How to Train Your Dog to Ignore Other Dogs

Hard
4-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

First, let's set the scene: you and your pup are walking along the sidewalk and everything is peaceful and relaxed. Suddenly, up ahead another person is coming your way with their pup. Your dog starts to bark excitedly and lunges towards the other dog. Not only is this type of behavior unseemly, it could lead to someone or someone's furry friend becoming seriously injured.

Now let's look at it from a different perspective. You and your pup are walking along as above, but this time your dog calmly walks by your side as the other pair walk by on their side of the sidewalk. Doesn't this seem like a much better scene? It can be yours as long as you are willing to put in the time to train your dog to ignore other dogs. You can teach a dog of any age to behave in this manner as long as they are old enough to have mastered the basic commands. 

Defining Tasks

In this case, you are training your dog to behave in a specific manner under certain circumstances rather than teaching him a new task or chore. While you may need to use some form of command word in the beginning, the intention is for your dog to ignore other dogs without having to be told. This is a very important behavior for your dog to learn as you need to be able to take for walks without worrying about his behavior. If you can't do this, it becomes far too easy for your dog to not get the exercise he needs.

You should teach your dog to ignore as young as possible, preferably while you are training him to walk on a leash. But at the same time, you can train an older dog to behave on walks, it might just take a little more time.  No matter what age your pup happens to be, learning to behave around other dogs could save him from serious injury or worse if he ends up in a fight.

Getting Started

Not much is needed in the way of supplies when it comes to training your dog to ignore other dogs. But more than anything else, you will need the time to go for walks every day and preferably more than once each day.  But you will need these things:

  • Leash: For when you go for a walk.
  • Treats:  For when your dog behaves.
  • Time: Time for two or three 15-minute walks every day.
  • Patience: Your pup is going to get it wrong at first, be patient and never punish him for getting it wrong

Remember, training your dog to ignore other dogs is more about time and patience than anything else. Also, the more you jerk on the leash, the more excited your pup will become. The calmer you remain, the more quickly your pup will calm down and back off. 

The Attention and Reward Method

Most Recommended
5 Votes
Step
1
Before you go
Before you go out for a walk, call your dog by his name. If he looks at you give him a treat.
Step
2
Repeat the process
Do this several times around the house over the next few days until he always looks up at you when you call his name.
Step
3
Distance walks first
Start walking your dog at a distance from other dogs. Note when first notices them and call his name. When he looks at you, give him a treat.
Step
4
Slowly get a little closer
Start working your way closer to other dogs using the same method. Rewards if he behaves, move further back out if he doesn't and start again.
Step
5
Keep going
Keep working closer until you and your dog can pass by others at close quarters without your having to worry about your pup misbehaving.
Recommend training method?

The Nudge Method

Effective
2 Votes
Step
1
Go for a walk
Start by taking your dog out for a walk around the neighborhood.
Step
2
Remain calm
As you walk, remain calm and relaxed. Your pup can sense this and will behave in the same manner.
Step
3
No pull
If your dog starts to lunge towards another dog, do not pull on the leash, this will only make him pull harder.
Step
4
Nudge him
Instead of pulling on the leash, anticipate the behavior and using your knee gently nudge your pup in the side to distract him. If he settles down, give him a treat.
Step
5
Sharp tugs are better
If he doesn't back down, you may need to give the leash a short sharp tug to get his attention while calling his name. Reward him for good behavior.
Step
6
Keep trying
It can take a few weeks for your dog to fully accomplish the change in behavior you are trying to teach him, be patient, it will happen.
Recommend training method?

The Friend Method

Least Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
Talk to a friend
Have several of your friends agree to bring their dogs over for training sessions.
Step
2
Bring your pup in
Find a large area where you can put your pup on a leash and stand with him.
Step
3
Conga-line time
Have your friends line up spaced about 20 feet apart with their dogs on leashes.
Step
4
Ready, set, go
One by one, have your friends walk their dogs past where you and your pup are standing.
Step
5
Each time he lunges
Each time your pup lunges towards the other dog tell him "No!" and make him sit. When he does, give him a treat.
Step
6
Keep the line going
Keep the conga-line moving around in a big circle for training sessions of at least thirty minutes each day or at least several times a week. Once he has mastered this, you should be able to take him for walks in public and expect the same behavior.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Dymond
Shepherd
3 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Dymond
Shepherd
3 Years

