Dogs are pack animals. They are highly social animals that crave the attention and company of others, especially others of their own kind, so it is natural for your dog to get excited around other dogs. But what happens when your dog gets so excited he becomes completely out of control around other dogs? A dog that barks, whines, jumps at, or runs at other dogs may not be welcome with the other dog. This can put your dog in danger of being attacked if the other dog does not want their personal space violated. Another issue that can develop occurs when excitement morphs into aggressive behavior, especially where fear and anxiety are involved, as is often the case with hyperactive, excited dogs. Pulling back on a dog that is trying to reach another dog just creates further tension, which escalates the behavior, as does yelling, which just adds to a negative energy level and excitement. Punishing your dog can create a negative association with other dogs, and lead to unwanted behaviors. How do your stop out of control behavior and teach your dog to be calm around other dogs?
He barks whenever he sees another dog from the window or while on a walk. He is friendly at daycare and loves to play but seems to get aggressive and will pull and bark until the dog is out of sight. I can't even calm him down enough to get him to sit down.
Hello Katelynn, Many dogs that are friendly when they are actually with dogs but act aggressively while out on a walk are what is called "Leash Reactive". These dogs may have initially tried to get to other dogs out of excitement, but when they were restrained or corrected a certain way on the leash they became frustrated. Overtime that frustration grew until they become upset every time they saw another dog while on a leash on confined. A lack of early socialization could have also caused the problem. If your dog lacks confidence around other dogs, he may also have learned to act scary to "Scare" the other dogs away. It may not actually scare the dogs away but if the other dogs happen to leave because they are out walking also, then it appears to have worked to your dog, so he repeats it. If your dog has never injured another dog and is fine with dogs off leash up close, then you will need to deal with his rude behavior toward you and his lack of confidence or frustration. First, what you can do is to take him somewhere where he can see dogs from a very far distance. Keep him far enough away from them that he will not get upset. When he is calm and notices the dog from a distance then, before he has a chance to react poorly, praise him and offer him a treat. Do this anytime he encounters a dog before he has acted poorly. The idea is to make the presence of the other dog enjoyable again, rather than scary or frustrating. Expect this to take time. The problem was not created overnight likely, so the solution will take work. As he improves around dogs at the far distance, then very gradually decrease the distance between the dogs. Only decrease it to the point where he can still remain calm though. Be patient and work up to closer distances gradually. While doing that exercise, also work on teaching him a very structured heel. By structured heel I mean a heel where he is walking right beside you, not in front at all, and is focused on you and nothing else. Add in teaching him to sit when you briefly stop, and lay down when you sit for extra structure. Your dog needs to learn to pay attention to you on walks and to focus on you and not everything else. Have most of his walk be a structured heel, but you can also teach him "Go sniff" or "OK" to indicate to him when it is "OK" for him to take a break on the walk for a minute. Practice structured obedience in general to build his respect towards you. You want him to let you handle the situation, instead of him always trying to handle things that upset him, like dog encounters. For this to happen he needs to trust and respect you. If you have one in your area, you can also join a "Growl Class". This is a class began originally by the co-founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Ian Dunbar. The class is for dog aggressive dogs that have never actually harmed another dog, to learn how to be around other dogs while on leash in a safe environment. This class helps to socialize the dogs and to rid them of their fear or frustration and rude behavior. If you feel like he is dangerous at all, or if you are struggling to train him yourself, please contact a professional trainer in your area. Whenever you are dealing with any form of aggression it is always good to have someone in person assess the situation and tailor the training to your needs, while also showing you how to keep everyone involved safe. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is a sweet rescue who absolutely loves other dogs, however I don't believe she was well socialized for the first year and a half of her life so when she meets new dogs she 'forgets' the hello stage and jumps right into playing. Its pretty overwhelming for a lot of dogs and has made a couple snap at her. I have tried snapping her out of her excitment but I also know that holding her back would just make her more excited. How can I calm her down enough to remember to say hello to new dogs.
Hello Victoria, To help Luna, practice going to a lot of places where she will be around other dogs but will not have much up close interaction. While in the presence of other dogs reward her for calm behavior. Practice commands like "Watch Me", "Heel", "Sit" "Stay", "Down" "Stay", and "Come". If you practice "Come" then you will need a long training leash, and possibly a back clip harness. Initially work on having her just interact with you, with the other dogs in the background, so that the other dogs will become less exciting and more normal to her, but not scary at all. Praise and reward her for focusing on you and obeying your commands so that this exercise is a positive one. Once she can focus on you better during these sessions, then allow her to meet trustworthy dogs, who you know will be patient with her. When she does meet them keep these interactions brief, about three seconds for the dogs to sniff one another, and make her approach the other dog calmly before being allowed to greet him. Every time that she pulls or acts overly excited or rude while approaching, have her sit or turn around and walk a couple of feet in the opposite direction with her. Another option is to have the other person and her dog stop or turn around when Luna acts rude. The idea is to show her that the only way that she gets to greet other dogs is by being calm. That polite behavior is rewarded with forward movement toward another dog. It is easiest to work on this with a friend or neighbor, who has a friendly, well behaved dog, and is willing to help you. Recruit as many people as you are able, who have well behaved, friendly dogs, to help you with this, one at a time. Do not let her meet reactive, aggressive, or rude dogs. Another great thing to do is to go on walks with other dogs, so that both dogs are focused on heeling and on their owners, and not on playing with each other. Check out this article on how to train polite greetings and get to the point where you can walk with another dog: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Your overall goal with Luna should be to get her around lots of other dogs, but in a more calm, boring way, so that her focus is on you and not the other dogs. Think about how a Service Dog interacts with other dogs. He is very well socialized and friendly, but he has learned to expect other dogs to be boring and calm. While he is out in public he is not expecting to play with every dog he meets, even though he does play with certain dogs when off duty at home. Most of the time he simply hangs out with other dogs, sitting or laying down near them, without getting overly excited. That would be a great goal for Luna with most dogs, it would help to teach her manners while maintaining her socialization, and preventing dog fights that could lead to fearful behavior. If you have a friend with a well socialized dog, that has good control, will take turns being dominant during play, and knows when it is time to take a break from playing, then set up play dates at one of your houses for Luna and that dog to play together. Look for those types of dogs for her to interact with. Things that you want to watch for, to make sure that it is a beneficial encounter, are: the two dogs taking turns chasing each other or being on top of one another while wrestling, and both dogs allowing each other to take breaks when one of them is tired. A dog that plays this way with Luna is healthy for her to be around, and can help her learn better social behaviors. That type of dog is less likely to teach her bad manners such as bullying, rudeness, or fearfulness. Right before you let her go over to the friend dog, have her sit for you and then give her a release word such as "Say Hi" or "Free", so that she knows that she is only allowed to greet other dogs when she has been given permission. If you can practice calling her away from the other dog, rewarding her, then letting her go back to playing, then that is even better. Monitor the playing, and if one dog is overwhelming or being rude toward the other dog, call the dogs apart and have them both calm down for a few minutes before allowing them to play again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is a very sweet dog who loves to be around people and other dogs. However, recently I brought over my friend's purebred German Shepherd who is very huge and Brownie started barking uncontrollably as if he was scared. He has never acted that way to any other dog or person before. I think it may be because he has never seen such a huge dog before.
On the second meet they sniffed each other but Brownie started barking out of nowhere. I don't know if it is because he is scared of just unsure of what to do. I think such a large dog is too overwhelming for him. I want him to be more comfortable around the larger dog though so they can go on walks together. Please help.
Hello Alexandra, The issue might be other large dogs or it might just be your friend's dog. Some dogs just do not like each other, often because of temperament differences, body language, smell, or something else. I would recommend first finding out whether or not your dog dislikes all large dogs. To do that you can take Brownie somewhere with other large dogs, where you can stay at a distance if you choose. Great options are: large pet stores with spacious isles and not too many other dogs, dog park parking lots (not inside the fence with the other loose dogs though), and parks in general. If Brownie has issues with other large dogs in general then work on his confidence around other dogs by taking him places where he can see other large dogs, and whenever he sees another dog and remains calm or looks at you instead, and when he sees one but is still deciding how to react, then praise him in an upbeat, confident tone of voice, and give him a treat. If he is doing well enough to meet other dogs, then have him meet other large dogs who are friendly, calm, and well behaved, one dog at a time. When they meet keep the interactions very brief, only three seconds maximum, then call Brownie to get his attention and give him a treat, and walk away. Doing this will help him grow accustomed to other dogs without feeling as threatened and without having as much of a chance to react poorly. The treat and getting his attention afterwards will also help him to stay focused on you better during dog interactions, which can build his confidence. If Brownie is reacting to all large dogs, then getting him more comfortable with large dogs should help the interactions with your friends dog, but whether all large dogs are the issues or not you can also work on getting Brownie and your friend's dog accustomed to one another by taking them on "Pack Walks". They will need to work up to walking together. To get them to that point, check out this Wag! article and choose either "The Passing Approach Method" or "The Walking Together Method": https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Once the dogs are close to one another and doing well then walk the dogs together regularly. You and your friend can give both dogs treats for paying attention to you instead of the other dog, and for walking nicely and not pulling. When the dogs can walk together and are completely calm together, you can then work on having the two dogs lay down in the same room with you, then eventually work on the two dogs just being loose together while supervised. The dogs may or may not get to the point where they will want to play together. If they do not want to play together that is fine, as long as they can be together without feeling stressed. The goal during the walks and interactions while working on this is for the dogs to become so familiar and comfortable with each other that they are bored with one another. Picture Service dogs walking together rather than puppies wrestling. The calm Service Dogs just being with each other is what you want in order to see improvement. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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How can we teach our new puppy to leave our adult dogs alone? We have a new puppy with a very spunky and dominant personality. She can be very sweet and calm, but is more frequently very energetic, squirmy and a little crazy at times. Our two older dogs (8 & 10 yrs old) are very calm and more submissive in personality. The puppy is almost constantly trying to play with them and they have very little interest in playing with her. She will almost constantly and sometimes obsessively follow them around, nipping at their faces, jumping on them, bouncing and barking at them (in a playful way, but sometimes relentlessly). They generally try to ignore her (turning their heads away, walking away, but she usually follows) and sometimes they growl at her, but she ignores the growls and often ignores us when we try to intervene or distract her. Too regularly, she bites one dog's face and ears so hard that the older dog yelps, but the puppy seems to see this as play instead of pain. We're concerned about how to stop this behavior and don't know what to do. What are we doing wrong and how can we help her learn to leave the older dogs alone? The puppy is really trying to be the boss of them in other ways, too. If the older dogs are drinking water, she will run up and push them out of the dish; if they're playing with a specific toy, she will immediately want only that toy and take it from them. Since the older dogs are so laid back and submissive, they don't fight back or reprimand her. Your time and guidance are appreciated! Thank you!
Hello Sharon, Some of the behaviors that your puppy is exhibiting are normal and she simply needs consistency and time to grow out of them, such as her excitability, energy, and playfulness. Since your older dogs are not addressing her rude behavior and pushiness though you will need to make the rules very clear for her and work on building her respect toward you, so that you can enforce the rules and not be dependent on your older dogs to. I would recommend starting what's called the "No Free Lunch" protocol with her. Essentially she needs to be working for every single thing in her life until her attitude becomes more respectful. Teach her a couple of commands, such as "Sit" and "Down" and "Out", and whenever she wants something make her do a command before giving it to her. For example, tell her to "Sit" before you feed her at her meals. Tell her "Down" before you pet her, and do not pet her if she is shoving another dog out of the way or demanding your attention by barking, nudging you, or generally being pushy. Make her leave instead. Tell her "Sit" before you take her outside. Tell her "Down" before you toss her a toy. Generally make her work for what she gets. This should help to build her respect for you in a less confrontational way. After you have started that, then also teach her the "Out" command, which means get out of the area that you are in. To do this, first call her to you and toss a treat away from yourself while also pointing the finger of your throwing hand. Tell her "Out" while you toss the treat and point. After she eats the treat tell her "OK" and encourage her back toward you again. Practice this until she begins to run away from you whenever you say "Out" and point, before you have tossed the treat. When she will do that then tell her "Out" and point away from yourself. If she does not move any of the times then walk toward her and herd her out of the area with your body. Be calm, firm, and boring while you do this. Praise her and give her a treat when she gets to the area that you were telling her to go to while she is still learning this. Later you will not reward her unless she went willingly. After you have herded her out of the area then walk backwards, returning to where you were before, and if she follows you back without being told "OK", then walk toward her again and block her way until she stops trying to get past you. Repeat this until she will stay back when you back up until you tell her "OK". If you tell her "Out" and she leaves the area on her own, without you tossing a treat or having to herd her out of the area, then praise her and toss a treat over to her when she gets far enough away. When she moves out of an area when told "Out" she does not have to sit, lay down, or stay right there. She simply cannot come back into the area that you told her to get out of until she is invited back. You can use this command to teach her to get away from your other dogs, and if she does not listen then use your body to herd her away from them firmly until she gives up and goes away. You can also use this command to get her out of your own space if she is being pushy and rude. When she gets really riled up and is struggling to listen, even though you are being firm with her and consistent, then give her a time out to let her calm down. To give her a time out you might need to install a baby gate to block off one room that has been puppy proofed, or utilize a crate, or utilize an exercise pen. Place her in one of those areas with a chew toy until she calms back down. Puppies often need time outs when they get over stimulated and excited. The time out does not have to be scary or bad, but simply a safe place that she can go to encourage her to calm back down. After you have built her respect for you and taught her "Out" then you will need to be the one to create and enforce all of the rules between the dogs. Do not expect the older dogs or her to decide or enforce the rules. Decide what your house rules are for the dogs. Your rules might include: "No biting another dog no matter what they do", "No stealing what another dog has", "No being possessive over anything, including people", "No bothering another dog when he is eating", and "No shoving another dog out of the way when he is receiving affection". Enforce the same rules for all of the dogs, and when one rule is broken then you be the one to intervene and set things straight so that a dog does not have to. This will help to prevent fights and bullying as she grows, and eventually she should begin to respect the rules more to as an extension of her respect for you. She will probably never respect your other dogs but her respect for you can help the way that she interacts with them. You will need to be firm and very consistent with her. Expect this to take time and be on going until she matures more mentally and emotionally as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Just last week I adopted a 6 month old Basset Hound who had previously socialized with only one other dog. When we tried to take him to a training class, he barked incessantly (for an hour) while he was surrounded by other dogs. He didn't pull on the leash or approach them aggressively, he just stood or sat and barked (and barked and barked and barked), and would give other dogs space when we passed by them. The same has happened when we take him to a location where other dogs are present (like a park or a pet store). If strangers are around and they approach him, he is immediately friendly and quiet after initially barking. Since he isn't lunging, snapping, or getting in aggressive in any other way but being Loud, how can we get him used to--and comfortable with--larger groups of dogs?
Hello Lauren, To help Melvin get used to other dogs contact several friends who have well socialized dogs that you trust. Set up play dates with these dogs in fenced in areas. Let him spend time with other dogs, one at a time, but do this with multiple different dogs as often as possible. Letting him meet one friendly dog at a time will help him to get used to other dogs without overwhelming him as much. If you do this with lots of different dogs over time then he will still learn to like multiple dogs. I would also recommend doing three second greetings with him. To do three second greetings, when he is not pulling on the leash, tell him "Say Hi" and allow him to greet and sniff another, well-behaved, friendly dog for three seconds. During the three seconds keep the leash loose and let the dogs sniff each other, but as soon as the three seconds are up tell him "Let's Go" and walk away while giving him a treat. Keep the greetings short to decrease the chance of dog fights and to keep the interactions boring, which will help with his timidity and excitement. Because he is still getting used to other dogs avoiding dog fights is extremely important, so follow the three second rule unless the dog is a dog that you know is completely safe, that you have set up a play date with. Do not simply avoid other dogs completely though. You are right to want to socialize him, and at this age the more socialization you can do the better off he will be for the rest of his life. Being around other dogs will help. Also bring him to places with lots of other dogs, where he can see other dogs from a distance, such as dog park parking lots (but not inside the fenced area yet). Praise him and give him treats for performing commands for you in the presence of other dogs nearby, and for acting calmly and being quiet. This will also help with the barking. Last, take Melvin on pack walks with other friendly dogs. Follow the instructions in "The Passing Approach Method" or "The Walking Together Method" from this article bellow: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Once the dogs have gotten a couple of feet from one another, walk the dogs together, parallel to one another. At the end of the walk, if the dog is a trustworthy dog and they are getting along well, you can allow them to play off leash in a fenced in area, under close supervision. Interrupt their play if one dog seems tired or scared, and wait until that dog is ready to play again before letting them go. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin is giving good advice here. I just wonder if this isn't partly breed characteristics as well. Hounds communicate with their pack by barking - I've encountered a number of Beagles that bark and howl when they see another dog (or a person, or a bus, or a bin lorry or....). Again, no aggression,not even really mad 'over threshold' excitement, just 'BARK, BARK....' (Look what I've found).
The solution was lots of very ordinary exposure to other dogs (make them just part of life), reward calmness, acknowledge the first bark (OK, Thank you), use lots of distraction techniques after that, and not get worked up yourself.
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Every time I take Duke for a walk now he tries to pull me towards other dogs when they bark or leave their yard to come towards us. Duke weighs 90 pounds to 107 pounds right now so I have a hard time walking him but I did train him to walk by my side and on a loose leash but one of my other dogs taught him to be a little mean towards other dogs.
