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.
we live in a house with no backyard so i take my dog on a walk 3 times every day. each time we see another dog mine goes insane and barks and jumps and tries to run up to the other dog. what should i do?
Hello Lily, First, see if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. This is a class for dog reactive and dog aggressive dogs. It is an intensive socialization class where all of the dogs wear basket muzzles for everyone's safety and the dogs are walked together and socialized together to help overcome issues more quickly. Also, work on a very focused, structured heel. Check out the video and article linked below. He needs to start out the walk walking slightly behind you and not in front of you - because in front he cannot focus on you and is scanning the horizon for dogs. Starting out the walk right can make a huge impact on how a dog responds when they do see another dog. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo I would need more information to help further. If this is leash reactivity - meaning that he does fine with dogs while off leash or once he greets the dogs, then I suggest working on his respect and focus for you and correcting the behavior by keeping him extremely on task walking with you. If this is aggression and he is not alright with dogs in other environments, then you will need to deal with the root of the aggression and determine what type it is. If he is afraid you would work on pairing the presence of other dogs with good things while he was calm, in addition to building his confidence in you. If it is dominance, possessiveness, territorial, or protective, then you would work on building his respect and focus on you and desensitizing him to other dogs through a lot of practice heeling around other dogs from a distance that he can handle, with well timed corrections and well timed praise - there are several different exercises to work on for this. If this is genetic you are going to be looking at high level management since the root of the aggression likely cannot be changed. You would work on increasing his respect and trust for you, desensitizing him to other dogs, and having an advanced level of obedience so that he could respond to you even in the presence of high distractions. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training for more details on dealing with aggression. If this is fear aggression, then you could also use a more positive reinforcement approach. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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She is very territorial, she nuts up every time another dog comes in yard or where she can see them. When I take her to Petsmart to get groomed she doesn’t act like that. She goes from 0 to 100 in seconds. She is 100 lbs and I am a 66 year old woman, what can I do
Hello Gayle, You need to hire a trainer who specializes in aggression and has access to other trainers on staff and well behaved dogs to practice around. Because of her strength it will be difficult for you to implement the training on your own so I suggest getting in person help. Look into Sean O'Shea from the Good Dog, and Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on YouTube. I still suggest hiring a trainer to help you though. Aggression is one of the things that often requires professional help. Many things can be taught on your own, but aggression often benefits from having assistance from someone who deals with it often, comes well recommended, and has the resources like other dogs, to practice the methods around. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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when Molly was less than a year old she was at a training class and another dog came at her to attack her. she did not get hurt. Now when we owned another dog she was super aggressive. they would fight over toys, when someone rang the door bell or just go at each other. we had to surrender the second dog it was getting to dangerous. I really want to adopt another dog. a tea cup yorkie. how do I train molly to be friendly with a new dog? thank you
Hello Chanae, First, you need to honestly evaluate whether she was the initiator of the fights, or if it was only your dog that you re-homed. If the other dog was the only one constantly starting issues, you may be able to add another dog but life with both dogs probably will never be able to look relaxed and unstructured because of her history. I know of others with dog reactive dogs who are able to add a second dog but you need to first work through your dog's general issues being around other dogs, which will probably involve working with a training group that specializes in aggression and reactivity and who has access to a lot of other dogs to work on desensitizing her. You will need to work on the resource guarding before adding another dog. Her life will need to be really structured, meaning she needs to heel with a lot of focus on you and walking slightly behind you on every walk (and not be allowed to scan the horizon looking for other dogs), she needs to wait for permission before eating, be fed in a closed crate, be crated trained, be able to do a 2 hour Place or Down-Stay command, know Leave It, Out, Come, and be very responsive to commands around high distractions, like other dogs running past. When you have established that level of respect, trust, focus on you, and obedience, then you can ease into introducing another dog by having Molly rotate between being on Place, in a crate, or on a structured heeling walk around the other dog - no freedom around the other dog at this point, only structured activities together with a high level of focus and management from you. Both dogs should be fed in closed separate crates to prevent resource guarding and stress around food, and toys carefully chosen and controlled when they have what. A household with a dog aggressive dog is possible but it will never look like a household with two dog-social dogs, and the Yorkie is small enough that it could easily be killed during a fight, and being bullied by another dog will cause a second dog to become fear-aggressive too - continuing the cycle. After a couple of years of careful management and structure with both dogs, they may become accepting and trusting enough of each other and respectful enough of your rules, that they can have more freedom with each