Dogs who bark while you are out walking them generally behave that way because they have not been adequately socialized and are nervous around other dogs and people. They may be frustrated at being confined to a leash. Regardless of the reason, be patient while you are working on changing this habit. Punishment will only make your dog more anxious, and will not address the barking issue.
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Tip #1 - Switch to a head collar. Many dogs that feel confined or are particularly sensitive to a training or pinch collar accept a head collar easily. Using the head collar gives you control over the dog without him feeling pain when he pulls against the leash.
Tip #2 - Take lots of walks. Lack of socialization is a common reason for barking while out walking. The walks don't need to be long, but get your dog out at least twice a day. It won't take long for you to see an improvement in his behavior.
Tip #3 - Remain calm when your dog starts barking. Don't grab his muzzle, jerk on him or yell. The best way to deal with barking is to make a quick turn so you are moving away from what triggered the barking. By turning, you force your dog to pay attention to you, rather than outside distractions.
Tip #4 - Distract your pup to prevent barking. Weave between telephone poles, toss a treat a few feet ahead of you on the ground and tell him to "find it" and change speeds and directions frequently. Your goal is to expose your dog to external stimuli that may cause him to bark, but to keep him focused on you, so he doesn't bark. As he gets used to being out, you can relax some while you walk.
Tip #5 - Provide off-leash play every day. Many dogs find time on a leash to be very frustrating. Make time to exercise your dog off leash daily, preferably outside, so he can run and play unrestrained. If you don't have access to a safely fenced area, play inside with him, tossing a toy or playing tug of war, to work off energy in a non-confining way.
By Stephanie Dube Dwilson
About the Author
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.