Do you feel embarrassed, frustrated, or even threatened when your dog barks aggressively at other dogs? If so, then you probably want to know how to train your dog to ignore other dogs.
Dog barking at others is a common problem for many owners. Your four-legged friend may be getting defensive, scared, or too excited – but whatever the reason, it’s important to teach him to behave lovingly.
In this article, I’ll discuss why dogs bark at other pooches and how to stop this unwanted behaviour.
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Why Does My Dog Bark At Other Dogs
To embark upon, inappropriate behaviour of your dog towards other dogs on a walk should not be ignored. It happens when your dog cannot control his emotional response to various stimuli. This type of behaviour is called reactive dog behaviour.
Due to a lack of knowledge, many dog parents assume that their dog is just being aggressive with other dogs. But they are wrong. Sometimes their dog might want to harm the other dog.
Moreover, “Barking is one type of vocal communication that dogs use,” says Amy Flowers, DVM from PetsWebMd. That means the barking of a dog can be anything depending on the situation.
Let us discuss a few factors causing the impulsive and involuntary barking behaviour of your dog.
Fear: Fear is a very intense emotion which leads to impulsive and inappropriate behaviour. It can happen if your dog has grown up with other dogs and faced trauma from them. So whenever your dog meets any other dog they feel scared. And in order to defend themselves, they start barking.
Anxiety: Some dogs have grown up alone in the home. Facing other dogs is very new for them, and in this case, they do not know how to react. And because they have not been properly socialized, it creates insecurity. Not only insecurity but also a few dogs have been taught through punishment, which can also cause them aggression.
Frustration: Dogs are very active and playful animals. They like to be free, but unfortunately, many owners never let their dogs off-leash. Dogs feel very frustrated whenever they are held back or frequently leashed by their owner. Free dogs tend to be less aggressive than tied dogs.
Hypersociability: Social dog breeds often get joyful and excited in front of other dogs. Hypersocial dogs tend to get super excited, whenever they see another dog. If you keep your dog alone, they start being reactive when they cannot control their emotions and their enthusiasm for meeting other dogs.
Lack of self-control: Same as humans, dogs also sometimes get out of control. Dogs have a less rational mind. This behaviour is also affected by genetics, elements, and past experiences. In this case, it is better to stay away from other dogs until you train them to control their emotion.
How to Train Your Dog to Ignore Other Dogs?
Make sure that you have whatever is required to train a dog before you start training,
- Leash: No retractable leashes
- Enough treats: Small treats suitable for your dog.
- Time: You cannot train your dog without practising, you need to spare some time for your dog.
- Patience and calm behaviour: A dog cannot be trained overnight. you need to be positive and patient with your dog.
- Choose a peaceful place and time: It is better if you avoid distraction and train your dog in a less crowdy place and time.
You, as a responsible dog owner, can take an active step towards ensuring your dog’s safety by training them to ignore other dogs. This training can help prevent potential conflicts and aggressive behavior towards other dogs, keeping both your dog and other dogs safe.
Distract With Treats
It is one good solution to train your dog. Make him distracted by redirecting him to you instead of other dogs. Whenever your dog starts barking at another dog, just call him to look at you and then give him a small treat. By doing this constantly, you can teach your dog to stay focused on you whenever he meets any other dog on a walk.
Positively Reinforce Name Recognition
The technique for reinforcing the name is to call your dog by the name, and when they come to you, reward them with a treat or loving attention. This practice will teach your dog to obey your order, as they know when you call his name, something good is going to happen. Thus, whenever he sees any other dog, you call him, and then you give him a reward. Gradually, you will be able to control their impulsive behaviour.
Practising indoors first would be the best way to start your training. You keep your dog indoors to avoid crowds of people and dogs. Then you keep your dog beside you while slowly allowing someone with another dog to enter and observe how your dog reacts. If your dog starts barking at that dog, then teach him to stay calm.
While experimenting and applying these techniques, make sure you keep yourself calm and patient.
Make Your First Outing a Calm One
When you take your dog out for the first time, it is best to avoid extra activities like playing or running. The first walk should be around the park or in your neighbourhood, where there are fewer people and animals. Let him experience and observe the environment around him. When he gets comfortable and walks with you without barking at other dogs, then you can slowly increase the activities.
