Many Dogs Bark at Passersby

A common problem that does have a solution
By Karen B. London PhD, July 2009, Updated July 2016

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 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.