Let’s face it…it may be a bit embarrassing when your dog barks at every new face that crosses their path. They may be trying to protect us, but it can be a bit much at times! In this article, we will talk about the basics of teaching your dog how to mind their manners and prevent them from barking at strangers.
Why do dogs bark at strangers in the first place? The most common reasons include:
- Excitement – It is common for our four-legged friends to be overwhelmed with excitement, especially when they see a brand-new face.
- Lack of Socialization – Dogs are not used to strangers being in their presence. An unsocialized dog tends to bark at the unfamiliar, leading to a rude introduction when they meet new faces.
- Being Territorial – Dogs can feel extremely protective of their home and “pack”. They may see strangers as a threat to their territory, causing them to bark.
Now that you know why dogs bark at strangers, it is time to figure out how to get your dog to stop doing it. We are here to help! Training your dog to mind their manners around strangers is an obedience skill and there are many methods to help your dog succeed. Please see below.
- Ignoring the Behavior – Never reward your dog for barking or jumping on strangers. You will give a reward for not doing this! We recommend that you grab a friend for this training technique. Ensure that the stranger knows not to make eye contact with the dog. When your dog does not bark or jump on the stranger (friend), you will give them a reward.
- Walk Away – If your dog is barking as you approach a stranger, you can immediately turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Once your dog stops barking, you can issue a treat. This will teach them that barking does not yield a reward.
- Distract – Once your dog begins barking, distract them with a noise. For example, you can snap your fingers, use a clicker, or jangle your keys. You can praise your dog or give them a treat once they are calm.As a dog owner, you will need to ensure that your patience is up to par, especially when trying to teach your dog to mind their business around strangers. Consistency is key. If you follow our tips, your dog will be on their way to success in no time!