Dogs are protective and inquisitive creatures. When they're cooped up inside all day, getting some free time in the great outdoors is an exciting prospect. So, you take your dog for a stroll down the sidewalk or mosey on over to the local dog park.
But before you even get to your destination, you have to stop and listen to your dog barking at another dog or some stray critter that had the misfortune of crossing your path! Sound familiar? You're not alone....
Many dogs will spend their outdoor time barking at the new things they see
For many pups, it's an instinctive behavior. It could be coming out of fear, excitement, or worry. Whatever the case may be, it's important to put a stop to it as soon as possible.
Not only are barking dogs annoying to everyone around you, but it could pose a safety risk. Barking is seen as a sign of aggression for both humans and dogs.
Your dog's barks could trigger another canine in the vicinity, leading to a nasty fight. Or, innocent people walking by may become fearful of your dog, creating an unwanted reputation for you and your pup.
6 Tips to Let your Dog Behave Outside and Stop Barking
While it might seem impossible, there are several things you can do to get your dog to stop. It's all about addressing the issue head-on and implementing some strong obedience training techniques.
Here are some tips that you can use to get your dog to behave outside
Start Implementing Obedience Training Techniques Early
So, when is the right time to start implementing obedience training techniques? Ideally, as soon as you're able to take your puppy for walks.
Typically, veterinarians will recommend that you wait at least a week after the last round of puppy vaccines. This will ensure that your pup is protected from any possible issues.
That said, you can start the process a bit early through socialization. Early socialization is key when raising a puppy. They need to be exposed to as many different faces and animals as possible.
A big reason why dogs bark when they are outside is a lack of proper socialization. They don't know what that squirrel is or who that other dog is. Thus, they develop irrational fears or view those triggers as intruders.
With socialization, your young puppy can get used to all of those new sights, sounds, and smells early on. As a result, they are less likely to develop behavioral problems.
Use the Right Gear
The first thing you should do is invest in the right equipment to keep your dog safe. Despite having the best of intentions, a barking dog is prone to making some bad choices.
They might try to chase whatever they're barking at, which could spell trouble.
Use a well-fitted collar that's comfortable. There's a good chance that the barking is accompanied by pulling. If that's the case, invest in a no-pull collar or a body harness. A traditional collar may cause injuries if your dog gets too excited.
Your gear is going to play a big role in the training process, so choose something that's built to last. In addition to a collar, harness, and lead, you should pick up some treats.
Positive reinforcement is always best. Nothing will help your dog grasp the concept quicker than a good treat. You can also use a clicker if you utilize it for your other training methods.
Teaching the "Heel" Command
One of the best ways to stop your dog from barking when you're outside is to have them focus on something else. A popular choice for many dog owners is the "heel" command. When your dog heels, they are focusing on staying by your side at all times.
It's an important command that can improve other behavioral problems as well. In addition to barking problems, it will teach your dog not to lunge, pull at their leash, and more.
You can start heel training in your home or backyard. Stand in an open space and call your dog with a command to stand on one side of your body.
The side you end up choosing is going to be the one you need to stick to moving forward. When they move to that spot, say "yes" in a positive voice and provide a treat.
Now, move around the home and do the same thing. Eventually, you can move outside with a leash on. Anytime that your dog starts to stray off, simply give them that "Heel" command.
Always provide treats to reinforce the behavior. When you go outside of your property, use the command to remind your dog what they should be doing if they start barking.
If other dogs are the problem, it pays to have a friend or neighbor you can work with. Choose a dog that you know is not going to go off once your pup starts barking.
With this technique, you're going to desensitize your dog. It's all about showing them that there's no reason to be barking at other animals.
Start by introducing your dog to the other canine at a distance. When your pooch starts to bark, move in front of them. You should act as a barrier between your dog and the other pup. If your furry friend stops barking, reward them with a treat.
Over time, you can start moving your dog a bit closer. Reward them anytime that they don't bark. This teaches them that the correct behavior is to stay calm and silent. Eventually, other dogs will be no big deal.
Pulling Your Dog's Focus
Another easy thing you can do is to simply pull your dog's focus anytime that they are starting to get riled up. To do that, you'll have to bring treats or your pup's favorite toy with you.
Simply call your dog's name. You can also use a simple command like "Look" or "Focus." When your dog turns your way and pays attention to you, reward them.
If they continue to bark, use that desensitization technique we went over earlier. Step in front of your dog to a barrier. This forces your pup to focus on your rather than the trigger.
Moving Away from the Trigger
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is walk away! Gently pull on your dog's leash and simply walk in the opposite direction. Your dog will have no choice but to stop barking at the trigger and follow suit.
If this is done immediately, provide some rewards. Over time, your dog will get the message.
All dogs are different, so you may have to experiment a bit to find the method that works best for you. Ultimately, getting your dog to stop barking is about showing them that the behavior is unacceptable.
With proper training and positive reinforcement, most dogs will have no problem adapting. Then, you can go on long walks without having to worry about any issues.