other (always supervised still though). This often happens when things are managed carefully enough for long enough, but there are no guarantees that things will be able to be more relaxed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello. When Enzo was young, he was great with other dogs. Never had any problems. Then as time grew I noticed him playing more rough with the other dogs at the dog park, following their lead. So we stopped attending as much. Then about 6 months ago he freaked out when another dog was near and tried snapping at him. After that I limited his social interactions. Now I have two new dogs moving into my house, neither are aggressive. We've tried to get them friendly but Enzo is still freaking out. By this he is snapping his jaw and barking lunging at them when they are close by and I have to use all my strength to hold him back. Then at a further distance he is crying in a very high pitched sound, going crazy trying to get loose. We've tried having them sniff at each other. Using just the female dog to try and get them aquanted and Enzo just wont calm down. He doesnt care about treats or anything when this is going on either. What can I do? With the walking method, he just pulls and cries the entire time trying to get to the other dog
Hello Taylor, It sounds like he may associate other dogs with the highly aroused state he was always in around them, where the dogs have to be a bit defensive, competitive, and overly-excited. Over-arousal can lead to fighting and frustration. You want him learn to associate dogs with something calm and pleasant, and not something really exciting or frustrating. He needs to practice heeling around other dogs from a distance, a high level Place command around other dogs also in Place, and a lot of other obedience where his focus is on you and the other dogs are just background information but not something he is supposed to be focusing on; to do this, his focus on you and respect and trust for you need to increase a lot, then you can gradually work up to getting him around other dogs while doing something structured like heeling, with the dogs in the distance. As he improves, you can decrease the distance between them and add more movement from the other dogs. Check out Jeff Gellman from solidK9Training. He specializes in aggression, fear and similar behavior problems and has hundreds of videos on Youtube. Sean O'Shea from the Good Dog also has several great videos, as well as The Canine Educator based in New York state. Aggression and reactivity can be harder to treat yourself and you will need a lot of volunteers with their own calm dogs to serve as dogs in the background while doing this. You also need someone to show you how correct effectively (avoiding a bite, the right level of correction, the right timing, and correcting the looking for dogs and tensing up to get his attention back onto you and off the dogs before a big outburst, ect...), and someone to show you what your attitude and body language needs to be like - very calm and confident, not anxious, angry, or overly excited. Because he doesn't have a bite history and hasn't drawn blood as far as you have mentioned you may be able to tackle his needs on your own if you have enough people with calm dogs willing to help you and you are able to do the research needed to understand how to do the training by watching tons of videos - but this will be a ton easier if you hire a trainer who specializes in behavior problems and trains similar to the trainers in the videos mentioned above, using mostly positive reinforcement but also a ton of structure, obedience, and boundaries, and the right about of corrections where needed to break through to the dog so they can be open to learning something better. Avoid trainers who use alpha rolls and extreme dominance type training. Effective corrections and structure aren't the same as pinning a dog to the ground just to make a point. Also, avoid those who do not have a lot of experience with aggression, many trainers only focus on obedience in class type settings (which is fine for those who need obedience, but not what you need and won't help on it's own). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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my dog was fine with other dogs when I first got her(she was 6 months old). Then my daughters dog snapped at her. but not right away did I see a change in her. But it happened gradually. Now I think some of it is my fault. She is extremely aggressive for a 7 lb dog. Especially to puppies. With big giant dogs she want to play. I cannot get her attention to even focus on a treat or otherwise. I unfortunately out of embarrassment to other owners have held her mouth and picked her up. She loves loves people. And when no other dogs are around she is the sweetest. I cannot afford formal training but I think I made her bad, please help.
Hello Maribeth, Check out the articles and videos linked below to work on her respect and responsiveness to you - which is the first step. It sounds like it may be fear-aggression but other types of aggression commonly surface around 1-2 years so you may have something else going on too. With fear and other types of aggression you want her to feel like she can depend on you to handle situations that make her nervous, and listen to commands related to how she should behave around other dogs. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 1-2 years is a common age for aggression or fear related behaviors to surface because of the dog's mental and sexual maturity around then...protectiveness, fear-aggression, territorial behavior, possessiveness, dominance issues, and reactivity are a few common things that can pop up for some dogs during that time - it's often related to the dog's genetic personality, the type of leadership you provide, the dog's socialization level, competing with other animals, and instincts. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training on YouTube, he has hundreds of videos on aggression and fear. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Believe him to be dominant but not sure that's truly the case. It's hard to want to even try to socialize him because of his size (170 pounds, 38 inches at the withers). He was not socialized as a puppy. Not sure how to show him how to/reintroudce play to him (with other dogs). He injured another dog when he was corrected and lashed out.
