Barking Episode 5- Barking at Dogs Behind Fences

This is a continuation of the video “Barking Episode 3- barking on a walk”. Please watch that video first to work on the foundation exercises. Also watch my videos on loose leash walking as a tight leash can cause a dog to be more aroused and reactive on walks.

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Step One-

Click and feed your dog as he alerts towards the gate he usually barks at BEFORE he barks, and then walk the other way. Repeat this step until he is no longer alerting. You can also feed your dog for looking, instead of clicking. However, if you do this and your dog turns around to look at the food, don’t give it to him. You want the other dog to be the predictor of reinforcement, NOT your hand movement!

Step Two-

Walk closer to the gate or window that the reactive dog usually appears at and either feed the dog AS they are looking, or click the dog and feed. Then walk away.

Step Three-

Pass the house in an arc. Walk your dog across the street so that he is as far away from the barking dog as possible as you both cross. As the dog begins to look confident and relaxed you can walk the dog in a closer arc. Keep in mind to not walk TOO close to the other dog, as you don’t want to cause it any undue stress!

If your dog becomes reactive, simply say “lets go” and go the other way (with NO TREAT). Practice the cue “lets go” before using it with distractions. If your dog keeps reacting make it easier for your dog, walk up to where he is comfortable, click and then turn back the way you came.

Step Four-

When you have changed your dogs emotional response to dogs barking at fences, continue to give your dog information and feedback!
Walk past the barking dog, and tell your dog what a good dog he is for being so brave and relaxed. Remember you can use your voice and calm touch to tell your dog they are wonderful! You can also use calming signals as you pass, to tell your dog you are not worried about the other dog.


1- Use management and prevention. Start practicing this exercise with the dogs that your dog has the lowest reaction to and then work up to the ones that he has the highest reaction to. If that means driving past the house up the street and getting out to walk your dog, it’s worth it!

2- If your dog recently reacted to another dog, when passing a house with a dog at the gate, go back a step and increase distance because your dog will be more likely to react.

3- If you are not seeing improvement- try using better treats and try working from further distances first. You can also practice just hanging out in front of your house, or practicing ‘settles’ with your dog on leash to help your dog be calmer when outside.

4-Don’t leave your reactive dog behind a fence or window when you are not home- as they will learn to become reactive to other dogs.

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