Hello Stacey, Because Duke is so strong I would recommend that he wear a no pull training device until he learns not to pull around other dogs. Something designed to give you better control will help you to control him when he does pull. This device isn't mainly for the purpose of training him, but more for your own safety so that you can practice what I am about to suggest. Training will deal with the root of his problem better than a device alone can. If you believe that he is safe around other dogs and will not actually harm them if they meet, then use the device to keep him from pulling you over and take him to public locations with open space areas. Practice his 'Heel" command, and any other short distance obedience commands that he knows, such as "Sit", "Down", and "Stay", in the presence of other dogs at a distance. He should be far enough from the other dogs to be able to listen but close enough to notice the dogs. Reward him for paying attention to you, for looking at the other dogs but then looking back at you right after instead of reacting, for being calm, and for being obedient. As he improves, decrease the distance between him and other dogs slowly over time. Practicing his obedience in a structured way and rewarding him for calm behavior around other dogs should teach him to be more respectful toward you and also to like other dogs better and become more bored with them. If you feel like he would hurt another dog if he were to reach one, then I would highly suggest that you hire a local professional dog trainer who has experience in dealing with reactive and aggressive dogs. I would also suggest desensitizing Duke to a muzzle, so that he can wear that without anxiety, and you can safely train him around other dogs still. To desensitize him to a muzzle grab lots of treats, and over a several day period, have frequent training sessions where he is rewarded for: touching the muzzle, allowing you to place it on him and take it off again, allowing you to hold it onto his face, and then tolerating it staying on eventually. Use a basket muzzle for this so that you can still give him small treats through the holes. You can also use a straw dipped in soft cheese, peanut butter, or something else dog safe and sticky. Do not use other nut butters besides Peanut Butter though because many nuts are toxic to dogs. Also avoid food products that contain Xylitol, because Xylitol is very toxic to dogs. I would also suggest training your other aggressive dog if possible, so that neither dog will undo the other's training. Make sure that you train the other one in a safe way as well though, using a muzzle during the training or hiring a trainer to hep you. A private trainer who will come to your house and meet you at public locations where dogs can be found, or a GROWL Class if your pup is not truly dangerous, or a board and train program that specializes in aggression and can do rapid desensitization, socialization, and management training would all be good forms of training for this type of problem. The GROWL Class will be the least expensive option if you can find one and your dog has never drawn blood on another dog. That class requires that each dog wear a muzzle, and then typically rapidly socializes the dogs together while also working on obedience and control during the class. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We want our dog to be able to socialize and play with other dogs. We adopted her from the SPCA and they had her in a kennel with two other dogs with no problems. She starts barking and tries to lunge at other dogs when we take her around other dogs. We don’t have any friends with dogs and we were wondering what to do to train/help her.
Hello Hanna, The first thing I would recommend is to see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class anywhere in your area that you can join. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for aggressive or reactive dogs where all of the dogs ware basket muzzles to keep everyone safe, and then work on socialization and behavioral modification up close with many other dogs so that you can speed the training time way up. These classes are by far the quickest way to see results in most cases and you do not need to know other dogs ahead of time. If that is not an option, then I would recommend teaching Bella a very structured "Heel" command, where she is required to walk right beside you and to keep her focus on you and sit when you stop. When she knows that command, then practice her obedience, especially "Heel", somewhere where she can see dogs at a distance. Reward her for focusing on you, heeling, ignoring the other dogs, remaining calm, or for looking at the other dogs but remaining calm, or looking at the other dogs but then looking back at you right afterward. Both her attitude and her manners need to be addressed. She needs to learn to respect and pay better attention to you around other dogs, and to feel calmer and less stressed around other dogs. By working on her obedience commands in a firm, calm, no nonsense sort of way, and rewarding her for the correct response and emotion, you can improve her respect and attention toward you and make being around other dogs more pleasant for her. Start far enough away from other dogs for her to be able to look at them and hear them and be a bit distracted but still respond to you when you start walking her around quickly in the heel position and changing your directions frequently. As she improves, decrease the distance between her and the other dogs, until she can walk past them without reacting one day. Expect this to be a gradual process and not an instant fix though. Because this can be a difficult issue to resolve on your own, if you feel like you need help and cannot find a G.R.O.W.L. class to attend, then I would recommend hiring a trainer with a tract record of experience in this area to help you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog acts very nice around my family.He rarely fights with my two other dogs and always behaves.However, if my dog sees a random dog or cat inside or outside the house, he always acts very aggressive to the dog or cat that he saw.Therefore, whenever we went to a dog park, I always feel embarrassed because my dog would always bark and couldn't stay calm all the time.This resulted my other dog to feel anxious as well and starts to whine constantly.What should I do?
Hello Amanda, It sounds like the unstructured environment of the dog park might be causing the problem. Dog parks can make some dogs feel defensive, or can encourage rude or dominating behaviors. I would recommend changing his interactions with other dogs first. Instead of going to the dog park with him, at least for now, take him on walks with other dogs where he has to heel and focus on you during the walk. See if you have any neighbors or friends who would like to walk all the dogs together or if there is a group in your area that does dog walks together regularly. Meetup.com will sometimes have dog walking groups. If you have a G.R.O.W.L. class offered in your area, then I would recommend attending one of those with him. That class will provide up-close socialization and manners practice around other dogs who are struggling with the same issue. All of the dogs wear a basket muzzle during the class to ensure that everyone is safe and to allow the owners to have the dogs close together to speed up the training process. I would also recommend working on his obedience skills, such as "Sit", "Heel", "Down", "Watch", and "Stay", and then take him to the parking lot or outside area of the dog park (but not inside), or to a normal park with dogs, and work on his focus on you and obedience around other dogs. "Heel" is an especially good command to work on there. Stay far enough away from the other dogs for him to be able to obey you when you walk him quickly in a heel with lots of turns and commands to keep his focus on you, but still close enough to the dogs to notice the other dogs and be a bit distracted. As he improves and can focus on you better and react to the other dogs less, then gradually work close to the other dogs during the training sessions. Once he is no longer reacting to the other dogs, then you might be able to let him play with other dogs again, but I would recommend avoiding the dog park during busy times when there are dogs that he tends to act aggressive, rude, or pushy toward. Pay attention to which types of dogs are at the park at what times when you are deciding when to go. Another, far better, option is to have play dates with dogs that you know, that Max does well with. If Max is attacking other dogs, then he absolutely should not be playing with other dogs without wearing a muzzle. Being attacked by another dog is not only unsafe for the dog but it can also pass on the aggression issue to whoever he attacks by creating fear aggression in that dog, and that is not something that should be shared! Max still needs to be around other dogs for his on going socialization, but if attacks are the case, then his interactions should be limited to structured walks with other dogs, calm interactions where he is responding to your commands, three second greetings, where he greets the dog for three seconds and then you move him away and reward him for listening to you, and interactions in structured settings like a G.R.O.W.L. class. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Trigger is submissive happy and playful around humans aswell as getting excited. But when on walks on his lead he barks at other dogs, he's getting a little better but recently he snapped in the face of another dog quite aggressively. He went from wagging his tail to putting his tail between his leg and snapping. The other dog didn't make a sound and wasn't reacting to Trigger at all. We're not sure how to discourage this, and promote playful behaviour.
Hello Emma, Trigger is in immediate need of socialization with other puppies. The behavior that he is displaying is likely based on a lack of socialization and is thus caused by fear, which can lead to aggression. The issue will probably only get worse if he does not get around other puppies. I would suggest joining a puppy class as soon as possible. Ask the trainer about socialization and make sure that the trainer is knowledgeable about proper socialization, canine body language, and how to address fear in dogs. Spend lots of time praising Trigger excitedly whenever he looks at another dog and remains calm, initiates play, allows another dog to sniff him, or explores other dogs. Give him treats for looking at other dogs and remaining calm, for finishing a quick, polite greeting, for looking at you around other dogs, and generally displaying happy or relaxed body language around other dogs. The purpose of the treats is to make the presence of other dogs rewarding while at the same time teaching him good manners. Being around other puppies is what he needs the most though, and it needs to be in an environment where there is a knowledgeable trainer to help him. If you believe that he might bite another puppy, then desensitize him to wearing a basket muzzle until he no longer minds wearing it, and then get him around other puppies who are playing with one another while he is wearing the muzzle. If there is a Sirius Pup puppy class in your city, then I highly recommend that type of class. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We just rescued our dog from an abusive situation and before he was with that family he was in another abusive situation but dont know all the details from that. Hes very lovable with us and other people he meets, hes good with people at the park but when we see another dog, even in the car, he pulls and starts barking like crazy even when the dog is gone. we have tried to give him a treat to distract him but he ignores the treat.
Hello Emily, I would suggest seeing if you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area to attend with him. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class designed to intensively socialize reactive and aggressive dogs while all of the dogs wear muzzles for everyone's safety. These classes can be great for quickly defusing aggression related to fear. When you are working with him on your own you might need to increase the amount of distance between him and the other dog so that he can respond still. Work on his obedience, especially a very focused "Heel" command and work on keeping his focus on you, moving him through his obedience rather quickly, and making lots of turns while heeling. The idea is for the other dog just to be background noise and for his focus to stay on you so that he will become bored with the other dogs. You can reward him for obedience, calmness, and focus on you while you are doing this, but it is okay if he does not take the treat. I would highly suggest hiring a train who has access to a facility where you can practice training around other dogs with that trainer, or even better, attending a G.R.O.W.L. class with him if you can find one in your area. Both of those options will likely provide much quicker results because reactivity and aggression can take time to improve otherwise. Another option is to work on up close interactions with other dogs while he is wearing a muzzle, but I would only suggest doing this under the guidance of a qualified trainer who is very experienced with aggression, because if it is done wrong it can it can make the aggression worse or create fear issues in the non-aggressive dog. It needs to be done in a certain way in order to be effective. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog loves both people and dogs equally and can't hold a stay around them. Is there a way that the first method could be tweaked to help my dog stay calm?
Hello Campbell, If you feel like Izzi cannot do the first method because of how excited she gets, then you can make that method a little easier by starting out by having your friend and her dog, who are helping you, walk back and forth past Izzi from a distance during thirty to forty-five minute training sessions. While they are doing that, work on your girl's obedience commands, including her sit-stay and down-stay. Pay attention to how your dog does while your friend is at various distances. You want your friend to be close enough for your dog to notice them but far enough away that your dog can still obey your commands when you insist that she pay attention. When she is no longer excited about your friend and her dog from a distance, then gradually have them come up to her to greet her and stop or leave if she gets too excited like the method says. By having them walk around first until she gets bored with them and starts to focus on you better while you are training her, you are taking some of the excitement out of their approach later on, since she has seen them before. Their approach will still be rewarding but just not as exciting. Another option is to practice with just the owner first, until Izzi is calm around that person, and then add the owner's dog also the next time. That way you are tackling only one new thing at a time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We adopted Basil a couple of months ago from our neighbor who was fostering Basil and her litter mates. She gets along great with our male (neutered) dog that is around 13 months, named Baymax. When I try to do training with her I put Baymax on the porch so they don't distract each other. The problem is that when I put him outside, Basil is constantly losing focus to go look for Baymax. How can I get her to focus on the training instead of looking for Baymax?
Hello Joshua, Normally when you train a dog you start with an easy, non-distracting environment like you are doing, and once the dog understands the command, then you move onto an environment that contains mild distractions, and you gradually increase the dog's skill level overtime by practicing around harder and harder distractions as he improves. Because Basil is so fixated on Baymax, training her in an environment where Baymax usually is present is actually more distracting for her, so I would recommend taking her somewhere calm where does not usually see Baymax and start the training there. Once she understands what the command means and can do it reliably in the environment where you first taught it to her, then use your home as the more distracting environment to practice it in in order to increase her skill level with that command. For example, if she and Baymax never go into your basement, your front yard, or your neighborhood cul-de-sac, then teach her new commands in those environments first before you work on the training in her normal home environment. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have been trying to socialise Nala on all her walks with dogs and try to give her the opportunity to meet every dog that she sees but she is always barking and confident when approaching the dog but when she gets near she either whines and runs away with her tail between her legs and won’t go near the dog or gets up in its face and carries on barking, sometimes trying to chase it or play with it. How do I get her to calm down and greet dogs nicely? (she walks well on and off the leads and usually comes back as soon as I call her even when another dog is around)
Hello Alice, It sounds like Nala likes other dogs and wants to meet but lacks experience playing and reading doggie social cues, which makes it hard for her to interact. I would recommend finding other puppies that she can play with in a safely enclosed area, off leash, under owner supervision. Puppies learn how to control their bites, how to adjust their play style, and how to read canine body language from one another. Puppies also interact with one another differently than adult dogs do, so puppy interaction is what she needs most right now. See if any of your friends have any puppies under six months of age and get them together to play. Whenever the puppies start to get too rough or one puppy begins to look like she is not having fun, then interrupt their play, let them calm down, and then let the shy puppy go and see if she initiates the play again. If she does, then let them play again. Many pet stores or training facilities offer puppy social times, including Petco. Look online or call around and see if you can find one to attend. Many are free or inexpensive. Most of those classes cut off the attendance age at six months though, so do not wait. Occasionally one location will allow you to continue coming if your dog started coming before the age of six months though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When walking my dog she only becomes aggressive to other dogs on leash when they become aggressive first. I'm afraid she will learn their bad behavior. I basically try to redirect her with the leave it command while pulling her along with me until we are far enough away that she stops. Is their anything else I can do?
Hello Donna, You can preempt a bad encounter with another dog by saying something to Zoey in an upbeat, confident, and cheerful tone of voice whenever you walk past another dog before that dog has a chance to react toward her. When you spot the other dog say something like "Yay!" or "Look!" or "Heel" in an excited tone of voice and start giving her treats while you walk past the other dog. Keep moving while you do this and give her several treats, one treat at a time, until the dog is past you. This will teach her to look at you in expectation of a reward whenever Zoey passes by another dog and it will also help her to like the appearance of other dogs, even when they are acting mean toward her. Since she is small, if you find it easier to do, you can also create a treat stick that is long enough to reach her when you lower it down to her, and rub some Peanut Butter or treat paste on it for her to lick off while you are walking by the other dog and talking happily to her. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog has been snapped at twice at our new residence He always got along with dogs but we’ve had two encounters recently. The last encounter the other fog was very aggressive unleashed and biting my dog. I was able to step in and pick him up. Now we are both apprehensive around all fogs, what can I do?
Hi William, If you have any friends with calm, very well behaved dogs, that are trustworthy around other dogs, then I would arrange calm, non confrontational meetings using one of the methods in this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs After the two dogs have met and gone on a walk together, if you want, you can go back to one of your homes afterwards and let the two dogs interact there in a calm way, either playing with supervision, and intervention if they get too riled up, or simply laying in the same room together and ignoring each other. Being in the same room and ignoring each other is actually wonderful because that means that they are comfortable enough with one another to just hang out, and we want Bowie to feel relaxed around other dogs again. Do this with as many different trustworthy dogs as possible. Also avoid up close interactions with dogs that are being rude and reactive towards your dog. Always advocate for your dog. You do not have to let him meet another dog if that dog is on a leash with it's owner if you do not trust the other dogs. Do not be afraid to politely tell the other owner that you are "Training Bowie to be calm around other dogs, so cannot meet", or that "Your dog is frightened of other dogs, so cannot meet". Unfortunately off-leash dogs are out of your control, if off-leash dogs continue to be a problem then I would recommend talking to the other if you know where it lives, or reporting it to animal control if needed, or carrying pepper spray or another type of save deterrent if the other dogs are aggressive. While avoiding untrustworthy dogs, seek out friendly ones that you know and go on walks together, side by side, using one of the methods in the article link that I have included above. Reward your dog with lots of treats for calm, brave behavior as you get closer and closer to the other dog. Lots of positive experiences with other dogs should build both you and your dog's confidence, and help you both feel more relaxed around other dogs. You want your Bowie to feel like aggressive dogs are the exception and not the norm. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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how do i stop my dog from jumping and trying to chase other dogs?
Hello Alyssa, To teach Kira to stop jumping, first teach her to Sit. Whenever you greet her tell her to "Sit" before you pet her. If she sits, then give her a treat by holding it underneath her chin. If she does not sit and instead jumps up, then step toward her to throw her off balance, and wait until she sits before you give her attention. Practice this until she knows to sit when you greet her. Once she can sit for you and no longer jumps on you, then recruit various people to practice it with her, until she no longer jumps on other people also. If she continues to jump up after she knows what she should be doing despite being rewarded for sitting, then check out Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9Training's YouTube channel. He has a jumping protocol for high intensity dogs, where he demonstrates on video how to stop the jumping and shows you how to properly fit a prong collar. If you choose to use that protocol, make sure that you start by teaching her to sit when someone greets her and you reward her for doing the proper behavior, rather than only correcting the jumping. The training works best when you combine correcting the jumping and rewarding the correct, sitting behavior. I would need to know more about the chasing behavior in order to help you with that. What is her body language when she is around other dogs? Have she been in a fight with another dog before? Does she simply seem excited? Is it one particular type of dog, like only small dogs, that she is trying to chase? Without knowing more I cannot address the root issue, such as fear or aggression or frustration, but practicing her obedience, including a very strict, focused "Heel", until she can respond to you around distractions will generally help. She likely needs to learn better respect toward you because if she respected you more she would look to you to solve the issue for her more, but there also might be other things, like aggression or fear reactivity going on. To help her learn to respect you better and to develop her general obedience check out this Wag! article I have linked bellow. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you All of the methods from the article I have linked above would be helpful for Kira. You can choose to utilize more than one, but if you choose to only implement one method, use the "Obedience" method for her. Jeff Gelhman from SolidK9 Training also has several videos that address respect issues, as well as dog aggression issues if that seems to be why she is going after other dogs. If you will submit a new questions with more details about her chasing behavior I would be glad to address that even further. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Im having trouble calming Luna down.
