How do I stop my dog barking at reflections? This is the question many dog owners ask themselves every day.
Some dogs are afraid of their own reflection, while others may be in a playful mood and barking at nothing.
The first step is to figure out why your dog is barking at reflections:
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Reasons for the Barking
Is he very anxious? Does he see himself as an intruder? Are you playing with him and teaching him to bark at his reflection?
If your dog is anxious:
Identify what the reflection is – it could be someone walking by on the sidewalk, driving in a car, or walking past a window.
Determine the situation when he sees his reflection.
It’s important to remember that any dog can become afraid of reflections if they are exposed to a reflection too much when the dog is young. This could result in your dog barking at reflections for a long time or never stopping.
Is it when you are going to the park and walking by his dog bowl? When you are about to go out for a walk? Or in the evening when you are taking him for a walk?
Once you figure out the situation, try to avoid that situation until your dog becomes more confident and no longer barks at his reflection.
Also, once you understand the reason for your dog’s behavior, it is not necessary to punish him or force him to stop barking at the reflection (although taming a well behaved dog after years of training can be tricky), it is important to take simple steps to change the behavior.
18 ways to stop your dog barking at reflections
1. Ignore your dog.
This will only work while you’re home alone.
By ignoring your dog, you are showing him that there is nothing to be afraid of and he will eventually stop barking.
2. If you have a water bowl, put it in front of the window that your dog is barking from.
You can also put treats near the water bowl to distract him or her from the barking.
3. Put a barking collar on your dog.
If your dog is barking at people or things that it is okay to bark at, the barking collar will stop the barking when it’s needed.
4. If you are home alone with your dog, put treats or a toy on the floor in front of the window where your dog is barking at.
Then, take the treats away from him/her and say “no. That’s bad” when your dog is barking at the reflection.
Eventually, he/she will stop looking at the reflection and only pay attention to you and the treats or toy.
5. By sitting next to your dog, he/she will eventually look away from the window and towards you.
This will stop the barking because your dog will pay attention to you and not the reflection.
6. If your dog starts barking at its reflection, say “no bark”
…and put them in a crate at the end of a hallway or in a room other than where the reflection is so they will stop looking at their reflection and look towards the “no bark”.
7. Dogs are easily distracted by moving objects.
You can try moving another object or person near where your dog is barking for it to be less stiff thinking about what’s behind it.
8. You can also try moving objects near the reflection of where your dog is barking at.
Eventually, he/she will not pay much attention to the reflection and will start paying attention to what’s being moved, what you’re saying and how you’re moving.
9. Another thing you can do that works sometimes is by petting your dog and giving them treats when they are not barking at their reflection.
Your dog will eventually pay attention to you instead of what they are barking at in the window.
This is because they will associate that action with something good and not barking at the reflection.
10. If it’s a small room, sit near the window and “watch” your dog.
Eventually, he/she will stop barking at their reflection because you are still present and you won’t leave them alone in the room with nothing to do.
This may take a long time or only work some of the time.
You can also go behind them or put something else in front of where your dog is barking at, but make sure it’s not a reflective surface so they don’t start thinking that other reflections are also dangerous or shouldn’t be barked at.
After you have taught your dog that barking at reflections is always bad, you can try using a clicker and treat.
Then, when your dog is not barking at their reflection, click the clicker and give them a treat.
They will associate that action as the “good” thing in their brain and it will take a while before they stop barking at everything around them in the window.
The fastest way to get no barking from your dog is when he/she cannot see or hear any reflections because they are too far away from the window or there are objects or plants near the window to block out any reflective surfaces of outside.
12. Use something like a playpen that you put in front of the window.
You can get these at pet stores or online at places like Petco.
They’re usually under $20 and will be big enough for most dogs not to see their reflection.
Put treats near the window so they are interested in what’s going on outside the playpen instead of barking at their reflection and will eventually stop barking at reflections altogether!
13. Talk to another pet owner whose dog barks at reflections about how they got them to stop.
They may have better ideas than me!
14. Try putting a mirror in front of the window and see if your dog stops barking.
If he/she doesn’t, gradually take it further from the window so they do not associate their reflection with being near the window or bark at their own reflection when in different areas.
15. Put a big blanket in front of the window so you can’t see what’s going on outside.
You could even put the blanket up to the ceiling to block out more of what’s going on near the window.
Leave your dog alone and watch him/her for a while to see if they bark at their reflection.
Then, gradually take down the blanket until they stop barking at reflections altogether!
This could be difficult because your dog could bark at something or someone outside, but try to play it by ear and see what works with your dog once you try these steps.
16. Put curtains instead of blinds or drapes near the window, as an alternative to covering up reflective surfaces completely with sheets.
17. If none of these tricks work, you can try keeping your dog in a crate and in his/her room when you are not around with him/her. This will only work for some dogs, however.
18. Sometimes dogs like to bark at their reflection for a time
… but they will eventually stop if they don’t get attention from this.
If your dog continues to bark at their reflection even when you are not around, try ignoring them and not giving them any attention until they stop barking.
However, make sure that no one else is around that may give your dog attention for barking or they will continue to do it.
17. If you look outside a lot, or if you have cats or other animals near your window, you can try putting reflective tape on the glass if it doesn’t already have it.
18. If your dog barks at their reflection in the window, you can try sitting near them or putting a blanket around/over them while they are near the window.
This may help distract them from barking at their reflection for a little bit when they see you.
I hope these tips will help you stop your dog from barking at his/her reflection as much.
Remember, with patience and love, you can get through to your dog and make him/her more comfortable around mirrors and windows.
Don’t be afraid to try things out and see what works.
If something doesn’t work, don’t give up!
Just keep trying new things until you find the right way to stop your dog from barking at reflections.