Karen B. London
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Many Dogs Bark at Passersby
A common problem that does have a solution

A lot of dogs bark out the window at everyone who goes by. In fact, this is one of the most common problems motivating people to seek the help of a canine behaviorist or dog trainer. Luckily, most dogs can be taught a more appropriate response than barking like a maniac at every passerby.

Dogs tend to bark even more if we say, “Quiet!” Barking is a social, contagious behavior, so when dogs hear us vocalize in a sharp way in response to their barking, it’s no wonder that our dogs keep going with their own barking. A far better plan is to teach them to come away from the window whenever they see anybody going by and then reinforce them with a lot of treats for that behavior. I offer detailed advice in a recent newspaper column.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Anonymous | July 5 2009 |

Trying to teach the dog to come away from the window is a nice concept. However, I have two boxers that would laugh at me (if the could) if I tried to have them come away from the window. I have tried diverting their attention with treats. They simply come get the treat, drop it, and go back to the window.

Submitted by kim | July 6 2009 |

Same thing happens to me. I say "Thanks" as the word to come to me instead of barking insanely (this includes flailing against the door) and they come to me, snatch the treat and go back to business. Now I've been trying to break it down more by waiting a few seconds before I treat and will build that...at least that's the theory.

Submitted by kim g | July 7 2009 |

impossilble to stop 6 dogs from barking at anything when you live in cottage 10 feet from street. positive give them a treat and they go back to barking. impossible. have been trying for 2 plus years. plus i have to worry about sequel the stray who sometimes is food agressive.

Submitted by Lisa | July 9 2009 |

I have covered the windows that my dogs have access to (front hall, living room) with an adhesive film which allows light in but which obscures my dogs' view of the outside. I found this window film on my local Sears website - it comes in a variety of patterns (e.g., stained glass, plain white pebbled texture, etc.) and is quite inexpensive. Even the plain white pattern, which is opaque, does not allow a view of the outside, while still allowing the light into the room. One roll costs less than twenty dollars, is approximately 2 feet wide and over 6 feet long. It hasn't eliminated 100 per cent of their barking, as they still bark occasionally when they hear another dog barking outside, but it has stopped them from looking out the windows and reacting to what they see.

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