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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20175
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 6 year old westie, who is a good dog, a joy to have,

Customer Question

I have a 6 year old westie, who is a good dog, a joy to have, comes back at recall etc but when we are out walking he walks about 50 yards in front of me and barks at the other dogs, his stance looks aggressive and doesn't wag his tai,l when they approach him he lets them sniff,he just wants to play. How can I stop the barking and yapping please what should i be doing to rectify this
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

Hi JaCustomer,


My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.


In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.


Does he do the same thing on leash or only off leash?

If he does not do it when on the leash, is he walking by your side then?

It sounds like you may have done some training with him, so how much obedience training has he had?

Is he neutered?

How much socialization has he had with other dogs through the years?

What have you tried so far?


Perhaps you though you responded, but none came through.



Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

I was hoping for some responses back before attempting to answer but don't want you waiting too long for some help either.

First let me give you some sites on dog body language. From your description, he is approaching these dogs in a dominant and aggressive manner if his tail is not wagging and he is very alert and aggressive looking, but verify it with the body language sites.

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

Dogs are aggressive toward other dogs for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of other dogs and thus are aggressive before the other dog can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the other dogs and be the alpha member of the pack. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are te alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (other dogs).

Keeping him on a leash so you have better control of him might be an option. If he isn't' neutered, having that done might reduce some of his dominant behavior as well. The leash will allow you to reprimand the unwanted behavior by giving him a short tug to get his attention back on you and a firm "NO" to show him it is unacceptable. Often a dog just needs to know that you do not find the behavior acceptable. You can also start rewarding the desired behavior with tasty hot dog (vienna sausage) sliver or liver slivers. These are treats dog always seem to love to work for and obeying is work for them.

Often brushing the tail of a dog down even with their body will help lessen dominant and aggressive behavior. When the tail is at a "confident, relaxed" position, the dog tends to follow and become relaxed reducing the tension of a meeting.

The body language is going to tell you a lot. Some yapping is an invitation to play but some is aggressive so knowing the difference is also important. You might try teaching the quiet command. As crazy as this sounds you may wish to teach the pup the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after the dog has learned the speak command. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.

You also have the option of getting a bark collar such as citronella spray collar, shock bark collars or ultrasonic bark device. They can be effective to stop undesired barking but in an aggressive situation, training is recommended.

BAT training might be helpful in this situation as well.

Dog are individuals and what helps one might not be the best technique to use on another, so I like to give a few different methods where possible. Often a combination of techniques is needed to correct a situation.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .