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How to stop Westie-Poo from barking at other dogs when she's on her lead

(7 Posts)
SouthernPolish Wed 24-Apr-13 11:11:21

I have a Westie-Poo, 4 yrs old, we have had her for just over a year (rescue). She arrived very highly strung with severe separation anxiety, which I have now successfully trained her out of.

Generally she has a lovely nature, fantastic with children and very friendly with other dogs off her lead... BUT:

When ON her lead she barks at all other dogs - not aggressively - but others interpret it as aggressive. If she has the opportunity to meet & sniff she stops barking straight away. Occasionally the other dog will growl, as they are threatened by the barking, in which case she does carry on barking.

Day to day I just cope with it and make a fuss and treat if she doesn't bark at another dog. I always try to explain to other dog owners, many cooperate, but some don't and drag their dog away, make commdnts anout yappy small dogs or just ignore me :-(

Advice please? Ta.

Lilcamper Wed 24-Apr-13 11:47:14

I think this is fear based. My dog can be like this. It's the old 'fight or flight' mechanism. On the lead she is trapped so she can't flee, so she gets in with the barking. How I would handle this, is on lead keep her far enough away from another dog that she doesn't react, treat, move a bit closer, no reaction, treat. This is called keeping her under threshold and desensitisation. It might take a while and will need patience and a calm stooge dog could come in very handy if you can get one. Good luck!

SouthernPolish Wed 24-Apr-13 15:07:43

I will try the above, although difficult due to working (from home) and not knowing any stooge dogs, but I was wondering if there was any chance she might improve over time? I ask this because althoughI did desensitisation training to build confidence to stay at home on her own, I noticed that it seemed linked to just settling into our home generally and trusting us (previous owner left her alone for 8 hours a day).

How would you react when out and about and not actually training? At the moment I say 'No!' firmly and stop, try to 'make friends' but if not possible I just stand still until she calms down. If she manages to walk past without any fuss, I treat her and say 'well done'.

Lilcamper Wed 24-Apr-13 15:36:29

TBH, I try not to say no to my dog, like with kids, the more you use it, the more it loses meaning. Has she got a favourite toy, or an extra smelly treat she could be distracted with? You could also try LAT (look at that) training. Google it to see if it comes up.

mrslaughan Wed 24-Apr-13 16:16:04

What about a "puppy" class - or "obedience" class where there are other dogs?
Our dog is completely ridiculous about meeting other dogs (he's only 9 1/2mths) - gets overly excited.
I am finding that the obedience class, ringcraft class, plus organizing walks with other dogs is really helping him to learn how to "behave" ie not ignore me, and drag me over to them.
At the obedience class there are a lot of older dogs, who have various issues and the owners are using it, too work through them.

SouthernPolish Wed 24-Apr-13 16:53:45

Yes - we did puppy classes when we first got her and she behaved beautifully - star pupil! No barking in classes at all, even though on her lead. It's outside on the pavement that's the issue. I don't quite understand why.

mrslaughan Wed 24-Apr-13 17:22:06

Do you have friends with dogs you could walk with?

A park you could go to with lots of people walking dogs you could join in with?

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