Why You Should Train Your Dog Not To Bark At Passerbys
While walking back home every day, I am faced with a constant fear. Every time I prepare to walk past this one black fence, my heart starts beating faster and my palm sweats uncontrollably. I'm waiting...
I'm waiting for that horrid dog called Max to jump out and bark at me. Every time I'm caught by surprise and end up doing some weird twitch dance step. I could walk on the other side of the road but that entails jaywalking. Not only is it dangerous but not quite worth my time to cross back and forth just to avoid a dog.
I first met Max 3 years ago, taking a walk with a friend, and while we were chatting away the little trickster decided to jump out at us at the last minute leaving both of us screaming at the top of our lungs. The second time I was more conscious and knew that he was hiding behind the bushes, waiting until the last moment to jump out and bark at you. It was like a game to him but most of the time he was quite menacing.
If you've ever heard a large dog bark up close, you know how scary it can be. The sheer volume and force that the barks give is hard to ignore, even if you have headphones on.
The owner has tried to yell at Max when she's spotted him running towards the fence to bark at me, but it has worked only a few times. In the end she stopped trying and my nerves were conditioned to tense up every time I walked pass their house. In my opinion, she should have tried harder to train Max to stop barking at passerbys, for a number of reasons!
Old people walking by can get heart attacks
We have a few apartments that are full of senior citizens where I live and they really enjoy taking a nice walk on a sunny day. But if your house is right by the sidewalk and you have a huge dog that hides and then jumps out to bark at people, you can cause some life-threatening heart attacks. So for the good of the community, please...train your dogs so we can all enjoy our afternoon walks more.
Little Kids Walking Home from School Get Scared
I also live near a few schools. When kids get off the bus and have to walk past the scary dog of terror (I see them covering their ears but it's no use kids), it's a rather traumatizing experience. I know because I use to be the kid that had to walk past 5 fences of dogs barking at me and even if my mom was with me, I was so scared I cried every single time.
Methods to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
1) Bring Him into The House
One method is to remove the motivation by simply bringing the dog into the house and never leaving him/her unsupervised in the yard so there's no chance of barking at passerbys.
2) Desensitize Your Dog to Passerbys
Have a friend or someone else you know but isn't familiar to the dog, walk pass your yard at a good distance that he doesn't bark and start feeding him treats. Close the distance slowly between the dog and the person while still using this method. Stop giving treats when the person is out of sight of the dog.
3) Teach Your Dog the Quiet Demand
The first step is to teach your dog the "Speak Command". Then once he/she can bark on command you can teach him/her the "Quiet Command". In a quiet environment with no distractions, give him/her the speak command and then say "quiet" and stick a treat in front of his nose. Then praise him/her for being quiet and give the treat. Practice this in increasingly more distracting environments.
But Doesn't Barking Protect My Home?
If dogs are any use as guard dogs anymore then we wouldn't have people called "pet thieves". Most household pets these days are too trusting and friendly to be used as guard dogs anymore. And if your dog barks at anybody that passes by the house, you'll just ignore it after a while even if a real thief does come.