How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking on Walks

Medium
2-16 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Taking your pooch for a walk should be a relaxing experience. Imagine yourself walking down a country lane with your family and friends, wind in your hair, relaxing noises of the birds and trees. But uh-oh, wait a minute, relaxing noises of the birds?! Your pooch hears them too-- he's a serial barker and won't stop! 

Suddenly, all the birds disappear and all you’re left with is the horrible whiney noise of your pooch barking non-stop. Not only is this a massive headache and all that you can now hear is your naughty pup barking and scaring the wildlife, your friends and relatives comment on how badly behaved he is--how embarrassing. To stop situations like this one occurring, read on for a few simple steps you can take to stop your pooch from ruining walks and days out.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog not to bark on walks will teach him some well-needed manners and obedience and make your life a lot less stressful. There are benefits to other animals as well, such as not disrupting wildlife and cats, which could become quite stressed at your dog's barks. Other dogs might also see this barking as a sign of aggression, especially when in close proximity to them. Another dog could snap and cause a fight with your pooch, potentially causing some serious injuries requiring veterinary attention. 

It is best to catch them early and teach your dog to stop barking on walks as soon as they have been vaccinated and the appropriate time has elapsed for their immune systems to process the vaccine, normally 1 week after the final vaccination of the course. This will be when they are able to start walking and be taught walking etiquette, including not barking constantly. Adult dogs can also be trained, however, this can be more difficult as this behavior could have been going on unchecked for years. Therefore, depending on the dog, this training can take weeks to months to learn.

Getting Started

To get started, teaching your dog the ‘heel’ command first can be useful, so that he walks in an orderly fashion at your heel to begin with, so they know that you’re the boss and what you say goes. This will help enforce your training and commanding them to stop barking. Treats are necessary, so that your pet has a tasty reward when he behaves himself and keeps quiet or stops the barking at your say so. Clickers are also good to signify to your pooch that he has performed the correct behavior, remember to give him a treat as well though. Make sure you have a collar or harness and lead that are appropriate for your pup's age and size before you get started.

The Under Control Method

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Step
1
Get the right gear
Make sure your pooch's collar or harness fit well and is secure. This will help you to keep better control of your pup, especially if he tends to lunge. You can get special harnesses that don’t pull on your pup when he does this.
Step
2
Firm but not too tight
Holding your pooch too tightly will make him more likely to bark and lunge.
Step
3
Get him to heel
Getting your dog to heel will be a distraction from the barking behavior he's about to engage in. Controlling their movements often also controls their vocal cords.
Step
4
Reward for heeling
Give him a treat, and a click if you’re clicker training, for heeling and being quiet.
Step
5
Give him a challenge
If you add in challenges such as varying your speed, walking around obstacles and up and down stairs for example, this will get your dog to concentrate on what he’s doing and reduce barking.
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The Desensitize to Dogs Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
Know his trigger
Although other dogs are the usual cause of barking on walks, know the trigger for your dog. This method is only useful if other dogs are the main issue.
Step
2
Use a barrier
When your pooch sees another dog and starts to play up, use yourself or another object as a barrier between your pooch and the dog of interest.
Step
3
Click and treat good behavior
Give your dog treats and a click if he notices another dog but doesn’t start barking.
Step
4
Desensitize him
Now he knows he’s rewarded for not barking at other dogs. Gradually move your dog closer to the other dog, giving treats every time you get closer and he doesn’t bark. This is best done with a friend or neighbor’s dog who you know is friendly.
Step
5
Keep at it
Be sure to practice in short, sharp bursts of no more than 15 minutes per day.
Recommend training method?

The Distraction Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Get his attention
When you see your dog about to start barking, capture his attention and stop him by calling his name and drawing him towards you, you can also use the command such as ‘look’, then give him a click and treat when he does this. It should take his attention off whatever was making him bark.
Step
2
Be consistent
Make sure if anyone else walks him, as he’s about to bark, they also use the ‘look’ command or call his name and give him a treat or he’ll slip back into bad habits in no time.
Step
3
Use open spaces
Somewhere open and uncrowded, quiet and free from distractions will be a better place to walk your pooch and will likely result in less bad barking behavior.
Step
4
Walk away from the distraction
Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or person, walk in the opposite direction of the distraction and the barking should subside.
Step
5
Bring his favorite squeaky
Distract him when he’s about to bark with his favorite squeaky toy. For this step it is important that you recognize his triggers and do this before he starts barking or you will be rewarding bad behavior.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Nikota
german sheperd
4 Months
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Nikota
german sheperd
4 Months

