Any dog mom or dad knows the struggle. You are out walking your dog down the street and you pass another dog, or one goes by your house, and your dog goes nuts barking at the other.
Goldendoodle owners may be unpleasantly surprised to find their breed of dog is capable of this oft-considered naughty behavior. But why do they do it anyway? Learn about why your Goldendoodle barks at other dogs and more in the article below.
Why Does My Goldendoodle Bark At Other Dogs?
The reasons a Goldendoodle may bark at another dog range from mere excitement to aggression and defensiveness. Your dog’s personality, training, the context, and even the cues that you give them knowingly or unknowingly play a role in their reaction to the sight, smell, or sound of another dog.
Excitement and Playfulness
Goldendoodles, other dogs, and especially puppies may bark at the presence of another dog simply out of sheer excitement and lack of control. Young dogs in particular tend to be hyper and extremely curious about the world around them. Other people, other animals, and of course other dogs capture their attention right away.
If your Goldendoodle spots another dog on a walk, out the window, or beyond the fence, he will probably want to meet this dog right away. His instinct will be to smell it, interact with it, and maybe play with it.
Understandably, we responsible dog owners restrain our dogs from running up to every strange new dog they see. We hold them back with a leash or keep them locked up behind a barrier to prevent any unwanted problems from occurring.
While this helps us keep them safe, it also blocks the energy they are trying to act on, which can quickly create in them a sense of frustration.
With nowhere else for that energy to go, the frustration will often translate immediately into barking. Your Goldendoodle wants really badly to get to the other dog and is so excited that he has to do something, so he barks and barks!
This barking is usually accompanied by related body language. An excited dog will hold his tail up high, sometimes wagging furiously. The ears will be up and trained on the other dog. He will pace, lunge, jump, and strain on the leash if you are using one.
There is a classic pose that dogs will adopt when they are feeling truly playful, which is their front bowed down low to the ground and hind end still up in the air.
They do this naturally, communicating to the other dog that they mean no harm by keeping their heads lower (so that their excitement is not mistaken for dominance and starts a fight).
Even if you are pretty sure your Goldendoodle just wants to play, you should still maintain some caution when handling a situation where it wants to bark and approach another dog.
Innocent excitement can quickly flash over to fear or aggression, another source of barking that we will discuss in the next section.
Meeting another dog can therefore turn explosive on a dime as they connect and try to sort out feelings of dominance, fear, arousal, etc, so you need to be careful here.
Ideally, your Goldendoodle should exhibit calm and respectful energy before you allow them to get too close with other dogs.
Fear and Aggression
The sight, smell, or sound of another dog might also frighten your Goldendoodle. They may be either insecure or rightfully concerned that the dog they are sensing poses a threat to themselves or you.
A fearful dog barks as a warning to what they perceive as a threat. They are likely trying to scare the other dog off or at least alert their pack (you, members of your household, and your other dogs) that there is possible danger nearby.
A dog that is scared is potentially dangerous. Just like us, dogs are affected by a fight or flight instinct when they are stressed.
If your dog is barking out of fear and the other dog moves closer, it might tuck tail and run or it might just channel that fear into an aggressive response and attack the other dog.
On the other hand, your Goldendoodle does not necessarily need to be afraid to be aggressive. They might also be acting on instincts to either dominate, bully, or prey upon other dogs, as unpleasant as that is to consider.
Body language to look out for either way includes high tails, wagging tails, tucked tails, raised heads and hackles, and bared teeth.
Multiple of these behaviors combined with growling and barking are an indication that your Goldendoodle is not playing around and you should do everything you can to prevent contact with another dog while they are in this state.
Territorial Behavior and Defensiveness
Your Goldendoodle might be self-confident and not normally mean to other dogs, but they still bark simply to be territorial. This is a large part of why dogs who are well-behaved elsewhere will bark at dogs approaching their home turf.
Dogs instinctively protect their pack and their pack’s territory, which, in your Goldendoodle’s mind, includes your home and backyard.
Barking, in this instance, is meant to let other dogs know that your dog is in control of the space and they had better not intrude. Humans have long valued dogs for their guarding abilities and Goldendoodles have not had such instincts bred out of them at all.
But while we sometimes find barking at strange dogs useful from a protection point of view, if it is just your neighbor innocently walking their dog down the street, it can otherwise be a nuisance or problematic for your Goldendoodle to act this way.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Barking At Other Dogs?
You will need to train your dog either specifically not to bark at other dogs or to obey your commands well enough that you are able to stop them if they try. The key to any successful training effort is first to ensure your dog is well-exercised so he can focus and listen well.
A commonly overlooked but extremely important aspect of raising and training a well-behaved dog is just making certain that the animal is well-exercised. As mentioned above, part of the reason why a Goldendoodle has outbursts towards other dogs is due to an excess of energy.
It is a lot like how human children can be loud and destructive, but if you take them to do a fun activity for a few hours, they will tire and become easier to deal with.
Or think about how irritable you might be one day but also how going for a run, spending time at the gym, or playing your favorite sport calms you down and helps you focus. The same principle applies to your dog.
Any kind of training attempts will be hampered if not doomed if your Goldendoodle does not receive enough exercise.
The pent-up frustration and anxiety will increase the likelihood that they will act out in ways that you do not want (like barking at other dogs) and decrease their ability to obey your commands (like telling them to stop).
Therefore, establishing regular walks, runs, or any other form of exercise is the first step in dealing with a barking or training issue.
Training and Assertiveness
If you want to get your Goldendoodle to stop barking at other dogs, some training may be required. There are a couple of different commonly suggested training methods to cope with this problem.
One suggests that you treat your dog when he is far enough away that he sees the stimulus (the other dog) but does not bark. Then, progressively move him closer and treat him each time he stays calm/ calms down, or move him away when he starts barking.
Another suggestion is, counterintuitively, to teach your Goldendoodle to “speak” or bark and then concurrently teach them the “quiet” command to stop. Then, you can employ the “quiet” command when they are barking at another dog.
Which technique you use is only part of the picture, however. In general, you should be able to get your Goldendoodle to obey simple commands and respect certain boundaries through calm assertiveness.
If you often have trouble controlling your Goldendoodle, you may have an overall issue with training that needs to be addressed first.
If this is the case, it is a good idea to enroll in dog training classes or enlist the help of a professional until your relationship with your Goldendoodle and their obedience towards you is good enough that you can tackle a difficult problem like barking at other dogs.
Goldendoodles will bark at other dogs either because they are excited, fearful, aggressive, or just to warn fellow dogs that they are defending their territory.
Of course, this is not always the type of behavior owners want to see so it is good to know that there are several actions you can take to address it.
First and foremost, you should ensure your Goldendoodle is getting plenty of exercise to enhance its trainability. You can try some training techniques yourself and/or try to get them to listen to you when you give them commands to stop.
Although if you run into difficulties, it is always a good idea to contact a professional for extra help.