She is super friendly and has lots of energy and seems a bit skittish of larger dogs. My problem is that everytime she sees dogs or humans se get over the top excited and wants to run over to them. She barks and "cries". Even if she see's them from the window.She will try and jump on humans to get attention. One time she ran after some kids who were playing and i couldn't get a hold of her. She just wont listen when i call her, and not even treats will help her get back. The only thing that works is if i run away from her. Its becoming a big issue as i cant take her of the leash in case she see's someone walking past. How can i correct this behaviour?
Hello Hannah, First, work on taking Luna with you to lots of different places to help her get used to seeing dogs and people. Practice "Down", "Sit", "Heel", "Come", and "Watch Me" in those places while there are people and dogs at a distance. Start with the people and the dogs being far away, and as she improves, gradually get closer to the distractions. If she does not "Sit" when you tell her to, and you are confident that she knows the word, then gently press your fingers down and in on either side of the base of her tail while you lift up on her chin at the same time. Do this to encourage her into the sit position and to teach her that "Sit" is not optional. When she sits, then give her a treat even though you had to help her do it. When she can consistently do it without your help, then only give her a treat if she does it willingly. If she will not lay down, then clip her leash onto her collar or harness in the front of her and pull down on the leash just enough to make standing very uncomfortable. Hold it like that until she becomes so uncomfortable standing that she lays down to avoid the pressure. This might take as long as fifteen minutes the first time, so be patient. With both "Sit" and "Down" you are not forcing her into the position, instead you are making her disobedience very uncomfortable for her so that she will choose to obey. As soon as she obeys, stop the discomfort and give her a reward. That reward can be a treat, praise, being allowed to go see something that she wants to check out, or anything else that she wants to do that is acceptable. Also, practice "Come" by attaching a forty foot leash to her and practicing telling her to "Come" in distracting locations. When she does not "Come", then reel her in with the long leash, tell her to "Sit", and then release her again by telling her "Okay" or "Free". Repeat "Come" and "Okay" several times in a row until she comes willingly and receives a reward for it. Try to end each training session on a positive note, with her coming and receiving a reward. Also, try not to call her to yourself when you want to do something unpleasant to her or she is in trouble. Instead, teach her a different command like "Inside" and practice that command on the long leash. If she is bolting away from you, then she should not be off leash in an unconfined area or possibly even in a confined area right now. It is not only unsafe, but until she improves, it will only encourage her to ignore your commands even more because you cannot enforce what you are telling her to do. Work with a light-weight, forty to fifty foot leash with her until she will always obey you, before you move onto off-leash. In general Luna would benefit from attending an Intermediate Obedience class. It sounds like she knows what various commands mean, which is the point of a Basic Obedience class, but she needs to learn how to do those commands around distractions too, which is what Intermediate Obedience is all about. Look for a trainer who uses both Positive Reinforcement and a little bit of discipline, but who is not overly harsh or in anyway physically abusive. Even if your trainer uses treats, he should have other methods of training also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is very anxious and sometimes acts aggressively around other dogs. He is not aggressive towards people but is not overly friendly either. He will go say a quick hello but then back off. With dogs he will sniff and then react with an aggressive snarl. On walks he usually ignores the dog unless they stare or react to him which then he goes crazy on the leash. My vet has told me that it is fear aggression and anxiety due to lack of socialization. We have recently restarted him on training with other dogs but we are wondering if it would be good to get him a dog walker where he can walk in a pack? We really want to bring another dog into our home but we want to make sure Ace is ok with other dogs before we attempt to do this. Any help would be great.
Hello Jamie, Pack walks can be really wonderful if the person in charge, the walker, is able to command all of the dog's respect, if the walker is the one leading so there is less competition between the dogs, and if the initial introduction is done right. Essentially whether it's a good idea will depend on the quality of the walker and if that person has training experience. If the dogs are competing to be in front, bullying one another, getting each other excited, or being rude and trying to pull the walker then that could cause more stress for Ace. You might want to see if there are any Meetup groups in your area with other dog walkers who regularly go walking together and start by joining that group to ease him into being a part of a pack. When you go look to see if the other dogs are good influences for him and calm or reactive and not good socialization prospects. You want him around dogs that are in a calmer mindset right now. If you can find a walker who is also a qualified trainer or the equivalent and he or she is able to lead the dogs properly, then a pack walk could be good. A third option is to see if you have any friends who like to walk with their well behaved dogs and join them. Start with more space between the dogs, reward your dog for acting calmly around the other dogs and for looking at you and looking at the dogs and reacting correctly. A small ziplock bag of treats in your pocket works well for this. As your dog begins to ignore the other dogs more, gradually decrease the space between you and your friends or Meetup group until your dog can walk as a member of the pack by yourside close to the other dogs. Teach your dog a structured heel and make sure he is following you and not in front of you while you walk, this will help him look to you for directions and depend on you to handle stressful situations and be less reactive and defensive himself. Working on his respect for you should help with some of his fear when you are with him. If he respects and trusts you, he is more likely to let you handle situations and not act defensive and aggressive. Check out the article that I have linked below on how to build trust. Using a bit of all of the methods would be good but focus specifically on the "Obedience" method from that article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-youb Here is another article explaining the initial introduction to other walking dogs in more detail. The "Walk Together" method is most similar to what I have described. If he is struggling with even looking at the other dog, then start with the "Passing Approach" method and then switch to the "Walking Together" method once he is more relaxed. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I just got rosko a couple days ago. He's very excited around our other dogs and our other dogs don't like him in their personal space.i think he keeps trying to play with them and they just don't like it. How do I keep him calm around them and get them to like him more.
Hello Keegan, First teach Rosko the "Out" command. Whenever he is bothering the older dogs, tell him "Out" and reward him with one of his toys or a treat when he obeys. If he does not obey, then go over to him and stand between him and the dog that he is bothering and block him from getting to the other dog while you walk toward him to get him out of that space. Your attitude should be firm, strong, and calm while you do this. Doing this with your body communicates to him where he should be spatially. If he gets too wound up to listen, which is common for puppies, then make sure that he has a calm location by himself, like a crate, gated off room, or Exercise Pen, where you can place him with a chew-toy until he calms down. Expect it to take time and consistency for him to learn to leave the older dogs alone. Very few puppies learn this right away but it should help their relationship with time. To help the other dogs like him, feed them treats whenever they are being tolerant of his presence or he comes into the room with them or he gets something. As soon as he leaves, ignore them and stop feeding them treats, so that they will associate the rewards with his presence and want him around. Also create rules and boundaries for all of the dogs in your house, and work on each dog's respect for you. In a household with multiple dogs, it is especially important for you to be the one who decides what the rules are and be the one to enforce them, and not your dogs. An example of a rule is: a dog is not allowed to tell another dog that he cannot enter into a room or play with an unattended toy. If a dog is trying to control another dog's actions or movements then that dog is trying to make a rule for the other dog. Only you decide what the dogs can and cannot do and where they cannot be. Be sure to create rules that are respectful of each dog's space though. If a dog disobeys a rule, then there should be a fair consequence, like leaving the room or getting off of the couch. Here is a good article for teaching respect if you feel like it could be improved. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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For years, storm was so good meeting other dogs, was very calm and gentle and submissive. But as she got into her 3rd and now 4th year, she started showing signs of leash aggression, and then growling, when too excited to meet another dog on leash and would pull violently and began growling and barking. But not to every dog, only some. But off leash she’s great. I have her on a slip lead but I feel like when I pull and I pull on her neck she gets worse. What should I do?
Hello Elena, It does sound like leash reactivity, opposed to general aggression. Leash reactivity typically happens when a dog feels frustrated because he wants to greet other dogs and can't or because his owner wrongly corrects him and makes the appearance of other dogs unpleasant for him. In both cases she needs to learn to re-associate the appearance of other dogs with pleasant things. To do this, go somewhere where there are other dogs at a distance. The parking lot of a dog park or a regular park is a good place to find other dogs without getting too close. An even better option is to have a friend with a calm dog walk her dog at a distance from your dog while you work with Storm. Stay far enough away from the other dog for Storm to notice the dog but still respond to you. This might be pretty far at first. Every time that she looks at the other dog praise her and reward her with a wonderful, small treat before she has the chance to react negatively. Also, reward her every time that she looks at the dog and then looks back at you for direction, or looks at you instead of the dog, or generally remains calm around the other dog. If she starts to act aggressive, then interrupt her right when she starts to tense up and begins to react. Don't wait until it is full blown if you can catch it early. Interrupt her by telling her to "Heel" and then quickly moving around with her in the heel position. Make the "Heel" almost drill-like. Walk fast, change your speed often, make a lot of turns at ninety-degree angles, including right in front of her. The idea to make her focus on heeling so much that she cannot think about anything else. Don't worry about the leash catching her. She can control whether or not that happens by paying attention to you. When she is calmed back down, then go back to working on rewarding her for being calm around the other dog. The heeling exercise should also help build her respect for you in a less confrontational way. Switch from using a slip lead to using either a martingale collar, a pinch collar, or a front clip no-pull harness. Choke type collars can damage a dog's trachea. If you choose to use a pinch collar, then spend time learning about how to properly fit and use one. Check out Jeff Gelman from Solid K9 Training's YouTube channel for videos on fitting pinch collars. A pinch should fit high on the neck, tight enough for the prongs to gently touch the dog's neck without pushing into the skin at all between corrections. Pinch collars when used properly should require very little force during a normal correction. If you cannot correct your dog with two fingers, then you might have an issue with your fit. You do not want a pinch to be loose or you will have to give a much harder correction and the metal banging against your dogs neck can hurt her neck. Be careful using a prong collar. Corrections can be good for interrupting bad behaviors but if you correct too often, with poor timing, or without clear communication, then you can actually make the issue worse. The point of a correction is to stop an unwanted behavior long enough for you to have the opportunity to show your dog what to do instead and reward your dog for performing the correct behavior. In the end the dog needs to be learning what to do, not be punished for doing the wrong thing. If your dog does not know what to do, then she will continually be punished for doing the wrong thing, which causes her to dislike training, distrust you, and become frustrated. Dogs need to be told when something is not correct AND when it is correct. Also, when Storm can handle being within thirty feet of another dog, then recruit friends with calm, friendly dogs, to go on pack walks with you. Have the other dog walk past Storm on the opposite sidewalk over and over again. Reward Storm for responding calmly, heeling, and paying attention to you as you do this. When Storm is doing well, then gradually decrease the distance between the dogs overtime, until you can walk them together with you and the other dog's owner. Check out this article for better details on how to do that. First, follow the "Passing Approach" method", then switch to the "Walking Together" method when the dogs are able to get close enough. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When my dog sees other dogs, he pulls as hard as he can and tries to get to the other dog. He does this wherever: walks, parks, other's homes. We took him to a group obedience class and the whole time, he was whining as loud as possible, pulling, and barking. The class lasted and hour and that was all he did. The other dogs were completely fine. They barked only twice and never whined. It was so embarrassing. After the class, the trainer told us we might need private classes. I have never been so mortified. I need my dog to be calm around other dogs and not pull. What do I do?
Hello Michelle, When your dog is reactive towards other dogs it can feel very embarrassing. Please know that you are not alone though. I work with a lot of clients in person who have reactive dogs, and everyone feels embarrassed about their dog's behavior, especially when they are around calmer dogs. It's a very common problem. The first thing I would suggest is to take that trainer up on their suggestion of a private session, if that is an option for you. You may want to find a different trainer though, who will not make you feel embarrassed. I suggest Private training, not because you cannot solve it on your own, but simply because it will be significantly easier to work on those types of issues if you have some experienced helping you. If you choose to find someone to help you, I would suggest looking for someone with experience in dealing with aggressive and reactive dogs. Not because I think that your dog is aggressive, but because someone with that type of experience will probably be skilled enough to help you get the best results. Some trainers who only teach classes are less experienced than what you need, since they deal less with behavior problem and more with teaching obedience skills. With that said, there are a couple of things that you can do on your own also. First, work on teaching your dog general obedience, such as a structured Heel, like the focused type that you would see a police dog doing. Teach a long Down Stay, a Sit Stay, Attention, how to stay in Place for a long time, and any other obedience skills that you would like to teach, that require your dog to exert self-control or to focus on you. After your dog learns those commands, have him practice them to learn things form you through the day, such as sitting to earn his dinner, laying down before being petted, heeling to get to progress in his walk, paying attention before you take him outside. Teaching these commands will not only help you communicate with your dog when he is reacting to another dog, but even more importantly, it will build respect. He needs to build respect toward you. He is likely reacting to other dogs for some other reason, but the more he respects you, the more he will allow you to handle the interactions with the other dogs, and will follow your leadership and instruction. He is probably reacting for a couple of reasons. The first is excitement, the second is a lack of socialization. This is assuming that he has never shown any real aggression towards other dogs. I am guessing that he has not based on your description. Other dogs are probably exciting to him, but he may not have ever learned proper canine manners. When puppies interact with other dogs while growing up, in an ideal setting the other dogs will give the puppy feedback and teach him how he should act, and what is not acceptable. The puppy learns to control himself, and to be polite. In the wrong circumstances a puppy can learn the wrong things, such as how to bully, or if not around enough other social dogs and puppies while growing up, he may not learn how to behave around dogs at all. Most people with reactive dogs have this problem. If your puppy has never been around many other well socialized dogs, and not all dogs will properly teach this, then other dogs are also extremely exciting. If he is reactive because he never learned proper manners around other dogs while young, then it will be important to bring him around other dogs and make the presence of other dogs boring. To do this, go somewhere with other dogs, but stay far enough away from the dogs for your dog to remain relatively calm still. Work on having your dog do things for you while in the presence of those other dogs. Things such as a structured heel, a long Down Stay, Come, Sit, Attention, or a game of Fetch that is structured, meaning that your dog must Sit, bring the ball to you, drop the ball for you, and focus on you. When your dog looks at the other dogs and then looks back at you, praise him and offer him a treat. It is OK to discipline your dog in a fair way to interrupt poor behavior, but the goal should be to reward your dog for being calm, and to teach him an acceptable way to behave after you interrupt his bad behavior. Discipline does not have to be physically painful, the best discipline is simply something that your dog considers unpleasant, that interrupts his behavior long enough for him to be open to being shown what to do instead. Some dogs consider the word "No" alone to be discipline, others consider turning and walking away from something they want to go see discipline. Think of it like telling your dog "Don't do that" then "Do this instead". Lastly, if you have friends with calm dogs who will help you. Then work on teaching your dog how to approach other dogs calmly. To do this, have your friend go somewhere, such as the middle of a park, and stand still with their dog. Let your dog see them from a distance. If your dog remains calm, walk past them at that distance. Reward your dog for looking at you and for remaining calm. If your dog barks, stand in front of him and block his view until he stops, or turn around and walk in the opposite direction. When he is calm again reward him by moving closer again. Practice this until you can walk right past them. Expect this to take time and work. The idea is to get gradually closer, to reward your dog every time that he is calm or paying attention to you, and to stop or walk away whenever he reacts badly. This is to teach him that the way to get to where he wants, where the other dog is, is to act respectful and calm. When he can walk all the way up to the other dog calmly, then have the two dogs walk side by side for a while. After that you can let them stop and sniff for three seconds, before continuing your walk. The reason the interaction while standing is short is to prevent the chance of a dog fight if your dog acts rudely, and to keep your dog calm, so that your dog will learn that other dogs are boring. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We have a lot of trouble with Jimmy in the car. He is happy to get in but when we are driving he drools and licks the upholstery and doors. As he is happy to get in we don't think he's scared, but somehow overwrought about it all. We have tried rewards when he sits still etc but he seems to be getting worse not better.
Hello Crissi, It sounds like Jimmy is nervous. He is not necessarily afraid but more excitedly nervous. Your goal should be to make car trips as boring as possible. He also needs to lay down when you are moving because the drooling is a possible sign of nauseousness, which can be brought on by nervousness. Laying down will also make the trip calmer and more boring for him. Do not skip the laying down part. First, have him get into the car while it is turned off at home and practice a Down-Stay. The closer to the floor he rides the better, but he may not be able to fit on your floorboards, so the middle row of your seats or your seats folded down will also work. Practice the down-Stay with moderately exciting treats, not super exciting ones. Do this for a few minutes everyday to desensitize him to being in the car as well as teach him to lay down. After a week or so of doing that, if he seems relaxed while in the car while it is off, then move onto turning the car on and practice the Down-Stay with the car on. After that, recruit an assistant to drive. Sit with Jimmy and enforce his Down-Stay while your assistant drives around the block. Practice this until he seems calmer while riding in the car. When he can ride in the car calmly, then take him to further locations where he does not get out of the car or only gets out briefly. Good places to take him are the pharmacy, grocery store, or post office when two people are going and one person can sit in the car with him while it is running while the other person goes in the store. You can also just take him for a drive to nowhere in particular. When you are by yourself, purchase a back-clip harness made for car riding, or at least padded, and a seat belt tether and tether him so that he is comfortably laying down and cannot move. By this point he should know to lay down during rides, but you want the harness to enforce it so that you do not have to when you are by yourself and focusing on the road. When he can handle normal trips around town without acting nervous, then continue to take him with you to boring places when you can, but you can go back to bringing him with you to more exciting places also. If he was previously only going to places he disliked, like the Vet or groomers, then his issue likely is fear and he needs to go to more pleasant places, in addition to the boring locations at first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We rescued Riggs a year ago and he is, for the most part, a wonderful dog. He loves people, he maybe gets a little too excited when someone new enters the house but no one seems to mind. Where we have difficulty is his behavior towards other dogs. When we first got him he got very excited when he seen any other dog. He would pull/lunge/bark. Sometimes he seemed playful, other times he seemed aggressive. When we walk him, we have sort of trained him to look at us whenever he sees a dog and he gets a treat. This works most of the time (in the park mostly). Problems arise when he sees big dogs or dogs running or even dogs with big wagging tails. On a narrow road (e.g on the way to the park) any dog is problematic (especially one golden retriever which he can smell from a mile away - doesn't even have to see it and he is at his most aggressive to this one dog). He gets really excited/agitated and starts breathing deeply and lunges/barks. When this happens it's difficult to get his focus back on me. The best we can do is walk away from the other dog(s). But what about the times when we are not walking or when there is nowhere else to go but straight past the dog? There are times when my other half and I have stopped at a cafe outside and had Riggs with us. Whenever another dog either walks past or comes to the cafe Riggs barks like crazy and nothing I can do gets his attention back on me. This has resulted in us having to leave the cafe and often causes a big scene as his bark is so loud for such a little dog. It's the same in our garden whenever someone walks past the fence, with or without a dog. Or, worst of all: when he's in the car and sees a dog. He goes absolutely crazy in the car and remains that way even if the dog is 2 miles away. We try using the same technique that appears to work on his walks, which is: he sees a dog, straight away (while calm) I praise him and give him a treat. When we are in a cafe or even the garden, he seems to go deaf and ignores me completely. Any advice?
