If your dog barks at some dogs but not others you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bark at certain dogs? Possible reasons why your dog barks at certain dogs are that some dogs excite it, make it fearful or appear threatening. It could also be because it has played with them or been mistreated by them in the past.
There are actually many possible reasons why your dog might only bark at certain dogs. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your dog barks at certain dogs
Below are some common reasons why your dog might bark at certain dogs and not others.
The reason why it does it might be that it is excited. This would be more likely if it does it when the other dogs are not being threatening and if your own dog shows signs of excitement in its body language.
Signs of excitement could include wagging its tail, licking and having wide-open eyes.
It would also be more likely if it does it when the other dogs are dogs that it has played with in the past or if the other dogs are showing signs of excitement around it themselves.
The cause might be that it was mistreated by those dogs in the past. This would be more likely if it only barks at dogs that it has interacted with before and if it shows threatening body language towards them. These signs could include showing its teeth, a curled nose, pulling its lips back and a stiff tail.
It feels threatened by them
Another possible cause is that it considers the other dogs as being threatening. This would be more likely if it does it when the other dogs are showing threatening body language, if they are large dogs and if your dog is showing threatening body language towards them itself.
If your dog is a breed that is known for having a strong prey drive, it might be the case that it barks at the other dogs due to its prey drive. This would be more likely if it barks at smaller dogs and if it is a breed such as a Siberian Husky or a German Shepherd since they are known for having a strong prey drive.
It’s being protective
The cause might also be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it does it when the other dogs are approaching yourself, when they are on its territory or when they are showing threatening body language.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out why your dog barks at certain dogs.
What else happened when your dog first started barking at certain dogs
If your dog did not always bark at certain dogs, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since.
If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as if it played with another dog and it now wants to play with similar dogs or if it was mistreated by another dog and it is now cautious around other dogs of a similar size.
What types of dogs your dog barks at
It would also help to consider what types of other dogs that it barks at.
If it if barks at larger dogs and it shows signs of threatening body language, it would be more likely that it does it because it finds them threatening. Whereas, if it only barks at dogs that are similar to dogs that it has played with before, it might be that it wants to play with them.
What is different when your dog does not bark
It would also help to consider if there is anything that is different when it does not bark.
For example, if it only barks when it is in its front yard, it might be barking because it is protecting its territory.
What to do about your dog barking at certain dogs
Below are some things you can do about your dog barking at certain dogs.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave the way you want it to by giving it rewards when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get it to stop barking at certain dogs, you could reward it when it does not bark at other dogs and stop rewarding it when it does bark.
When making use of this training method, it is important to be patient since it is likely that it will take a few weeks for it to learn that barking does not result in it getting rewards.
Try a growl class
If there is a growl class in your area, it might be an option to take your dog to one of them. Growl classes are special classes for dogs that have a habit of barking that are designed to get them to learn not to bark around other people and dogs.
If your dog becomes aggressive towards them or you cannot get it to stop doing it, another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see what has been causing it to do it and how to get it to stop safely.
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