Focus on me rather than other dogs he sees he des not lunge bur does look and get a bit excited want him to focus on me when we see other dogs out there. thanks.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Claudia, Teaching focus around other dogs mostly takes practice. Work on teaching Dymond the "Watch Me" command and "Heel", and when Dymond starts to get distracted give him something else to focus on by practicing "Watch Me" and by doing lots of heel work, with lots of right and left turns, and changes in speed - so that he has to pay attention to you to keep up. The training should be fast paced until he is focused back on you. Reward his focus on you and work on his obedience while the other dogs are in the background. Start with the other dogs far enough away that he is only mildly distracted. As he improves, practice the training with the dogs a bit closer, until you can work with him close to other dogs and he is still able to focus on you. Attending an Intermediate Obedience or Canine Good Citizenship class is great for building focus around distractions if he already knows Basic Obedience. The environment with other dogs gives you an opportunity to practice his focus while other owners are also doing the same. One of the things Canine Good Citizen typically works on is teaching dogs to ignore other dogs unless given permission to play. You essentially need to practice general training and things that build your dog's focus on you in general, around other dogs often enough that the other dogs become boring and just background noise. Watch Me (AKA look at me) video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6PogCb_mLc Heel article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Make sure you have a high currency such as chesse, bacon, or even hot dogs. It will help a lot but make sure care out treats soon as well.

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Grim
Mixed
1 Year
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Grim
Mixed
1 Year

Hi,my puppy is a service dog in training. I'm training him myself. The most main problem I'm having is reactivity. He crys when he sees dogs, barks and lunges at kids, barks at some adults and loses focus around those distractions. How do I re-focus him on me and to ignore everything and only allow him to greet people/ dogs on command?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kailah, Look into a Canine Good Citizen Class in your area. That class will work on teaching dogs to ignore other dogs and people and act calmly while out in public. The focus around distractions simply comes with practice. If he is struggling to focus around people and dogs, then add more distance between him and others and break the training into much smaller steps for him. A class will still require mostly owner-training from you, but it will provide an environment to practice obedience around others in a controlled way, will give you the support of your fellow owners, and a trainer to show you what to do so that you can continue to practice what you are shown past when the class ends, to the level you will need for Service Dog training. Look for others in your community who are doing owner-training for Service Dogs, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs. Try to get together with them regularly and practice your dog's obedience, focus, and calmness around them and their dogs. Change factors to keep the training at the level Grimm is ready for, by staying further away, moving closer as he improves, having the other owners act calm or act silly, adding more or less people, and so forth. Think though the scenarios that you dog will need to handle one day as a Service Dog and break those distractions down into pieces, like environment, noises, people, dogs, ect, and practice with only part of those distractions until he is ready for you to add another distraction to the mix. If you feel like Grim is lunging and barking out of aggression and not excitement, then you need to hire a professional trainer immediately. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Loki
Border Terrier
19 Months
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Loki
Border Terrier
19 Months

Hi, Loki has fantastic recall - providing there are no other dogs around. He is super friendly and just wants to say hi, but I don't want him to run up to every dog he sees - they may be unfriendly or recovering from illness. I've tried and tried but he ignores me, but as soon as I approach him he knows he has been naughty. I don't shout or hit him, just say nothing and put him on the lead. Any suggestions?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sharon, Practice his recall on a long leash around other dogs. Intentionally go to places, like dog parks and parks that dog's frequent, and practice the recall on a leash. When you go to a dog park do not go inside while training. Simply practice his recall in a safe park of the parking lot or grass area next to the fence, so that Loki encounters dogs passing by and in the background. You can also recruit a friend with a dog that Loki likes to practice this with on the long leash. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bonnie
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Bonnie
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
2 Years

