It seems harmless when puppies bark at you.
I mean, what can those little fur babies do?
Well, it might look cute for now…
However, this habit can be a problem later on.
But you’re in luck.
I have all the vital tips for you and your pooch.
Continue reading to find out:
- 3 easy self-control games to manage barking in puppies.
- 5 vital tips for 4-month-old puppies that bark at strangers.
- 7 proven ways to socialize your puppy and stop their barking.
- 1 real reason why you shouldn’t leave your puppy with other people.
- And many, many more…
Table of contents
Why does my 4 month-old-puppy bark at strangers?
Your 4 month-old-puppy barks at strangers out of fear. By barking, canines think they’re warding off threats. That means they do this as a form of self-defense. However, some puppies might bark due to excitement as well. When greeting new people or other animals, young dogs tend to become vocal.
4-month-old puppy barks at strangers: 5 vital tips
#1: Don’t scold your puppy
I get it. It’s frustrating when your puppy doesn’t listen.
And all they do is keep barking at strangers.
But no matter how tiring it can get…
You shouldn’t scold your 4-month-old puppy.
Why, you ask?
That’s because it leaves a bad impression on your pooch. In this case, your furry pal might not learn at all.
I mean, these puppies don’t know what they did wrong.
For one, barking is a natural thing for them.
Plus, just like when you were young, you were still learning many things.
So if you scold or yell at your dog…
You’re just teaching them fear instead. And vets say that could lead to other problems too.
In fact, research states:
72.5% of pups have various types of anxiety.
That’s why Fido might be more fearful of strangers.
See? That’s how scolding your dog can make things worse.
So while your furry friend is still young…
It’s the best time to teach them that humans aren’t a threat.
And that’s why you should:
Only use positive reinforcement
That means you have to show Fido what it means to be kind.
But how exactly can you use this method on your dog?
It’s simple. You just need to follow these rules:
- Use a friendly tone of voice.
- Don’t punish your dog with isolation.
- Give your dog lots of treats and praise.
- Never hit your pooch or hurt them in any way.
- Avoid frowning or glaring at your pup. They’ll remember that face.
Easy, right? After that, you just have to find the right timing.
By that, I mean you should catch your pup in the act.
Let me give you a quick example:
Say, Fido’s barking at strangers again.
Remember, keep calm. Approach your dog and talk to them.
Then, use a friendly tone of speaking. Or you could even baby talk with them.
When your furry pal looks at you…
Just firmly tell them words like:
- Be quiet.
Fun fact: Most dogs can learn 150 words or more. But they only understand short phrases at best. So just use these easy keywords to train your puppy.
Now, if your fur baby behaves…
Then you just have to reward them with treats and praises.
That makes your dog think they’re doing the right thing.
And you just have to keep this up until your puppy behaves around strangers.
#2: Socialize your puppy as early as you can
Now that you know about positive reinforcement…
It’s time to move on to the next step, which is: socialization. That means you have to familiarize your dog with humans.
Also, VCA Hospitals advises:
You should socialize your pup as early as possible. Ideally, around 12 to 16 weeks old should be good enough.
Luckily, there are many ways you can socialize dogs.
For example, just take your pup out for a walk.
With this, both of you will encounter strangers all day. As you do this, your furry pal might bark once again.
In that case, apply what you learned from tip #1.
At first, it might seem like nothing’s working. But once again, training Fidos takes time and patience.
So, to help you further…
Here are 7 ways to socialize your puppy:
- Visit the dog park.
- Let Fido meet other dogs.
- Arrange puppy play dates.
- Invite people to your home.
- Take your pup to other places.
- Enroll Fido in socialization classes.
Want more tips to socialize your puppy?
You can learn from this expert trainer:
#3: Teach Fido self-control
Experts say that puppies need to learn self-control.
And the good thing is, there are many ways to do that for Fido.
For one, there are brain games for dogs.
