Barking at strangers when on leash

Share your favorite training tips, ideas and methods with other Positively members!

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
victorianpaws
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:38 pm

Barking at strangers when on leash

Post by victorianpaws » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:12 pm

Once again, my dog develops a sudden issue, I swear it's a talent of hers.

Just this last week, when walking she has started picking up the habit of barking at any males. Particularly when we are walking at night (It's still boiling during the day where i'm at). I can't quite place the exact trigger of when she started this habit. We were just doing our daily night walk, and a neighbor came out of his house to check his mailbox, and she just started barking. Barking excessively is something not permitted within my neighborhood, and since I walk primarily at night at the moment this could be a very serious problem. I can't seem to distract her with treats, or simply walking away. She keeps barking till a few minutes after to "prove her point too." While very cute, it's something we need to resolve.

Wink is a year and half year old, Havense/Poodle mix. I adopted her in July, so it's still the first few months. She eats once a day, wet dog food, and tends to have a delicate stomach. She often eats at noon. She is potty trained if kept on a schedule, and we believe her previous owners never fully potty trained her. Wink is often described as incredibly sweet, and very human social. Known for crawling army style on her stomach up to people when she first meets them, she is excellent with anyone of any age (well till this issue). She walks so superbly on a leash, I often allow my little toddler neighbors to walk her with supervision, but she will not pull or tug or even step ahead of you. She does get a little "alpha" around dogs when she gets overly comfortable with them, but that is getting better after supervising puppy play dates and stepping in before she gets too rowdy. She is walked at least an hour each day, if not more. Frequent access to our spacious back yard, and numerous play sessions to drain energy throughout the day. A medium energy level dog, unless properly exercised when she can experience a "puppy power hour" that looks like a fluff ball on red bull.

I tried to give as much information as I could about her, so any other questions I will happily answer. -Victoria

User avatar
Sabrina
Posts: 493
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:04 pm

Re: Barking at strangers when on leash

Post by Sabrina » Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:34 pm

victorianpaws wrote: She keeps barking till a few minutes after to "prove her point too."
Hi! Just going on what you've described, it sounds like Wink is trying to protect herself - since the barking worked (the frightening stranger went away, right?), it sounds like she's trying to be sure she's done enough to scare the scary person away.

For my dog, I started out by doing everything humanly possible to keep as much distance from strangers so that he did not feel any need to protect himself. This is hard, especially at the beginning, but with practice you get better at it! If Wink is barking, you're too close. Do whatever you can to give her the space she needs to feel safe, and if you are surprised by someone "out of the blue" immediately get between Wink and the stranger, and do your best to get out of the situation asap. Over time, Wink will start to see that you can be trusted to keep scary strangers away, and as long as she has whatever "personal space" she currently needs she shouldn't feel the need to scare strangers away.

A few other things that you mentioned make it sound like Wink is not a confident dog (totally justifiable given that she's been with you a short time! Do you know anything about her prior situation?):
Known for crawling army style on her stomach up to people when she first meets them .... She does get a little "alpha" around dogs when she gets overly comfortable with them
What behavior looks "alpha" to you? I'm wondering if it's actually "putting on a big show because I'm not comfortable"?

Do you do clicker training? It's done wonders for my dog's confidence. Also, for the "play dates" - can you describe the situation(s) in detail? I'm wondering if Wink wouldn't benefit more from working with you one on one (learning that you are safe and rewarding to be around) instead. I'll be right back with a link to one of Nettle's posts that totally changed my thinking about my dog's interactions with other dogs. "He Only Wants to Play": viewtopic.php?f=20&t=6123

If you haven't seen kikopup's youtube channel, it is a fantastic clicker training resource!

jacksdad
Posts: 4885
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: Barking at strangers when on leash

Post by jacksdad » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:45 pm

Sabrina wrote: What behavior looks "alpha" to you? I'm wondering if it's actually "putting on a big show because I'm not comfortable"?
given the estimated 1.5 years of age, it could also be more of .... hummm, what can I get away with. think teenage human trying out their new found "adult powers" (body size, and emerging maturity that isn't quite complete).


as for barking at men. does she do this in the day time too? kind of sounds like it, but wanted to be sure that the barking was night and day. Also, does it seem to be just see man, bark. or does the man have to be doing something like looking at her, talking to her, bending over, approaching, moving fast, etc.

Post Reply