We just rescued a 2 year old female pitbull. She is super sweet but she tends to bark and jump and becomes antsy around other animals either seeing or hearing them. She's never been aggressive just noisy. With her being a pit I'm worried how people will react. We think she was abused at one point and was in a foster home but supposedly wasn't allowed around the 6 other dogs there. I need to figure out how to stop this reaction. Unfortunately I don't have other friends with dogs to help me out. What would be the best methods to try?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katie, If Bonnie is just excited and distracted around other dogs, but you have no reason to believe that she is at all aggressive, then I suggest enrolling in a leashed obedience class with her. Look for one with a really experienced, well respected trainer, who also has advanced or specialized classes. Even though you will just be doing a basic obedience or intermediate obedience class with her, you want a trainer that is very experienced. Many trainer will be willing to evaluate her beforehand to see what class is or isn't appropriate for her. Not all trainers will let an over-excited dog join, so mention it and look for a trainer who is open to it if they feel like she is safe and won't be too over-stimulated. A class that is help outdoors or in a large, spacious area will be better than a small indoor class, which might be too stimulating for her. Bonnie needs to practice obedience and focused exercises around other dogs, while being rewarded for calm behavior and focus on you. This will help her form a positive association with the other dogs, will make them less exciting if she practices with them as background noise often, and will help her focus on you more around other dogs. Another great way to accomplish this is to find a group that does pack walks with a number of dogs. Start teaching her a really structured, focused "Heel" command, then go on a walk with the group and don't be afraid to hang in the back and practice your turns and focus. It might feel frustrating at first when you can't keep up with everyone because she won't stay heeling, but if you go regularly every week when they meet, then she will improve with practice. Meetup.com sometimes has local dog walking groups. Clubs and rescues are other good places to ask. Finally, go places where there are other dogs, like open parks or dog parks with adjoining fields, and practice her obedience with treats and fun, while the other dogs are in the background at a distance she can handle. As she improves, gradually get closer during training sessions overtime. DO NOT take her into the dog park fence though, this can make the over-arousal worse at this stage. She needs to practice calm, friendly interactions, and that is not always the environment inside a dog park. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Luna
Husky
6 Months
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Question
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Luna
Husky
6 Months

when walking Luna she will kangaroo jump/jump at dogs that pass by, tried treats and distracting but nothing seems to work

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sally, When dogs get over-aroused through excitement or aggression (excitement probably in this case), they typically will not eat eats. This is a sign that her environment and the training in that environment is too exciting and too hard for her to learn. To address this, first teach her a few basic commands, like "Come", "Sit", "Watch Me", and "Heel". Practice these until she can do them at home, in your yard, in your neighborhood when dogs are not around, at the park when dogs are not around, and other locations. When she can do the commands without dogs around, then make sure that you have a way to enforce each command if she disobeys. Check out the "Reel In" method from the article below for "Come". https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Check out the "Position" method from the article below for "Sit". https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-havanese-puppy-to-sit Check out the "Turns" method from the article below for "Heel". https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel You can use fun treat luring methods to initially teach the commands, but you want to be able to enforce the commands too when she does not want treats if you know that she understands the command and is capable of obeying. Next, go somewhere where there are dogs at a distance, like a large park with open grassy areas. You want to be able to control how close she gets to other dogs. Bring treats with you and favorite toys if she is motivated by play. With the dogs in the background, practice her obedience. Keep the obedience fast paced, fun, and energetic...You want to keep her attention on you so much that she cannot focus on both you and the other dogs. Reward her heavily when she obeys with treats (If she will take them) and a little dance and silliness with praise. Don't worry if she won't take the treats. Once she calms down she will be more likely to get interested in them. If she is really struggling to focus then you are too close to the dogs. Practice this until she starts to notice the other dogs less when you are there. When she can handle that then practice slower commands like "Sit-Stay" and "Down-Stay" where she notices the other dogs more. If she moves from the position she is supposed to be in, then gently but firmly and consistently insist that she obey. This will take repetition for her to learn how to obey around the distractions -- practice. This is also a good socialization exercise. You want her to be around other dogs and learn how to be calm and focused at this age. When she can handle commands like "Sit-Stay" around the dogs, then practice closer to other dogs. Gradually decrease the distance between her and other dogs until she can stay focused and obedience while another dog is close-by. It's all about practice. Start small and work up to the other dogs being close-by. For greetings with other dogs, practice the methods from the article that I have linked below with another friend and her well-behaved, friendly dog. Make sure that the other dog is not aggressive and set up several sessions, working up to letting them walk next to each other as the dogs shows signs of being ready to get close, which the method in the article describes. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Caesar
German Shepherd
10 Months
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Question
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Caesar
German Shepherd
10 Months