She constanly barks at people and dogs when going for a walk and has her back hair up i keep saying leave them but to no avail

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Hello, first I would contact an obedience trainer and get Nikota registered for classes. You have to get her socialized while she is still young or the issue will develop into a real problem. You will have to work on a few things while walking: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs and for her friendliness skills, these are excellent tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-be-friendly. Of course, you will want to avoid encounters with people and dogs until the problem is under control. Also: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-attack-strangers and https://wagwalking.com/training/not-attack-other-dogs. This is lots of reading for you but there is tons of great information to get you started. Good luck!

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Mia
Australian Eskimo
6 Months
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Mia
Australian Eskimo
6 Months

I have been teaching my puppy "quiet" when we're at home and it's slowly working, but has no affect on her outside. When out in public (mostly on walks), she always barks at other dogs and people. It's very obnoxious and embarrassing. I also know I need to get her more socialized with other dogs, but it seems that she's a little scared of them once she actually encounters one. I would eventually like to teach her to speak on command as well. She wears a harness which has helped a bit with her pulling, but she still walks very quickly and excitedly. I know she's still young too, but do you have any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marissa, I suggest working on desensitizing her to the things he is afraid of and barking at. Continue working on Quiet because just like any other command she needs to work up to being able to do it around distractions, so she needs to practice it around gradually harder and harder distractions - starting with easier distractions first. Desensitization 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp_l9C1yT1g&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a Desensitization 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5BjvNScFPs&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=2 Desensitization 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY7JrteQBOQ&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=3 Desensitization 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs&list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a&index=4 Desensitization 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxPrNnulp5s You can use the Quiet method from the article linked below to teach him Speak also. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark The fact that she is nervous around other dogs suggests she needs more socialization, I suggest reaching out to any friends with puppies and setting up play dates with as many different puppies as you can under close supervision (doesn't have to be with the same puppies each time). Interrupt their play if one seems overwhelmed or one is trying to bully another, give them a break, then let the overwhelmed puppy go and see if they initiate playing again. If they do, let the other puppies go back to playing too. At first, expect you pup to be very nervous and maybe even hide behind you. Let her curiosity get the better of her until she decides to try to play. If you can arrange for two friend's puppies to play together that can also help by letting her watch others play and making her want to join in and overcome her fear. You can also do three second greetings with friends' calm, well behaved dogs. I suggest avoiding meeting potentially aggressive, reactive, or overly excited dogs though because a bad interaction could make things worse. Also, a dog park is not a good place for a puppy to learn all of this. Puppies play differently than older dogs and dog parks are more likely to involve fights. Some places, like Petco and Petfood Express offer free puppy play groups once a week. Call and see if they will let her join at her age - she may be too old but maybe not. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Parker
Lurcher
5 Months
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Parker
Lurcher
5 Months

Hi, my pup loves people and other dogs, however he has started barking out on walks for people/dogs to give him attention, if we are on our own with no one about he does not bark at all. How can I get him to listen to me and stop barking when's he's so excited about greeting people?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Helen, At his age I suggest first teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below: Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Teach him Quiet so that you can tell him Quiet and he will understand what you mean, then if you have to give a small leash correction to get his attention back on you, the leash correction is for disobedience and not just the appearance of another dog - this helps him understand and learn better. Next, go tons of places with other people and dogs in the distance and work on a structured heel and other obedience commands with people and dogs in the background. You want him to get so used to being around others without anything super exciting or scary happening that they become almost boring to him and he becomes less reactive. Working on obedience while around people puts him in a calmer, more focused state which helps him associate people and other dogs with being in a calmer, more focused state also. Think about Service Dogs. They play with tons of puppies and meet tons of people while young, but as they get older their socialization starts looking like being around tons of dogs and people in a calmer way, like passing people on the street while in heel, or doing a down-stay next to another dog instead of always roughhousing. You don't want your pup to be isolated from other people and dogs, and you don't want him to associate people and dogs with a super excited state and rough play all the time either. Calmness, pleasantness, and focus on you should be what you work toward. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Winnie
Border Terrier
16 Weeks
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Winnie
Border Terrier
16 Weeks

