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Help! My Puppy Barks At Other Dogs

Australian Shepherd barking at a growling Chihuahua

It’s natural for a puppy to bark at other dogs because canines have a reactive personality. This means that dogs can get provoked quite easily. According to Your Dog’s Friend, even the sight of another dog can trigger your puppy to bark. Read on to find out why your puppy barks at other dogs and what you can do about it.

Why is My Puppy Barking at Other Dogs?

Puppies are filled with energy and want to jump on every nearby dog to say hi. When they are unable to do so (because of a leash), they tend to bark out of frustration. A few other reasons why your puppy barks at other dogs are discussed below.

Greeting

Dogs often greet other people and animals by barking at them because this is how they communicate. Dogtime explains that the greeting behavior is often accompanied by jumps and tail wagging. This kind of barking can be easily identified because the dog seems relaxed, excited, or happy.

Sometimes, dogs also whine when greeting other animals. However, if something like a leash or fence is preventing your puppy from going to other dogs, he/she may bark in frustration.

Socialization

4 dogs running side by side in a field.

Your puppy may start barking at other dogs on seeing them. Similarly, many dogs tend to bark when they hear other canines barking. This is called socially-facilitated barking because it occurs in the social context of hearing other dogs, even at a distance.

On the other hand, if you have not socialized your puppy properly, he/she may bark at other dogs out of nervousness.

Aggressiveness and Fear

Dogs feel restricted when they are on a leash and this can make them frustrated. In these situations, they need to unleash their anger on something or someone, and what’s better than another dog. When on a leash, your puppy cannot leap at other dogs and resorts to bark to vent.

Dogs bark instinctively whenever they see unknown people or animals coming towards them. They do that to scare off intruders or/and alert owners about the presence of visitors.

What Can I Do If My Puppy Barks at Other Dogs?

Black Labrador puppy on a park bench barking

Before training your dog to bark less at other dogs, you need to find the exact cause of this behavior. This is because the solution is dependent on the root cause. The following are some useful ways to stop your puppy from barking at other dogs.

Change Locations

Journey Dog Training recommends changing your puppy’s location as soon as he/she barks at other dogs. There’s a high chance that a trigger in that area is causing your puppy to bark inappropriately. The sight, noise, or even the smell of a specific dog can upset your pup’s mood. You should always try to understand your puppy’s triggers and avoid them whenever possible.

Use Treats

Treats are an excellent way to reinforce good behavior. If you take your puppy out for a walk and he/she doesn’t bark much at other dogs, give him/her treats. This will encourage your dog to repeat the good behavior to get more treats. Eventually, he/she will learn to stay that way and you can slowly cut off the treats.

Reduce Stress

Jack Russell Terrier puppy wrapped up in person's sweater

If your puppy didn’t get enough socialization at an early age, it is probably too late to start now. Forcing your puppy to socialize will not work. Instead, it will just increase the level of stress.

If you own such a pup, choose quieter and less crowded times to take him/her for a walk. If you see a dog approaching, try to create as much space as possible between your puppy and the dog. This routine de-stresses your puppy, reduces cortisol levels, and makes him/her relaxed.

Cognitive Training

Just like physical activity, mental stimulation is also very important for your puppy. Venture Dogs suggests that mental enrichment is essential to help puppies control their emotions. Always remember that a calm puppy is a happy puppy!

Dog toys and puzzles offer excellent alternatives for providing your puppy with some mental exercise. If you don’t want to buy dog puzzles, you can also try scattering your puppy’s food on the ground. Alternatively, you can try hiding food in places and let your puppy find it. This will make a free and entertaining training session!

Behavioral Training

Person kneeling in grass to teach a chihuahua to shake hands

If all else fails, you may need to look for a professional behaviorist for your puppy. A professional trainer will slowly condition your puppy to adopt good habits. Young age is ideal to train your puppy because it is much harder to modify the bad habits of an adult dog. Therefore, you must go for the behavioral training as early as possible.

Quiet Training

You can also teach your dog verbal commands to quieten him/her. Gently hold your dog’s muzzle when he/she barks and clearly (but calmly) say the word “Quiet”. If your dog stops barking, reward him/her with a treat.

Keep repeating this exercise for several days and your puppy will ultimately learn the meaning of the command. After all, positive reinforcement is the most effective solution in the long run.

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