Main > how do i get my dogs to stop barking at other dogs out on walks? (14 replies)

by ratlady on 02 May 2008 - 23:05

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I have noticed while watching dog shows on tv, that all the dogs are very well-behaved, not lunging at each other or barking either. how is this accomplished? when i am out on walks with my dogs, the second they see another dog, they go crazy lunging on the leash, almost making me fall over, barking and whining really loud. if i see the dog before they do and get the choke collars high on the neck, while holding the leashes tight, it seems to help some, but i would love to be able to maintain control without it looking like i am choking them. is that possible?  thank you.

by Evadic22 on 02 May 2008 - 23:05

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My advice would be to desensitize them to other dogs.

This is fairly easy to accomplish. Try doing OB work in a place where there are alot of dogs. Or start going to a place with alot of dogs to just relax. Eventually dogs wont be as exciting to them anymore. Make sure you remain calm when other dogs approach so you dont stimulate them with your anxiety and fuel the fire, so to speak. If you are stressing out at the sight of a dog, they will inturn stress out as well. You are the leader, you need to show them that there is nothing to worry about.

My 3 year old female use to do this. I found taking a tennis ball on the walk and only bringing it out when I spotted another dog really helped her keep focus on me. I would give the command " Play nice" while keeping her attention on the ball, when we passed the other dog I would toss the ball into the air and let her have it for a bit. If your dogs are not motivated with toys, try using a really tasty treat that they only get on walks.

Be patient!

Try enrolling into a group Obedience class.

by gsdlvr2 on 02 May 2008 - 23:05

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 Tell him "NO" and correct him.

by 4pack on 03 May 2008 - 00:05

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Pinch collar and pop your dog when it barks or reacts in any manner other than neutral. Do it enough times hopefully your dog will start to ignore those that get him in trouble. Using a toy like above can help too but ulimatly your dog needs to listen to you not be distracted away.

by Micky D on 03 May 2008 - 02:05

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 When you tight lead your dogs every time you come near another pooch, you're telegraphing apprehension and danger through the leash to your pets.  If you can keep the leash slack, and divert their attention with a toy or treat, you'll go a long way to diffusing the situation.  

by RememberJack on 03 May 2008 - 02:05

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 What a great suggestion!!!!!!!  I never even thought of bringing a ball on our walks.  I have a high prey driven czech female and she is the same way very aggressive towards other dogs, but ball driven to the point of distraction.  I just never thought to put that together with a walk to distract from other dogs.  I will try this weekend!


by hodie on 03 May 2008 - 03:05

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The FIRST thing to do is to be certain you have good control of and good obedience from your dogs. If they behave this way, you do not. So do NOT go where there are other dogs for now and work on obedience. You must first teach obedience without distractions, and only after the dog is doing really, really well, then SLOWLY introduce distractions. This must also be how you "desensitize" the dogs to other dogs. You must do some obedience and perhaps some playing with a tug toy or ball at a distance from other dogs who preferably are also trained and under control enough that they are not going crazy when other dogs are around. So it sounds like you must go back to basics. Having more than one dog on a walk, who is out of control around other dogs, is potentially very dangerous for you and the dogs. You might also consider taking them where other dogs are not present for now, until you get a better handle on it, or take a single dog at a time. But first things first. Do some obedience work. There is NO substitute for good obedience and that means obedience that remains strong under distraction.

Good luck.

by tigermouse on 03 May 2008 - 10:05

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I pinch collars !!


by mirasmom on 03 May 2008 - 12:05

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 I also found that dogs that are fixated on tennis balls,

that if you put the ball under your left armpit, and make
sure the dog knows it's there, boy does he watch your
every move!

by mirasmom on 03 May 2008 - 12:05

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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 03:13 pm

Also, you have a very beautiful girl!!!

by TessJ10 on 03 May 2008 - 14:05

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You said "dogs"?  Do you always walk two at the same time?  I ask because I have one dog (under 1 year) who is fine by himself but if I'm walking him with my other GSD they'll both do the barking/lunging thing at other dogs.

Alone the pup is fine, so I stopped taking the two of them together and fixed the issue separately before going back to them both together.  That worked.

