Barking is a dog’s natural way of communicating with other canines, but it can often be unwelcome. Barking can often stress out other dogs and people along the way, and controlling it can create a more pleasant experience for everyone. So, if the dog you are walking is barking at another dog, what should you do? Follow these quick tips and tricks to begin training your dog not to bark and to calmly handle the situation if it occurs.
Choose the Right Leash
Dogs often lunge at other dogs while they are barking. If this happens, having your dog wear a strong leash and harness combination can help you control their behavior. Choose a no-pull harness, which will not harm your dog if you need to make some sharp movements to pull it back. Hold the leash firmly but not tightly, and try not to pull on the leash. Doing so can make your dog pull and bark even more.
Explore Different Locations
If your dog frequently barks at other dogs, it may be time to find a new route. Find an uncrowded area that’s less popular with other dog walkers to remove your dog’s reason for barking entirely. This can help you avoid stressful situations until you find a long-term solution.
Sometimes, encountering other dogs on your walk is unavoidable. If you see another dog approaching and know that your own dog will likely bark at them, turn around and walk the other way quickly and calmly. This prevents your dog from seeing the other one, reducing their incentive to bark. Teach your dog to turn on cue by giving them a verbal command and a treat. If your dog is still not paying attention, call its name and walk backwards as you face it to provide a distraction.
Create a Diversion
It may not always be practical to simply walk away. In these cases, causing a distraction can help. Throw a few treats on the floor for your dog to pick up and to occupy them while the other dog is present. A squeaky toy or other favorite toy can also divert their attention just long enough for approaching dogs to pass by unseen and prevent barking.
Dogs often feel anxious about being on a leash or being too far away from other dogs for their liking. Allow your dog to stand close enough to other dogs that they can see the dogs, but not so close that they are encouraged to react. Determining the right distance can take some trial and error, so be ready to move closer or further away as necessary to figure out where your dog feels most comfortable. Reward your dog with treats and verbal praise for not barking, and gradually move closer to other dogs as your own gets better at remaining calm and ignoring the other dogs. In time, your dog will begin to understand that refraining from barking will earn them a reward.
To prevent your dog from lunging (or barking), train your dog to heel (in silence) when asked, and offer them a treat when they obey. Your dog may still bark, but in time they can learn to come to a heel instead. Keep practicing with your dog when you aren’t already on walks and reward them accordingly to reinforce the behavior and provide them with a strong incentive to not bark.
Add Challenges to Your Walk
Distractions can often be a critical shortcut in preventing your dog from barking. By adding new challenges to your walk, your dog will have to focus more on each new element than on their surroundings, helping curb barking. Change your speed and direction, walk around trees, go from the sidewalk to the street and back (when safe), and change the incline of your route when possible. These distractions not only help prevent barking, they also help your dog keep their mind sharp and provide a healthy mental workout in addition to the physical activity.
Support from Professional Dog Walkers
Speak to the professional dog walkers at Local Paw Pals for more information about how to prevent your dog from barking during walks. The company’s experienced walkers are trained in the best dog walking techniques, including those that help stop barking, to keep your dog safe and happy on their walks together. Local Paw Pals can send a professional to walk your dog while you’re at work, check in on your pets during long days away, and even provide dog sitting services while you’re out of town to ensure that your pet is receiving the best care possible.