He starts to linge at other dogs and when he sees them he can't be distracted. He is a working pine German Shepherd so he does not give up easliy. It is also hard to stand still when he is pulling because he pulls so hard and he is so heavy. Today he ran into someone'sbackyard after their dog. Any methods to help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Prashi, You need to hire a professional trainer to help you in person right away. You need someone who uses both positive reinforcement and fair (non-abusive) corrections, has experience with high drive breeds, and has access to multiple dogs, somewhere like a training facility or training group with multiple trainers and board-and-train dogs. I suggest that you be involved in the training process, but you want the trainer to have access to other dogs, starting with her own well trained dogs usually, for practice during sessions. Caesar needs a lot of structure and boundaries. A very experienced trainer needs to show you in-person how to earn his trust and respect, how to manage his behavior (with obedience and heel, among other things), and how to deal with the root-cause of his aggression (possible territorial-ism, dominance/bullying, fear, genetic aggression, prey drive-with small dogs, protectiveness, or another type of aggression). Because his aggression is likely not fear-based, you will need a trainer that knows how to deal with non-fear based aggression (many trainers only work with fear-based aggression, which is treated a bit differently than other types of aggression). To learn more you can check out Jeff Gellman from solidK9training's YouTube channel and Periscope. He is an aggression specialist who is based out of Rhode Island. I highly suggest finding a trainer to help you in person though and not tackling the aggression by yourself. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Max
Boston Terrier
3 Years
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Question
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Max
Boston Terrier
3 Years

Max is three days into living with an at an apartment complex. He lived with three dogs in a house with mom for the past two years and now he is with me. On walks he is constantly barking at dogs when he sees them trying to go meet them. Any suggestions on getting him to calm down around other dogs?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shea, If his barking is due to excitement because he likes other dogs and wants to play with them or meet them, then I suggest that you join an obedience or canine good citizenship class that specifically works on heeling around other dogs while focusing on people. A class like that will have several other dogs up-close who are also being trained to ignore other dogs on walks and not react to them. Also, teach him what "Quiet" means. After he knows that command, when he barks, tell him "Quiet". If he obeys, then reward him with a treat and have him do a couple of obedience commands and receive treats for those too - to teach him to focus on you around other dogs. If he does not get "Quiet", then correct him with the leash (spend time watching videos on how to do this correctly), have him do a few obedience commands, one right after another, such as heel with lots of turns or Sit-Down-Stand in various orders really fast. You want him to be busy enough and focused enough that he doesn't have time to think about the other dogs. Go a lot of places where you can control how far away other dogs are. Practice his obedience while other dogs are walking around or playing in the distance. Choose a distance from the dogs that Max can still focus on you at while you work with him - but he does notice the dogs are there. As his focus on you gets better - especially his heel if he tends to pull when the dogs are around, then you can practice his obedience closer and closer to other dogs, until he can remain calm on normal walks. You can do this training as his daily exercise also - if he is not ready to be around dogs on sidewalks yet. The training combined with obedience work like heel should wear him out. When he can be calm around other dogs, then practice greeting friends' dogs by walking the dogs on separate sidewalks, and gradually getting closer throughout the walk while the dogs are calm, until you can walk the dogs together and they can remain calm. If he is off-leash playing with another dog, before you let him off-leash, tell him "Go Play", so that he will learn that he can only go play when he is given permission and not to expect it during walks when he hasn't been told that he can play. The obedience commands, correction done correctly, and the rewards for focus on you and calm behavior all go together...If you only correct, then you likely won't see long term improvement. Instead he might just become frustrated and anxious. He needs to be taught what to do instead also - through obedience, rewards, and practice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ajax
German Shepherd
8 Months
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Question
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Ajax
German Shepherd
8 Months

My puppy is super curious and VERY easily distracted. The slightest of sounds or movement gets his attention. At home his recall is very good but once we're on a walk outside he just ignores me. He is very friendly and wants to say hi to every dog that passes by but when I don't allow him to he barks and lunges at them. He is a stubborn GSD pup and any advice would be great!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kiahna, I highly suggest joining an intermediate obedience class run by a very experienced trainer who also has experience with off leash training. He needs to regularly practice what he already knows on a long leash around other dogs frequently. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Major Tom
German Shepherd
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Major Tom
German Shepherd
2 Years

