There is probably not a more annoying sound than obnoxious dogs barking from behind fences.
I hear and see obnoxious dogs barking from behind fences on my personal dog walks in my neighborhood and when I am working with client dogs in other neighborhoods.
Not only is this dog barking annoying to adjacent neighbors and pedestrians, it can provide lots of opportunity for dogs walking by to practice their own bad dog behavior.
The passing dog might start pulling on leash and barking at the dog behind the fence or worse – redirecting his aggression toward his innocent sibling who is walking with him.
Owners who leave their dog outside to run the fence and bark are allowing their dog to “rehearse” territorial aggression.
This behavior can many times transfer inside the house to include door greetings and bad or worse behavior at front windows.
It’s all very self rewarding for the dog. As walkers and postal carriers come by, the barking begins. As they leave he gets a feeling of satisfaction that “I did my job. I frightened the bad guy away.”
Why is your dog barking?
Most all of the bad behavior your dog is exhibiting is because something you “are” or “are not” doing in your relationship with your dog, is causing him to be stressed or anxious.
Dogs that often bark behind fences or from inside the house are frustrated that they cannot “connect” with what or who they see going by. Many of these dogs are not walked nearly enough to relieve this tension and anxiety. This would be a case of something the owners are not” doing. Frustration builds and barking develops.
What doesn’t work
Yelling “Quiet” at your dog just doesn’t work – for a number of reasons:
To your dog, you’re just another dog barking – reinforcing his actions. It also becomes confusing to your dog when you try and correct him at the same time you are yelling.
Dogs don’t do well with owners in states of excitement and panic that yell and scream (emotional energy). This creates a very unstable environment in which your dog must live. If you have been in the habit of yelling at your dog, stop yelling and develop a solid plan to address the barking.
I often think that some people lose sight of the fact that dogs are dogs and try to train away every natural instinct a dog has with no tolerance for failure or disobedience.
There is a better way. Listen to your dog. He is barking for a reason! He’s stressed about something and he’s trying to communicate that to you.
What does work
Remember what I said, “Most all of the bad behavior your dog is exhibiting is because something you ‘are’ or ‘are not’ doing in your relationship with your dog is causing him to be stressed or anxious.”
The feeling of frustration behind the fence might be because you “are” leaving your dog outside in the back yard too long and are “not” walking your dog enough that can be remedied with two good long, structured walks.
Provide for your dog’s needs and reinforce your leadership with your dog on the walk by structuring the walk.
Next I would check to see if you are providing your dog with enough structure or “Ground Rules” in other areas of your relationship with your dog.
Are you providing your dog with enough consistent and predictable activities? It would be great if at a minimum, if he could count on two walks at the same time every day.
The value your dog gets out of those two long walks will begin to pay big dividends to you almost immediately. “How so?” you ask. Your dog will become more calm and relaxed. Now we’re talking win-win!
You can also get good mileage out of a few short 2 minute dog obedience training sessions on come, sit and down. This would give your dog a feeling of working for you rather than you following his lead all the time.
Rules and expectations will begin to improve behavior at the front door if your dog knows what you expect of him in those situations. Show him what you want and then train him to do it. It’s that easy!
We should all focus on reducing the stress in our dog’s lives as well as recognize and respect our dog’s emotions and needs as a vital part of their well-being.
“Sharing is Caring” What Do You Think? Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8500+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog. His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step way to teach your dog how to be a great family member.