Hello Ciaran, It sounds like Riggs would benefit from attending a G.R.O.W.L. class. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for dogs that are dog reactive or dog aggressive but have never caused another dog serious harm. This class gets these dogs together while they are wearing muzzles and works on socializing them and working through their dog issues quickly under the leadership of a qualified trainer. If you can find one in your area I would highly recommend attending one with him. If there is not a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, then I would recommend taking Riggs to a training facility where there are a lot of dogs present. A place where they can either have Riggs wear a muzzle or let him see other dogs through a glass or fencing and rapidly address his responses around other dogs, correcting his outbursts and disrespect toward the person he is with and creating a positive association around other dogs when he is calm. Look for a trainer who utilizes both fair corrections and positive reinforcement because he will need both for his behavior problem. In addition to dealing with his frustration around other dogs, Riggs needs to learn more respect and trust for you. He needs to let you lead in situations involving other dogs and not take control himself. The final option that may work but will take more time is to hire a trainer to come to your home and do one-on-one socialization sessions with Riggs and another dog while Riggs is on a leash and wearing a muzzle. The reason for the muzzle is Riggs needs to be able to get close to another dog at some point to effectively deal with the aggression. The muzzle will allow him to get close without risking harm to another dog, and it will allow you to reward or correct his response to the other dog. You will want a soft silicone basket muzzle for this. A basket muzzle will have holes that are large enough to pass treats through and it will allow him to open his mouth inside the muzzle. You can go ahead and get him used to wearing a muzzle by feeding him his dinner or breakfast and treats, one piece at a time while he interacts with the muzzle. Show him the muzzle and give him a treat whenever he sniffs it or touches it. Touch the muzzle to him and give him a treat. Place the muzzle on him and give him a treat. Hold the muzzle on his face for longer and give him two treats, a few seconds apart. Finally, put the muzzle on him completely and feed him treats through the muzzle's holes while he wears it and then take it off again. Do this gradually over a couple of weeks. When he can wear the muzzle and seems happy and comfortable while it is on, then he is ready to wear it for training. Aggression and reactivity are difficult behaviors to tackle on your own. When you search for a trainer look for one with experience and success dealing with reactivity and aggression. Not all trainers are educated and experienced in it. You will need an environment with a lot of other dogs present to train in. You will also need someone your dog seems to trust and seems to respect. If you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area that will be the cheapest option and should help greatly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Riley is pretty uneasy around males and dogs and will bark and snap at them. I'm in a fairly sociable apartment and need to train her to be a little more social
Hello Myles, Check out the video linked below by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression and reactive dogs. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A You will need a lot of different men to help you practice this with him, practicing with one person at a time. I suggest working with a trainer who is extensively experienced with aggression and works with several other male trainers so that the various men can practice the training with him as well. Work on building his confidence in general. Practice obedience commands in a calm way, especially structured commands like heel, stay, watch me, sit, and down. Practice boundaries around the house, like respecting your space while going through doors, following you in a heel during a walk (and not being past your leg or pulling), and commands like off and other basic house hold manners things. You can also build confidence through things like agility courses, where he has to overcome obstacles and teaching him new things often. For the dogs, look to see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area that you can attend. That class is for dogs who are reactive or aggressive toward other dogs. All the dogs wear muzzle's in the class for safely and are socialized together and worked through their fears in the class with the help of their owners and the trainer. You can get him used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle ahead of time so that that part is not stressful. At mealtimes use his kibble (in a bag measured out not reaching into his bowl). First, sprinkle it around the muzzle until he is comfortable with it. Next, give him a piece of food every time that he touches the muzzle while you are holding it. When he is comfortable with that, hold the muzzle up and hold pieces of treats inside the muzzle through the holes so that he has to poke his head inside a bit to get the food. Practice until he is comfortable with that. Work up to him putting his head further and further into the muzzle to get treats and up to him holding his face in the muzzle for longer and longer while being given treats through the holes. Once he is comfortable having his face in the muzzle for several seconds, buckle the muzzle, feed him several treats, then take it off again. Gradually work up to him wearing it for longer and longer and eventually spacing the treats further and further apart until he is relaxed while wearing it around. Expect this to take at least a couple of weeks. Go slowly enough that he has time to get used to the current level of interaction with the muzzle before you move onto the next part. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She gets out of control when seeing other dogs. It is as if she wants to go after them, barks & screeches.
Is absolutely wonderful with people.
Hello Lynn, If Halia does well with dogs while off-leash, then the aggression might be due to frustration on the leash and working on focus on you, rewarding her for attention and obedience, and decreasing the stress should help. If she does not do well with dogs up close either, then she is likely aggressive due to either dominance, fear, or a lack of socialization, which is similar to fear. Since she screeches it is probably fear or socialization related. If you can find one in your area, I would highly recommend attending a G.R.O.W.L. class with her. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class where all of the dogs are muzzled for safety and they are socialized and trained up close together under a trainer's instruction to quickly help them get over their fears and learn to react differently. If you look up Sirius Dog Training, Ian Dunbar, or G.R.O.W.L. Class and your city you may be able to find such a class in your city. If you cannot find the class or would prefer one on one training, then I would recommend hiring a professional trainer to help you. Look for someone who has access to a training facility with several friendly dogs on property where the trainer can get Halia around a lot of other dogs and work on her fear and her response in a quicker amount of time than you could in your neighborhood. Teach her a command like "Watch Me" that means look at me. Work on heavily rewarding her for obeying that command. When you start to approach another dog, give her that command and reward her for focusing on you. Also reward her for normally looking at you when another dog is present even if you have not told her to. Reward her for looking at the dog and staying calm, looking at the dog and then back at you, and generally being calm. You want to make the presence of another dog pleasant for her and also encourage focus on you instead of that dog. Go to places with a lot of space, like the park, where you can control how far she is from other dogs and train where she is close enough to notice the other dogs but far enough away to still look at you for treats and stay a bit calm with your help. All of this will go much faster if you attend a G.R.O.W.L. class or hire a trainer who has access to other dogs to help you. Getting her around other friendly, polite dogs while she is wearing a silicone muzzle can also help if you have a trainer there to show you how to train her responses to the other dog. If it is done wrong if may lead to worse problems though, so do that under the supervision of a trainer. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have a handsome, playful and intelligent pup named Scout. I rescued him a little over a month ago. He is very calm and well mannered and extremely blessed to see that in a puppy. He comes to work with me daily and has been socializing with the other dogs at work. The first few weeks I kept him on leash and trained with positive reinforcement that he needs to be calm while I am working at my desk or styling on set (I work in the photo studio as a stylist). He learned quickly and I’ve recently let him go off leash in the studio as I felt comfortable with him roaming and entertaining himself but always near by. He will always end up back in his bed and remains calm. I also have been letting him off leash as we go in to the studio as he has been responding well with the command “Come”. He has a routine right before work he will get out of the car and play with another dog. This other dog typically plays fetch with its owner and Scout loves running with her. They’re pretty good pals I would have to say. However he is recently displaying odd behavior and I would love your input on the following -
1. As he is a puppy, he does have his spurts of excitement and will bark at other dogs when he wants to play. It seems to always be at the dogs who don’t immediately want wresting with him. It’s very cute at first and friends of mines who have calm dogs are patient but his barking is becoming more excessive and white frankly, loud and annoying. I would love for him to learn to be calm around all dogs and learn to know when it’s appropriate to play/wrestle.
2. Similar to the above, there is one dog in particular in the studio that he seems to play bark at often. I have tried to redirect him and let him approach in a more calm manner but i know I definitely need to be more consistent with that training. However, now Scout has been showing signs of jealousy. He has a bone and if the other dog takes it, he will go up to him and bark at him wanting it. But then he also wants the other dogs bone as well. I want him to learn how to share.
3. On our walks he is always distracted by other dogs. If one approaches our way, he does well with the greet. There are a few times where he does get overly excited in the approach but I wonder if there’s a correlation with the amount of excercise he had that day. It’s been very hot, high 90s, so i have been cautious on preventing and overheating. So he does get too bored when he doesn’t go on his typically legnthy walks. I would love for him, again, to always be calm when greeting dogs no matter the situation.
4. The latter of the above in dog distraction is when he sees a dog in a distance he will stop and stare. He does that when he sees other people in a distance. He doesn’t bark or pull. He did whimper once. Very cute at first but I want him to not be that distracted and listen to my command “Focus” so we can continue the walk.
Any input here would be extremely appreciated!! Thank you in advance!
Hello Amanda, It sounds like you are doing a great job with Scout so far. Scout is five months old which means he is transitioning out of being a baby puppy and into being a teenager essentially. With that transition comes more energy, more boldness, willfulness, and independence, and more dominant behaviors as he tries to figure out who is in charge in each social interaction. They are all developmental and hormonal related changes. My first bit of advice is try not to get discouraged when you see new behavior issues crop up. He will need training to get through them but they are normal at this age. Also be patient, training him might be a bit harder and take more patience during this phase. You may not feel like you are seeing results right away as much as when he was a puppy. Stay the course, keep training and that will improve as he matures more during the next six months. Now, as far as the specific issues. The barking is excitement and frustration related. Essentially he wants to play but when another dog won't, he gets frustrated and tries different things to coerce the other dog into playing. He hasn't learned all about canine manners yet because of his age and experience. He needs more opportunities to practice his obedience exercises with other dogs in the background, without playing with the other dogs. Playing with other dogs is good for learning bite inhibition and certain social interactions, especially puppies, but if that is the majority of his interactions with dogs as he gets older it can lead to reactivity and over-excitement around other dogs. Make sure that you balance play with structured obedience around other dogs. Go places like outside dog parks and practice your training in the grass where he cannot get to the other dogs but can still see them. Work at a distance that is a little distracting but not so stimulating that he cannot focus back on you. Work him fast so that he does not have time to look around if he is struggling to focus. An example of this would be doing heeling exercises where you walk fast and turn at ninety degree angles quickly and often so that he really has to pay attention to you, or giving him a series of commands one after another and rewarding him after he does a few different things in a row. When he is more focused back on you, then you can work on harder stationary exercises like watching you and stay. Joining a class like a Canine Good Citizen class would probably benefit him, then he could be around a lot of other dogs while working on obedience but practice ignoring them rather than playing. When you do let him play with another dog give him a command like "Sit" first and wait until he obeys. When he obeys, then give him a command like "Go Play" and let him go play. Do this whenever you want him to greet another dog so that he also learns that he can only play if given permission. Also periodically call the dogs away from one another and reward them for coming. Keep them on long leashes dragging on the ground at first if they will not come when you call. Go grab the end of the leash and reel him in if he does not come. Once he comes, have him sit, reward him, and then let him play again. You want him to learn better self-control during play and to convince him that the quickest way to keep doing what he wants is to obey you really quickly. Focus most on obedience around other dogs opposed to play though. You can continue to let him play. It is also good for him, but keep it more structured and add way more opportunities to work on calm interactions so that being around other dogs and not playing is the norm. When Guide dogs are trained they play and learn social interaction with other puppies when young. When they get older they are socialized around a lot of other dogs still but the interactions are mostly calm at that point so that they will continue to like other dogs but will be bored around them and calm most of the time. They are constantly around other dogs but do not expect to play with them. They simply expect to hang out with them. Other dogs become no big deal. Teach him the "Quiet" command for the barking, so that he understands what to do instead of barking at the other dog. You might also want to teach him an "Out" command, which means leave the area, and a "Leave It" command. When he starts to get worked up with the other dog interrupt him with a mild correction to snap him out of it and refocus him, give him a command to do instead, and then reward him for his obedience. If he starts to offer that good behavior without being told, then reward his automatic good behavior so that he will repeat it on his own more often. To teach him to share you simply need to be the mediator between the two dogs. Tell him to leave the other dogs things alone after you have taught him "Leave It", and if he tries to sneak up to the other dog and take his things, stand between the two dogs, command your dog "Out" and firmly walk toward him until he leaves the area where the dog is. Your attitude should mean business but still be patient and calm. Blocking him from the other dog and making him leave the area by enforcing your "Out" command with your body communicates a request for space. Dogs tend to understand body language really well. If he tries to go around you or goes right back to the dog, repeat walking toward him until you can back up away from him again and he will not come toward you and the other dog but will stay out of that area. When you want him to be able to go over there again, tell him "Okay". This will take time to teach but if you are consistent he should gradually learn overtime. Make your rules that he cannot take another dog's bone and he cannot act aggressively if another dog tries to take his. If another dog takes his bone, then you be the one to get it and give it back to him so that he will not feel like he has to. If another dog is not respecting his space or items and you feel safe doings so, then walk toward the other dog calmly until that dog leaves him alone also. Essentially be the rule maker and rule enforcer so that your dog and any other dog will not have to. You want to be the leader so that the dogs will not fight for that position. Be safe while doing all of this though because the other dogs are not your own. Do not put yourself in a position with someone else's dog that could get you bitten. Get that dog's owner's help and explain what you are trying to accomplish by requesting their help in a diplomatic way if you need help. Overall learning to focus on you will come with obedience practice around distractions. He needs a lot of practice obeying you around other dogs without playing with the other dogs at that time. For example, practice going to a ball game at a local park and simply laying down near dog and rewarding him for his long down stay periodically. Work on making other dogs boring by exposing him to lots of them during obedience training practice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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He listens and behaves at home and on the leash 95% of the time,but once we get to the dog park it’s totally different. For the most part the dogs that are bigger or the same size as him play and get along fairly well. It’s the little dogs/puppies that he gets overly excited with and can get kind of aggressive and sometimes growls and barks. I believe he is just a very vocal dog when playing, but don’t know how to stop that and attacking small dogs. The longer we are there and the more tired he gets he calms down and listens a lot better. It’s just getting to be a lot with him not listening, acting aggressive, being so vocal when wanting to play and embarrassing for me. It also make me sad cause some of the owners refer to him as the aggressive dog. I don’t think he is purposely being aggressive but it just comes out like that. I think he just really wants to play/wrestle but can’t always seem to control his actions.
Hello Amber, Spend time taking him to the dog park but stay outside the park where he can see the other dogs but cannot interact, and working on his obedience on a long leash attached to a safe harness that he cannot escape from. He needs to practice his obedience around other dogs on a leash and a safe place to do that is outside of a dog park or at a regular park with dogs present in the background. Inside the dog park it is not safe to use food or to have him on a leash, because those things can lead to fights. For now, he needs to not be going in the dog park because the uncontrolled interactions that dog parks facilitate will make his issue worse. Instead work on his obedience on a long leash around other dogs. Also reward him for being calm when he is around other dogs by practicing that on a long leash too. If you have any friends with well socialized dogs who can handle his energy, then get together with those friends and their dogs, one dog at a time, in a fenced in area, or go to the dog park at a time when no one else is at the dog park if you do not have your own yards. Work on your dogs obedience and focus on your while the two dogs play together. Go back and forth between letting the dog's play and calling them back to yourselves. Practice the dogs' down, sit, come, stay, watch me, heel, and leave it commands around each other. When the dogs are calm again give them permission to play some more by telling them "Go Play" or "Say Hi". Arlo would probably benefit from attending an intermediate obedience class where he can practice commands on a long leash around other dogs without getting to play with those dogs. Practicing that should help him become more bored with the other dogs while getting good socialization still. It will help him learn to focus on you more in the presence of other dogs also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Eli walks well on a leash when it's walk time...but when we walk to the off leash park with her toy(ball or frizbee) she pulls on the leash til she is almost choking herself. We walk her around in a circle and get her to sit and she calms down but as soon as we restart our walk to the park she starts pulling again?
Hello Elaine, This is very normal. Eli has a basic obedience level of heeling. She needs more practice around distractions in order to heel around other dogs at an intermediate obedience level. Go to the dog park and stay outside the fence, where she can see the other dogs but not get to them. Practice her heeling and obedience regularly there. Do this often until she is able to focus on you and heel around the other dogs while outside the dog park. This will help her learn to be calm at the dog park, to focus on you around other dogs, and to gain the self-control necessary to heel around exciting distractions. Follow the "Turns" method from the article that I have linked below while you are right outside the dog park with her. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Right when she starts to move her head past your leg turn directly in front of her at a ninety degree angle. Stay far enough back from the other dogs for her to be able to pay at least partial attention to you at first. As she improves, practice this closer and closer to the other dogs who are behind the fence. Let her movement be her reward. If she stays beside you, she gets to get closer to the dogs. If she pulls, turn in front of her and walk her in the other direction. Don't expect her to get to the dog park for a while while you are practicing this, since you will be turning away from the dog park whenever she pulls. Your goal is not to make it to the dog park right now but to teach her to follow you around distractions. You will be walking in a lot of random lines and circles practicing this and that is fine. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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So my dog, Sheeba, is extremely sweet. She's a rescue & loves people, loves to cuddle, and is usually very quiet. However she has a lot of anxiety around other dogs. She's very overwhelmed when we take her for walks. She freaks out at the sight of other dogs and starts crying, hyperventilating. If she gets close she seems docile but then tries to lunge for them aggressively. She's freaked. And we live in the city and don't know any dog owners, so we have no one to expose her to. Any tips?
