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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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.
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The Distraction Method

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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.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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