How to Train Your Dog to Get Along with Other Dogs

Medium
1-2 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Let’s be honest for a moment.  As humans, we often meet people we dislike or that rub us the wrong way.  Part of being able to function in society, go to work and be social, however, is learning to get along with other people.  The same can be said when it comes to training your dog to get along with other dogs.  Even as an only dog in a household, Fido will often have to interact with other dogs when they visit the vet, go for walk,s or if they want to enjoy dog parks or other social and fun pet-centric events.  Learning good doggy social skills, therefore, is a critical part of your dog’s core training.

Defining Tasks

The extent to which your dog will need to be trained to get along with other dogs will depend on their individual personality and the level of interaction you foresee.  If you will be bringing an additional dog into the household, your pet will need to learn to share their space, toys, time, and resources with other dogs.  If Fido is the only pet, your dog will need to ignore other dogs while out in public or greet them politely when they cross paths.  Each of these skills will involve gradually introducing your dog to other canines and building positive associations with the experience of being around each other.

Getting Started

For the best results, you should begin training your dog to get along with other dogs as early as possible.  Starting your dog off young builds positive experiences that your pup can refer back to time and again as they encounter dogs in the future.  As with any training, you will want to have a wide selection of treats in a varying range of attractiveness or value.  Dry, bite-sized dog cookies, small pieces of cheese, hot dog slices, and cooked steak or meat are all good options.  You will need a sturdy flat buckle collar and a medium length leash, preferably with a second loop for shortening length if needed.  Finally, a calm and friendly neighborhood dog and their owner will be a great mentor and can often help to create good interactions and pawsitive reinforcement of doggy manners.

The Positive Reinforcement Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Positive Reinforcement method for Get Along with Other Dogs
Step
1
Distance and treats
This method for teaching your dog to get along with other dogs works well if you don’t have another pooch to help you practice. It can also be trained in a variety of settings. Start out on a bench or sitting well away from a path where dogs frequently walk. Every time a dog comes into view, immediately treat and praise your pooch.
Step
2
Getting closer
After several sessions, slowly decrease the distance between your dog and the path. Eventually you should be several feet away from other dogs but not close enough for the dogs to touch or interact. Remember to treat and praise every time they see a dog and react calmly.
Step
3
Parallel walking
After several sessions, walk parallel to the path, well away from other dogs. Try to keep your dog’s attention and treat and praise for good behavior and calm walking. Keep your dog a far enough distance away that they aren’t able to touch or interact with other dogs.
Step
4
The meet and greet
After some time of this type of positive reinforcement and acclimation, ask another dog owner with a calm, friendly-appearing dog if your pooch can say hello. Keep the initial greetings short and be sure to treat and praise immediately after the positive interactions.
Step
5
Repeat with multiple dogs
Repeat the positive introductions with multiple dogs of varying sizes and energy levels.
Recommend training method?

The Introduction Walks Method

Effective
0 Votes
Introduction Walks method for Get Along with Other Dogs
Step
1
Walk off energy
Start off by spending some time playing and walking with your dog. Many calmer dogs will often become nervous around others with higher energy levels. Working off some of their excess energy which will lead to calmer interactions between pups.
Step
2
Parallel walking from a distance
Start out by walking your dog next to a friendly dog from a great distance. This is called parallel walking. Your dog should be able to see the other dog, but not touch or interact. 15-20 feet is a good amount of distance. Sporadically give your dog treats and praise them for acting calm.
Step
3
Arcing paths
Walk the dogs towards each other in arcing paths towards each other. This will allow the dogs to approach each other but not actually interact. Treat and praise your dog for good, calm behavior, especially after reaching the apex of the arc and as your dog is walking away.
Step
4
Decrease distance
Repeat walking your dog in arcing paths, decreasing the distance at the apex of the arc each time. Remember to treat and praise your pooch for remaining calm. Towards the very end your dog should just be out of reach of the other pooch.
Step
5
Meet and greet
Allow your dog to meet the other, calm and friendly dog. You should approach the other dog from the side with the friendly dog remaining stationary in a sit or calm stand. Try to keep the leash slack and remain calm yourself. Repeat this introduction with a variety of dogs to build positive associations.
Recommend training method?

The Teaching to Give Method

Least Recommended
1 Vote
Teaching  to Give method for Get Along with Other Dogs
Step
1
Prepping the toy
Start out by getting your dog excited by a favorite toy. Play a game of tug and otherwise let your pooch enjoy the toy. The idea is to make the toy valuable to your pooch so that they wouldn’t willingly want to give it up for nothing.
Step
2
Trading for treats
Take a treat in your hand and show your dog that it is there. With your other hand, grasp the toy. Move the treat near to your dog’s mouth and gently tug on the toy, prompting your dog to drop it and take the treat. Praise your dog when they release the toy.
Step
3
Add in the command
After several sessions of trading, add in a command word such as “give” or “drop”. You should say the command as you are removing the toy from your dog’s mouth.
Step
4
Remove the trade
After reinforcing the command word over several sessions, remove the trading aspect by saying the command without having a treat in hand. Your dog should drop or release the toy. When this happens, immediately treat and praise. If your dog doesn’t willingly release the toy, go back a step and reinforce the command.
Step
5
Repeat in multiple scenarios
Repeat this training in multiple scenarios, including with other dogs around, to help get your dog used to giving up and sharing their toys. The idea is to train your dog that when they release a toy they will receive a reward and positive reinforcement of their good behavior.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Pip
Grayhound
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Pip
Grayhound
4 Years

Hello there I have a 4 year old grayhound. He has never bit a dog before but eveytime he gets the chance to greet a dog he is fine and then will turn very quickly and will jump up and bark at the dog. Since this happens alot I have lost the trust in him just incase he does snap. I have started keeping him away from dogs this has to stop. What can I dog