Hello Emily, There are a couple of things you can do. The first is to find a trainer who has a physical training facility that board and trains dogs and does private training sessions at that facility also if requested. You also want someone who has a space at the facility where she can be twenty or more feet from another dog to see the dog from a distance while you and the trainer work with her. The idea will be to train her at that location around a variety of dogs starting with less distractions and gradually building up as she gets more comfortable. You want her to get to the point where other dogs are boring, not overly exciting or scary. A well qualified trainer should help you be able to do that. The second option is to find a location in your city where dogs frequent that has a decent amount of space. Somewhere like Central park in New York, Piedmont park in Atlanta, or a grassy area in view of but at least one-hundred feet away from a local dog park's fence. Go to the location with her favorite treats, favorite toys, a six foot leash, and a back-clip harness that she cannot wiggle out of and a long twenty to thirty foot leash. Work on her obedience commands one after the other fast and focused. Reward her with treats and games for focusing on you and being in the presence of other dogs and for showing any signs of relaxation around the other dogs. Watch her body language to tell if she is relaxing. Practice around other dogs until she begins to notice the other dogs less. You will need to start far enough away from the other dogs for her to be interested in playing with you and be able to listen to your commands. You will need to be focused on her and energetic to keep her attention on you at first. As she improves, gradually get closer to the other dogs one foot at a time. Take this slow. It might take her several weeks or months to get truly relaxed and very close. Do not let other dogs greet her yet. Explain that Sheeba is working on aggression briefly if an owner asks to let her dog greet, or simply tell her you are in training and don't want her distracted. You can also get her a vest that says "In Training" if you are worried about other dogs and owners coming over to say hi too soon. It is important to work on a variety of commands while you are practicing her training at the park to keep her interest. The best single command out of all of them to practice in the presence of other dogs while doing all of this is a struct, fast "Heel" though. You can learn how to teach her that by following one of the methods from the article that I have linked below. Make sure you require her head to be beside your leg or behind it, and not at all in front for this exercise. You can initially teach her the "Heel" command without any dogs around with any of the methods but while around dogs focus on the "Turns" method, the "Treat Lure" method, or a combination of the two. Here is the article for teaching "Heel". https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi there! About 1 month ago, we adopted Mabel, a 1-1.5 yr old pitty mix. She and her little sister Milly (9 month old mutt) get along well in our home, but when Mabel sees another dog, she barks quite a bit, lunges, and appears to act aggressively (growling, etc...). We know she has met other dogs before (after chatting with her foster mom) and has done well, although I don't know the details. My goal is not only to help her to be non-reactive to other dogs, but to greet them and interact with them politely. Thanks in advance for your help! - Brigitte
Hello Brigitte, It sounds like Mabel has leash reactivity. It's a bit different than aggression because leash reactivity is caused by frustration. Most dogs with true leash reactivity are fine with other dogs off leash. If she truly is alright up close with other dogs, then teach her a really focused "Heel", "Watch Me", "Down", "Leave It", and "Sit". "Heel" is the most important command you will need so focus the most on that one. Go to places with lots of space and other dogs, that you can control how close you get to the other dogs. Practice heeling with the other dogs in the background. Make the heeling exercise very interesting and fast paced. Change directions, change speed, cut in front of her when she starts to move her head at all past your knee. Reward her for focusing on you, looking at a dog and not reacting, looking at a dog and then back to you, and ignoring other dogs. Also, reward her right when she sees another dog, before she has a chance to react poorly. Timing is important for that last one. You have to be quick. The goal is to make other dogs boring and to pair the presence of other dogs with focus on you and pleasant things like treats, and obedience work. As she improves, you can gradually practice close to the other dogs. If you find that she has actual aggression issues toward other dogs, then I suggest finding a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, which is a class for aggressive dogs who are muzzled in class and socialized with one another in a controlled environment with owners and trainer teaching them. If you cannot find a G.R.O.W.L. class, then a training group that has a lot of other dogs on property and works with aggression, who can desensitize her around lots of other dogs on property, showing you what to do, will be far quicker than doing it one dog at a time on your own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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When I’m am walking with max or another small dog comes inside my house because he is mainly around small dogs he does not know anything about personal space soo he would run up to them and forgets he’s a bigger dog and would start to jump around and would make the smaller dogs nervous and cause them to snap or run away and also he would do this thing with his paw.
Hello Nina, That may improve with age, but I would suggest also teaching him an "Out" command and a "settle down" command. To teach him to settle down practice playing with him and getting him excited and then freezing and becoming boring and telling him in soft-calm voice to settle down. As soon as he calms down, give him a treat calmly, tell him okay, and then let him play some more. The idea is to work on his ability to get himself under control quickly during times of excitement. Practice this often or it won't help. Use the "Out" command to tell him when to get out of another dog's space and calm down. When he is calm again, then tell him to "say hi". If he does not get out of that dog's space, then step in front of him and calmly but firmly walk toward him until he backs away and calms down for a moment. When you are ready for him to go over to the dog again, tell him okay or "say hi" again. The goal is to teach him self-control by helping him practice it through his choice to obey. To teach the "Out" command go to a calm location without other dogs. Call him over to you. Tell him "Out" while you point and toss a treat a few feet away. Use bigger treats for this at first so that he can see them. When he walks away to go to the treat praise him. After he eats it tell him "Okay!" And encourage him to come back to you. Repeat the out and treat tossing. Practice all of this until he will go to where you point when you say "Out" before you toss the treat. When he will do that, then toss him one when he is out, where you pointed. After he understands that the out word means get out of an area, then practice it in different areas of the house randomly. If he does not listen, then walk toward him and herd him out of the area with your body until he is where you pointed to. When he is where he should be, then slowly walk backwards to where you told him out from. If he tries to follow you tell him "Out" again and walk toward him again. Repeat this until he stays out of that area until he is told "okay". When you tell him out he does not have to stay right where you pointed, he can sit, walk off, or lay down, but he cannot come back into the area you told him to get out of until you say it is okay. Practice "Out" around a lot of distractions he wants to get to like the kitchen or people before you expect him to obey it around dogs. If he has ever shown signs of aggression toward you, then get professional help training him. Do not teach this on your own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our little Jackapoo is 16 weeks old and has been to puppy socialising since we got her at 11 weeks so has been well socialised.
When we meet other dogs, she often jumps up at their faces and a lot of dogs really don't like it so we pull her away and just keep telling her to be nice. She's a lot smaller than most dogs we meet so I thought she was jumping up so she could reach their noses but even when they bend down to sniff her she still tries to nip them (playfully) and jump up. She also, sometimes, does these horrible gremlin sounding noises when she eventually finds a dog that does want to play and I can never tell whether it's a playing noise or an aggressive noise.
She is honestly the most lively dog I've ever met, full of energy all the time and I just wish I knew how to calm her down, especially around new dogs!
Hello Steph, First of all when she makes the gremlin noises does she play bow first? Is her body tense? Or wiggly and her muscles relaxed? Growling and making noises during play is very normal for a lot of dogs, especially young dogs. The way to tell whether or not the dog is playing is to look for a play bow, where the dog lowers the front of their body to the floor like she is taking a bow. Anything that follows right after the play bow is typically just play fighting. If she doesn't bow, then watch her body language. Dogs that are about to fight often get tense. Their tails stiffen. They may wag but it is a tense quick wag, not a relaxed loose wag. They often flatten their ears, the hair on their back may stand up, and they either cower or stand very tall and look large. Generally they just look like they might explode at any second and their muscles are stiff. There might be staring or a raised lip but those two things can be play if she gives a play bow right before. Like play fighting. If you decide she is playing based on those descriptions, then when she meets another dog have her do a command like sit first so that her attention is on you. When she is behaving herself then tell her to "Say Hi" and let her greet. If she jumps up, tell her "Ah Ah", "Out", and step toward her to make her back away from the dog. When she calms down again, tell her "okay" and "Say Hi" and let her try again. If she does not jump, then praise her. When she plays with other puppies let them interact off leash in a fence if they get along well, but supervise their play and give them boundaries to help them learn manners. Have her sit and wait until you tell her "Say Hi" before she plays. When the puppies seem to be getting too worked up or one puppy looks like he is being bullied or not having fun. Step between the puppies and tell them "Out", then take them apart and do some obedience like sit with treat rewards to get their focus back on you, help them calm down, and teach them to want to pay attention to you even during the middle of play. When the puppies are calmer again, then let the puppy that looked like he was getting overwhelmed go, and see if he goes over to the other puppy to initiate play. If he does, then you can let both puppies play again after telling the second puppy "Say Hi" again. Have regular play sessions like this when you can. At this age two or three puppies playing together in your own yards would be idea for the training part. See if you can find a friend with a puppy under seven months of age, or reach out to someone from your previous puppy class for ongoing socialization. Continuing to attend a puppy social hour would be fine too as long as it is structured and teaching the puppies manners instead of just a free for all at this point. Puppies tend to need more structure and manners training as they get close to four to six months of age. When she has not been told "Say Hi" she should not be allowed to greet other dogs, but should start to learn to focus on you and be calm. You want other dogs to be boring while she is on a walk or out in public with you and it is not play time. Work on taking her to places with other dogs and doing obedience with her, and if she starts to get distracted by the dogs, give her a command. If she disobeys it, gently correct her and insist that she obeys by blocking her view, practicing her heel quickly to get her attention on you, or showing her how to do the command with gentle pressure. When she obeys, reward her. When she looks at another dog and stays calm or looks at you, then reward her with several treats for making such a good choice. Pay attention to her body language and reward her happily and calmly for being calm around other dogs. It is wonderful that you have spent so much time socializing Tilly. Keep up the good work and make sure she continues to get around people in a positive way also. Especially as you enter into puppy adolescence. If you see other new behaviors crop up at this age, try not to be discouraged and simply work through them with consistency and training. Four to six months of age is the beginning of puppy adolescence where you may see more energy and boundary testing with their mental grown, hormones, and new found independent streak. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I do not believe that my dog is aggresssive however when out for walks other dogs seem terrifed of him and he reels up and barks, as you can guess from the breed of him he is very strong and I cannot control him when he starts to bark and go forward towards another dog. In the house he is calm, relaxed and well behaved. This is becoming a real issue as I'm dreading taking him out and I don't want to at all which isn't fair on him as he needs exercise. Please help.
Hello Catherine, It sounds like Samson probably has what is called leash reactivity. If he does well with dogs off leash and has never actually attacked another dog up-close, then he is likely reactive and not aggressive. Reactivity is more about disrespect, a lack of self-control, and being overly excited or worked up. He is being very rude toward you by puling you and is not following your leadership. It's great that he is generally well behaved at other times. That will hopefully make the leash reactivity training go faster. First, check out this video on how to introduce one of the tools you will need. It also explains why this tool is more effective for certain dogs. Introducing collar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nf0bA9sudM Here is a video on how to put the collar on properly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3iczULPcdE Second, check out the video that I have linked below and practice the general manners and the calm, consistent attitude displayed in that video. That will help to establish a foundation of respect between you and your dog, which will make the leash reactivity training more effective. Establishing respect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXLPwyKEjHI Next, check out this video to learn how to respond to and prevent his bad leash behavior and to practice leash walks around other dogs. This video uses a "Pet Convincer" to interrupt the bad behavior and get focus off of the other dogs. A pet convincer is simply a small spray canister of unscented normal air. Leash walking past dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmRPxTqeSNQ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog behaves really bad around other dogs. He starts growling the moment the appear. Everything goes out the door. He starts lunging and throwing himself forward. I tried bringing treats but he disregards them when he sees another pet. After a few times of this it has made me very anxious to take him on walks which I know causes him to feel anxious. He doesnt listen to me, how can I get control back so I can have a peaceful walk? My female dal also comes and is starting to copy him with growling and lunging when she used to not do that as well. Please help
Hello Maribel, I would highly recommend hiring a professional local trainer to help you. Aggression can be a complex issue and takes addressing a few areas. The underlying aggression issue needs to be addressed at the root. To manage his behavior during the walk, check out this video from SolidK9Training. A dog trainer who specializes in aggressive dog training. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGofhEc1YPg He also has a lot of other videos talking about aggression in general. I would again highly suggest finding a trainer who has a lot of experience dealing with aggression to help you address the root issue. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is very skittish with other people and barks when they get too close. with other dogs her hair stands up exactly when she sees them we have two tiny dogs and she is fine with them but when she sees other dogs she pulls back and runs away agressivelly
Hello Satin, Unique needs to be exposed to as many people and dogs as possible. Recruit as many people as you can to toss her treats from a distance. Whenever she is calm have the toss several at a time, to really reward her. Take her places where there are other dogs at a distance and work on lots of obedience with her in that environment. Practice heel, sit, and down with lots of energy and focus on you. Reward her heavily while you do this so that she forgets about the other dogs in the background. Whenever she notices another dog, give her several treats and act like it's a party. You want her to associate other dogs and people will wonderful things. Do this as often as you can. Every day would be ideal, but do it as often as you can. When she can handle interactions with people from further away while they toss treats, then practice having people hand feed her treats when she is relaxed and ready to approach. Let her decide when to interact. If she is likely to bite, then get her used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle by feeding her pieces of her meals, one piece at a time every time that she touches, interacts with, or lets you hold the muzzle against her. You can feed her treats through the muzzle holes while you hold it up against her also, when she is ready for that much contact. Have her wear the muzzle during interactions with people, and let those people dip a straw in peanut butter, soft cheese, or liver paste and poke it through the muzzle's holes for her to lick as a reward. I highly suggest hiring a trainer to help you implement all of this. German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are both very powerful, protective breeds, and tend to be very suspicious around strangers if they are not thoroughly socialized starting from when they are eight weeks old and continuing throughout their lives. If Unique has not been around a lot of other people and dogs, then she has a lot of catching up to do on socialization, and the sooner you start the more likely she is to recover. If you don't socialize her and haven't been up to this point, then you could have a dog that is very difficult later on. It may not be too late though, work hard on it now to help her learn while she is still young. It is very normal for a dog to get along with the dogs that he grew up with and not other dogs, just as a dog that only grows up with two people will like those two people but be afraid of strangers. Unique needs to have pleasant experiences with or around at least a hundred different people and dogs. She does not have to meet all of those dogs, but you want the experience of the other dog being around to be positive with training and treats involved. The interactions with people do need to be interactive though, since people will be in her life far more than other dogs will be daily. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi! I just recently adopted a husky and am having an issue trying to teach her to calmly approach other dogs instead of jumping and wanting to play bite. She loves to play, but I know not all dogs are okay with her jumping on them. I live in a condo complex, so elevator rides can be stressful when other dogs get on. I want her to be friendly and to learn while I can still easily control her. She is small at the moment so I can handle her. I was going to go to a dog park and keep her on a leash, but I am not sure the best way to handle it. She gets along really well with my own dog, is it possible to use him to train her? I do not know anyone else with a calm dog that could help me, so would my own dog work to help with training?
Hello Kacie, First of all, I would strongly recommend that you do NOT take her into a dog park, especially on a leash, at her age. That will put her in a vulnerable position where she is likely to be bullied and cornered, especially if leashed. Being picked on by older dogs in a pack type environment can create fear aggression, which is far more serious than her current excitement. What you can do is enroll her in a local puppy kindergarten that has off-leash play that is well controlled by the owners as part of the class each week, usually at the beginning or end of the class. You can also look for a puppy play group, which is a time for just play. Many pet stores that offer training, like Petco, offer these play groups as weekly drop-ins. They are usually cheap or even free. Puppies learn how to interact through playing with other puppies and being given feedback by the other puppy. You want to tell her to sit first and get her focus on you for a second, then tell her "say hi!" Or "Go Play" and let her play to teach her to pay attention to you more around other dogs. When one puppy seems like he is not having fun or a puppy won't let another puppy up, then separate the puppies for a couple minutes, let them calm down, and let the puppy that was feeling overwhelmed go to see if he initiates playing again. If he does, then you can let the other puppy go too and let the puppies go back to playing. A puppy kindergarten class is great because it will provide opportunities to socialize through play but it will also provide opportunities to practice obedience and learn how to be calm around other dogs and ignore other dogs when it is not time to play. If your older dog is well socialized and kind, then you can let your older dog teach your puppy some too, but you want to be the coach during their interactions and when your puppy starts to ignore your older dog or doesn't listen when your dog asks him to stop something, then you step in, help your puppy calm down and teach him to leave your older dog alone by getting between your puppy and dog, telling him "out", and then walking toward him until he backs away a few feet and leaves the area where your older dog is. If he tries to go right back to your older dog, then repeat walking toward him with a calm but serious and firm attitude as many times as you have to for him to give up and leave or stop trying to go back. If your older dog is not patient and good with your puppy, then do not let him teach your puppy. You don't want him to learn the wrong things, like aggression and fear. With other older dogs you want to keep his interactions as brief, three second greetings, so that she does not have time to pester the dogs and she is less likely to get into a fight and be injured and scared. Three seconds let's the dogs sniff but not compete. Pick and choose who she meets. Let her briefly meet friendly well mannered dogs, but not overly excited or snippy dogs. You want only positive interactions. At other times, work on her focus on you around other dogs by going to places where other dogs are a little ways off and practicing obedience with her with treats around dogs. You can do this Outside a dog park even if you shouldn't go in right now. Adult dogs and puppies play differently, so you want to stick with playing with other puppies and friendly well mannered adult dogs that you know well, and practing learning to ignore and only briefly greet other adult dogs. Look for a puppy kindergarten class or puppy play group. If you have a Petco near you, many Petcos most free play groups once a week. You can call to ask when it is. Best of luck, Caitlin Crittenden
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Our dog Babs loves all people and all other dogs, but she's picked up a bad behavior that we don't know how to fix: Babs will be perfectly fine with another dog, but as soon as someone picks up a dog to hold it in their arms, she goes crazy trying to jump up at the dog. She's never bitten another dog or person, even during these instances, but she's still weighs almost 45 pounds, and I would be upset if I were the one trying to hold my dog and another dog was trying to jump on me to get my dog, nor would I want to put the dog back on the ground. We know that our dog means no harm, but others don't, and she shouldn't be rewarded by getting her playmate back by jumping at it or reacting that way.