GSD about to be 2 years old. Never paid any attention to other dogs. Always took him everywhere and was able to walk in crowds. Sweet boy who loves people but all of a sudden when he sees another dog he barks and lunges. Never growls just barks and lunges. How can I stop this behavior and why is this happening all of a sudden?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brooklyn, The response now might be related to hormones and age. Many behavior problems that stem from protectiveness, dominance, timidity, respect issues, and so on, become most obvious between one and three years of age when a dog matures. The exact age usually depends on the breed and specific dog's maturity. I suggest working on his general respect for you by adding a lot of structure and boundaries to his life right now. When he walks he should walk right in the heel position and pay attention to you and stay with you. Check out the article that I have linked below to help improve his respect for you. You can use all three methods but pay attention to the "Consistency" and "Obedience" methods https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you I suggest hiring a trainer to come evaluate why he is responding that way. His body language should tell a lot about why he is reacting the way he is. Is he excited, nervous, challenging, dominant, or protective when he reacts that way and walking with you? Look for a trainer who uses both positive reinforcement and fair corrections and is very successful and experienced working with high drive, protective breeds like German Shepherds or Malinois. Look for reviews or ask for client referrals. You want a train who understands positive reinforcement and how to use fair corrections and challenge a dog's brain to actually teach the dog, since the issue could stem from a couple of different things that would each need to be addressed a bit differently. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Diggie
Saint Bernard bulldog
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Diggie
Saint Bernard bulldog
2 Years

My dog focuses in on dogs and calling his name and keep walking or pulling nothing works when he is focused on anything he does not listen we don’t know what to do and is is to strong for us to hold him

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Braylin, If the focus is due to excitement and not aggression, then I suggest purchasing a gentle leader collar or prong collar for everyone's safety when he pulls. Check out the video below for how to properly fit a prong collar. https://youtu.be/M3iczULPcdE Give a brief tug on the prong collar or simply keep walking with the gentle leader while saying "Let's Go!". As soon as he turns toward you and follows, offer three treats, one at a time. I suggest regularly taking him places where there are dogs off in the distance and working on a structured heel while he is wearing the prong or gentle leader. Utilize a lot of turns, changes in speed, and other commands like "Sit" while heeling. He should walk right beside you in the heel location, with his nose at or behind your leg and not in front. As soon as he starts to move in front, turn directly in front of him at a ninety degree angle. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Turns" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel If you are still having a hard time with the training, I suggest hiring a professional to work with you because the training will be easier when it is demonstrated in person and practiced with someone experienced doing it hands on. Look for a trainer that uses a lot of structure also and not just treats (treats are fine but may not be enough by themselves). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Shenanigans
Beagle
16 Weeks
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Shenanigans
Beagle
16 Weeks

I appreciate that this may just be because she's a puppy and wants to play, but Shenanigans will not leave other dogs alone. She's constantly jumping at them, barking at them, howling at them, climbing over them, etc. It's actually resulted in her getting bitten twice by some friends' dogs, once hard enough to draw blood. And even then she didn't stop 'harassing' the dog. She also does it with strangers' dogs and even when she's on the lead, she'll bark and howl at other dogs we see out and about. I've tried changing direction, distracting her, making her sit, heel, etc. She didn't do this until she spent time with my friend's dog who is really bad on the lead with other dogs, so I'm guessing she may have picked it up off him.
How do I stop this? It's becoming almost embarrassing taking her anywhere because all you can hear is her barking and howling!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chris, I suggest joining a high quality puppy class that has time for supervised off-leash play where the puppies are interrupted if they get too rough or one starts to get bullied, and where the class has time to practice obedience manners around other puppies. Puppies are different than adult dogs. She needs to be learning from puppies right now, instead of mostly adults - especially poorly socialized ones. When puppies play (with people's help in the classroom) they give each other feedback. When one puppy gets too rough the other puppy will yelp and stop playing with the rough puppy. This helps the rough puppy learn to control himself better so that the fun can continue next time. Having structured time to work on obedience around a group of puppies also helps the puppy learn that the entire class is not play time. There is a time to play and a time to focus on you. Before you let you puppy go say hi or go off-leash to play in the class, have her sit, then tell her to "Go Play" or "Say Hi" and then let her go. This helps her learn that she can only interact with other dogs when she is given permission. Many puppy classes cut off the entrance age at five or six months, so I suggest that you find one as soon as possible and ask how the class is run and whether there is time for off-leash play and obedience practice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Luna
America Staffordshire
2 Years
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Luna
America Staffordshire
2 Years