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell her fear. First we reduce her fear around new dogs, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, lack of socialization, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. Sometimes having low thyroid levels contributes to unwanted canine behavior. During this time, avoid any punishment for reactivity. Doing so will make her concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what she is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram her opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage (or somewhere out of the way if those two options aren't possible) with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at her (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell your dog "watch me" every time you see another dog approaching. Your end goal is for your dog to see another dog, and remain calm, looking at you for guidance. And this will be either continuing your walk, or being allowed to interact with the other dog. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

Add a comment to Pip's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Cash
Pit bull
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cash
Pit bull
2 Years

I adopted my dog from a shelter and in his old home he was attacked by 3 other dogs. He LOVES humans but when he gets too close to other dogs he gets aggressive no matter what the size of the other dog.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell her fear. First we reduce her fear around new dogs, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, lack of socialization, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. Sometimes having low thyroid levels contributes to unwanted canine behavior. During this time, avoid any punishment for reactivity. Doing so will make her concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what she is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram her opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage (or somewhere out of the way if those two options aren't possible) with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at her (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell your dog "watch me" every time you see another dog approaching. Your end goal is for your dog to see another dog, and remain calm, looking at you for guidance. And this will be either continuing your walk, or being allowed to interact with the other dog. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

Add a comment to Cash's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Clinton
hound mix
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Clinton
hound mix
2 Years

So I rescued clinton about 2 years ago. He used to live with other dogs and had no issues. Now everytime he sees a dog he goes crazy and tries to assert dominance. How do I fix it so I can have him interact with other dogs again?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Patrick, First, know that just because a dog does well with a couple of dogs they are raised with, that doesn't mean they were socialized with other dogs in general...Think about a person who grew up with family but never left the house...how would they be around strangers? Pup may generally not be good with other dogs because they were never socialized before coming to live with you, so a lot of work in that area might be needed. Do you know how pup does up close with other dogs, or off leash with dogs other than the ones they were raised with? If pup is fine off leash and up close, the issue is probably leash reactivity - which has more to do with the walk on leash and is addressed just in that scenario, and a simpler fix. If pup doesn't do well with dogs in general, the issue is more likely aggression, which will require a more thorough training process to address. I would start by looking for a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area, which is a class for dog reactive/aggressive dogs who all wear basket muzzles in class for safety, and are intensively socialized together. This is a quicker way to make up for some lost socialization if that's what's going on. Introduce the muzzle ahead of time and use a basket one for comfort, so the muzzle doesn't cause any stress for pup. Break this introduction in the video into several sessions, only progressing to pup wearing it more as pup is comfortable and happy to put their face into the muzzle to get the treats. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s Check out trainers like Thomas from America's Canine Educator on youtube to learn more about aggression. If pup's aggression goes beyond leash reactivity, and especially if you don't have a growl class you can attend, I recommend working with a trainer in person, who specializes in behavior issues like aggression. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Clinton's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Hershey
Chihuahua
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Hershey
Chihuahua
3 Years

Hershey can be a bit aggressive towards dogs in my neighborhood. He can be calm at first, letting the dog sniff him, but then tends to start barking afterwards.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell her fear. First we reduce her fear around new dogs, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, lack of socialization, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. Sometimes having low thyroid levels contributes to unwanted canine behavior. During this time, avoid any punishment for reactivity. Doing so will make her concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what she is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram her opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage (or somewhere out of the way if those two options aren't possible) with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at her (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell your dog "watch me" every time you see another dog approaching. Your end goal is for your dog to see another dog, and remain calm, looking at you for guidance. And this will be either continuing your walk, or being allowed to interact with the other dog. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

Add a comment to Hershey's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Ruby and bailey
Maltese
6 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ruby and bailey
Maltese
6 Years

I have question about my dogs. They were attacked by a dog before.

They doesn’t like dogs now. They are so afraid and fearful to other dogs. They just lunge bark or nearly nip at them.

What can I do to train them? Any advice.
I love my dogs to bits. I want them to be comfortable and happy on walk or anything

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
707 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paula, First, I suggest working on a structured heel and a few obedience commands with each. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Next, go somewhere that you can put a lot of space between pup and another dog off in the distance, like a calm spacious park or field with a friend and their well mannered dog. Practice with only one dog at a time at first. Put enough distance between your dog and the other dog for yours to see them but not react poorly. With the other dog in the background far off, practice lots of obedience with rewards, to get pup into a calm, working mindset and focused on you and not the other dog. Practice until pup isn't bothered by the other dog. When pup can handle the dog from that distance, very gradually decrease the distance over a series of training sessions. Don't decrease distance until pup is comfortable at the current distance. When pup can handle the other dog being within twenty feet, practice heeling the two dogs past each other from opposite sidewalks or similar distance. Reward both for focus on their people and staying calm, interrupt any stares or tensing up before it turns into a full blown reaction. Only decrease the distance once pup is calm at the current distance. Expect this to mean walking past each other possibly hundreds of times. End each training session before pup seems to be exhausted or mentally struggling to focus even more. Practice with only one dog at a time, only walking the dogs together around other dogs once both are fine separately. Expect to have to practice some more with the dogs together once they are fine separately because they will feed off of each other's nervous energy and need to learn to take their cues from you while together also. Try to keep your attitude calm and confident. Don't comfort a bad reaction, act nervous, or angry if you can. Try to act the way you want pups to feel. Practice can help you feel confident and calm also, since it can be hard to feel confident at first with reactive dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Ruby and bailey's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd