Do you have a dog that will not stop barking and pulling towards other dogs every time you take it out for a walk? It is always an embarrassing moment and you start wondering why your dog is doing that in the first place. Dog specialists call the behavior ‘reactivity’.
The behavior is very common among dogs and it should never ruin your walks. We are going to look at some questions about reactivity and teach you how to train your dog to stop barking at other dogs.
Why Are Dogs Reactive?
Reactivity is a behavior in dogs that means your dog overreacts to everyday normal situations. Your dog can react to a cat, dog, cyclist, or even another person. Dogs will react by barking, pulling, growling, or even snapping and biting. Many will call this ‘aggressive’.
Reactivity among many dogs will start at the adolescent stage around five months when they are teenagers, and they are starting to realize ideas about the world. During this stage, most dogs are experiencing new hormones, they get stronger, larger and they must deal with a lot of emotions.
What Should You Do to Stop Your Dog from Barking at Other Dogs?
Manage the Situation.
You should try and understand what triggers your dog to react to different situations and get to know how close other dogs get before your dog starts barking and pulling. Dogs can bark at other dogs because of the breed, sex, or size. Try and understand what makes your dog uncomfortable and try and change them.
Socialize Your Dog
If your dog reacts to other dogs, it would be nice if you walk with it in quiet places where it will not meet other dogs. Try this for at least two weeks and every time you meet other dogs, move your dog out of their view. This will help your dog lower their cortisol levels and your dog will de-stress.
When you take your dog out for a walk, make sure that you carry its favorite treat. The minute your dog notices another dog approaching, give it a treat before it starts barking and keep doing this as long as the other dog is still in view. This will train your dogs to look at other dogs as a good thing no matter what they are doing.
Exercise Your Dog
Dogs also need mental stimulation apart from regular physical walks and playtime. Introduce your dog to things that encourage licking and chewing as they help soothe your dog and helps them calm naturally. Things such as lickimats, chews, and kongs can help stimulate your dog mentally.
Next time when you take your dog for a walk, try to relax and keep your distance when you approach your dog’s triggers. Try and walk with a dog trainer who will help build your dog’s confidence and teach them how to control their emotions.