Some of the local teens like to skateboard in the steep driveway beside the home of Honey, the Cocker Spaniel. To Honey, they might as well be zombies come to destroy her and her family. When the skateboarders start riding, Honey goes crazy and starts barking uncontrollably. This is disturbing for her household, but even worse, the other day when out for a walk Honey and her owner encountered a girl on a skateboard. Honey’s barking startled the girl so that she lost her balance and fell, scraping her knee badly. Fortunately, the girl was not seriously injured but Honey’s owners felt terrible. Honey is normally such a friendly family dog who loves kids, the thought that her actions resulted in a kid getting hurt is very upsetting. Training their Cocker Spaniel not to bark at skateboarders just moved to the top of the to-do list!
Because skateboarders, cyclists or roller bladers move quickly and make strange noises, your Cocker Spaniel may be frightened and alarmed by the sight and sound of these odd vehicles. If your dog barks at skateboarders, he can easily startle a skater and cause them to lose balance and have an accident. Teaching your Cocker Spaniel that skateboards are not a threat and to act calmly around skateboarders will not only be more peaceful for you and your neighbors, but will reduce the chance of a skateboarding accident caused by a wildly barking dog. You can teach your Cocker Spaniel to be quiet in response to skateboarders, to perform an alternative behavior incompatible with barking, or get your dog so used to skateboards that he or she does not react to them by barking. All can be effective tools to prevent your dog barking at skateboarders.
You will need to enlist the help of someone that can skateboard in order to teach your dog not to bark at skateboarders. This may be a bit more of a challenge then finding someone who can ride a bike or other create barking triggers, as not everyone is as proficient at skateboarding! It is important to have an assistant skateboarder during training as you do not want to frighten a skateboarder you run into by chance during the training process. You might need to learn yourself!
Have treats ready, and try to avoid punishment when your Cocker Spaniel barks at the skateboarder during training, as an already excited dog is usually just further agitated and excited by yelling or punishment. Also, avoid pulling back on a leash, as this just creates tension and causes the dog to lunge and bark at the target more. Corrections from the side, or by putting your body between the skateboarder and your dog are more effective in emergency situations for correcting behavior.