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Canine Behavior/Dog Barking at other dogs



My wife & I recently adopted a 6 year old Collie Shepard mix from the local shelter 2 weeks ago.

He was abandoned by 2 families in the past due to relocation and not being friendly with kids.

He is extremely well behaved at home and respects the rules & boundaries we set for him.

He was pulling us during the walk in the initial week and would sit down if we did not walk in the direction he wanted to go. This has gone down and he is much better at the walk as well.

The only issue we have is that he barks at other dogs. We have tried to let him meet a few dogs and the initial introduction goes well. He start barking at the other dog the moment the other makes a move that he does not like (eg. showing over excitement or jumping on him in case of a toy breed.

We have introduced him to some large breeds as well. He behaved well and there was no barking but he did want anything to do with these dogs as they were very high energy dogs. He just sat down and we noticed excessive drooling (possibly caused by nervousness).

I would like to know how long does it take for a shelter dog to get comfortable to his new surroundings and family?

How can we solve the problem of barking at other dogs during walks?

Thank you

Collies BARK; the GSD has a common dog to dog fear problem.  BTW: Collie/Shepherd hybrid IS THE BEST in the world, but does not come without problems.

When your dog sits and refuses to go forward, instead of going back in the direction you came from, go to the end of the leash (keeping a tight grip on it, and use a martingale collar NOT a CHOKER collar) and turn your back to the dog.  Wait until he gets up and comes to you, no matter HOW long that takes.  The moment he does this, reward and go forward.  IF there are certain spots on his walk where he routinely sits and refuses, take note of what's around you (heavy traffic, dogs barking behind fences, etc.); it may not be an appropriate direction for him (right now).  "Not friendly with kids" is a lack of socialization, as is his reaction to the other dogs which you have tried to introduce him to; this is the reason he was dumped, because his first owners were idiots (sorry, but I get very upset when people are stupid and the dog pays for it).  This may improve, slowly.  Don't push it.

When you describe this dog as "sitting and drooling" in the presence of dogs that confuse him or provide him with behaviors he cannot interpret (due to lack of socialization from early age), you are describing a CALMING SIGNAL that dogs give to one another (and to us).  Sitting is one; drooling is a sign of high stress.  There's no reason for this dog to be in the presence of other dogs, none at all; there are methods to help a dog learn more about how to "greet in passing" without the dog getting upset, stopping to bark, refusing to move forward.  FOR THIS INSTRUCTION please use FOLLOWUP FEATURE in ONE MONTH and report how your dog is progressing.

It will take at least three months or more for your dog to habituate to your household, learn to trust you, and feel secure with you at the end of his leash.  He is six years old with a poor history of treatment at the hands of people I can only hope never had children.  Sigh.  What you do INSIDE and how you manage his recalcitrance outside will determine how well, or how poorly, he progresses in the next weeks and months.

I suggest you teach your dog about "attention" as seen here on Dr. Ian Dunbar's website:


For the next month, YOU WILL NOT force this dog to meet/greet other dogs.  Instead, you will use a happy sing/song voice with a "come along, yay, yay" and CIRCLE HIM, left, then right, then stop, and if you are teaching attention dog will look up at you: food reward, go forward, happily.  Don't force him to stop, don't force him to go dog to dog, there's no reason for this.  Using a happy, upbeat tone of voice while encouraging an elaborate change of direction will change HIS brain wave patterns AND yours, eliminate stress for both of you, increase a bond of trust up and down the leash, and overall help the dog to BEGIN to perceive an oncoming dog as a new experience from what he is now having. I like to call any sort of counter conditioning: "and now for something totally different" works, but it takes time.  

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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