Picture this: you say your dog’s favorite four-letter word (W-A-L-K) and he comes bounding towards you. After putting his harness on him, attaching his lead and grabbing some poop bags, you head out for a mid morning stroll to your local park.
You get to the park and encounter fellow like-minded dog owners, who are also taking their dog out for a stroll. You walk past a fellow dog owner with their pooch, and out of nowhere your dog starts frantically barking at the dog and is scrambling to get at them.
This tends to be pretty embarrassing for dog owners because you have to make that classic apology, and scold your dog, knowing full well that the next dog that they encounter who does not take their fancy will know it.
So, what can you do to train your dog to pass other dogs calmly when you are out for a walk? Well, read on to find out more information from our top training tips, to why your dog does not like particular dogs.
Why Should You Train Your Dog To Pass Other Dogs Calmly?
Well, in the doggy world, your dog lunging at another dog is actually quite rude and can be quite distressing to other dogs. You can liken this to a human perspective.
Imagine if a stranger were to come up to you and start shouting in your face… How would you feel? Initially you would definitely panic, and then your fight or flight reaction would kick in.
This means that you would either instinctively fight back, so you might shout back, or flight so you’d cower away or just keep walking and check over your shoulder.
This is exactly what your dog does in reaction to being confronted by another dog. So, if your dog happens to be the attacker rather than the victim in this situation, then you should try and train your dog to get out of this habit.
But, in order to do this effectively you need to understand why your dog behaves in this way.
Why Does My Dog Bark At Other Dogs?
Your dog might bark at other dogs when you are out on your walk for lots of different reasons, but believe it or not your dog is not trying to cause another dog distress on purpose. Your dog is actually thinking of you.
It might not like the smell, sound or appearance of another dog – and instinctively your dog will react out of protection for you, their owner. They want to make sure that you are safe, and to do this they react out of instinct to be able to offer you full protection.
But, you can train your dog to not need to do this. You can break this habitual instinct to act in an aggressive way due to fear and protection through various training methods.
You can read on to find out more about this!
How To Train Your Dog To Ignore Other Dogs
This is a brief disclaimer before we delve into the various training methods: not all dogs are the same when it comes to training.
You might find that one method works really well in comparison to another. Establishing what works best for your dog requires a lot of patience and a lot of practice.
You will have to cooperate with your dog, and your dog will have to cooperate with you. And, there is a major difference between the training process and actually putting the training into practice.
So, we just want to remind you to be realistic with yourself and your dog. Your dog might seem to be making progress, and then have a down day and lash out at another dog out of nowhere.
But, you just need to make sure that you stay patient and resilient with your dog. When you are training your dog, practice makes perfect and you just need to have a little patience to get you and your dog past the training stages.
The Attention and Reward Method
The first method that we will go into is the classic attention and reward method. This is the method that you use to get your dog to understand its name.
So, before you go out for a walk, call your dog by its name. If your dog looks at you, in other words if your dog gives you attention, then reward it with a treat.
Make sure that you repeat this process at random times around the house, until your dog reaches a point where it always looks at you when you call its name.
Distance Walking with Your Dog
When it comes to putting this training into practice, you should try your dog with a distance walk first.
This means that you should try and walk your dog at a distance from other dogs, and when your dog notices an approaching dog, call its name and if it looks at you then reward it.
This will then progress on to you being able to pass by other dogs at a closer proximity – but you should make sure that this is a gradual transition. Work with your dog when it comes to proximity, and ensure that you give it time to adjust.
So, if you find that you are getting closer to other dogs and your dog is becoming weary, then do not reduce the proximity that you walk to other dogs.
Keep working with your dog until they reach a stage where they calmly pass other dogs.
Arrange a Group Dog Walk
Another great way to increase your dog’s confidence around other dogs, and to make your dog more comfortable around other dogs is to arrange a group dog walk.
If any of your family, friends or colleagues have their own four-legged friends then why not arrange a group dog walk?! You can again do this as a gradual process, so it can be your dog and one other dog just to get them comfortable and confident with one dog friend.
Once your dog is comfortable with being around one other dog, then you can introduce them to another dog and gradually build up the popularity of your group dog walk.
This method might be scary to your dog at first, because they will not be completely sure of this new friend and might not find them all that welcoming.
But, once the dogs have time to suss out each other’s scents and work out how they can play together, then they should be relatively happy. But, this might not go really smoothly at first as your dog will be wary and nervous of a new four-legged friend.
However, with patience and persistence your dog will get used to having a new friend and will be keen to make more friends. Of course, this is not a method that you can use with every single dog on the planet.
However, this is a great way to give your dog some confidence to be around and play with other dogs. It will also put your mind at ease when you are out on a dog walk, because you know that your dog can be trusted to stay calm around other dogs.
By introducing your dog to new dogs then you broaden their understanding of social interactions with other dogs, and give your dog more confidence to walk around freely.