Mickey D is right:  "When you tight lead your dogs every time you come near another pooch, you're telegraphing apprehension and danger through the leash to your pets."

hodie's "obedience first" is also spot on.  IOW, if they are trained to obey you, say by heeling while looking at you, if they are solid on this w/o distractions, then there nonsense in the presence of another dog is just disobedience and is to be corrected just like you'd correct it otherwise.  Again, obviously easier to do if you only have one dog with you.


by AgarPhranicniStraze1 on 03 May 2008 - 15:05

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Having a dog that is "aggressive" towards other dogs can become a real big problem for you even if you're going on a leisure walk.  Although you're dog is on a leash there are other people not so "thoughtful" and responsible that they leave their dogs loose in the yards while the owner is for instance sitting on the porch or doing yard work close by.  They "assume" because they are only a couple feet away that it's perfectly safe to do this because the dog is on their property. 

I have more than 1 neighbor who's got a habit of doing this and when I come strolling down with my dog their dogs jump off the porch and charge us looking to fight.  My dogs; all very obedient and not dog aggressive get placed in an awkward situation.  When one person has control over their dog and the other does not this can turn very dangerous for not only the dogs but you yourself should they get into a big brawl. 

Try taking the dog to obeience classes where there are multiple dogs in the class, it's a safe regulated environment with hopefully experienced trainers that can address the correct way to discourage the unacceptable behavior your dog shows towards other dogs.  This can be worked out in most cases as it doesn't sound from what you described as a serious underlying issue with the dog.  Just needs socialized and trained to know how to handle these situations.

If your dog is in his yard and barks at other dogs passing by I'd say this is normal but on walks it's a NO NO!

Micky D was also correct that if you are tense the dog will sense this in how you're tightening on the leash.  I used to do it as well and never realized it until my trainer pointed it out that I was turning my dog on by tightening his leash giving him the wrong signal.  I'd strongly recommend the obedience classes that will help you with your handling.  I'd hate to see you get caught in the middle of 2 dogs fighting with you on the end of the leash trying to break it up.

by 4pack on 03 May 2008 - 17:05

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I know allot of people like to train in a steril environment like your backyard with NO distractions. I start out this way myself but it goes out the window by 4 months of age if not before that. I train at the park down the street mostly. The dogs have smells, sights and sounds to deal with but I don't have much problems with that. Maybe I am lucky my dogs have good focus or toy drive, but I am quick to teach my dogs to ignore others or distractions. It's irritating and a safety issue when your dog will ignore you at anytime. Such a dog can never be trusted to be offleash.

I also agree with what was said about walking 2 dogs together. When I have more out  than one, they egg eachother on and it becomes 10 x's harder to control both. Get your dogs where you want them individualy, before taking them both on.

by ratlady on 05 May 2008 - 04:05

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Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 08:56 pm

Thank you all for your suggestions. Yes, it is 2 dogs, one barks and lunges, the other just barks. I would not say either dog is aggressive, in fact one is quite friendly, adores saying hello to other dogs. my shepherd is the one lunging. I take both for frequent late nights walk off-leash down at the local lakewalk, around midnight, or after. Occasionally we see a guy down there with both his dogs also loose, my dogs bark and run over, everybody sniffs butts, then they all stand around waving their tails and sniffing while the other owner and I say hello.

I did try treats today, and it worked like a charm. I train with treats often, and as soon as my hand went towards my pocket, they immediately turned their backs on 2 dogs on the other side of the street, and their butts hit the pavement before I could even get the treats out.

I understand what those of you mean about tightening the leash. I have read this before, and can only say, it was either that, or be struggling to stay on my feet. The treats are helping alot. Again, thank you everybody.

by AgarPhranicniStraze1 on 05 May 2008 - 05:05

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I'd never suggest you leave your dogs off leash even when you think there isn't anybody around, even if you "think" you're dogs won't face off with another dog...just when you least expect it-EXPECT it.  Someone elses dog may not be so willing to wag a tail and wanna make friends; it could turn really ugly in a matter of seconds.  I just wouldn't take that chance on my dog getting injured or injuring someone else or their dog.  You should always have control of your dog at all times and even if he were the most obedient good natured dog I still would not leave him off leash because in seconds you could lose that control you thought you had. JM .02

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