Barking Spaniel


Why is my dog barking so much?

Why is my dog barking so much?

Hi, I was just wondering if you could advise me about my 2-year-old cocker spaniel, who has recently begun barking at strangers and other dogs while we're on our daily walks. At first, I thought she was just doing this to protect me, but tonight she lunged toward a strange dog which was very excited and bouncing around.

I always have her on the lead when other dogs are around, so thankfully, they were both okay. I am unsure how to correct this behaviour, though, as I do not want any more incidents like this to happen, as I found it quite upsetting.

Do you have any ideas on how to sort this out?

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Barking Cocker
by: Anonray Griffiths

I had significant problems from day one with my cocker spaniel barking at night and waking the whole household up, including the neighbours.

He is now six months old; things got so bad it had got to the point when I considered re-homing him.

I searched the internet for answers and found a device that attaches to the dog's collar.

When the dog barks, it activates a fine mist that dogs hate. This has stopped the barking in its tracks.

I only attach the collar overnight; it should not be left on for more than 12 hours.

This product has 100s of 5-star reviews, and it deserves every one. The collar is sold online by Petsafe.

Your Barking Cocker Spaniel
by: Pauline (Web Owner)


A qualified dog behaviourist will get to understand your dog's problem better and determine the root cause for the behaviour change.

I'm not a dog behaviourist, but I may be able to help a little.

When a dog barks and lunges at other dogs, it could be for various reasons (this is where a behaviourist comes into the equation). Your Cocker's behaviour could be triggered out of fear, anxiety, and/or the dog believes he's protecting his owner from danger.

The good news is that you can work on this and hopefully change her aggressive reaction to other dogs. Here's how.

The next time you take her out for her walk, and when another dog comes into view (and as soon as she spots it), start feeding her one of her favourite treats.

I recommend you use something like morsels of cooked liver or chicken (tiny pieces) and give them to her quickly, one after the other, to keep her mind off the other dog. (It's also tricky to bark with your mouth full!)

If your dog is quiet (and hasn't tried to bark or lunge at the other dog), praise her and continue with the treats, then walk her away from the other dog.

Feeding her treats this way will teach your dog to think that good things happen to her when other dogs are around and that they're not a threat; there's nothing to be frightened of.

You'll need to practice this as often as possible, and at some point, you will feel comfortable allowing the two dogs to get closer. Perhaps you can ask a fellow dog walker for assistance while going through this. I'm sure they'll want to help if they understand what you're doing.

Points to note:

Initially, you will need to be far enough away from the other dog so that it doesn't trigger a barking response from your Cocker Spaniel.

If she's already barking, this won't work - you will need to be further away and try again.

If you see another dog and you find you don't have any treats, try to avoid the other dog by either turning and walking in the opposite direction or hiding behind a building or bush.

You might feel a bit silly, but you don't want her to practice this barking behaviour while you train her. Dogs learn behaviours by 'practising'; the more they 'practice', the more they will do it.

Stay calm. Don't make the mistake of 'stiffening' when you see another dog because your anxiety will be transmitted to your dog. Your Cocker will pick up on it and react to it by barking.

I hope this helps; good luck!

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