Dogs engage with one another by barking. Barking can imply a variety of things, but when it becomes excessive or improper, it can be a serious annoyance. It can irritate neighbours, disturb sleep, cause eviction, and can even get you sued. Although they may be merely trying to defend you, dogs' barking at anyone in sight can be quite frustrating. So, how can you stop your dog from barking at strangers?
In so many ways, teaching a dog to quit barking excessively is a difficult task. To break the bad behaviour, it's necessary to know why your dog is acting this way in the first place. Here are the fundamentals for teaching your dog good manners and putting a stop to this annoying canine behaviour once and for all.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
While there are numerous reasons why dogs bark, understanding which of these drives your dog to bark will help you develop dog training for barking at strangers.
Overexcitement is a major cause of barking at strangers, especially among puppies. This kind of barking is usually not threatening, particularly when it happens outside of a dog's territory. They're simply delighted, and they're expressing it through loud noises. This is usually a sign that your dog is a people person, which is a positive trait. This, however, can sometimes catch the stranger by surprise and scare them away because they are unfamiliar with your dog.
Check your dog’s body language. If your dog barks with a rigid body and teeth-baring, it may indicate that they are defending their territory and considering strangers a threat. This frequently occurs when someone approaches the front door or simply passes by. While having a guard dog is advantageous, it also poses a threat to strangers and makes a nuisance to anybody in the house or within earshot of the community.
A sense of fear or threat might cause our pets to growl and howl at strangers. If your dog is terrified of new people and animals, you should expect him to bark at anyone who approaches you or your home.
Lack of Socialization
Dogs who did not receive a lot of human connection and attention as puppies are more likely to bark at other people because they are unfamiliar with how to behave around them and lack a trusting background. This is also prevalent among rescue dogs that have come from shelters where they have not had much human interaction. A traumatic encounter with prior owners may also affect their ability to trust strangers.
How to Train Your Dog Not to Bark at Strangers?
Teaching your dog to stop barking, which is an instinct, will take time. Consistent training is essential, as is patience and some positive reinforcement with your dog.
The Quiet Method
Allow your dog to bark 3 to 4 times before standing over it and calmly commanding, "Quiet". Approach your dog and softly close its mouth with your hand while saying "Quiet" repeatedly, then let go of it and walk back. If they stay quiet, give them a treat. Repeat the process if ever they bark again and reward them every time they stop barking. Gradually extend the time between treats to let the command fully sink in.
Distracting your dog is among the most effective strategies to stop them from barking. Shaking your car keys is one of the many effective ways to distract them. Your dog's attention is drawn to you because of the jingling noise. Instruct them to "sit", and then reward them with a goodie if they cooperate. If you do this often enough, your dog will realize that barking at people does not result in a reward and that good conduct is desirable.
If your dog barks at strangers when walking, demonstrate to them that continuing to bark will not result in an interaction. Turn around and walk in the opposite way of the approaching stranger. This teaches them that if they continue to bark, they will not be allowed to engage. After your dog has ceased barking, give them a treat. Continue this technique until your dog learns that barking does not bring the desired reward.
Dogs must have adequate exercise. A well-exercised dog is generally healthier and has fewer behavioural issues. Maintain a regular wellness schedule for your dog. Make sure that he is getting what he requires in terms of nutrition, flea and tick prevention, and disease preventive immunizations. A happy dog is a healthy dog.
If you must leave your dog alone, whether inside or outside, it is critical that you use preventative measures to keep them from approaching strangers. If you’re keeping your dog inside, close the windows and curtains to prevent them from seeing outsiders, such as the mailman carrying a delivery or someone passing on the street. If your dog wants to stay outside, a tall fence will help limit their ability to view beyond your property.
Go to a “Spot”
If you're at home, the simplest approach to avoid your dog barking at strangers in the house is to train your dog to go to a certain location in the house and stay there when you invite someone they don't know in. You may start training once you've decided on a location in your home where you want your dog to go when someone comes in, preferably at least 8 feet away from the door. Start by saying, "Go to your spot," and putting a reward on the location where you want your dog to remain. Repeat this process until they grasp the idea.
Ignore Bad Behaviour
It's critical to teach your dog that barking and jumping on strangers will not result in attention. You can practice this strategy by having a friend act as a visitor in your home or in a location where your dog has the greatest difficulty. Make sure they understand not to make eye contact and give attention when the dog is barking or jumping. Once the dog has calmed down and stopped acting out, let the stranger give them a treat. Increase the reward each time your dog greets a stranger nicely as they become more relaxed and continue to behave well around strangers.
Let Them Socialize
If your dog is barking because of a lack of socialization, exposure is the best approach to adapting them to humans. Invite as many people as possible to your house at various times, and ask them to be friendly and bring treats. Your dog will gradually come to understand that new people will shower him with love, attention, and rewards. Take your dog on as many walks as possible in a variety of settings so that they may realize that people are not a threat, even if they are new to the area.
Everyone wants their dogs to be the most affectionate, well-behaved pets possible, but there's more to consider than just training programs to keep them from barking at strangers. If none of these approaches work, you can always call a professional dog trainer. For now, simple tender, loving care might work.
Keep your dogs comfortable and socialized at Hot Diggity Dogs, the trusted dog daycare in Etobicoke! Please contact us at (647) 931-9103 if you have more questions about our pet daycare services.