She started this behavior because my boyfriend's parents have 3 dogs who are pretty unsocialized, so we were careful with introducing them slowly and carefully. Even now when we have our dog with them, Babs wanted to sniff and play and lay with them, which is now fine with all of them except the smallest dog, a little mini schnauzer. She would act like she was terrified of Babs (even when Babs was just walking past or sniffing her), until my boyfriend's mom would pick up her little dog. As soon as the schnauzer was in her lap or arms, she would start barking and growling at Babs. So I think she has it in her head that when people are holding their dogs, the dogs are going to be mean or loud? We really want help on fixing this habit, because it's really off putting to other dogs and dog owners, and she could accidentally hurt someone. Please help!!
Hello Ashley, First of all if Babs doesn't already know it, teach her the sit command. Second of all, purchase a correctly fitted prong collar. I recommend herm springer because it's nubs are rounded and safer. See if you can borrow a friend's small dog. Have your boy friend or friend pick up the other dog while Babs is wearing the prong collar and a four or six foot leash. As soon as Babs goes to jump up tell her "Ah Ah!" In a firm but calm tone of voice and at the same time give her a quick downward tug on the leash so that she receives a medium intensity prong correction. If the prong is fitted correctly high on her neck and is tight enough for all the prongs to gently touch her neck all the way around without digging in while the leash is loose, then when you correct with the leash the prong should evenly tighten all the way around your neck, giving an uncomfortable squeezing sensation without damaging her thoat or skin at all. Do not fit the prong collar loosely so that it has slack in it because that will cause the collar to bang against her neck and possibly hurt the front of her neck when you correct. You want an even, uncomfortable squeeze that only lasts a second. As soon as she stops jumping for a second when corrected with the leash and prong collar tell her to sit, and patiently but firmly insist that she does so until she obeys. When she sits, then praise her and put the other dog down to meet her as a reward for being calm. Make sure that you choose a dog that is friendly for this exercise. The correction is to adjust her attitude, communicate that jumping is unacceptable, and provide an opportunity to reward her for the correct behavior, sitting and being calm. When you praise her and put the dog down, you are rewarding her calm behavior so that she will offer that more often when she meets other dogs that are being carried. Practice all of this often to help her learn to sit rather than jump. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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After the pups eat they go crazy. Runny, over excited playing and wrestling.
Hello Audrey, The energy burst you are experiencing is called the "Zoomies". It is completely normal and almost all puppies do it. Some more often than others. At this age they need to be able to play and get their energy out. I would suggest either timing it so that they can play in the backyard or somewhere else that is spacious and safe, like a fenced in backyard, or timing it so that you can spend some time doing structured mental and physical exercise. A fast paced training session that involves a lot of thinking and movement would help them get their energy out faster. Mental exercise has been proven to wear dogs out even quicker than physical exercise alone, so if you combine physical and mental exercise by doing a fast paced training session or a very structured game with them that challenges them mentally and requires self-control, that should help with their pent up energy. In general during the day, you can practice what is called "Jazz Up" and "Settle Down". To do this, you get one of the dogs a bit excited during play and then quickly stop, act calm, and give a command and insist that the dog obeys until he obeys the command. After he obeys, then you tell him "Okay" and get him excited again and then suddenly give another command. It's a bit like the childhood game "Red Light Green Light". Start by getting one of the dogs only a little excited, and as he improves at obeying, gradually get him more and more excited during the training sessions before requiring him to quickly calm back down to obey. Doing this with each dog individually will help them to learn self-control and how to listen while excited. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
Thanks. What do I do when the grandkids or guests come and they are overly excited. Other than making them sit
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My dog does not get excited when others dogs come. She pulls and will lunge. Even on a normal walk she pulls yet she is so sweet. I want to make her an emotional support dog but if I can’t get her under control on a leash I don’t think I can.
Hello Taylor, If you are confident that Harley's lunging and pulling is just excitement and she is friendly when she encounters other dogs up close, then I highly suggest attending a Canine Good Citizen class in your area where you can practice that skill around other dogs, whose owners are training the same thing. A Basic Obedience class would even be helpful, as long as it covers leash manners. To train this yourself you can also go somewhere with other dogs, like a park, with enough space to choose how far away you want to stay. Start further back and follow the instructions in the video below. Also, work on getting Harley's focus back on you by turning in front of him at a ninety degree angle as soon as his head starts to move past your knee while walking, even when another dog is not around. Practicing this type of general leash manners should help to build your dog's respect for you, which effects his responses to other dogs also. Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzfzVl2dwWA Here is the link to the article on training heeling. Follow the "Turns" method from that article and focus on turning in front of Harley at a ninety degree angle as soon as his head starts to move past your knee. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Lily is a very sweet dog and has a lot of energy. She is the brown/red brown dog in the picture and the other dog is her sister Luna. She loves other people and other dogs. In the house she listens to us pretty well. Where we rescued her from they required us to go to a dog training class. When we were at home she was quiet and gentle and sweet, but at the class she was all over the place wanting to see the other dogs, barking (and her excited bark sounds like someone is murdering her), and lunging to try and play with the other dogs. We could usually get her attention back after the initial freak out and get on with the class, but it was frustrating because then at home she would be super calm and we could train normally. When she sees any dog now she gets a super high pitched, screaming bark that sounds like she is getting hurt. She plays well with Luna and she has been around our friends' dogs, and after the initial meeting they get along great. It's the initial wanting to meet the new dog that gets a little much. How do I get her to calm down and not sound like she is getting murdered? It is quite embarrassing and I don't want people to think she is aggressive because it's more of a "I NEED to see that other dog right now!" type of reaction.
Hello Erin, It sounds like she has leash reactivity, which is not usually aggression. It's more excitement and then frustration based. It is also simply rude behavior, toward the other dogs and toward you. She needs structured obedience, where she is taught to really focus on you the entire time. For example, she needs to practice something like heeling at the park, with other dogs far off in the distance. When you work with her, work on her walking right beside you and completely focusing on you. This is done by keeping yourself unpredictable and interesting, so that she does not have time to look at anything else. The "Turns" method is good for accomplishing, this from the article that I have linked below. You want to make a lot of ninety degree angle turns, especially in front of her, and to change your walking pace often, to even be jogging at times. You also want to change where you are walking to, often. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel A large open area, like a park, and later, when she is ready, outside of a dog park, is a good place to practice this. Do not go in the dog park fence though. That will likely make it worse. Stay far enough away from the other dogs that she can stay focused on you if you keep her busy enough training, but close enough for her to realize that the other dogs are around. As she improves, you can gradually decrease your distance to the other dog. Also, no meeting other dogs while she is being rude. She has to approach calmly to meet. Recruiting a friend with another dog, who will let you take your time working with her and not even meet the first few times, would be great. That way you can let the interaction be a reward for meeting. Check out the article that I have linked below and practice one or more of the methods found there with your friend's dog and Lily. Make peace with the dogs not being able to meet at first. It will likely take several times working them together before Lily will be calm enough to meet. One of the moving methods will be easier for her, such as the "Passing Approach" or "Walking Together" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Johnny gets so exited around other dogs. He usually lays down when he sees a dog from a long distance and won't move until the dog comes to him. It's nearly impossible to get his attention. When the dog comes, Johnny starts jumping and running like crazy and won't listen to my commands. How can i make him ignore other dogs and ask for a permission to play with them?
Hello Nicole, First, spend time teaching Johnny basic obedience commands like Heel, Come, Sit, Down, Stay, name response, and Watch Me/Attention. Once he knows those commands, if he does not already know them now, then go to spacious locations where there are other dogs who are far away, like a park where you can keep your distance. Work on his obedience commands there. When you give him a command, insist that he obey it, even when he cannot see a treat. For example, use a long, twenty or thirty-foot leash connected to his collar or front clip harness that he cannot slip out of. When he sees another dog and freezes, then back away from him a few feet, say his name, and then excitedly tell him to "Come!". If he comes, then enthusiastically reward him with a couple of small treats, one at a time, while you hold onto his collar, then release him by telling him "Okay" and let him go to look at the dog again as his reward also. If he disobeys, which he likely will at first, then quickly reel him in with your long leash until he is right in front of you, have him stay there for a few seconds, and then tell him Okay and let him go back to watching the dog. Repeat this over and over again until he comes willingly. This will take a lot or practice at first before he will willingly or consistently come when you call, but you are effectively teaching him that "Come" is not optional, and that he will be rewarded if he does it willingly. You will also be teaching him that the quickest way to go back to looking at the other dog is to obey you first. Approach all of his commands with that mindset. When you give him the command that you know he knows, then insist that he does it. That might look like reeling him in with a leash when he won't come, standing in front of him to block his view until he obeys a sit command, or pulling down on his leash to make his standing position a bit uncomfortable until he gets tired and obeys your down command. You do not have to be harsh or aggressive, simply be very persistent and firm, while also being very proud and encouraging when he does obey. His behavior is normal for his age. He needs a lot more exposure to other dogs in a calm environment where his focus is on you and on training, and not just on rough play with other dogs. When he can Heel past another dog and stay in a Down-Stay when another dog passes by, which simply comes by practicing from further away and gradually getting closer over time as he improves, then it should not be hard for him to listen and wait until he is given permission to play. Most of the things I have described are taught in a high quality Intermediate Obedience class. If you feel like it would be easier for you to learn in that setting, then I highly recommend finding a good one. They are not all created equal so check out reviews, ask questions, and ask for recommendations from those you know who have well behaved dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My husband and I fell in love and adopted a pair of sisters last weekend. They are both extremely sweet, but we realize that them being a little older and us not knowing much of their history we have been a little cautious with triggering them. So far, they are loyal to us, listen very well and have mastered "sit" and seem highly intelligent. We introduced them to our families and they were both sweet and friendly. We tried to introduce them both to our neighbor's dogs and they totally flipped. Both sweet girls became hostile and luckily my husband had them both by the collar and was able to bring them back inside. Our assumption is that being shelter dogs they have not quite fully transitioned properly. I read the rest of your questions and found it very helpful! I guess I am really just writing this to see if you recommend the same training? They were in the shelter for 3 days if that helps at all. They both really are SWEET girls and we want them to not see every dog as a threat.
Hello Anabel, Congratulations on the new dogs. The type of training they need for the dog reactivity will depend on a couple of thing. It will depend on whether they are reacting out of fear and a lack of socialization, or have dominance related hostility, territorial aggression, or genetic rooted aggression. The details for treating it also depends on whether or not your girls are actually dangerous or just reactive. True aggression results in blood, puncture wounds, and happens consistently in fights. Reactivity looks scary but if the dogs were to actually fight there would be no real damage done, just lots of noise and controlled bites, or lots of threats but when the dogs actually meet the hostility goes away and does not result in a fight. You obviously do not want to find out though, so you will have to just use your best judgement on this unless there has been an actual fight that you are aware of. Fear related aggression or reactivity you can treat by making the appearance of another dog rewarding for your dog. Whenever your dog is calm, pays attention to you, or generally acts well behaved and non aggressive in the presence of another dog, you reward your dog. Start from a distance that your dog can handle, and as your dog improves you can decrease the distance overtime. Once your dog and the other dog get closer, if your dog is likely to cause real harm to the other dog, then your dog needs to wear a basket muzzle for this exercise. Spend time getting your dog used to wearing the muzzle ahead of time. Offering treats every time the muzzle is near, touches her, is put on, is taken off, and while she is wearing it, until she is comfortable with it. To reward her while wearing the muzzle you can poke a straw dipped in something tasty and dog safe, like peanut butter, through the muzzle hole while she is being good. A muzzle is also a good tool for safely assessing your dogs' level of aggression towards other dogs. If your dog is not dangerously aggressive, then look for what's called a "GROWL Class" in your area. This is a training class for dogs with dog issues, where the dogs all wear muzzles and are socialized together in a safe setting, to speed up the learning process. They tend to work great when led by an experienced trainer. On a side note, if you do use peanut butter, avoid the ingredient Xylitol. It is a sweetener that is EXTREMELY toxic to dogs and found in some human food products. If the issue is primarily fear related and there is no true danger from punctures and blood being drawn, then most standard training practices, like the ones described on Wag! for treating dog to dog issues should work well. If your dog has aggression issues not related to fear or a lack of socialization, but to other causes like genetic related aggression, dominance related aggression, territorial aggression, and especially if you believe that your dogs are truly dangerous, then I would recommend finding a trainer in your area with experience in dealing with reactive, fearful, and especially aggressive dogs. That issue is more complicated and requires a lot of management and training. Some of the same exercises for treating fear related aggression can be implemented but they are probably not going to be enough on their own. For this type of issue look for someone who is not only experienced but who also implements different methods and tailors the training to the dog. For example, look for someone who uses Positive Reinforcement primarily, but who also uses other training methods along with that, such as drive training, respect based training, balanced training, and generally has experience dealing with high drive dogs, like Belgian Malinois. You do want someone who values the role of dominance in training but not someone who achieves that by pinning your dog and biting its ear. You are a person and the best way to achieve respect from your dog is through your intellect and consistency, so look for someone who emphasizes building respect through your interactions, body language, consistency, and the use of training, rather than brute force. Your average Pet Store trained trainer will not have enough experience for this type of issue, although there are certainly exceptions. You need someone who deals with behavioral problems and understands the sensitive, intense, intelligent temperaments of Belgians. Belgians are not the same as some other, more common, breeds. They tend to be much more intense and sensitive, and need someone to train them as the intelligent, sensitive, intense dogs that they are. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Background on bandit, he grew up living with dogs, all his size. We took in a older chihuahua 11 months back. she on the other hand has been a only dog for a few years. they finally got a long to an extent. recently we added a new 5 month st bernard.Bandit barks constantly if he gets near the couch or me. or even my little one. Bandit has been introduced to several larger dogs in his life. Even when they come over to the house for the weekend he barks or chases them. it is constant, how do I get him to stop? He is great in public, we can go on walks past dogs and he ignores them, even at the vet in small quarters. I just can't get him to relax if another dog is around our furniture or "his humans" My older dog reacts normal, walks away or goes to the bedroom away from the other dogs. Bandit on the other hand he doesn't he is the "front line man" and will bark and sometimes growl. help.
Hello Kiesha, First, whenever the puppy enters the room or comes over to you, toss Bandit a treat before he has the chance to react poorly. Doing this will help him associate the appearance of the puppy with good things and like the puppy better. Second, make Bandit work for the things in his life to gently remind him that you are in charge of the household. Do this by telling him to do something before you give him anything. For example, he must Sit before you will pet him. He must wait before eating dinner. He must lay down before you take him for a walk. He has to "Watch Me" before you toss his ball. Do not pet him or pay attention to him unless you initiate it and have him do something for it first. Essentially, do not reward him when he is being demanding. When he is keeping the puppy away from you and the furniture, he is claiming you and the space as his own. As the owner, everything belongs to you and not to any one of the dogs. When Bandit looks to you for direction and understands that the space belongs to you, then he will be less likely to try to control another dog. Things do not have to be this strict for him forever, but consider it like a bootcamp for him right now. Third, create some household rules for all the dogs, especially Bandit and the puppy. These rules might be something like "No dog is allowed to steal another dog's food or toys", "No dog is allowed to shove another dog out of the way to get attention or something else", "No dog is allowed to block a dog from going through a doorway or space", "No dog is allowed to guard a piece of furniture or person", "No dog is allowed to act aggressively toward another dog". When one of the dogs breaks one of these rules, then you be the one to enforce the rule so that neither dog has to deal with it himself. This might look like taking a toy from a dog who stole it and returning it to the dog who originally had it, then sending the thief out of the room. It might look like making a dog get off of a piece of furniture if he tries to guard it. It might look like making a dog leave the area if he is being pushy and trying to shove a dog away from you or act aggressively. When Bandit is being pushy, claiming space, or acting aggressive toward the puppy and needs to leave the area, then tell him "Out", point to where he should go, then walk toward him, blocking his way past you, until he backs out of the room or area where he is being told to leave. Once he is out of the area, block him from coming back in with your body, like a soccer goalie, until he stops trying to get past you. Next, return to where you were and if he tries to follow you back, quickly and firmly block his way and walk toward him until he is back out of the room again. Expect to have to repeat this several times at first, until he either leaves the area completely or stops trying to come back in. When you are ready for him to return, then tell him "Okay" or call him to you. You can teach the puppy this too, and when the puppy is bothering one of the dogs or getting too pushy, you can calmly but firmly get between the puppy and the person or other dog and walk toward him while saying "Out" and point to where you want him to go, until he leaves the area. Using "Out" when your puppy is bothering one of the older dogs can also help that older dog feel like you are handling the situation, and encourage the older dog not to act aggressively, but let you handle the situation instead. If your puppy is pestering the older dogs, especially Bandit, then take it upon yourself to work on "Out" with the puppy and to crate train him or set up an exercise pen with safe chew toys for him. Put him into the crate or exercise pen with interesting chew toys, like food stuffed kongs, to help him wind down and relax, and give the older dogs a break. Many puppies will actually get more and more excited the tireder they get, and they need the time rest. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I’m currently having an issue with my male German Shepherd. We don’t have a large backyard so in order to let him out we put him on a tie out in the front yard. Whenever another dog, person, car goes by he goes crazy! Lunges, barks, and will not listen. He gets along with other dogs on a 1:1 ratio, even plays with a dachshund without issue. It seems to be an issue of when he’s on a leash or tie out that the behavior comes out. I cannot take him on walks any more because he pulls too much and will not listen to sit or come at all.