Hello Megan, Honestly, I wouldn't ever let him play off leash with other dogs again. His lack of socialization as a puppy, lack of impulse control exhibited when he redirected aggression onto another dog, and size honestly makes it unsafe for him - possibly forever. However, that doesn't mean you can't socialize him in another way. I highly suggest hiring a trainer who uses balanced training - including a lot of positive reinforcement in addition to some fair corrections, who comes well recommended by previous clients, and who is very experienced with e-collars. Due to his size, I highly recommend e-collar training his obedience after teaching it initially in a fenced in area using a long leash - which you will let drag most of the time to avoid being pulled over. Once he has some obedience and an e-collar intermediate level, practice his obedience with other dogs in the background, such as at parks and outside dog parks (not inside). Join an obedience class (even though he already knows the tasks at that point) and have him practice his obedience commands around other dogs. You can also create your own practice group with friends who are wanting to train their dogs. The goal is for him to perform calm, structured activities in the presence of other dogs - not to necessarily even greet them and not to play. Use the Passing Approach and Walking together methods from the article linked below to introduce him to other, calm dogs, one by one. When he does well with a variety of other dogs, join a dog walking or dog hiking groups through a local obedience club, social group like meetup.com, or start your own with friends. A structured heeling walk is a great way to socialize dogs together because their adrenaline is lower, they feel happy, they are more focused on you and the walk (if required to heel) and not on competing with each other, and it stimulates them physically - relieving tension. Wrestling with other dogs can increase arousal and adrenaline and make fight more likely. Heeling is calming when structured. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Because of your dog's size, obedience training with a professional using the e-collar needs to come first though. Solid obedience will help with management in general so that you can then practice things around other dogs without as much risk. Check out James Penrith from Take the Lead dog training on YouTube to learn more about e-collar training, also called remote collar training. Only every use a high quality e-collar and the person training needs to know a lot about training with e-collars before beginning (whether you learn a lot or hire someone). You absolutely should not put the collar on your dog and just start pushing buttons. There is a very specific way to train to make them safe and effective at the correct level, without stressing the dog more than other methods. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We would like to socialize Kylo but he acts aggressively toward just about every other dog we encounter. Is there a way to correct this behavior?
Hello Christina, See if there is a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. A G.R.O.W.L. class is a class for dog-aggressive or dog-reactive dogs, where the dogs are intensively socialized together while wearing basket muzzles, using structured exercises, more quickly. I wouldn't make your pup being able to run and play with other dogs the goal, but with professional help, would pursue pup being able to do things like go on structured walks, practice obedience, and calmly be around other dogs - things that keep dogs' arousal level low and calm, to make aggression more manageable and help dogs co-exist better. This is something that generally takes a lot of dedication and time to work towards from the dog's owner. A G.R.O.W.L. class could be a great way to get there a bit sooner if you can find one. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Layla is a rescue we have had for about two weeks. She is very friendly- too friendly to other dogs, including our other lab mix (3 1/2 yrs old male). She briefly sniffs them, licks their mouths and then proceeds to jump on their heads and neck to play. And she doesn’t stop jumping even when the other dog backs off. She is wagging her tail, not barking and not growling at all. When I pull her away on a leash because the other dogs and owners look nervous she goes crazy yelping and howling- trying to get back to the dog to play. My dog has not yet snapped or acted aggressively towards her but he is clearly not interested in playing that way. She cannot be around him or other dogs without attempting to roughly play. She is living in a separate room now because I do not want them to have a negative interaction before I get some behavior advice.
