Dogs bark, some more than others, and there is nothing wrong with it until you find your dog barking at other dogs all of a sudden.
Why did he do that, you may think, and there can be many answers to this question; some may be very simple, like saying ‘hello,’ and some may be alarming, like being fearful or stressed.
From being just playful to being defensive, there can be various reasons for your dog barking at other dogs, and decoding this might help you reduce their chattiness at once.
This is where we come in handy by answering all your queries, including why dogs bark, especially to other dogs, how to stop them, and what you should do if your dog gets aggressive towards other dogs.
Read along to get all the answers in one go. Let us start by knowing the basics.
Why do Dogs Bark?
Dogs bark for various reasons, and they even have different barking styles, hinting at what they want to convey.
Sometimes, the barking is to gather your attention, they bark to tell you to let them out for a nature’s call or to stop you from leaving the room.
They bark in a different way when they are excited, like when they see you after a long day or meet their best animal friend. You may see them jumping and circling along these barks.
Another one is a loud bark to tell you that something is off. It is a warning bark where your dog is alerting you about something that they think is a danger for them or the family. This bark will continue until you address the situation.
Then, there are some barks that are traditional to a certain breed, like the beagles; they howl more than they bark.
Carefully listening to their barks will give an idea of their barking style and will ease your trouble in understanding what they are willing to communicate.
Why does my Dog Bark at other Dogs?
When your dog barks at other dogs, they are communicating something to each other. It can be territorial bark or just an attention-seeking bark.
We will have a look at some of the common reasons your dog barks at other dogs.
1. They Want to Play
Let us start with a positive reason: if your dog barks at other dogs, it may mean that your dog wants to have a playful session with them.
If you are around a dog park or crossing the walkway where your dog sees a canine friend, then he may bark at him, asking him to join in.
2. Marking the Territory
If your dog is in your house and sees other dogs through the window or the door, then the barking will start letting other dogs know that they are coming too close to his territory.
Dogs consider their porch, the cars they travel in, and even the regular walkways they take as their territory, and if some other dogs are seen around their territory, then your dog will bark.
3. To Join the Pack or to Seek Attention
If your dog is barking at other dogs, it may be because he wants to join the pack and play with them. This happens when your dog is friendly towards other pets.
They may also bark just to get the attention of other dogs, and it’s totally normal amongst them to bark and communicate.
Your dog may bark at other dogs because they are reactive, which means they react when triggered by something like fear, distress, bad experiences, or other things.
If your dog sees another dog, they may bark and start lunging or pulling, it primarily shows fear and anxiousness in dogs. This may also occur if your dog lacks training, has less social interaction, and can even be genetics.
How to Stop your Dog from Barking at other Dogs?
Dog barking is natural and should not be worrying if it is just a hello down the road to their other canine friends.
Regular or aggressive barking towards other dogs should worry you, as it can be a sign of fear, stress, or anxiety that your dog is releasing in their bark because they don’t know any other way to express their emotions.
You should not scold or shout at your dog when he is barking. Not only is it bad for your dog’s mental health, you are also giving him attention and reinforcing the behavior.
1. Identify the Problem
You should try to know the reason behind your dog’s bark, whether the bark is about the territory, or just reactive, or there is any other reason. Knowing the reason will ease your trouble and help you control and avoid such instances.
2. Solve the Problem
When you know the cause, proceed with solving the problem. If they bark at other dogs because they are fearful or anxious, try tucking them between your legs to calm them and make them feel safe.
If your dog barks at other dogs just to mark their territory or to seek attention, then training and socializing is a way to stop them from barking.
Try and find what triggers reactiveness in your dog, if there is only one dog he doesn’t like then try and avoid that dog during your walk. You can manage reactivity in dogs by changing the path or the direction from which other dogs are coming.
Finally, do not punish or scold your dog when your dog barks at other dogs. Dogs are meant to bark, and that’s their way of talking and greeting other dogs. You punishing him can make him bark more.
3. Take Professional’s Help
If barking continues and gets aggressive, then try training, dog schools, or getting help from experts to control this. If they are too reactive then you can try to manage reactivity in your dog, and the best possible way would be to take the help of a trainer or a dog behavior expert.
What to do if Your Dog is Aggressive Towards Other Dogs?
If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, then there has to be some underlying issue that is making them this way. Here are some tips on what you can do next.
- Consult a Veterinarian: If your dog starts to bark at other dogs all of a sudden, then your dog may be in pain, which is causing him discomfort and to react aggressively.
- Consult a vet, and just a routine check will let you know if there is anything to be concerned about.
- Stay Calm and Composed: One thing that people take very lightly is keeping calm. You being calm when your dog is aggressive towards other dogs will in calming your dog as well.
- When you panic or lose control, your dog senses it and will bark even more. Changing your route or moving across the street can be used as distractions to calm things down.
- Do not give up: Many pet owners try to train their dogs and then give up shortly when they do not see any results.
The key is to be persistent and provide your dog with positive reinforcement, which will make them learn quickly.
- Call an Expert: When you see that things are not going your way, you can always call an expert trainer, or if you don’t know anyone you can ask your vet to suggest you one.
If your dog barks at other dogs every once in a while on the road or on your porch, then there is nothing to fret about, it’s just a hi hello between them.
But if this happens way too often and looks aggressive (through their body posture), then it is not okay, training or effective management may be needed.
Some dogs bark at other dogs because they are not socialized and trained well, whereas some dogs socialize and interact with other dogs and pets easily. Socialization and training at an early age help dogs throughout their life.
You can stop reactive barking by knowing what triggers reactive barking in them. Training and teaching them verbal cues also helps in stopping such barking. Making them feel safe and socially interacting with them also helps.
Territorial barking can be stopped through persistent and positive reinforcement. Making them social with other dogs also helps, as barking will stop when they know it is a member of the pack.
Nervous barking can be stopped by making them feel safe and calm. Giving treats when they stop barking, removing them from any area that triggers them, and making them feel safe and protected are ways to fix nervous barking in dogs.
In many cases, yes, ignoring does help in stopping barks, but it varies from situation to situation. If they are barking to get attention when you are leaving the room or watching a movie, you can ignore them, but if they are barking out of discomfort or pain, then you should attend to them at the earliest.
Getting home after a long day and listening to your dog barking can be a joy to your ears, but barking is not always pleasant, especially when they bark at other dogs all of a sudden. It can even be embarrassing on the road.
Your dog may bark at other dogs because he may want to have fun with them or is just marking their territory, or it’s a reactive behavior; knowing the root cause may help you stop this barking.
You can follow the steps mentioned above to control such barking. Let me know in the comment section if this article helped you and what other topics I should cover next.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.