Hello Fawn, It sounds like Atticus might have leash reactivity if this is only happening when he is on leash or on the tie out. Leash reactivity is essentially when a dog wants to get to another dog and can't because of the leash, or he feels trapped when another dog approaches and cannot get away. Those scenarios create frustration and anxiety and when it keeps happening over and over again, the dog learns to connect being on a leash and another dog approaching with those bad feelings of frustration and anxiety. When that happens, just the appearance of another dog will set him off. It might also be brought on by territorial-ism if you were able to walk him on a leash just fine before he spent time on the tie out. Now he associates all dogs approaching with the same feelings that he has when dogs approach his property while he is on a tie out. To address the reactivity several things need to happen. He needs to learn to trust and respect you more in general. Check out the article that I have linked below and focus on those methods found in the article to improve your relationship with him in general. Gaining his respect and trust is not about intimidating him; it's about teaching him, being consistent, challenging him mentally, giving him boundaries, and creating structure for him. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Also, he needs to learn to relax around other dogs again. If you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, then I highly suggest attending one of those. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class with muzzled reactive dogs who are all trained and desensitized to each other in a class where everyone is on a level playing field and reactions and emotions can be addressed right then. That class will probably be the simplest and most effective way to address his reactivity more quickly. That class needs to be paired with your own training at home to gain his respect and trust too though, so that any territorial-ism doesn't get worse. If you cannot find a class, then I suggest hiring a trainer who works with at least one other trainer and has access to a lot of dogs. You want a trainer and someone who can walk other dogs by to set up training scenarios where they work on your dog's obedience around other dogs, help him relax around other dogs and learn to like other dogs again. This is often done by interrupting your dog's bad reactions or preventing them by adding enough distance between the dogs, then having your dog perform fast paced, focused obedience commands while the other dog is walked around at a distance and your dog is rewarded heavily for any calmness around the other dog, focus on you or the trainer, and obedience. As he improves, then the other dog can be walked closer and closer as long as your dog is still able to focus on you with help. When he can handle the first dog, then you practice with another dog, then another, then another, until your dog can handle dogs in general. The goal is to make dogs = fun training, and become boring and pleasant. After you get a handle on Atticus's behavior, then he should not be left out on the tie out lead with other dogs around anymore or your issue might return. Go outside with him when you let him out if there might be dogs around. You do not have to accompany him all the way if he is responsive to your commands by then because of the training you have been doing by that point. You want him to depend on you for instruction and feedback though, like your cheerfulness, commands and confidence when another dog appears - so that he will learn that he should not be reactive but can relax around that dog and trust you to handle it instead. He will need training now and consistency from you before he will get to the point where he can respond to your cues when he sees another dog and stay calm though - that comes from training AND trust build overtime. You can do the training around other dogs yourself if you have access to other dogs - and people to walk them where you ask them to - typically friends and their dogs, but honestly it will be extremely difficult for you to do it alone it sounds like. I suggest at least starting with a trainer so that the trainer can show you in real time how to safely manage his behavior, how far away the other dog should be (which will depend on Atticus's reaction and body language), and when to reward him and how. You will also need help learning how to generally earn his trust and respect at home, which is mostly repetition and consistency, but also a bit of attitude and confidence from you. People that dogs tend to respect the most are confident, calm, consistent, and trustworthy. They mean what they say and they are firm without being harsh or cruel. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have had my dog for about 6 months now. He was a rescue dog so I don't know much of his backstory. My challenge with him is getting him to get along with other dogs/animals. When I first brought him home, I introduced him to my other dog and they seem to have hit it off, however, whenever I take him on walks or he sees another dog from outside, he barks, whines, and pulls like crazy. I want to take him to the dog park and even Petsmart, but he makes it impossible. I have to avoid dogs at all costs when taking him on a walk and that's because I live in an apartment complex with lots of dog owners. I'm curious if I take him to a dog park and let him roam free if he will be calm or if he will attack other dogs. I've heard that some dogs just act crazy on a leash.
Hello Ashley, Do NOT take him to a dog park right now. He may hurt another dog, he might get hurt because he is very rude toward other dogs, but even if he is fine it will probably make your leash issue much worse because he will be that much more aroused and frustrated when he can't get to other dogs while on walks He needs to learn to be CALM around other dogs and dog parks accomplish the opposite of that usually. Dog parks can actually cause leash reactivity indirectly for some dogs who used to be okay. Check out the video that I have linked below for leash walking: https://youtu.be/BGofhEc1YPg Once you get to the point where your dog can calmly walk by other dogs, then practice going on walks with other dogs and their owners to help your dog learn calmness and socialization around other dogs in a structured environment. There are groups on places like meetup.com that meet regularly to joke and walk with there dogs. See if there is a group in your city. Obedience classes are also good for structured dog exposure and socialization if your dog can behave calmly around other dogs on a leash again and doesn't have dangerous aggression issues. A G.R.O.W.L. class would also be wonderful for him. His issue is likely leash-reactivity opposed to true aggression (although it could be either), but a G.R.O.W.L. class would be a wonderful, structured envinroment for him to learn how to be calm around other dogs who also struggle with dogs - so you wouldn't be interrupting a typical obedience class, would have dog-to-dog specific training and socialization, with all of the dogs wearing basket muzzles to keep everyone safe (which are more comfortable and let the dogs still open their mouths). These classes are also good for dog-aggressive-dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Archie is obsessed with playing ball whilst off the lead and is very focused on both me and the ball. There has been a few incidents of late where really lively dogs have bounded towards him and got in his face. He initially attempts to get away to no avail then snaps and flies at them, possibly biting them. He is so happy on his walks and wants to be left alone. How do I help him deal with unwanted attention?? Thankyou in advance.
Hello Sally, First of all, I am assuming that you are playing ball at a regular park or field and not a dog park from the sound of it. If you are playing ball at the dog park, STOP. Most dog parks ban toys and treats (many people still bring them in though and some parks are less strict), but the reason they are banned at many parks is because they can lead to possessiveness/aggression and cause fights. If that happens to be the case, don't play ball there. Second, assuming that's not where you are playing and these are just other random dogs at a normal park occasionally running up to him, practice his recall amidst a lot of distractions to start with. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the 'Reel In' method. When he is very good at a normal 'come' around other types of distractions - due to practicing around distractions, then work on recalling him mid-ball-chase. To do this, I suggest recruiting another person to assist you. Have that person stand about thirty-feet away while the long leash is clipped to Archie and toss the ball up and down slightly to get his attention. When he starts to go toward her and the ball and is about five feet away from you, call him to you with 'Come'. If he disobeys, then reel him in with the long leash. If he obeys, then give him a treat or another ball that he didn't know you had, then let him go over to the person with the ball and have the person throw him the ball once, as an additional reward -- you want him to believe that the best way to get to a ball is to come to you first, so that he will leave a ball mid-chase. As he improves at his recall, have your friend toss the ball a couple of feet away and practice calling him back from that when he starts to move toward it. Make the ball toss more exciting overtime as he improves. Do this until he can come right away mid-ball-chase. When another dog starts to bother him, call him to yourself right away, shoo the dog away yourself, then continue your game after the other dog is gone - or go to a new area if the dog won't leave. You want Archie to learn to obey you immediately and to let you handle the other dogs so that he won't handle it himself. Here is the link to the 'Come' article. Check out the 'Reel In' method in that article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My two year old French bulldog becomes extremely excitable when he sees another dog. We can be out for a walk perfectly fine, but when he sees another dog he becomes fixated. He usually is very attentive, follows commands strictly, but when he sees another dog he forgets all of these rules. I am dogsitting for a friend soon, so we bought the dog round to my house so he can meet Caesar. Caesar became extremely fixated, excitable, did not listen at all. He constantly tries to mount this other dog, sniffs them and does not listen when he is told to stop, even if the other dog reacts and barks, he continues. He’s a very heavy dog for his bread, so he tugs and pulls on the lead which puts a strain on my arms. How do I stop this behaviour? I want him to have dog friends but at this moment it’s impossible
Hello Raeshan, I suggest joining an obedience class with other dogs. Find a trainer who uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections because his behavior needs to be carefully disciplined to interrupt his fixations, but he also needs to be rewarded for being calm and focused on you to avoid him simply becoming frustrated. Look for a trainer who understands both well and join a class with other dogs so that he can practice his obedience in the presence of lots of other dogs in a structured environment. If any of those classmates are willing to practice outside of class, then do those additional practice sessions around another dog too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Whenever we take him to the vet he acts out towards other people and the dogs whining/barking wanting them. I need help to get him to stop and be calm
Hello Kaley, If Loki is normally not around a lot of other dogs, he needs to practice obedience and focus around more people and dogs at times other than just when he goes to the vet's. Joining an obedience class at the level he is ready for is a great way to practice focusing on you and behaving while around others. If he is not already trained, start with Basic Obedience. If he understands commands, then he can work on doing them around more distractions in an Intermediate Obedience Class. If he normally does well at a distance from others, then I suggest joining a Canine Good Citizen class. That class will specifically work on calmness at a close distance but he needs to have a little training already to join that one. I also suggest taking him places and working on his Heel (focusing on you and right beside you), Come, Sit and Down Stays, and rewarding him for general focus on you around other dogs. Start further away from the dogs so that he can obey with your help. As he improves, you can get closer to others and practice it. Check out the articles that I have linked below. Follow the Turns method from the heeling article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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i have a few questions. the first question is how do i get my dog to be calm around other dogs, when my dog gets overly excited when we are at the dog park and if when he is off leash he grabs at the other dogs necks and growls while chasing the other dog. my second question is how do i get a good recall. he is so fucused in smells and not interested in my high value treats. my third wuestion is how to get my dog to heel on and off lead. whenever we are heading out of the house he is so focused in going to the park which is just around the corner from my house.
Hello Cierra, First of all, check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. He needs to practice his recall on a long leash so that you can enforce it by reeling him in if he disobeys, and he needs to practice it around distractions, starting with easy distractions first and working up to harder ones. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall For the Heel, check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Turns" method. Start around easy distractions and work up to harder ones as he improves. When he can heel around distractions on a six-foot leash, then use a long leash and keep it completely slack and practice your heel on that. Every time that he moves toward what he wants to get to, that is a reward. It takes a lot of practice and patience, but work on lots of turns whenever he starts moving to far ahead (before he gets completely out in front and you can't turn as well), and reward his heeling with forward movement toward where he wants to go. A training walk is very tiring. If you don't make it to the park while working on this with him for a while, but his mind and work were still exercised during the session, that is alright. Stay consistent and keep working. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel For his excitability around dogs you need to work on his responses around other dogs in a location other than a dog park. A dog park gives you no control to enforce your command, is very pack oriented because of the number of dogs, and encourages arousal and over-excitement because of the lack of structure and boundaries. A dog park tests your dog's current training but isn't good for teaching. I suggest going on group walks with others and their dogs and practicing your heel and other obedience commands during the walk. Work on his responsiveness to you, calmness around the dogs, and obedience commands. A group obedience class is also a good place to work on socialization around dogs. A canine good citizen class is especially good for this once he becomes good enough at basic obedience to attend one of those. Other options are having training sessions on long drag leashes with a friend's friendly dog and working on letting the dogs play, then calling them back to you and practicing obedience. Do this in a fenced area for safety. A long drag leash attached to him while in a fenced area lets you pick up their leash and enforce your come if they ignore you. Practicing with a friend whose dog will already come while playing can help too. Basically, he needs to practice his obedience and focus on you while around other dogs, and work on being able to calm himself back down. This needs to be taught in a structured environment where you can control what happens after you call him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog may have been too young to leave his mother and was very ill when we found him. So, while he was being treated, he couldn't have his routine vaccinations and this meant he couldn't socialise until he was over 6 months old, except with our very small Yorkshire Terrier. Initially when he met other dogs his excitement levels were through the roof and he wanted to play with everyone - people and dogs - until he got attacked pretty badly. Then he became over-excited AND fearful. After castration (recommended by the vet) he became even more fearful. My behaviour was initially calm when he first started meeting other dogs, then when he started to become fearful I became a bit anxious and after a bit I learnt to calm myself so as not to pass that on to him. (I have had a few dogs of my own and have handled many, many - I consider myself able to read dogs well - I'm Aspergic and find dogs easier than humans! :) But this is different with him). Bear didn't wag for two years and he whines most of the day but can't let you know what he wants, he just stares blankly at you offer "food?", "walk?" etc. But nothing. He isn't keen on being touched around his face and especially not his chest and tummy (which is a first for me...). My daughter and I adore him but most people seem to take an immediate dislike to him, like he's somehow "wrong" in their eyes. That isn't to say that he isn't pleased to see people...he almost gets too excited and people understandably recoil. But when after almost exactly 2 minutes he calms down and becomes almost entirely unresponsive, they don't know how to relate to him. He doesn't want his tummy tickled, he doesn't listen when they call him...I suppose they find him unrewarding but we love him because we've somehow formed another sort of language with him and he makes us laugh... I say all this because I want to give you more background but it is his behaviour with other dogs that concerns me (as that is potentially dangerous) and it has accelerated to straining at the lead, barking and occasionally baring his teeth. He loses hair and gets dandruff immediately which I can see is a stress response. I try having treats with me to try and distract him but nothing yet... I would be so grateful of some help as the vet can offer no more.
Hello Lucy, Bear's aggression likely is from a lack of socialization and the attack from the other dog like you mentioned. Honestly, you need the help of a trainer for this. Most Vets are not educated in dog training so it is understandable that your Vet is out of advise - they excel in the medical world and our pets' needs there. See if you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. That class is designed for dogs with reactivity or aggression towards other dogs. All the dogs wear muzzles for safety and are socialized and trained intensively with the help of the trainer and their owners during the class. You can get Bear used to wearing a muzzle ahead of time to make that part of the class not relaxing for him. Another option is to look for a trainer who works at a facility where there are other dogs and trainers present. At the facility there are typically dogs, including the trainers' dogs, who are usually calmer. It will be much easier to control the encounters, the distance between the dogs, and work on managing Bear's aggression, socializing him, increasing him calmness and focus on you, and helping him learn to look to you for guidance. A training facility will also provide better ways to train safety - which is difficult to do around strangers in public. Look for a trainer who comes well recommended by other clients, or has good reviews. Make sure that the trainer is very experienced with aggression, and multiple types of aggression - not all trainers are experienced with aggression, and many are only experienced treating one type of aggression. Fear-based aggression is treated partially differently than dominance-based aggression for example. I suggest that you be part of these training sessions at least part of the time or toward the end of a series of sessions so that you can continue the training and skills learned with Bear more easily. You can check out Sean O'Shay from the Good Dog and Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training online. Look for their videos that address fear-aggression to learn more - they address different types of aggression and fear-aggression is treated with more positive reinforcement than some types of aggression. I still suggest finding a trainer to work with in person though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I adopted Jax 2 years ago. Found out after he was not socialized. I take him everywhere. Mountains, hiking, camping, walks. He is now somewhat ok with people. He appears more calm. But when it comes to other dogs, he will squell and get upset. Pulling etc. When my partner moved in with her dog Chloe, it took a little bit. Walks, treats. Now they are best friends. They live together quite happy. But when I take Jax on a walk this aggression side shows. He listens to all commands at home. But as soon as he see another dog or person he becomes extremely out of control. I recently had a incident in my building. Another dog came out a door and startled both dogs. Jax grabbed the dogs lip and would not let go. Believe it or not he did not make her bleed. No hole nothing. But he didnt let go. I need help plz. I love him deeply and try but I dont know what else to do :(
Hello Nancy, The fact that he did not make the other dog bleed is good in terms of severity of the issue. It shows that he has some level of control even though it still definitely needs to be addressed. Look online and see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. In a G.R.O.W.L. class aggressive and dog reactive dogs wear muzzles and are intensively socialized with the helps of their owners and the trainer. These classes tend to work more quickly than most other methods. You can get him used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle ahead of time so that that part is not stressful. At mealtimes use his kibble (in a bag measured out not reaching into his bowl). First, sprinkle it around the muzzle until he is comfortable with it. Next, give him a piece of food every time that he touches the muzzle while you are holding it. When he is comfortable with that, hold the muzzle up and hold pieces of treats inside the muzzle through the holes so that he has to poke his head inside a bit to get the food. Practice until he is comfortable with that. Work up to him putting his head further and further into the muzzle to get treats and up to him holding his face in the muzzle for longer and longer while being given treats through the holes. Once he is comfortable having his face in the muzzle for several seconds, buckle the muzzle, feed him several treats, then take it off again. Gradually work up to him wearing it for longer and longer and eventually spacing the treats further and further apart until he is relaxed while wearing it around. Expect this to take at least a couple of weeks. Go slowly enough that he has time to get used to the current level of interaction with the muzzle before you move onto the next part. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Chase gets extremely excited when he sees another dog. He's a very bouncy dog so he does jump up and try to do anything to get to the dog. He does begin to bark and even let out an aggressive sounding growl. When we let him approach another dog, he's so excited that his play is very rough. He jumps on the other dog, play biting, and some growling. He is a rescue so his age is presumed to be inaccurate especially since he's showing a lot of signs of being a puppy. We know for sure he's at least 1-1.5 years old. 2 was what the shelter guessed. When we take him to the groomers, he has no issue with other dogs nearby. I'm looking into enrolling him into daycare in hopes to socialize him more.