We recently rescued a very sweet and energetic girl. She has a few behavioral which are being worked on but the biggest one would have to be that she barks a lot. She used to not do it when we got her but overnight she seemed to have found her voice. She barks at visitors, the door, and dogs she hears at night. I want her to be able to ignore all of those sounds. I tried to let her bark it out and then reward her when she stops, but it is very hard especially at night when we live with other family members. Should I continue in this way or try another route.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jennifer, First, I suggest teaching her the Quiet command. After she knows what "Quiet" means, when she stays quiet and doesn't bark at all, reward her with a treat. When she barks tell her "Quiet" and if she continues barking use a Pet Convincer to spray a small puff of air at her side (NOT face) while saying "Ah Ah". Telling her "Ah Ah" at the same time will teach her to listen to that correction even when you do not correct after she learns it. Follow the "Quiet" method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, I suggest desensitizing her to the things that she barks at so that she doesn't feel the need to bark as often to begin with. Follow the "Desensitization" method from the same article linked above, and check out the two videos linked below for examples of how to desensitize a dog to things they bark at. General Desensitization: https://youtu.be/Jp_l9C1yT1g Guest and door desensitization: https://youtu.be/DxPrNnulp5s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bill
Labrador Retriever
4 Years
0 found helpful
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Bill
Labrador Retriever
4 Years

I have 2 labs bill and barney bill is choc lab cross always been a nervous dog very quiet , are older dog died last year bill became really anxious and depressed the vet advise us to get another dog as company we bought barney full pedigree black lab they have got in fine and barney is now a year old , they have suddenly after staying with a lady for a weekend who was also looking after 6 other dogs become unruly when off the lead , bill will spot another dog across the field and take off towards it will barney following , they would always run back if the other dogs barked or growled but now they will both become aggressive barking and bill especially will fight only for a second then run back to me , it’s like he showing off to barney but it’s becoming such a chore to let them off for a run I’m worried they are becoming a pack and pair of bullies , this has only started since they went to this lady for weekend with 6 other dogs .

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jayne, It sounds that that behavior might be something the other dogs did at her home, or perhaps one was bullied for the weekend (or got away with being a bully) so now they are up reacting to other dogs. First, while this is still an issue they need to be on a leash. Not only are they a potential danger to other dogs but Everytime they practice the aggressive behavior it will get worse. Purchase a long leash and work with each dog one at a time on recall, Down-Stay, Sit-Stay, heeling, Watch Me, and following you with the long leash slack around other dogs. Don't allow them to go up to the dogs. They do not have to meet. You want to simply communicate that they need to cut it out, drill them on obedience in a calm way to remind they to focus on you, and practice ignoring other dogs. Practice this with each dog individually first, then practice with both dogs together - recruit someone your dog's know to handle one dog while you handle the other if needed at first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Colin
Great Pyrenees
15 Months
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Colin
Great Pyrenees
15 Months

