My neighbour has 2 small dogs. Every time she lets them out into her backyard they run to the fence and start barking at my dog who starts barking back. Is there something I can do to get my dog to stop barking back? It's really annoying for everyone.

Martha and Dudley

Great question Martha and such a common problem. Dogs bark for many reasons: fear, alert, boredom, excitement and guarding to name a few. Some dogs bark simply because if feels good to bark. In your case, it sounds like your dog is responding to the neighbour's dogs, kind of like a sing a long.

There are a few things I have done which have been successful. This is one option.

Get his attention before he is fully engaged in barking back. Ideally, as soon as he looks in the direction of the fence or after one or two barks. If you are using the clicker, click and treat the moment he looks at you. Let him come to you to get the treat as that will move him away from the fence. Repeat, repeat, repeat. What you may notice is he begins to hang around you instead of going back to the fence. Reward that choice!  What he will end up learning is that barking next door means good stuff for him. You will know he is making the connection when he looks at you when he hears the barking begin. 

If your dog prefers play, you can reward with a game of tug or a ball chase.

This doesn't work for all dogs but knowing Dudley, I think it's a good method for him.