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Barking at people on walks

1177 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  GoldenGirlMinnie
Hey guys! So I have a 16 week old rambunctious little guy named Ozzie! He is very high energy, but he seems to have calmed some in the last 2 weeks (aside from the teething issues.) We do a lot of obedience training (he fetches, drops it, sits, lays down, stays, and comes) I admit, I probably didn't socialize him enough in the first 3 weeks (due to covid- I work in a hospital), but I have been really getting him out there in the last month. I started taking him on walks around my apartment complex when he was about 10-12 weeks. He has gotten so much better on the leash, when I first walked him he hated it, but does pretty well now!

In the last 2 weeks, I've noticed his BARKING on walks has increased a lot. He is very scared of cars and doesn't like to walk when they drive by (not new, and hasn't changed much since we started.) But now when he sees people in the distance on walks, he acts scared and backs away and barks at them. Once they get close to him and he sees they are friendly, he goes up to them and wants to be pet and is his cute self. What more can I do to decrease this barking and help him feel more comfortable? We go on walks around people and cars multiple times a day, very frequently, and are now going to the dog park every day. I have read about giving treats when you see people but before they start barking? Has anyone else experienced this with their puppy? Will consistent exposure and time eventually make him feel more comfortable? I realize that dogs bark, but I just want him to feel less scared of the nice people on the sidewalk. Any advice is appreciated!
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Yes.. we have opposite problem with our puppy now 6 months old. She is extremely friendly with people and wants to meet and greet every human on walks. She would never bark but lunge and jump at them. These are both reactions, Jumping on people and barking at them. What we have been practicing is we cross the street if we see people approaching to create distance, I make her sit and give her treats one after another and say " good Sit jenny.. yes very good sit " in a baby voice. But this has to be done before she gets a chance to react. We have been doing this since last 1 month and she knows we are no greeting anybody on the walks. Now she sits on her own and stare at people for few minutes, I say " lets go now " and she starts walking.

You should always pick one method and stick with it as long as it takes. You can try this - When u first notice the people... make him sit and start giving small treats. Do this just before he notice someone. Make sure you have enough distance with people. Cross the street if you have to. Keep feeding him until the people passes. Do this everyday. you can soak his kibble and use that instead of treats if you want to. The idea is keep his mouth busy in eating and not barking :ROFLMAO: Don't give up if this does not works for few days / months...be persistent.

Its been 1 month and we are still not walking on the same side of the street where people are cause she would jump on them I know.. but its improving a lot..

Hope this helps.
 

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I agree with the advice you‘ve been given, with one small change...try to figure out at what distance people make him nervous. That’s your starting point - don’t push beyond this point until he is relaxed and comfortable with people at that distance. You want to reward AFTER he sees the person (or anything else that worries him) but BEFORE he starts barking. Basically you want to build an association in his little brain that seeing people = treats are coming. Use really good treats if necessary. You want to get to the point where the siget of someone in the distance causes him to look back to you expecting his treat. Once the person moves further away, the treats stop. As he gets comfortable at one distance, you can move A LITTLE closer and repeat. If he barks, you’ve gone too far, too fast. Back up and try again. If he ever is so barky that you can’t redirect him with treats, then he’s gone way over threshold and your best bet is a quick retreat.

How long this process takes can vary from a few days to a few weeks or months depending on the dog, your skills, how worried he really his, how ingrained the behavior is, etc.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes.. we have opposite problem with our puppy now 6 months old. She is extremely friendly with people and wants to meet and greet every human on walks. She would never bark but lunge and jump at them. These are both reactions, Jumping on people and barking at them. What we have been practicing is we cross the street if we see people approaching to create distance, I make her sit and give her treats one after another and say " good Sit jenny.. yes very good sit " in a baby voice. But this has to be done before she gets a chance to react. We have been doing this since last 1 month and she knows we are no greeting anybody on the walks. Now she sits on her own and stare at people for few minutes, I say " lets go now " and she starts walking.

You should always pick one method and stick with it as long as it takes. You can try this - When u first notice the people... make him sit and start giving small treats. Do this just before he notice someone. Make sure you have enough distance with people. Cross the street if you have to. Keep feeding him until the people passes. Do this everyday. you can soak his kibble and use that instead of treats if you want to. The idea is keep his mouth busy in eating and not barking :ROFLMAO: Don't give up if this does not works for few days / months...be persistent.

Its been 1 month and we are still not walking on the same side of the street where people are cause she would jump on them I know.. but its improving a lot..

Hope this helps.
Thank you so much! This is what I will try. Tried it yesterday and was able to keep his mouth busy enough to where he didn't bark at someone approaching. Then the next person I was too late with the treats. I will keep working with him, thank you!
 

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My girl didn't start barking but she would do a big startle reaction and start jumping on me out of nerves when she was that age and people or cars would go by. One thing that got us over this very quickly (we live in the city and it was soo much stimulation for a little pup) was picking quieter times of the day (morning, after dark) and going to sit on a bench somewhere I knew people and cars would pass by. I'd give her treats intermittently to keep her focus on me and not on barking, and after a few weeks, the noise of cars and people just seemed to turn into background noise for her. The barking could be excitement but it could also be, like with my pup, nervousness or stress.
 
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