to it to the extent of their courage. They might also hear noises from the street you can’t hear and think they are coming from a certain part of the room (and they don’t have enough imagination or spatial reasoning to correctly identify their source).
- The other explanation could be tragic for the dog’s health because it is directly linked to a disease of the nervous system. This is often how epilepsy manifests itself, the seizure of which can also be explained by trying to scare someone unseen. During the seizure, the dog may see hallucinations that we are not aware of, so they growl at the unseen enemy. This may be followed by seizures. First of all, you should show your pet to a doctor, and only then think about otherworldly forces.
Teaching a puppy to calmly react to other dogs
Every dog is unique. Even within one breed, no dog has the same temperament and personality. Some dogs are calmer and more phlegmatic, while others have an agile psyche and react more emotionally to various stimuli.
In order to raise an adequate obedient dog, proper socialization of the dog in society and systematic training are very important. Elementary commands can be taught at the age of 3-3.5 months, and proper manners should be instilled as soon as the adaptation period is over.
NB: all dogs, regardless of breed and age, are trainable. There’s no dog that can’t be taught manners. But training adult dogs will take longer and must be systematic. This might take quite some persistence and patience.
If your puppy just started to go on walks and reacts inappropriately to other dogs, people or other animals, discourage this behavior with a stern tone. Don’t let bad manners become a habit. Your dog should understand from an early age what they are allowed and what they can’t do.
Walk your puppy close to common dog walking areas
Your dog should gradually get used to socializing with other dogs. To make sure they don’t get scared, it’s best for them to play and frolic in the company of dogs of the same age. But don’t fence them off from contact with adults either. Make sure they don’t get overexcited or hurt and that they don’t misbehave or get aggressive.
NB: training commands such as “No!” or “Off!” must be obeyed immediately. Therefore, be persistent and always enforce them.
At the first stage of training, you can use a treat as encouragement. But if you constantly give the dog a tasty treat after they display aggression or attract their attention solely with food, this will develop the wrong reflexes.
So if the dog does something wrong, use a special collar and a reprimanding stern tone. Dogs are sensitive to their owners’ moods and respond to facial expressions. If your puppy barks at dogs that are behind the fence, call the dog and distract them from the source of the irritation.
Don’t allow your dog to bark with other dogs on your property or during a walk
If your puppy is frightened, call the dog and calm them down. Ideally, it’s better to entrust the training of the pet to professional dog handlers. Your dog should take at least the basic obedience training course. Reinforce the skills learned in class with systematic training at home.
Teaching adult dogs to stop barking at other dogs
No doubt, proper manners should be instilled in pets at an early age. But if you’ve missed the learning curve or if you have an older dog that’s not obedient, be tough but consistent. In the case of a completely unruly pet, entrust their training to a dog trainer.
Here’s a tip. When training an adult dog, wear a correction collar on them. It’s better to use a single but strong stimulus than to constantly tug your dog with a regular collar.
If your dog barks at other dogs in the street and reacts viciously to other animals, don’t let them off the leash. As soon as your dog starts barking at others, give the command of “No” or “Off” in a stern tone and yank the leash back hard.
Repeat these actions until your dog begins to react to their fellow dogs calmly. If a neighbor’s dog or other dogs bark at the walking area and you know that your pooch will bark if they aren’t leashed, call them and divert their attention from the source of irritation.
The main goal is to train your dog to respond to your commands and not to external irritants. Don’t allow your dog to react and bark at dogs outside the fence. Walk along houses with your dog on a leash. As soon as your dog learns to respond appropriately to their fellow canines, praise and encourage them with an affectionate tone.
Continue this “fence” training until you get results. Correct behavior with intonation, leash, correction collar, and commands. As soon as you get obedience and normal reactions, you can loosen the leash or take the dog off the restraining collar.
If your dog reacts specifically to the same dog, try to avoid them in walking areas. When training an adult dog to behave properly, be consistent but keep your goal in mind. No means no, so no indulgences.
Things you should avoid doing: common mistakes
For your pet to be well-behaved and obedient, do the right job of parenting. Pay attention to your puppy’s socialization. After quarantine, don’t take your puppy off-leash during a walk in a common area. Your dog needs to get used to the outdoors, new smells and sounds.
- Never pit your dogs against others, even as a joke. Once the dog feels they have the upper hand, they will overpower their fellow dogs, which can end badly if they don’t know what they’re doing.
- Never hit, yell or physically abuse your dog with a leash or any other means at hand. Harsh treatment will cause the opposite reaction, develop anger, and provoke aggression.
- If your puppy is shy, don’t concentrate on other dogs. Introduce them to other puppers gradually. they should socialize with calm, friendly dogs. If your dog is a small breed, hold them in your arms when near outdoor dog walking areas.
- Some owners make the mistake of beginning to walk their young puppies together with their adult dogs. It’s not uncommon for male dogs to attack puppies and young males.
- Don’t encourage your puppy to yap at other animals. The dog will grow up and it won’t be easy to wean them from this habit. Some breeders make the same mistake allowing their small dogs to bark at large adult dogs. Unreasonable, annoying barking will cause frustration and aggression even in a well-balanced dog and your pet may suffer.
- Don’t encourage overly energetic games that create excessive excitement. If your dog starts barking while you’re playing, calm them down and put them on a leash.
- You can train your dog to treat their mates appropriately at almost any age. Act consistently, but insistently. The dog should understand and perform the tasks assigned.
Some results can be achieved either by teaching the “Quiet” command, by shifting your pet’s attention to something more interesting, or by avoiding the irritants that cause the barking. By identifying the cause of the barking or the source of the irritation, you can minimize these unpleasant moments. For example, take walks at different times with a dog that your pet doesn’t like. Start going to the training area regularly to give your dog a chance to socialize and play with their companions. And later on, don’t be afraid to let them off the leash on a walk. Teach them a command that makes them stop barking.
In all cases, the habit of barking at other dogs can be overcome by attentive attitude and regular exercises because one of the main reasons why the dog barks is boredom. When owners let them have sufficient exercise, dogs won’t have the time or energy to bark at all the dogs and people passing by.