Colin has been in puppy classes (he has his STAR Puppy) and intermediate obedience classes to work on his CGC. He was socialized very well as a puppy and has never had any problems with men or other dogs. But a few months ago we were passing a neighbor's dog on a walk who was pulling towards him and he just started barking and lunging at it. He's never had any problems passing by other dogs, even if they were pulling and barking at him, but now we can't go on a walk without me worrying that he'll freak out. He's not aggressive or bad, he just has a really loud bark and it embarrasses me when he gets so upset. Since he's so big, many people misinterpret it as he wants to hurt their dog, when in reality, he doesn't. He knows 'look', 'heel', and 'leave it' very well, but when another dog is introduced into the situation, he usually doesn't care even if I have treats.
Our other problem is that dogs are scared of him. He doesn't have any problems with other dogs. When he approaches them, he approaches them from the side, isn't aggressive/dominant, has a playful grin, and happy body language, but sometimes dogs just start barking/growling at him even though they're fine with other dogs. I'm not really sure what I can do here, since I can't control their dog, and as soon as the other dog starts getting upset we leave it alone. I would like to be able to bring him to a dog park, but I would like to have better behavior before we go.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laurel, When he acts the way he does toward other dogs he is being very rude and not respecting canine social cues essentially - this is pretty typical for a lot of dogs his age. Other dogs are probably trying to discipline him for it to teach him to be more respectful but you don't want all dogs doing this to him because some are not tolerant enough or patient about it and may act aggressively toward him...Essentially he needs to learn to be calmer and more respectful. A good way to help him learn this is by adding more structure to your walk to work on him being more focused on you and learning to ignore other dogs. I definitely don't suggest the dog park right now, not only because he would likely get into a fight by annoying another dog, but because it will make his leash reactivity worse. He needs to practice doing structured things with other dogs, and not wrestling and being wild with lots of unknown dogs right now. If you have a friends with well behaved dogs, go on walks together with their dogs, practicing the "Passing Approach" method and then the "Talking Together" method as he improves. Once he can walk calmly with them go on walks together or hikes together but have both dogs heel strictly and don't allow them to pull to be in front. This should be a calm exercise. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Check out the videos linked below to deal with the rude pulling behavior: Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwvUOf5oOg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Pako
Newfoundland
2 Years
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Pako
Newfoundland
2 Years

Hi, our dog is around 85kg and is 2 years old now,the big problem we have with him is that everytime we go on the walk there is the neighbours dog in the garden and Pako starts to run towards him and they start to fight (through the fence) almost impossible to remove him he has too much strength and we tried to call him, we tried with treats and nothing it's almost like his brain shut off and as he's a big dog it makes it very complicated.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alicia, You need to hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior problems and has a lot of experience with aggression to help you. Honestly, any advice I could give you on aggression here would probably not be something you can safely implement without help. There needs to be more structure on your walk, more respect for you, the right tools to make managing his size easier, corrections for early signs of aggression - but this needs to be done by someone who is very experienced doing it or it could result in the walker potentially being bitten. Once the dog is calmer, then he needs to be desensitized around the other dog and rewarded for being tolerant and calm around them, so that the dog becomes not a big deal - especially if he doesn't do well with other dogs either. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bella
Pitt Mix
8 Years
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Bella
Pitt Mix
8 Years