Hi, my border terrier puppy is very young and she loves attention and people that come into the house. She very rarely barks in the house but does sometimes in the garden. Although, when we go on a walk she does not stop barking. She barks at everything, people, cars, wind, trees... literally anything. At some point it seems aggressive and it’s becoming hard to deal with. What can we do to overcome this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ben, At her age I suspect the barking is a combination of fear and excitement. She likely needs more positive experiences with the things that are new to her, like strangers, other dogs, cars, leaves, ect...All the things that are getting a reaction out of her now. Check out the video linked below and the second video channel with additional details on desensitizing to specific things: Barking on a walk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY7JrteQBOQ Barking video series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAA4pob0Wl0W2agO7frSjia1hG85IyA6a I also suggest reading the free PDF e-book download AFTER You Get Your Puppy, written by the co-founder of the association of professional dog trainers: www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Chip
Mini Dachshund
1 Year
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Chip
Mini Dachshund
1 Year

Chip is an amazing dog however he will bark at everything on a walk or out of the window at home. He begins to growl and his hackles come up if he sees the person/dog coming. I try to get his attention at this point but he is too interested in them. When they go past he’ll bark at them. I no it’s not aggression and he’s nervous. Sometimes if we’ve been in a very public busy place he won’t do anything and just looks very scared.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jessica, If the barking is fear based and not simply because it's a fun habit (which can be the case with barking), I suggest working on desensitizing pup to the triggers to overcome the fear that's underneath it, and teaching the Quiet command. Quiet method for teaching Quiet command: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Check out the Youtube channel linked below and the series of barking videos, which shows how to desensitize to different types of barking triggers. The Barking at door video is a good introduction to the concepts that the trainer is using around different triggers - like dogs, strangers, noises, ect... Barking at doors/guests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpzvqN9JNUA Youtube series on barking and desensitizing: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Patsy
Tibetan Terrier
1 Year
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Question
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Patsy
Tibetan Terrier
1 Year

Patsy whines/barks/yelps whenever we are out a walk and need to wait to cross a road. It seems as if she is impatient. She will sit while we wait to cross the road, however she just makes so much noise! How do I go about correcting this behaviour?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think that Patsy would benefit from the Teach Quiet Method explained here: https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-barking-3. It is good that she sits patiently when you are waiting to cross - you just need to take a step further and initiate the training for quiet. You can also work on her heeling skills which will keep her focused while on walks. Then you can use any of the methods here to keep her busy and training while you wait for the opportunity to cross: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel/. Happy training!

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Benny
cockapoo
9 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Benny
cockapoo
9 Months

At home, our 9-month-old cockapoo behaves perfectly; however, on a walk, he turns crazy. Whenever we encounter another dog, he becomes out of control. He cannot focus on anything other than the dog, and screeches and jumps around. When allowed to stop and sniff the other dog, he calms down and it seems as though he just wants to say hello. However, we cannot always spend time meeting the other dogs, and quite frankly, the walks are becoming unenjoyable for both of us.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ellie, Check out the videos below explaining leash reactivity and demonstrating how to work with a dog. (This trainer can be a bit blunt with his people teaching style, but he has a lot of experience with highly reactive and aggressive dogs). The behavior you are dealing with would be called leash reactivity (which is different than leash aggression since it doesn't lead to fights on his end): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXLPwyKEjHI&t=14s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGofhEc1YPg&t=305s Note, that the fixated, aroused mindset is interrupted very early on, before the dog explodes, as soon as he starts to fixate. The entire walk is also structured so that the dog is working to focus on their person and not on other things they shouldn't be reacting towards. Starting the walk off right and having the dog walk slightly behind you puts the dog into a following mindset, calms them down, and prevents him from constantly scanning the area looking for dogs and working himself up during the walk. Finally, I do not recommend nose to nose greetings right now. Tell others that you are "in training" if they ask to let the dogs meet. Instead, join a dog walking group, walk with friends and their well behaved dogs with the dogs in a structured heel, or join an obedience class, to practice calmness around other dogs and not over arousal and extreme excitement. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Prince
German Shepherd
11 Weeks
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Question
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Prince
German Shepherd
11 Weeks

My pup barks sometimes when he sees some dogs but other dogs he doesnt. He hasnt had a bad experience but im not sure how to get him to stop barking and no to be as scared?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. Soon you will be able to take Prince to obedience classes and that will help him a lot. The socialization will go a long way to making Prince more comfortable around other dogs. Taking a pup to dog training, or having an in-home trainer come to you also helps build confidence. Ideally, allowing Prince to play with other dogs his age and size will help him learn the proper behavior. Ask your vet when this will be okay (in regards to vaccines). Take a look at these articles: https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-barking-on-walks and https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-not-bark. Good luck and work on these methods every day - you will see results!

