How to Stop Your Dog From Barking at Squirrels
Your dog just can’t resist. They see a squirrel and then chaos ensues. Why does your dog bark at squirrels? And why do dogs chase squirrels? Is there any way to get your dog to not care so much when they see a squirrel or are you just stuck dealing with this behavior forever?
Today, we’re going to answer all of these questions, and most importantly, we’ll tell you how to stop your dog barking at squirrels. Imagine being able to take your dog out for a walk or put them in the backyard without worrying about them going crazy. That’d be great, right? Of course! So without further ado, let’s get to our article “How to Stop Your Dog From Barking at Squirrels.”
Table of Contents
How Do I Desensitize My Dog to Squirrels?
To desensitize your dog to squirrels, put your dog on the leash and take them out when you know there are squirrels outside. Keep a firm grip and have them sit next to you where the squirrels are in view. When your dog barks at the squirrels or attempts to chase, give a calm but firm “no.” If they continue, take your dog back inside.
This will take some time and repetition, but your dog should eventually learn that barking at the squirrels or trying to chase them gets negative results. You can then try bringing your dog outside to watch the squirrels again. Now, when they are being quiet and not trying to chase, give them pets, praise, and a small treat.
Your dog will quickly make positive associations with just watching, but not chasing after or barking at the squirrels. You’ll need to use some patience as you’ll be fighting your dog’s instincts here, but these steps combined with behavioral training should get your dog to stop barking at squirrels, and obey you at other times as well.
How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Barking at Squirrels?
To get your dog to stop barking at squirrels, bring them outside while on the leash. When your dog barks at the squirrels, give a calm but firm “no” immediately. If they continue or try to chase, bring them back inside. Try again in a few minutes. They’ll quickly learn that barking at the squirrels gets them taken back inside, which they won’t want.
Once your dog is able to go outside with the squirrels without barking, reward them with pets, praise, and treats. This will help them to form positive associations with not barking at the squirrels or chasing after them. They’ll see that simply watching is much more enjoyable for everyone.
Still, you need to address the fact that your dog has shown the ability and willingness to refuse your commands, especially at a critical time (when they see something they consider prey). Allowing the behavior to continue gives your dog the idea that it’s okay, and it will grow and escalate. Soon they could be going after other dogs or even humans.
So to get a handle on this behavioral problem, let’s start by talking about what makes it happen in the first place.
You’ve likely heard before that dogs are pack animals, and that in every pack there is a pack leader. When your dog is barking at squirrels and not listening to your commands to stop, they are basically telling you that they don’t respect you in this role.
By showing your dog that not only are you their pack leader — but a capable one deserving of respect — you’ll be able to stop your dog barking at squirrels and all other sorts of behavioral issues you’re likely having, or will be soon.
Your dog will be happier than ever and free of the stress that pack leader issues cause, and you’ll have the loving, obedient dog of your dreams. Sounds terrific, doesn’t it?
“Well, yeah, but how am I supposed to do that?”
I’d watch an excellent free video series that’s on just this subject — how to be your dog’s pack leader — by a renowned trainer named Dan. In it, he’ll show you everything 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’ll start seeing results in no time.
Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And don’t worry, because no, you’re not going to have to be mean. In fact, you’ll never even have to raise your voice. Dan uses only 100% humane and loving training methods at all times. Not just because it’s thing right thing to do, but because it’s the only way to see fast, permanent changes with your dog.
Why Does My Dog Bark at Squirrels?
Your dog barks at squirrels because they are enticing and set off their instinctual need to chase. Since they’re descended from wolves, dogs have a natural instinct to want to go after things that move quickly, and squirrels definitely fit that bill!
It’s normal for your dog to have this desire, but if they don’t listen to your commands to quit barking at squirrels and chasing them, then you have a problem. In terms of health issues, however, squirrels are very unlikely to have rabies and should almost certainly be able to evade your dog without trouble.
But a dog who refuses to listen to your commands to stop barking at or chasing something could soon be running after other dogs or even humans. Not listening at those times would be an obvious problem, so it’s important that you start dealing with this issue now before you have a serious, dangerous problem on your hands. Go back to the first section now to learn how.
Why Do Dogs Chase Squirrels?
Dogs chase squirrels because it’s in their natural instincts to hunt. Your dog is seeing the squirrel as prey, and they chase after it in an attempt to catch it and return it to the pack. As we mentioned earlier, your dog is very unlikely to actually catch a squirrel, but it’s still important that you stop the behavior.
Your dog not listening when you tell them to stop chasing something could soon become a dangerous problem. If you allow it to continue, you are tacitly telling your dog that it’s okay and not only will it continue, but it will grow and escalate into happening more often.
Soon, every time you take your dog out, they’ll be barking on the lead and trying to chase after what’s enticing them. You’ll see them barking when someone walks past or barking at bikes and trying to run after them. I’m sure you can see how this could turn into a very serious issue before you know it, so it’s important to begin working on this through behavioral training now.
We went over how to do that in the first section.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to being able to go out into the backyard or on a walk without worrying about what your dog might do, so I’ll let you get started on things. Best wishes, and thank you for reading our article on how to stop your dog from barking at squirrels!