But since your furry pal’s still a young puppy…
I’ll teach you 3 easy games that your pooch can play.
Now, these activities aren’t only effective. But they’re simple and can be fun too.
So let’s get started.
Game #1: It’s Yer Choice
“We can keep playing. But only if you settle down first.”
Well, that sounds like a bargain, right?
That’s your goal in this game. And you have to make Fido understand these rules.
Here’s how to do it.
For example, take your furry pal outside.
Then give them a toy that they like. Next, start playing with your pooch.
Now, when your pup barks at someone…
That’s the time you should stop playing with them.
At this point, you’re giving Fido a choice. That means you’re not forcing your pup to do anything.
So, wait for your furry pal to decide:
Would they keep barking? Or choose to stay quiet?
If your pup picks the former, ignore your dog. But if your fur baby behaves, play with them again.
And if you keep this up, your pooch might think:
“If I bark at people, hooman stops playing with me.
But if I behave, my parent rewards me. Now I get it.”
See? That’s how your dog learns self-control.
And in case you’re wondering…
No, this game isn’t like a punishment. After all, you’re not doing anything bad.
You’re simply showing your dog a rule. Which is:
If Fido wants something, they have to do what you want first. Fair game, right?
Related topic: Demand Barking: 19 Simple Tips To Stop It (How-To Guide)
Game #2: Red light, green light
You only need 2 things for this game.
First, put Fido on their leash. Second, get a bag of treats.
After that, take your pupper for a walk.
And now, let’s simplify this.
Red light means stop. Meanwhile, green stands for go.
Just like how traffic works.
When Fido barks at a stranger, that’s a red light.
In that case, you have to stop walking. And you have to stay in that spot until your pup relaxes.
Once they quiet down, that’s your green light.
Give your dog a treat, and then keep walking.
Now, repeat this process until Fido realizes the goal.
Game #3: Look at that
Puppies are easy to distract.
So use that to your advantage.
Whenever your dog barks at someone…
Quickly point at something and say:
“Look at that!”
And make it sound firm to catch Fido’s attention.
This way, you’re taking their focus away from the stranger.
If your pooch follows the direction of your finger…
Praise and reward your pup with a treat.
This game works great for anxious fur babies too. With this, you’re teaching them to stay calm around strangers.
Learn more: 13 Best Self-Control Games For Dogs
#4: Don’t leave your pup alone with strangers
While your fur baby’s still young…
They only know how to trust you. Or the other members of your family.
In this case, you shouldn’t leave Fido alone with other people.
Why, you ask?
After all, it might worsen their anxiety. As a result, that might lead to more barking.
To explain this, just imagine this scenario:
Picture yourself as a young kid. And for the first time, your parents are dropping you off at school.
Now, you’re left alone. Plus, you’re surrounded by strangers.
To some people, this might not be scary.
But for others, it could be overwhelming.
And that’s exactly how your pup might feel. Thus, they might bark even more due to their fear.
Plus, not all strangers know how to take care of puppies.
That means other hoomans could scare off your pooch.
So, if you’re going to socialize your puppy…
Ensure that you’re always by their side.
With that, you can guide your dog properly. And you could also protect them when they feel afraid of strangers.
#5: Tire out your puppy
Remember what I said in the intro?
Sometimes, puppies bark out of excitement.
After all, that’s their way of trying to talk to hoomans.
Now, what you can do about that:
With this, they’ll learn to balance out their energy. Plus, this works great for hyperactive puppies.
And there are many ways you can do this trick.
To help you out, I listed down a few examples:
- Play tug of war.
- Find them a playmate.
- Give Fido interactive toys.
- Take them to puppy daycare.
- Play treasure hunt by hiding treats around the house.
With these methods, you can get rid of Fido’s boredom too.
In the end, a tired pup is a happy pooch.
And if your dog’s pleased, they won’t have time to bark at strangers.
What a win-win situation, right?