This past week, I received a comment from Sandy regarding my blog on Problems Walking on a Leash. Sandy’s question was: What is the best way to be prepared when you’re not sure if the dog will react badly to another dog even if the leash is slack.
Here’s my response: Sandy: you may find my answer more generic rather than specific, only because I do not have any information on your dog i.e. age of your dog, temperament of your dog, socialization history, amount of training not to mention all of the above on the “other dog” etc….but here goes.
Your statement brings up a couple of concerns:
- Have you not had your dog in social situations enough to really know how your dog will react? You should/must know how your dog will react.
- You may not know how to read dog body language enough to discern play from aggression – some dogs do play rough.
Interpretation of the situation is a key ingredient here unless it is very obvious that your dog is dog aggressive. If you are walking your dog on leash, the situation is controllable, at the very least, by taking your dog out of the situation (turn around and walk away, move to the other side of the street etc.) unless, of course, the other dog in not on a leash.
With so many unknowns about your hypothetical scenario, the bottom line is: dog training, dog training, dog training!
IF your dog is well trained on walking on leash around other dogs, people etc. you could:
- Ask the other dog owner if their dog is friendly and if so, let them interact.
- Keep on walking and pass the dog by.
- Put your dog in the obedience command of a sit/stay at a far enough distance while the other dog passes.
- Take the opportunity to train your dog around other dogs (assuming that the environment was controlled with no dogs or people in harms way).
- You could begin to reward your dog for neutral or positive behavior around other dogs. Anything short of good behavior requires a stern “OFF”, call your dog to you, get a sit, then send your dog back to interact once more.
- Repetition is the key. If your dog won’t come or sit around other dogs or distractions, see a positive reinforcement trainer in your area and work on distraction training.
There is a book on the market by Emma Parsons entitled “Click to Calm” relating her aggressive dog experience where her dog immediately pulls towards other dogs at first sighting. Knowing that under this stressful situation she would not be able to control her big dog, she taught her dog to stop, sit and make eye contact with her and wait for another command at the first sense of the leash going tight.
You might find this helpful. Thanks for reading my blog and asking questions, that’s why I’m here.