How to Introduce Your Dog to Other Dogs Calmly
One of the most common issues that people experience on the walk is the over excited dog, and trying to introduce them to other dogs on the leash.
Everything from Great Danes to Chihuahua’s can get so excited it looks like they are going to explode. There is nothing worse than when they try to meet other dogs and they are almost pulling you over and dragging you along. It can be scary, dangerous, embarrassing and very quickly escalates till you feel out of control and at their mercy.
Aggression or Excitement?
Sometimes it is very hard to tell what they are experiencing and feeling. The behavior is very often a mix of both excitement and stress. This however is not a great state for him to meet other dogs in as there is far more chance that things will go wrong, especially over time if it goes unchecked. See it from the other dogs point of view as he approaches rearing up on their back legs, barking, eyes bulging, gasping for air… you’ve go the picture.
So how do you avoid such a situation? Well in this post I shall explain the 3 options available to you. Then you will have a simple, basic approach to select one of the three and go and practice with him.
Having a clear plan of action is the first stage to success.
Firstly it is important to be clear that there are ONLY 3 options available.
And secondly, you must have established yourself already as the pack leader – this is crucial.
1. Approach the other dog – Your dog is calm and you decide to simply approach the other dog on the leash. Yes, this is the ultimate goal! Remember that we are looking to reward good behavior so do not get in the way in this situation. Stay silent as you walk him towards the other dog and let them meet. In other words stay out of it and do not upset the calm environment that you have in front of you.
2. Stay well away – Picture him barking like crazy, completely out of control… this is where your gut instinct knows that it’s best not to go and visit the other dog and you are better off just walking past. It could be for a number of reasons. You may feel that you do not have time to work with him and try to calm them down, the other dog may not seem keen to play, maybe they look a little unsure, old or small.
One other important reason to do this is to show him that sometimes you do not get to meet and sniff every dog on the walk. (This is how it is in life, so get used to it!)
3. Calm him down then make a decision – In other words do some training to calm and distract him. After you have done this you may choose to approach the other dog or not. The choice is still yours. The really important point to remember is that you are taking time out to show him that if they calm down (even just a little bit) good things happen. Over time he starts to learn that the calmer they
are the more chance there is of meeting the other dogs.
What is the right option for me?
All three options are the right option at different times. In other words I still choose all three options for my dogs depending on the situation. Younger dogs in particular will often need a bit more calming than older ones and this training will certainly pay off in the long run.
Guaranteeing it will work
As I mentioned earlier, you really must have the pack leader foundations in place before you can trust how you dog will react in different circumstances. Learning Doggy Dan’s five Golden Rules of becoming the Pack Leader will give you the assurance that you are in charge and you dog is looking up to you and respecting you for all the decision making.
The fatal mistake to avoid.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is rewarding bad behavior. Imagine a little dog barking because they wish to meet another dog on the other side of the street. If you simply cross over and meet them, even though the meeting goes well you have rewarded your dogs barking and excitement. This excitement will increase every time he sees a dog on the walk until it is almost unbearable and you
realize you have a problem!
All dogs can learn to be calm as they approach other dogs, it just takes a bit of commitment from you to turn them around but it is not complicated once you know how. Take the time at home to establish yourself as the pack leader so that any training you do has the maximum impact. Remember the more he sees you as the one in charge, the more notice they will take of you and what you are doing!
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