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Hi! I have a 4 month old male puppy that is fine off leash but when on leash starts barking, lunging, and even occasionally nipping at strangers clothing (ex. Coat, glove, pants). I’ve had this problem since i started going on walks with him. He improved a little at first then got worse and now with more diligence getting a little better but STILL does it. My goal is to reach a point that he does not care about people passing and that if someone wants to say hi, he’ll take a pat and then move on.

Here’s the odd part - when we are outside and people walk by he’ll bark (especially at joggers, strollers but getting better, cyclists) but when someone stops to say hi he’ll either be good with it and take a treat out of their hand and lick them or he’ll just continue to bark at the person. OR the person he was fine with if they walk away he’ll bark at them!!! With dogs I know he does it out of frustration because he wants to say hi to a dog. But with people I’m not sure if it’s fear, or frustration. With my boyfriend who he sees as alpha, he doesn’t bark as much. Maybe during a walk it’ll be 1 or 2 people for him while for me it can be 4 or 5 people he barks at. I’ve tried positive reinforcement and I’ve tried the no bark air compressor spray. It’s a hit and miss.

I’ve had to resort in taking control and giving a stern no when he tries to lunge at somebody. And I’ve had to grab him by the collar because of it. When he barks I say quiet and when he stops I treat him. When we pass people and he doesn’t bark i say good boy! Good boy!

The thing is I don’t know why he just won’t quit it. Do puppies get out of this? Odd part is if I go into a store with my pup he is fine and wagging his tail to the people he sees. And he doesn’t have an issue meeting new people - he likes my friends, my boyfriends family when he first met, my boyfriends friends, and even some strangers.

My pup is great and I love him and I try to be as calm as I can be with the walks but I’m so afraid he’ll continue on with this behaviour when he’s bigger! Help?
 

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Show your pup what behavior you would like to see instead of the excited nervous barking.What I would do is teach a 'watch me' command and pass quickly by the people and dogs.Reward!Also I would have him sit quietly and watch me until released to greet (for his reward).I would rather make those decisions rather than leaving it up to him.That's one idea.You may have a different behavior in mind.Whatever alternative behavior you choose practice it every single time and it will become automatic for him.
 

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Get yourself a good trainer.

A GOOD trainer.

My puppy started like that around 4 to 5 months old. It just grew, because we got a bad trainer at first. Now we have a better one, and things are finally improving a little.
 

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We got a great trainer since we experienced similar issues and it was extremely helpful to us. We use “heel” and “look” and that’s been a big help. But it’s also an age thing. Your pup is interested in the world and all of the exciting things in it! Four months for us was the hardest as well. Now at almost 6 months, she’s becoming aloof to people walking by completely.
 
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