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Help! My Dog Barks at Everything that Passes By

close up of white Chihuahua on grey background barking

There’s a multitude of reasons why your dog may be barking at everything. Although territorial or alert barking are the most common causes, it can quickly turn into a behavioral problem.

Why Do Dogs Bark at Everything?

Dog owners like it when their companion barks once or twice to let them know that someone is approaching. However, constant alert barking can become a nuisance that must be controlled. Let’s look at a few reasons why your dog may be barking at everything that passes by. 

Attention

Chihuahua barking at woman on laptop laying on a rug

Dogs love getting attention from their owners. The habit of inappropriate barking develops over time if you always consider your pup’s bark. This is because he/she will learn that barking is the way to get your attention. This type of barking is categorized as demand barking.

It happens because we usually provide attention to our dogs when they bark. Even though it’s completely unintentional, we do reinforce this negative behavior. Dogs are quick to notice reinforcement, and they won’t need a second invitation to adopt such practices. 

Territorial Behavior

brown and black dog barking aggressively in yard

Territorial barking is a natural thing to do for your dog because he/she considers your home its territory. When another person or animal enters it, the pup shows his displeasure through excessive, loud barking.

Over the generations, dogs have learned to instinctively know if their owner is in trouble. This territorial attitude can quickly turn into protective behavior if your dog considers the approaching person to be a threat. Your canine considers you a part of its family and will try his/her best to protect you.

Greeting

corgi puppy barking in greeting

Dogs often greet other people and animals by barking at them. Likewise, some dogs may whine when greeting other animals. In addition to barking, the welcome routine of canines also includes jumps and tail wagging. It’s much easier to identify this kind of barking because your pet is relaxed or excited when barking happily.

Social Barking

fuzzy white dog barking outside in nature

Your pup may start barking at other dogs on seeing them. Similarly, some dogs start barking when they hear other dogs barking. This is called socially-facilitated barking. It occurs in the social context of hearing other dogs, even at a distance. This is a perfectly normal thing and is extremely common.

How to Stop Your Dog from Barking?

Firstly, you need to identify the type of bark your dog is expressing. Dogs bark when they are excited, nervous, ill, or happy. Once you have identified the underlying cause, you can use the following techniques to stop your dog from barking.

Reduce Alarm Barking

White dog standing on leaf covered trail.

Territorial behavior is often motivated by both fear and anticipation of a perceived threat. Dogs engage in territorial barking to alert owners about the presence of visitors or to scare off intruders. For many dogs, defending their territory is a top priority. Therefore, they are highly motivated to bark when they see unknown people approaching their homes.

The easiest solution for this problem is to block your dog’s ability to see outside. You can use removable plastic films to obscure your pet’s view or use opaque fencing (for outdoor dogs). When your dog starts to bark less, give him/her some treats, and it will soon learn not to bark excessively.

Quiet Training

german shepherd puppy awaiting instruction

You can also teach your dog word commands to control his/her barks. One way of doing that is to hold the muzzle of your barking dog and clearly (but calmly) say “Quiet”. If your dog stops barking, reward him/her by offering some treats. After enough repetitions of this sequence over several days of training, your pooch will begin to understand what “Quiet” means.

In some cases, this approach may not work even after 15 to 20 attempts. If your dog is stubborn, accompany the command with a startling sound for training him/her. The jingling of keys is good enough to get the job done.

As soon as your dog stops barking, take him/her away from the doors/windows and offer a treat. If this technique also fails, you may need some professional help for your pet.

Teach Your Dog How to Greet

dog greeting human with a paw shake

It’s possible that your dog just barks to greet other people or animals. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t try to stop him/her from barking. Instead, try to teach your dog how to greet others properly. After all, he/she also feel excited when you have visitors.

Firstly, you will need to teach your pup to sit and stay when there aren’t any people at the door. This is important so that he/she knows the behavior well before it’s actually needed. For this training, you will require a distraction to divert the attention of your pooch.

Dogs love toys and they can be quite effective for distracting your pet when visitors arrive. Put some toys around the entrance of your home and encourage your canine to pick up a toy before greeting. If it learns to hold a toy in his/her mouth, it’ll be less inclined to bark.

Never Encourage Demand Barking

Dogs quickly learn that if they bark enough, they will get whatever they want. This behavior is not natural for them and is often encouraged by humans. The fact that dog owners tend to cave into their pet’s requests a lot encourages demand barking.

It’s critical not to commend negative behavior because it can be difficult for your dog to unlearn bad habits. Additionally, you can also teach your dog to go quiet on command. Having said that, you must provide a friendly environment for your dog and don’t forget to play with him/her.

Recommended Dog Training Courses for Dogs that Bark at Everything that Passes By

There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.

  1. Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer
  2. Brain Training for Dogs

These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.

The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.

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