When a dog barks constantly on walks, you may want to quickly end the outings and head for home. Dogs bark for a number of reasons, which means getting to the bottom of this excess noise may help end it when you're out for some exercise. Once you know why your dog barks at everything on walks, work to avoid certain triggers on your daily strolls and then train your pup with commands and tasty treats so he learns to behave when you tell him to be quiet.
Dogs that bark a lot
As annoying as it can seem, dogs that bark a lot do so for very good reasons. In some cases, they're being territorial, as they protect their home, yard, or driveway when people pass by. In other instances, your dog may bark by way of greeting another animal or person when you're out walking. When a dog barks constantly on a walk, it may be because she hears other dogs barking too, and she wants to join them in a social way, albeit from the next block over.
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Change the scene
If you can figure out your dog's trigger, you might be able to nix this behavior quickly. For example, if your dog is set off by the mailman on the sidewalk, cross the street so he won't spy this hard-working federal employee every afternoon. If your dog barks at everything on walks, take stock of which areas tend to be the hot spots. If he loses it when he sees that fluffy white poodle who walks at 3 p.m. on the dot, vary your route so you avoid this particular canine.
Distract and praise
Dogs that bark a lot can very often be distracted with treats and a bit of positive reinforcement training. Before you head out on your daily walks, stash the best treats you can find in your pocket, whether it's bacon slathered with peanut butter, leftover roast chicken, or bits of cheddar cheese. Make a point of showing these rewards to your pup so she knows they're available and then offer them to her when you know she's likely to bark. Have your dog sit as you offer the treat to distract her and then lavish her with praise when she doesn't sound off.
Make exercise a priority
Sometimes, a dog barks at everything on walks out of frustration or boredom. By offering enough stimulation throughout the day, whether it's physical play or mental work with dog toys, you might be able to stave off a case of excessive barking. Make a point of providing plenty of frequent off-leash play since many dogs find being tethered to the leash very frustrating.
Let 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 excess energy in a nonconfining way.
Never yell at him or grab him
Try to remain calm when your dog starts barking since yelling at him, grabbing his muzzle, or jerking him on the leash isn't going to teach the right lessons. Don't be tempted to tie his muzzle shut either because this practice is dangerous and awful for a dog to endure. The best way to deal with barking is to keep up the positive reinforcement training along with offering yummy treats and moving away from whatever seems to be triggering the barking.