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Boo
West Highland White Terrier
1 Year
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Question
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Boo
West Highland White Terrier
1 Year

When I take my dog for a walk every time she sees another dog she starts barking and when the dog has gone she will still be bark for another 5mins and anytime she see a person she will do a bark but not as bad as the dogs. She’s friendly and loves people and we have another dog which is a french bulldog and she doesn’t do any of that at home

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rebecca, It sounds like pup is getting overly-aroused and staying in that state for a while even after the dog has left. I recommend desensitizing pup to the things that trigger the barking. Check out the videos linked below for different examples of desensitizing a dog to barking triggers - practice those types of methods in relation to dogs, starting with dogs far enough away that she is less excited and working up to dogs being closer and pup staying calm. Do the same thing with people. Barking playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlZmJlllP7Y&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a Barking on walks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=11 Barking at people; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=11 Barking at dogs behind fences: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n_fPKPLA2g&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=10 Reactivity - strangers and dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbhM4oKZjsE&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=15 I also suggest teaching pup the Quiet command. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Piper
Pomeranian
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Piper
Pomeranian
3 Years

We are having difficulty taking Piper on walks. She goes hysterical, especially at the beginning of the walk, usually once we set foot off our property. She screams, tugs, and bunny hops. This behavior gets especially awful when we walk alongside backyards where there may be dogs. I am not sure how to stop it. She usually calms down once we are further into the walk or past the fences with other dogs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
621 Dog owners recommended

Hello Regina, I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, and perform commands periodically, and not have her mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with her having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if she isn't calm. She should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk she should be in the heel position - with her head behind your leg. That position decreases her arousal, reduces stress because she isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents her from scanning for other dogs, staring dogs down or being stared down, and ignoring you behind her. It also requires her to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive she is - it makes her feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not hers around other dogs. Additionally, when you do pass other dogs, as soon as she starts staring them down, interrupt her. Don't tolerate challenging stares - even if she is stressed. Remind her with a gentle correction that you are leading the walk and she is not allowed to break her heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for her in the long-run. Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Check out the videos linked below for examples of a structured walk and interrupting pup when they start to get aroused, then redirecting the attention back on you by having pup do obedience commands. Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Outside of the walk you can work on building pup's trust and respect for you in other ways too. The following commands and exercises are also good for that: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Generally building respect at home: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bertie
Cockerpoo
6 Years
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Bertie
Cockerpoo
6 Years

At the age 2 Bertie started to run around in circles and bark excitedly when we release him from his lead or as we enter a new field/area. He can keep it up for 25-30 spins! It’s like he’s over excited or expecting a ball to be thrown even if he’s well aware a ball is not on offer. I’ve tried ignoring the behaviour, turning my back on him and shouting but he’s far to excited to take any notice. Please help!

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
66 Dog owners recommended

Thanks for the cute picture of Bertie. If he has been doing this behavior for 4 years, it can be changed but will take time. If Bertie is looking for a ball to play with, why not bring one along? Having a toy to play with may be just the thing to change the behavior. Is Bertie getting a lot of exercise every day? He is the combination of two breeds that like mental and physical stimulation so even when Bertie is not exercising, providing a toy that challenges him mentally may make him calmer when he starts his excited behavior. Unless the behavior bothers you, I wouldn't worry about it. However, if it does, work on these exercises for calming him when you are out: https://wagwalking.com/training/be-calm. As well, when walking to the park or field, work on commands like heel to exercise his brain along the way and give him focus, too. Work on the Turns Method here:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Good luck and enjoy training!

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Woody
Cock-A-Tzu
3 Years
0 found helpful
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Woody
Cock-A-Tzu
3 Years

He barks a lot when out walking ie cars and others. Good off lead but if dog comes near very timid

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