Hello Susan, I suggest teaching her Out and using the How to Deal with Pushy behavior section of that article also once she has learned what out means. Practice Out with her around your own dog, telling her Out as soon as she is unmannerly, then you enforcing the command using the pushy behavior section of that article. Out: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ I also suggest playing "Jazz Up, Settle Down" with her. To play, get her excited with you, then suddenly give a command she knows well, like Sit, and then freeze. Stay frozen until she calms down and Sits - this is going to take her a few minutes at first. Repeat the command calmly one time after 2 minutes - if you think she has forgotten what's going on. When she sits, give a treat and calmly praise, then tell her "Okay, go play!" And resume playing. Practice this red light, green light game often. At first only get her a bit excited before giving the command - so that she CAN obey. As she improves, get her more and more excited before giving the command - so that she has to calm herself more and more. Only add more excitement when she gets to the point during practice where she can instantly obey - at that point make it harder and practice until she can instantly obey then too - then make it even more exciting, ect... During a walk, I suggest not greeting other dogs nose to nose for a while - you are headed for leash reactivity potentially. Instead, intentionally work on socializing her around other dogs in structured ways. Practice obedience command like Down-Stay and Heeling around other dogs - recruit friends who also want to practice with their dogs and create your own obedience practice class or join an intermediate obedience class. Check out the Passing Approach and Walking Together methods from the article linked below. Practice those methods with pup and friends with well behaved dogs. The goal is to desensitize her to other dogs and for her to learn to be calm around other dogs - you want other dogs to be pleasant but boring to her - not exciting playmates right now. Passing Approach and Walking Together methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs A structured wall is also super important for pup. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel More heeling: https://youtu.be/EcwvUOf5oOg If there is a local meetup.com or obedience club group that does structured heeling walks or hikes with dogs, that could be a fun and good way to socialize her more calmly. You want her focused on you and heeling behind you, learning to ignore the dogs around her (not greet every one), and just enjoy walking next to them. It becomes more of a working co-existing relationship between the dogs and is a good place to practice focus on you and respect for you around dogs - which can help and is needed. Keep in mind how service dogs behave around other dogs. They are extremely well socialized and play with other puppies while little, but then their socialization looks like calmly co-existing around other dogs as they mature. That's what she needs to prevent leash reactivity - learning structured, calm co-existance. That doesn't mean she can never play, but the emphasis needs to be on calmness now until she learns that, then calmness should be the norm with occasional play with the right dogs off leash (if you want to let her - it's not necessary). On leash is hard for almost all dogs to varying degrees though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We have a 6 year old dog and a new puppy... our oldest keeps growling at the puppy everytime he approaches her. Suggestions please!?
Hello Chandler, First, I highly suggest crate training the puppy. Almost all puppies will cry the first two weeks of crate training - it is new to them and they have to be given the opportunity to learn to self-sooth and self-entertain to prepare them for environments they will have to be in later and prevent dangerous destructive chewing habits that happen without confinement. Use the Surprise method from the article linked below to gradually help him learn to be calm in the crate and to relax by using rewards for being Quiet. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Once pup is crate trained then life with both dogs can be a lot easier for everyone. Crate pup at night and when you leave, and you can use an exercise pen with some toys in it also. When you cannot directly supervise the dogs together, puppy should be crated or in the pen. When you are supervising, teach both dogs the Out command (which means leave the area) and make whoever is causing issues leave the area as needed. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Decide what your house rules are for both dogs and you be the one to enforce the rules instead of the dogs. No aggression, no pushiness, no stealing toys, no stealing food, no being possessive of people or things, no bothering another dog when they want to be left alone, or any other unwanted behavior - if one dog is causing a problem you be the one to enforce the rules so that the dogs are NOT working it out themselves. For example, if pup comes over to your older dog when she is trying to sleep, tell pup Out. If puppy obeys, praise and reward him. If he disobeys, stand in front of your older dog, blocking the pup from getting to her, and walk toward pup calmly but firmly until pup leaves the area and stops trying to go back to your older dog. If your older dog growls at your pup, make her leave the room while also disciplining pup for antagonizing if needed. Be vigilant and take the pressure off of your older dog - you want her to learn to look to you when there is a problem, and for puppy to learn respect for your older dog because you have taught it to him and not because your older dog has had to resort to aggression or she has to hide all the time. If you want pup to be free but don't want to chase after him while you are home, you can also clip him to yourself using a six-foot leash, so that he has to stay near you and not wander near your other dog. Whenever puppy enters the room, give your older dog a treat while pup is not looking. Whenever she is calm, relaxed or tolerant of puppy also give her a treat. Try not to let puppy see you rewarding her though so that he doesn’t run over and overwhelm her. Right now your older dog probably needs to feel like you are the one managing puppy, protecting your older dog from him pestering her, and making his appearance pleasant for your older dog. If you can take the pressure off of their relationship and help their interactions to be calmer, then she may adjust to puppy's presence as he grows, especially when he calms down when older. If your older dog is guarding you from puppy, being pushy, or displaying other behavior issues, work on building her respect for you also. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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