How to Stop Dog Barking at Skunks
Noooo! Your dog barks at skunks every time they sense one nearby, and you’re so worried they’re going to get sprayed. Why can’t they just stay away and be calm? Why do dogs bark at skunks? Are dogs scared of skunks? Can dogs smell skunks, or will they be surprised if they come across one?
Worry and wonder no longer, because today we’re going to answer all of these questions for you. And obviously, we’ll tell you how to stop your dog from barking at skunks too. Soon, this potentially very smelly issue will all be a thing of the past. Keep reading below for our article “How to Stop Dog Barking at Skunks!”
Why Do Dogs Bark at Skunks?
Dogs bark at skunks because they see them as intruders, and your dog is warning them to stay away. They want to protect what they perceive as their territory, as well as you and themselves. Skunks also look like attractive prey to a natural predator like a dog.
Many dogs with more curious temperaments also might bark at skunks just because they’re interested and get overexcited. Skunks look quite different than the animals they’re used to and don’t seem particularly dangerous, so many dogs won’t feel threatened at all. And while some dogs are repelled by the smell of skunk spray, others will relish in it.
If your dog is barking at skunks and refusing your commands to stop, however, then you have an obvious problem on your hands. Your dog is feeling dominant over you and feels that they have the right to decide what they need to protect everyone from, and in what ways it is appropriate to respond.
If you allow this belief to continue in your dog, things will only get worse and they could soon be attacking skunks and other animals.
You’re likely also seeing other similar examples of their disobedience and disrespect. If you encounter animals around your home or out in the wild, is your dog barking at the raccoons, barking at the possums, barking at the armadillos, barking at the badgers, barking at the foxes, barking at the beavers, or barking at the deer? It’s likely they would if they’re barking uncontrollably at skunks.
To stop your dog barking at skunks and other animals on command, skip to the last section now where we’ll teach you exactly what to do.
Are Dogs Scared of Skunks?
Dogs are not scared of skunks typically. While some may have been sprayed by a skunk and found it unpleasurable enough to be frightened, other dogs would actually love the smell and be encouraged even more. Dogs are also natural predators, who are unlikely to be intimidated by an animal like a skunk unless they have a previous negative experience with one.
Keep your dog on their leash when out on walks or somewhere where you might encounter skunks. If you don’t and you come across one, you’ll have trouble keeping your dog’s attention and there’s a very good chance they’ll start barking and chasing after the skunk. You’ll then probably have to deal with giving your dog a skunk bath later.
Can Dogs Smell Skunks?
Dogs can smell skunks from far away without needing them to spray their scent. Dogs have an extremely good sense of smell and will be able to detect a skunk’s unique odor before they’ve gotten close, even if the skunk has not sprayed recently. Many dogs actually enjoy terrible smells like this, so they may seek out the source itself.
How to Stop Your Dog Barking at Skunks
To stop dog your dog barking at skunks, take them somewhere like the park where you know they frequently bark, along with lots of small dog treats. When your dog begins to bark, say “quiet” in a positive voice. If they then give you their full attention, reward your dog immediately with a treat along with praise.
But if your dog is too excited and keeps barking at you or others, put a treat within your fist, and then place your fist close to your dog’s nose. They’ll be able to smell the scent of the treat even inside of your hand and will stop barking so that they can sniff it out.
Once your dog has quit their barking and is giving you their attention, you should again say “quiet” and then reward them with a treat and praise. If they keep staying quiet, continue rewarding them with praise and treats. But if they start to bark again, repeat the process of placing a treat in your fist and putting it next to their nose, and then pausing and waiting until your dog is quiet.
Be sure that you don’t open your hand to reward your dog until they’ve gotten quiet. This will form a positive connection in your dog’s mind with being calm whenever you give the “quiet” command. Reward them with praise and treats when they do right away, particularly at the start when your dog is still learning.
With repetition, time, and patience, your dog will learn to stop making noise just through you saying “quiet,” with there being no need for you to put your hand by their mouth. When your dog is doing well with just the verbal command, you can increase the duration of time before you reward them. Start by waiting for two seconds, then wait five seconds, and so on.
Your dog will soon not need the praise and food rewards to stop barking at skunks and other animals. All you’ll need to do is give them the “quiet” command. There will still, however, be the underlying problem that was causing all of this — your dog’s dominance — that needs to be addressed.
And to get to the root of that, we should first quickly go over what makes dogs tick. You’ve probably heard before that dogs are pack animals, and that in every pack there is a pack leader. But when your dog barks at skunks and disrespects you by ignoring your commands to stop, they are clearly telling you that they don’t trust you in this role.
If they did, they wouldn’t bark at skunks or other animals. They would not engage in any other types of disrespect or misbehavior. And they would obey your commands at all times — immediately — and they would do so happily.
Show your dog that you are not just their pack leader — but a capable, worthy one who must be respected — and you’ll make all of these wonderful things a reality.
Sounds terrific, does it not?
“Yes, of course, but how do I do this?”
You should watch an excellent free video series by a renowned trainer named Dan which is on this exact subject: how to be your dog’s pack leader. In Dan’s series, he explains all you need to know in ways that are very easy to understand and teach to your own dog, and he gets right to the point so that you can start seeing these essential changes in your dog before things get any worse.
Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And don’t stress, because no, you’re not going to have to be mean or yell at your dog. 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.
I’m sure you’re ready to not have to worry anymore about your dog’s barking provoking a skunk spray attack, so I’ll let you begin now. Best wishes with everything, and thank you for reading our article “How to Stop Dog Barking at Skunks.”