Go for a walk with your dog it’s probably one of his favorite activities, and surely you enjoy it too. But what happens when other dogs walking show up in the scene?
Hopefully, he will simply ignore the other dogs and continue on his way. If not, and other dogs approach him, things can get complicated.
Some dogs will interpret this act as an invasive or aggressive approach and surely will respond. Others just don't like to have their personal space invaded, and they’ll let other dogs know it by barking, lunging, or directly biting.
What if we train our dogs to avoid this behavior and reduce or eliminate the possibility of getting someone injured? Well, we are going to share with you a workout that you can try at home.
Where to Start?
All the training that we will talk about here will be based on rewarding our dogs every time they behave on their walks.
For this reason, we recommend starting in places away from other dogs. Like your yard or known places authorized for dog walking that are mostly empty or infrequently visited by other animals.
Always that the walk ends up well, give your dog a treat. This will start the process of associating calm walks with rewards.
You can add some rewards during the walk through small tasks. Reward him every time he looks at you, for example. This will be especially useful when you get his attention if there are dogs around.
Once your dog shows full knowledge about these habits, it’s time to warm things up.
Walking with Distractions
It's time to go out for a walk. It is preferable that you start when there are not too many dogs walking. Just enough to improve the training.
Start by teaching him to pay attention and stay close to you. This can be done by keeping the leash short, close to you, while walking and giving treats every so often. By doing this, your dog will begin to expect to receive this reward.
When this is achieved, you can loosen the leash and repeat, so that your dog will want to stay close to you. He will then slowly start not to look at other animals.
Remember if he notices the presence of another dog and starts giving attention to that presence, call him. If he loses interest in the new friend, give him a treat and positive reinforcement.
What you don’t have to do is yell at him or pull the leash. Pulling the leash on an angry dog far from soothing him, he will become angrier. This is because he can understand the pulling as “it’s time to fight” and will look further into this.
Yelling, on the other hand, will be interpreted as you being angry too. You will think you are doing the right thing.
Ways for Getting Your Dog to Ignore Others
There could be infinity of possible paths to follow to teach your dog to ignore others while walking. But here we will share the most popular ones between the community.
For this, you have to have time for at least two or three walks of (at least) 15 minutes per day. Make sure of being stocked with treats, and begin:
- Before going outside, start calling your dog. Every time he responds, give a treat.
- At first, stay away from other dogs, when they show up call your dog. If he pays more attention to you instead of friends, give him treat
- After that, try not to call him. If he ignores other dogs on his own, give a treat and plenty of positive reinforcement.
- Try to approach other dogs. Be sure to call him when you pass another person or dog. As you might imagine, give him a treat for each successful attempt.
- The final step would be ignoring close dogs, even when you pass by another, on his own. We recommend doing this slowly,.
There’s no good in trying to rush this training, you will need several weeks to teach your dog to ignore others while walking. And some dogs may need longer process, because of this you’ll need lots of patience.
Friends Helping Friends
This will involve adding some doggy friends to the training:
- You’ll need to stay still with your dog leashed.
- Your friends gonna have to walk in front of you with their dogs also leashed.
- If your dog lunges or gets distracted, gently nudge him, get the attention over you. Make him sit and when he does, give him a treat.
- Repeat as long as needed for your dog to stop paying attention to the dogs parading.
The Importance of Socialize
Dogs are social beings and depriving them to meet other dogs, wouldn’t be healthy or good. Instead of this your dog will have to learn when it’s time to socialize with friends. This could be easily understood for him when he goes unleashed in the park. He will likely ignore leashed dogs and focus on free or playing ones.
If your dog was a problematic one, you will want to monitor his behaving. When he stays friendly to other dogs, reinforcements like treats will fit perfectly. In any case, your dog has already learned the command to pay attention to you, use it when you see that the situation may get out of control.
If that happens go back to the leash, return home, and don't give a treat when the walk is finished. This will be understood by your dog as something went wrong. Try this until your dog understands that going unleashed means socializing and not fighting.
Once the training is finished, never, under any circumstances, stop giving your dog treats and positive reinforcement when he does it well. We mean, you can lower the cases, the rates, and the times of receiving a treat. But stop giving it suddenly will be confused for the dog.
After playing in the park and when the walk finishes are good timing for treats, as it reinforces the long-term conduct for your doggie.
We hope you enjoyed and found this article helpful, good luck with the training!