How to Stop Dog Barking at Possums
You used to just know them as the strange marsupials that play dead. But now, you know possums (or “opossums”) because your dog won’t quit barking at them! What’s going on here? Why do dogs bark at possums? Are dogs scared of possums? What are they trying to accomplish? What happens if a dog comes in contact with a possum? Will they be hurt?
Today, we’re going to answer all of the questions you have about this worrisome and annoying issue. And we’ll obviously cover what you really came here for: how to stop your dog from barking at possums. Soon, this will all be behind you for good. Keep reading below for our article “How to Stop Dog Barking at Possums!”
How to Stop Your Dog Barking at Possums
To stop dog your dog barking at possums, take them to a place where you know they’ll most likely be barking (such as the park) with lots of small dog treats. When your dog starts to bark, say “quiet” in a positive voice. If they then give you their attention, give them a treat along with praise right away.
But if your dog is overexcited and again starts barking at you or something else, place a treat in your fist, and then put your fist right next to your dog’s nose. They’ll be able to pick up the scent even within your hand and should quit barking to investigate it.
Once your dog’s stopped barking and is paying attention to you, again say “quiet,” and then open your hand and reward them with a treat and praise. If they stay quiet, keep giving them praise and treats. But if they resume barking, repeat the process of hiding a treat in your fist, placing it by their nose, and then waiting until your dog is quiet.
Make sure to not open your hand to reward your dog with the treat and praise until they’re quiet. This will form a positive connection for your dog with keeping their mouth closed anytime you give the “quiet” command. Reward them immediately with praise and treats when they do, especially at the start when they’re still learning.
With consistency, patience, and repetition, your dog will learn to quit making noise simply by you saying “quiet,” with no need for you to place your hand near their mouth. When your dog is responding well to only the verbal command, you can lengthen the amount of time before you reward them. Start by pausing for 1-2 seconds, then up it to 5 seconds, and so on.
Soon, the praise and food rewards won’t be necessary and you can get your dog to stop barking at possums and for any other reason just by giving the “quiet” command. But you’ll still need to do something about the underlying issue which led to all of this disobedience to begin with: your dog’s feelings of dominance.
For us to properly cover that, we first need to talk about what makes dogs function, and has for thousands and thousands of years now. You’ve likely heard before that dogs are pack animals, and that in every pack there is a pack leader.
But when your dog barks at possums and other things, and then ignores your commands to stop, they are clearly showing that they don’t respect you in this role.
If they did, they would quiet when told. They wouldn’t engage in other types of disrespect or misbehavior. And they would obey your commands at all times happily, and they would do so immediately.
Prove to your dog that you are not just their pack leader, but a capable and worthy one which must be respected, and you’ll be able to make all of these wonderful changes a reality.
You’ll be better off for obvious reasons, but your dog will be too because you’ll have freed them from all of the stress and confusion that pack leader and dominance issues are currently saddling them with every second of every day.
“Yeah, sure, but how do I do this then?”
You should watch an excellent free video series which is on this exact subject — how to be your dog’s pack leader — by a renowned trainer named Dan. In the series, he explains everything in ways that are very easy to understand and teach to your own dog, and he gets immediately to the point so that you can start seeing these crucial changes in your dog before things get any worse.
Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And no, you’re not going to have to yell or be mean to your four-legged little buddy. Dan uses only 100% humane and loving teaching methods at all times. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s the fastest way to achieve permanent changes in your dog’s behavior.
Why Do Dogs Bark at Possums?
Dogs bark at possums because they are very territorial and see them as intruders and possible prey. Your dog wants to protect what they see as their territory, as well as themselves and you from this unknown, strange-looking creature. Possums are also well-known to play dead, and dogs will default to barking because predators don’t like to attack animals they think are already dead.
But if your dog is barking at possums (whether they’re moving around or pretending to be dead) and ignoring your commands to stop, then you have a clear problem of dominance on your hand which is showing itself through this disobedience.
It’s important to address this misbehavior right away because if you allow this belief to continue in your dog, their issue is only going to grow and escalate. They may even view it as acceptable to start attacking the things at which they bark if you’re not careful.
Currently, you’re likely seeing this show itself at other times too. You’ll see your dog is barking at any critter and vermin they come across. They’ll be barking at raccoons, barking at armadillos, barking at badgers, barking at foxes, barking at skunks — you name it, and your dog will feel like they can behave however they want around it.
Obviously, you don’t want this idea festering in your dog’s mind or they’ll get to the point that they’re completely uncontrollable. To stop your dog barking at possums and other animals on command, go back to the first section now and we’ll give you the exact steps to follow.
Are Dogs Scared of Possums?
Dogs are not scared of possums. They are very passive creatures and will go into shock and play dead when extremely stressed (by meeting your dog, for example), so they aren’t very threatening to a natural predator like your dog.
What Happens if a Dog Comes in Contact With a Possum?
If a dog comes in contact with a possum, you should check them for injuries and then take them to the vet right away. While it’s unlikely that a dog would be injured by a possum, it is possible. Rabies is rare in possums, but not impossible for them to be carrying. Diseases such as tuberculosis and coccidiosis are more pressing concerns.
Dogs will typically keep their distance when encountering a possum, so if you’re unsure if they actually made contact you’re probably fine, but you can never be too careful. A possum’s natural response when threatened is to play dead. Natural predators like dogs instinctually stay away from dead animals, so hopefully, your dog will not have made contact.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to a wonderful relationship with a well-behaved dog, so I’ll let you begin now. Good luck with everything, and thank you for reading our article “How to Stop Dog Barking at Possums.”