If your Golden Retriever keeps barking at strangers, you probably want to get it to stop.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my Golden Retriever bark at strangers? Possible reasons are that it’s being protective, it didn’t socialize much as a puppy, a lack of training or that it was mistreated by people that it didn’t know in the past.
There are a number of reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Golden Retriever barks at strangers
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It’s protecting its territory or owner
The reason why it does it might be that it is being protective. This would be especially likely if it does it when people it does not know are in its home.
If it does it when you are walking it then it could still be the case that it is being protective but it could also be that it sees them as a threat.
As puppies, Golden Retrievers learn who and what to trust and who not to. The reason why your Golden Retriever barks at strangers could be that it didn’t get to interact with many people when it was a puppy. This would be more likely if you adopted your Golden Retriever from a shelter.
A lack of training
If your Golden Retriever has not received much training it will behave the way that it feels like behaving. The way that it wants to behave is not likely to be the way that you want it to.
This is why it is important to spend time training your Golden Retriever to behave the way that you want. If you have not already done so then it would be best to start with the basics such as to sit and then build up from there.
The cause could be that people mistreated it when it was younger. If it was then it could be the case that it sees strangers as a threat or that it is worried that a similar thing will happen to it as happened in the past. This would be more likely if it is adopted from a shelter.
Reinforcing the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it.
Instead of giving your Golden Retriever things such as treats when it barks at strangers try to recognize when it is about to start barking and to redirect its focus.
How to stop your Golden Retriever from barking at strangers
Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop barking at strangers.
Teach it to associate other people with rewards
The first option would be to train it to associate other people with rewards. To do this you would give your Golden Retriever special treats when you are approaching other people on a walk and then stop when it starts barking. By repeating this process your Golden Retriever will be able to learn that barking at people causes it to stop getting treats.
Desensitize it to other people
Another option would be to get it used to being around other people. To teach it to stop barking you would reward it when it does not bark around them and stop rewarding it when it does bark.
Teach it to listen to your command
If you have not spent much time training your Golden Retriever then it would help to do so. By training it you will be able to get it to listen to your command and it will be easier to control your Golden Retriever when it misbehaves.
Avoid negative reinforcement
It would also help to avoid reinforcing the behavior by making sure not to give it things that it wants when it starts barking. Instead of giving it things that it wants, when it barks, try recognizing when it is about to bark and to redirect its focus onto you.
Try a growl class
If there is one in your area, you could try taking your Golden Retriever to a growl class. This is where dogs are trained to not bark at other people and other dogs.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you cannot get it to stop doing it, another option would be to get help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so you should be able to see how to get it to stop safely.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about your Golden Retriever barking at strangers.
When it barks at strangers
It would help to consider the timing of when it does it since the timing could have something to do with it.
If it does only do it sometimes then it would help to consider what is different when it does it. If you notice that it only barks when strangers are around the house then it would be more likely that it is being protective.
Whereas, if it always does it then it would be more likely that it sees them as a threat, a lack of training and not socializing with many people as a puppy.
When it first started barking at strangers
If it did not always bark at other people, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it did start doing it suddenly then it could be because someone mistreated it or because you inadvertently rewarded it for barking.
When training your Golden Retriever it would also be important to be consistent with the training. It is unlikely that you will be able to get it to change its behavior a lot with just one training session. But, if you are consistent with the training, you can get much better results over the course of weeks and months.
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