Hello Jordan, Practice general obedience with a lot of structured heel-work to help improve his level of self-control. Going on structured walks while heeling with other dogs would be a great way for him to practice socializing. He needs to practice a lot of obedience with other dogs in the background. Things that improve calmness around other dogs, make dogs no big deal, improve his focus on you around dogs, and teaches him to be in a calm state of mind in the presence of other dogs is what he needs. Definitely take him around other dogs, but the encounters should not be overly exciting. Boring and calm and focused on you should be the goal. Calm rewards for his calmness and focus. Look into how seeing eye dogs are socialized and trained around other dogs. Playing with other dogs is not bad if someone is managing it and your dog can handle it, but without structure it can also encourage over-excitement and over-arousal which can lead to dog fights and true aggression issues later. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We adopted Tinks 3 weeks ago from a rescue centre. We have an issue in the evening when she becomes aggressive towards my husband. We will be sitting on the sofa and if my husband gets up, she jumps up growls barks and lunges at him. During the day she loves him a d we dont have a problem. My husband feeds her and has been doing some obedience training with her. We dont know what to do. We currently sit on the sofa with her on a lead attached to me incase she attacks him. We are not sure what to do to make things better. The rescue had no advice tbh
Hello, If Tinks is not at all frightened or aggressive toward your husband during the day, I suggest visiting your vet and possibly a veterinary behaviorist. A few medical causes could be responsible. There could be a seratonine issue which would be worse at night as it's time for melatonine to be released. She might have eye sight issues, making it hard for her to recognize him completely and also making her feel more nervous at night in general. She may have experienced trauma in the past at night and is more sensitive to fears at that time and finds him a bit intimidating already - which is then magnified by nighttime. She might hear noises that you can't at night due to her more sensitive hearing and be redirecting her aggression toward that toward him. Treating the cause will depend on why it is happening. I suggest starting with a trip to your vet to get eyes and seratonine checked out if your vet feels that it is necessary (I am not a vet). If the issue is not medical, then having your husband continue to build her trust through training, structured walks where she heels during the walk, and making her work for part of her food kibble by doing commands are good places to begin. In the mean time he should continue training her during the day when she is receptive to help her recognize him better at night also. Pay attention to whether she tries to guard you while you sit in that room at other times of the day too...if she does she might be possessive of you, which just happens to show at night because that's when you and your husband are both sitting in the den together. Check out the end of this article about nighttime aggression. https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/exploring-owner-directed-aggression/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I have a 5 year old dog named Bagel that is well socialized and is my assistance animal. I’ve never had any issues with her on leash when she’s working but she has recently started being aggressive towards other dogs only when we’re in a small space, for example a cafe. It’s like she’s scared of the other dog and then lunges at it out of fear. When we see the same dog outside on the sidewalk she couldn’t care less.
Is there anything I can do about this? I have been giving her a correction, making her sit and look at me.
Hello Mirja, Because Bagel is an assistance animal you really need to hire a professional trainer to help you. You need a trainer who is part of a facility and staff with other dogs where you can mimic the small spaces with the trainer's dogs and work on helping her form positive associations with other dogs, build relaxation by encouraging calm body language, and teach better focus and dependence on you in general so that she depends on your leadership in threatening situations. It is very difficult to recreate the situations you need to practice without being a disturbance to others on your own (which is not allowed with service dogs and automatically disqualifies a dog from being a service dog who is allowed public Access). A training facility will let you set up the right atmosphere, and working with a trainer and their dogs in public locations that are tight but not located where you would be disturbing someone, are needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog is very friendly with both humans and dogs. He gets especially excited when he sees a dog or a child and it seems like he can't focus on anything else until after he meets them. I've taught him the "Watch Me" command and he does well with this except when he is too close and focused on something else (like a dog, child, or even something he's sniffing). I want him to stop pulling when he gets close to dogs/kids and to respond to me when I call his name. I don't have a friend with a calm dog who can help. What's the best way to work on this?
Hello Jennie, If you don't have friends who can help, I suggest enrolling in an Intermediate Obedience class. Basic obedience is all about teaching your dog what color mean. Intermediate is about practicing those commands around distractions so that your dog learns how to perform them around distractions. Find a class with good reviews or recommendations from others that focuses on heeling (among other things) around distractions. During and after finishing the class, look up local dog clubs or on places like meetup.com for groups that go on dog walks together to add in extra practice in those types of environments. During such walks you can practice what you are learning in class for even better training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Rabbit is amazing in the house, I mean truly one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. The problem is that’s it’s only inside. Once we step outside all the training that we’ve done with “sit” and “down” are out the window. The worst is at the dog park. As soon as I open the gate he bolts towards other dogs and immediately starts pouncing on them and getting in their personal space. Whenever I speak to him it’s like he can’t even hear me. I’ve dangled toys in his face while at the dog park and I get nothing. He seems to forget he has an owner. He is a rescue and was a stray in the country for most of his life. I’m just not sure what to do.
Hello Carson, I suggest finding an Intermediate Obedience class and joining. The first step in training is to teach your dog what commands mean, practice those commands in a calm location (like your home), and be consistent with enforcing them. Once a dog can do that he needs opportunities to practice those some commands around distractions (like people and dogs) in an environment where you can make sure he obeys (not the dog park because you can't enforce commands safety there as well as you need to). Rabbit is good as basic obedience but lacks intermediate or advanced obedience skills (which have to be taught anf practiced also). An intermediate obedience or advanced obedience class (if the trainer thinks he is ready for advanced) is set up to teach all of this. Look for one with a trainer who is also experienced with advanced/off leash training, even if you do not go onto off-leash training, because that trainer is more likely to have the skills to teach intermediate well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog use to be social with other dogs then we took our daughters dog in and he became very aggressive with other dogs , but not Our daughters dog he was socialized with other dogs since a puppy but now he is nasty
Hello Arlene, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who will come to your home and evaluate the two dogs together. There might be some dynamic between the dogs that needs to be addressed. Like one dog intimidating or bullying the other one, or protectiveness/possessiveness of the other dog if it's happening just when the other dog is present. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My dog definitely seems to have a case of over-excitement. He'll lung, bark, whine whenever we get close to the dog park/dog beach. We've been practicing patience by making him sit before we enter area, or making him sit if he starts to lung/pull as we approach.(we're going to start practicing at a distance as well. One thing he does display however, is an obsession with a particular dog. It's happened 3 times now, we go on golden retriever group hikes or beach meet ups and he always "imprints" or becomes obsessed with one dog in the group (different dog each time). He is friendly, seems like he only wants to play, even though the other dog shows no interest he still gets in their way and really won't leave the dog alone, he wont bite or growl or mount, but sniff and follow. If we leash him, we will pull, lunge, bark etc and won't listen to any commands. He's pretty good on walks about leaving other dogs alone, I can tell he gets interested but manage to re-direct him to keep walking.
Please help, it can be embarrassing and painful at times. The bigger he gets, the easier he will rip my arm of one day :OOO
Hello Vivian, How old is Norman? I see that you put nine years but was curious if that was supposed to be nine months due to your reference to him getting larger. If he is young then the problem should get a bit better with age, so long as you also work on training also. The obsession with other dogs might also be due to his hormones if he is not neutered, so neutering might help that, but I have seen neutered dogs display the same behavior, so although neutering should help to decrease it, he will still need you to train him. Many dogs will become obsessed with another dog due to frustration if the other dog is ignoring him. Hormones or genetic obsessive compulsive tendencies can also be to blame. If the cause is genetic OCD tendencies and you feel like it is really bad then you can talk to your vet about whether or not there is a possible hormonal imbalance that needs to be addressed, but Norman probably just needs further obedience training. When you are training a hunting dog or herding dog for it's work, the ducks and sheep are extremely distracting. You have to train the dog to focus on you in the presence of high distractions in order to succeed. For Norman other dogs are that type of distraction. He will need to practice heeling in the presence of other dogs, starting from a distance like you mentioned. He will need to practice "Down-Stays", "Sit-Stays", and "Focus" on you. The best way to do this is to regularly take him to place with other dogs. Where he can see the dogs from a distance and work on his obedience in the presence of other dogs, gradually getting closer to them as he improves. Dog park parking lots are one of my favorite places to practice this once a dog has mastered the distractions of yards, neighborhoods, and parks. Start from a distance though and do not take him into the dog park fence afterwards. Your goal with him should be for other dogs to become boring. You want to continue to bring him around other dogs, like the hikes that you have been going on, but he needs more structure when he is around other dogs, opposed to being given freedom to run with several other dogs, until he can respond to you when loose around other dogs. When he can approach another dog calmly then allow him to meet the other dog if she is friendly and to sniff for no more than three seconds, then call his name, give him a treat, and move on. This will encourage socialization, calm behavior, focus on you, and help to prevent over-excitement. The three seconds is important. The interaction should not be long. Picture a Service Dog being around other dogs. A Service Dog gets along wonderfully with other dogs because she has been so well socialized from a young age, but when she is out with her owner, she does not expect to interact with other dogs. She is focused on her owner and bored with other dogs. If you were to take that same dog home and release her into your backyard with another dog she would probably have a great time playing, but she has learned when it is time to play and when it is time to focus. Work on Norman focusing on you around other dogs and having calm interactions with other dogs, instead of him expecting to play every time that he is around other dogs. Enrolling in a structured obedience class might also help him. Because that will give him opportunities to practice obedience and focus on you during the class. Make sure that the instructor knows about his excitement beforehand though, because not all classes will be a good fit for him. The right class could be wonderful though! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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2 Questions, please.
1. What breed are the dogs in your first photo?
( I had one as a rehomed dog so I don't know his breed. I would dearly love to get another.)
2. My GSD get super excited meeting other dogs. I would like to try either your method 1 or 2 but as yet I don't know anyone with a calm dog.
Could you please give me some suggestions on how to alter your methods.
Thanking you in anticipation, Heather
Hello Heather, If you mean the photo of the four dogs laying down, the black and white dog and the dog next to him (black, brown and white) are Border Collies, the one after that (brown and white) is either a Border Collie or an Australian Shepherd, and the black, white and brown dog on the far left is an Australian Shepherd. Both Border Collies and Australian Shepherds are herding breeds. First, I suggest trying to find someone you could practice this with. www.meetup.com sometimes has groups that get together and train or walk together. Facebook and Instagram is often full of dog lovers who would like to get together to train with someone, these can be good places to search for groups by city. Dog clubs are also a good place to find connections. Second, you could attend an Intermediate Obedience class. If your dog already knows basic command but just has a hard time listening around other dogs, the point of an Intermediate class is to work on commands your dog already know but around distractions. Third, you could go somewhere where there are other dogs at a distance that stay put, like outside of a dog park or near a dog sporting event, and practice obedience with the other dogs in the background playing in the dog park or working. You could practice heeling closer to and further away from the fence where the other dogs are (not so close that you cause fence fights or bother the other dogs though). This will not practice meeting other dogs up close but it will help your dog learn to be calm in the presence of other dogs and focus on you, which can inadvertently help with over excitement in general. If you practice at a dog sporting event, make sure it is one with a lot of open space outside, and do not get too close while practicing because you do not want to distract the dogs that are trying to focus on working. If you go to a dog park I do NOT suggest going inside the dog park, on or off leash (never go in a dog park on leash in general because leashes increase the risk of fights when only one dog is leashed). Going in the dog park will likely encourage over excitement and poor manners around other dogs right now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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How do I get my dog to stop getting overly excited, wining and pulling towards when she sees another dog. This only started 6 months after my other dog passed away. I try to redirect her by giving her treats or a stick or something to get her focus off the other dogs but she won't listen to me at that moment. I don't know what else I could do. I don't have any friends with dogs. She's only getting stronger and it's harder for me to hold the leash when this happens. I used to take her to dog parks but after my other dog passed away. She won't behave there by not listening to me when I call her. She used to be good with it when my other dog was around but now it's like she misses other dogs so much that she refuses to listen to me. Besides when other dogs are around. She listens to me perfectly on and off leash. It's just when she sees another dog. I had strangers yell at me that my dog is aggressive. When that's not the case. She's friendly. She doesn't bark when this happens. Just sounds like she's dying by wining so much. Please help me fix this behavior.
Hello Christie, It sounds like Sandy needs to change the way she interacts with and views other dogs. Right now other dogs are a source of excitement and frustration, but she needs to learn to view other dogs as something boring and normal. Picture the way a Service Dog behaves around other dogs. He gets along well with other dogs but he never expects to play with them or interact with them while he is working, so he is not excited or anxious about their presence. To help Sandy get to this point, go places where you can see other dogs from a distance, but control how far away you stay from them. Great places to do this at are open area parks and dog park parking lots and grassy areas (but not inside the fenced in areas with the other dogs). Work on Sandy's obedience exercises with her with other dogs in the background. Practice "Heel", "Sit", "Down", "Stay", "Come" on a long leash, and anything else she knows. At first you will probably need to be very far away from the other dogs. Possibly over a hundred feet away. Pick a distance where she notices the other dogs but can still respond to your commands and is still interested in food. It might seem like nothing is happening when you work with her on her obedience from that far away from the other dogs, but the idea is for the other dogs to become something so familiar and boring that she begins to ignore them in general. When she becomes more and more focused on you and less on the other dogs, then decrease the distance between her and other dogs very gradually overtime. Whenever she glances at another dog and remains calm then praise her and give her a treat. Whenever she glances at another dog and then looks back at you, praise her and give her a treat. Have her perform a lot of heeling there, heeling where she has to walk right by you and watch you and follow you very, very closely. You want to be changing directions and speeds so frequently that she cannot focus on other dogs and you at the same time. When she starts to improve, work on a lot of "Down Stays" also. That position requires more commitment to be in one place than a sit does. It also encourages relaxation better. Reward her when she is laying down and does things to relax into the position even more, such as laying her head down, swinging her hips out, looking away from the other dog, and loosening her muscles. As she improves and you can get closer to the other dogs, practice heeling past them and laying down near them. Expect it to take time and a lot of practice before you can heel past other dogs with her though. Do not be discouraged if it does not happen very soon. I would discourage you from going back inside the fenced area of the dog park though. Those types of interactions with other dogs will likely make the problem worse or make it come back again, even after she improves because of your hard work. Instead go on structured walks with other dogs, or do three second greetings, where she is allowed to sniff another dog politely for three seconds, and then told "Let's Go", and rewarded with a treat for following you away from the dog. When she improves enough to be calm around other dogs, going on pack walks, doing three second greetings, and being in areas with other dogs around are very important for her ongoing socialization, so do continue to do those things. Right now she needs to be around tons of other dogs but only at a distance that she can handle while you are working on her focus on you and self-control and calmness. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello! We have had Blu since he was 8 weeks old and super duper socialized him right away. He is really great with other dogs but in the last few months, every time we can’t say hi to a dog (i.e they are walking the other way, the owner doesn’t want to-which is totally ok-, ect.) he barks and whines and wants to run towards them. We have been trying to work on distracting him when he does this or redirecting him-but once he sees them and knows he can’t go and play, he loses all interest in what we are doing. We just started beginning training with him at Pet Smart and are currently working on auto-focus and introducing mark training with a clicker. Is there something else we should be looking to try to help this behavior? We don’t (anymore) let him say hi if he starts barking/whining to reward the behavior. I know he wants to play but we want him to look to us before saying hi to another dog and if he can’t, to be calm.
Hello Ally, The first step is to make sure he understands what he is supposed to be doing by teaching commands that can be used in that situation, such as "Quiet", "Heel", and/or "Leave It". The second step is to build his impulse control by practicing those/that skill around the distraction he is struggling with but with enough distance between him and the dogs that he can succeed at least part of the time. This step might be where he is at currently and needs more practice. The third step is to give a fair correction. Corrections should be used once the dog understands what they should be doing instead of acting up, and they have the ability to obey and do it (enough impulse control/self-control skills through practicing it), and the correction comes when they still choose to disobey your command. Correcting this way gives the dog a choice in whether they get corrected (obey and they can avoid it), it ensures they understand why they are being corrected (which helps avoid associating the correction with things like other dogs - opposed to associating it with their own behavior), and it helps them succeed because you know that they can choose to obey when motivated to. A correction might look like a quick leash tug and release, a correctly used and fitted prong collar (in some cases), a circumstantial consequence (your dog has to leave the area when they act a certain way, removing the thing that they wanted), or an obedience drill - these tend to be great on walks for encouraging focus and I often recommend trying these first. An obedience drill is simply when you work your dog hard for a couple of minutes without treats. Walk quickly with your dog at a heel and make lots of ninety degree angle turns, changing your pace often so that he really has to focus on you to keep up. Have your dog sit, lay down, stand, and run through several commands that they know all in a row quickly. Practice this little drill at a pace that is fast enough that your dog doesn't have time to focus on the other dog, but has to give his whole attention to you. When he finishes, you can calmly tell him Good Boy, but then continue your walk as if nothing happened. The point of this drill is to regain focus and respect, not to get him excited about treats and lots of praise - those things are fantastic but not the goal here because they can feed into the excitement when you want calm and respectful right then. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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