Why Do Dogs Bark at Other Dogs?

Barking is one of the many ways a dog communicates with humans and other animals. Sometimes, they do it out of fear or anxiety, especially when something catches their eye. Other times, dogs bark as a way of saying hi to their favorite human. Then, there are also moments when they won’t stop barking because they come across another dog. Their protective and territorial instincts kick in fast, prompting them to warn or sometimes lunge at the other pup.

However, what happens if it becomes a source of a problem? What if your dog turns aggressive towards another dog and barks excessively? Is there a way to curb this behavior? 

Let’s try a closer look at this bad dog behavior and how you can manage it in our discussion below.

Understanding the behavior

The first step to addressing your dog’s barking problem towards another dog is understanding the reason behind such a reaction. In most cases, it only boils down to two things – fear or frustration.

If it stems from fear or anxiety, your dog might lunge at the other dog. This is a common behavior when a dog is on a leash because he/she can’t run away. Intimidation can turn an on-leash pup aggressive and overly protective. 

On the other hand, if it results from frustration, your dog’s response might be a way of telling you that he wants to meet and play with the other dog. He might keep on whining until you let him out and interact with the others. 

How to fix the barking issue

Regardless of the reason behind the reaction, you only use one approach to correct the problem – to teach an alternative way to respond. Here are some useful tips you can follow to prevent your dog from barking or lunging at another dog:

  • Keep yourself calm and collected while talking your dog out for a walk – Note that dogs have a knack for picking up on emotional signals. In other words, your dog can feel your energy. So, if your pup senses anxiety, he switches on his protective instincts.
  • Avoid the confrontation – Sometimes, it’s best to avoid another dog, especially when you’re out for a walk. You can turn the other way or wait until the other pooch passes. Aim to respond before your dog starts barking. By doing so, you can prevent your dog from behaving poorly.
  • Ignore your dog when he/she starts barking – If you think the behavior stems from frustration or wanting to get your attention, you should try ignoring your dog for as long as possible. Avoid touching, walking, or looking until the barking stops.
  • Keep the leash at a reasonable length – Never tug too tight or keep the leash too short. Otherwise, your dog would only end up pulling forward and reacting negatively or aggressively.
  • Use the right equipment – Head halters or front clip harness could help you manage your dog’s movements when they bark or lunge. Make sure to choose one that fits your dog properly. Also, you should ensure that the material feels comfortable on the skin. 
  • Use treats to encourage your dog to look at you while walking – Nutritious treats like meat cubes or cheese may come in handy in this step. It decreases anxiety and frustration and helps you avoid tugging on the leash too hard.

Once you establish a new habit, your dog would pay lesser attention to other dogs walking past him/her. By then, you can begin to level up your training lessons by watching your dog respond to other dogs then, later on, resuming your regular walking routine and seeing how much your dog has improved.  

How long before you can see improvements in your dog’s barking problem?

It’s difficult to provide you with a rough estimate on how long it would before you can see changes in your dog’s lunging and barking issue. Note that each dog has a different learning capacity. Some might need a bit more attention and understanding. Others might pick up the lesson quite fast. As a result, the length of the training can vary from a few days to a couple of weeks. 

You’ll need to be extra patient and attentive. To instill proper behavior, you must let your dog owner instincts guide you. You need to pick up signals fast, like when your dog feels anxious or excited. This way, you can adjust the approach and provide customized training for your beloved pup.

Alternatively, if you’re struggling to get things right, or if you have a temperamental canine friend, it may be best to call in a professional dog trainer. This will help you save time and ensure that your dog gets the lesson right as quickly as possible.

Fixing the problem with professional dog training lessons

It’s unreasonable to expect your dog to never ever bark. After all, it’s imprinted in your dog’s DNA. Inevitably, your dog will bark to express his feelings. As a responsible dog owner, you’ll need to teach him when not to bark excessively, which includes when seeing or meeting a completely unfamiliar dog. Take note of the tips we shared above. Use them to train your dog to respond in a better and more suitable way. 

Need help in teaching basic dog obedience lessons? We can help you at Delaware K9 Academy! As the leading dog trainer in Delaware, we have helped many people who struggle with behavioral problems such as barking or lunging. Guided by our extensive background and genuine passion for training dogs, we help transform even the most hopeless case into a wonderful and well-behaved canine partner. 

Currently, we offer various courses like the 2-week Bootcamp Dog Training or the Master Training Program. If you have a young dog and want to instill proper discipline early on, you can enroll in the puppy training program. 

Talk to us today to know more about the training programs we offer and which one would best suit your beloved puppy!