Visit Slightly Busier Areas
After a few calm walks, you have to take your dog to a crowdy place. In order to teach your dog to control his emotion after seeing other dogs, you gradually go into a busy area and after a few comfortable walks in a busy area, you can start teaching him to remain calm and ignore other dogs. Meanwhile, the process of a reward system and giving positive reinforcement should not be skipped.
Consistency Is Key
It is imperative to be consistent in the process to achieve desired behaviour of your dog. Slowly your dog must learn to stay calm when he sees other dogs.
Consistency is key, you need to work with your dog patiently. You can also give them different types of rewards like giving him his favourite toy or taking them to the particular place that he enjoys the most. But make sure after he learns to remain calm, you slowly stop giving him treats. Your dog should not consider it as a way of getting treats.
Avoid too many chances. Dogs are creatures of habit. If you keep changing the reward and procedure of training, you will end up making your dog stressed and anxious which will make things worst. Because of that, he will start barking and show aggression. Stable and consistent work is all needed to train him to ignore dogs.
Praise Your Dog
In order to train your dog, you need to create a habit between reward and good behaviour. Whenever your dog obeys your order and controls his aggression in front of other dogs, immediately praise him with a reward. This will encourage them to avoid other dogs and also it will make a good memory with other dogs. So if he has bad experiences, it will help him to cure that.
Don’t Pull or Yell
When your dog ignores other dogs, give them rewards and encourage their calm behaviour by positive enforcement. But if he starts pulling the leash and barking, instead of pulling back the leash try to keep him calm by using verbal communication. Say “No with his name”. if you get panic and pull the leash, it will make your dog more aggressive and stressed.
Extra Tips for Successful Training
Following the standard procedure would be enough to train him to ignore other dogs. Even after that if you find it difficult to train your dog then here are some extra tips you should focus on.
- Start your training when your dog is small. Puppies are easier to handle and they also obey more when they are small.
- Master the basic command. Like sit, stand-up, go and jump. If you are regularly using these kinds of commands, then it will be easy to train your dog.
- Make yourself more worthy than any other reward. Creating your importance is essential. You can make this possible by treating them with positive enforcement and rewards like a little tickle and warm hugs.
- Keep the whole process slow. If you do hurry and force your dog to learn too quickly, then you are inviting failure. Dogs need time to change their habits. So it is better to give them enough time.
Training should start when he is a puppy. Early interaction with other dogs will make your dog much more familiar. If you could not teach him when he was a puppy, you still have a chance when he is an adult, but it will take some time.
It is quite easy to teach him to leave it. Give something to your dog, like a toy or piece of cloth. When he starts sniffing it firmly says, “Leave it.” As soon as he leaves there, treat him to a nice reward. Like this, you can teach him in only 2–3 trials.
There is no specific age for letting a puppy off the leash. Usually, people come off the lead after 5 months, when they are mature enough to remember their owner. After 5 months, if you let your puppy walk freely, he will not go more than 10 to 15 feet away from you.
Dogs who remain tied up most of the time tend to fight more than other dogs. To stop your dog from pulling when any other dog appears. First, keep a distance. Then distract your dog by giving him something he loves.
The first step you should take after noticing this is to take your dog to the vet. This behaviour is normal if your dog is having a medical issue. Or else it is the problem of wrong training and behavioural issue.
A daily walk is necessary for your dog. And when your dog is very aggressive and starts barking in front of other dogs, it becomes very stressful for you as a dog owner. Therefore, it is imperative to train your dog to ignore other dogs and stay calm in every situation. It makes the daily walk more smooth and more enjoyable. Not only that, but it also keeps other dogs and people safe on the road.
Despite training to avoid fights with other dogs, all dog parents want a well-behaved dog. I hope you got your queries done.
- Becker, M. (2022, September 14). Help! My Dog Lunges at Other Dogs. Vetstreet. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/help-my-dog-lunges-at-other-dogs
- Leash. (2023, January 23). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leash
- Colgate. (2022a, August 30). Aggression in Dogs: How to Train It Out of Them. Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/behavior-appearance/training-aggressive-dogs