Bella is a very well behaved dog, we got her at 8 months and have trained relentlessly. When my mother in law took care of her for a couple weeks she became leash aggressive. We talked to a trainer and i forget what she called it. Its because she gets too excited to say hi and it turns to frustration. We worked with her a lot doing the treats and closing distance etc. We got stuck where we couldn't move any closer without a reaction. We unfortunately gave up and decided to leave her off leash, play in our large yard instead of walks. It worked for a long time then we moved to a house with a large yard but no fence. She has a reliable recall and typically ignores dogs outside of the yard because they are further away. Today though a neighbor was walking his two large dogs by the driveway and she decided she wanted to say hi. (She is not aggressive so I know she just wanted to play.) Problem is she has no dog manners, she has been around tons of dogs but one thing we have noticed is she doesnt approach slowly or do a play bow, she just runs expecting them to play right away and it usually scares the other dogs causing them to attack her. She doesnt learn. It happened today with 2 dogs attacking her and i am terrified shes going to get horribly injured or in trouble because of her breed. She really just wants to say hi and play. Is there anyway to teach her dog manners? Or do you suggest just perfecting the walk and recall? Her recall has only failed us 3 or 4 times since we trained her on it 6 years ago.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amanda, I would definitely suggest working on calmness and structure on the leash, which can positively effect leash reactivity. Work on your response around other dogs while she is on the leash - which needs to be calm and confident, and then working on off-leash recall and heel is always a good idea, but leash reactivity can be address. Some methods don't work for all dogs, so unfortunately the method you tried with your dog first may not have been right or maybe it needed longer practice. Dogs that are leash reactive really need to start out the walk (or stepping into your backyard on a leash) with a lot of structure. The walk should be a very focused, heeling slightly behind you on your side so she is following you and watching you. You should interrupt your dog as soon as you see them scanning the horizon to find or see another dog. You want your dog to learn to ignore other dogs and work for you on a walk so that they don't expect a meeting or to play with another dog then, and get less aroused when another dog approaches - you want other dogs to become boring while your dog is 'working' and your dog should be 'working' anytime they are on a leash. Service Dogs are incredibly well socialized as puppies and go to puppy play dates and things, but when they get older, their interactions with other dogs are expected to be very calm - long down stays next to other dogs, heeling beside other dogs, ignoring new dogs in the room, and focusing on their work and owners instead. Leash reactive dogs need this type of expectation when on the leash. They need to be given focused work, to build impulse control, and taught how to calm themselves. It is very hard to interrupt a leash reactive dog once they are over-aroused and in a reactive state. Look for the early things to interrupt, such as looking around for other dogs, not staying behind your leg at a heel, tensing up when they see another dog, loosing focus on you, pay attention to where their mind and body language is at - if it's getting too aroused or loosing focus on you remind them to focus back on you or cut it out. You want to give them information while they are still deciding how to react in a situation or thinking 'bad' thoughts but haven't reacted on those thoughts much yet. While they are still in that calmer state you can interrupt them more easily with a correction and a simple "Ah Ah" or "No", followed by a reminder of what they should do instead, like Heel, Watch Me, Let's Go, then calmly rewarded while they are in a calm state and focused on you. You can react a reactive dog while in that state but understand that while setting up training scenarios less learning will take place while a dog is aroused vs. still calm and their brain able to retain information. You also have to use a bigger punisher once the dog is over aroused. If you give treats while they are still aroused, the treats can actually increase the arousal even more and make the training harder - and unfortunately a lot of people are told to do just that - reward an aroused dog while they are still in that state. You want to reward calmness in a super nonchalant way, correct arousal early before it escalates, and make your dog be focused on you and working for you during the walk and not looking around for dogs - the way you start the walk will often strongly effect how things go when you do encounter another dog. As your dog becomes conditioned to be calm around other dogs on a normal leash, it should become easier to give a little more freedom and maintain calmness if you want to use a longer leash in your yard for pottying - no retractable leashes though - they are terrible for leash reactivity for several reasons. Overview of leash reactivity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yLKOaASQl4 There are two sides of this, and you need both. The highly aroused state of mind needs to be carefully interrupted with a carefully used, well timed punisher, but in addition to punishment there also needs to be pleasantness to reward the dog calmly for heeling, focusing on you, and being calm around the other dog once the punisher has calmed them down enough they can learn those things. You are saying no to one mindset and yes to another but both should be done very calmly. Most of all you want a lot of structure to make the corrections and rewards work though, so that the dog knows how to behave and succeed instead of exploding. A dog can also learn calmness by practicing things like a structured heel, Place command, and focus on you. Methods that only punish a dog for reacting or only reward a dog tend not to work well when its just one extreme or the other, and not the dog stopping the bad behavior AND learning something better instead. Step 1. Corrections and structure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yLKOaASQl4 Notice the body language of the person walking the dog - calm and confident, leash loose unless he is giving a quick correction, then loose again after a correction. You want the leash to be loose and the dog walking slightly behind you (where this dog is) and paying attention: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGofhEc1YPg Step 2. Desensitization and structure - when it doubt be calmer not more excitable. Follow up heel and obedience work to desensitize her - I would want the dog even a bit calmer than the dog in the video before rewarding though. The interrupting of the reactivity needs to be corrected and addressed before adding in the rewards in most cases though - this type of training comes later, after the arousal has decreased with correction - keep praise soft and calm, even calmer than this trainer's - watch your dog. If he struggles more when you praise, then your praise is too exciting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb8SlGzOw8k Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Structured Heel: Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Samson
Black Labrador
11 Months
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Samson
Black Labrador
11 Months

We have a lovely gentle black lab, I am training him to not too pull, but when he sees a dog if its on the open field off a lead or on the streets, he just pulls forward, but on the field when off the lead, other dog owners are now started to complain my dog wont leave there dogs alone, the dogs he knows he is ok with, he says hello then runs off, but other dogs he wags his tail and wants them to play. It is geting me down. What can I do, I have tried recalling him and he does come after about 20 times of calling him I have tried everything for about 6 months and no luck so far.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
420 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tracy, I suggest teaching a high distraction Come, encouraging following, and teaching an off-leash heel. All of these things will take practice. First, use the Reel in Method from the article linked below to work on teaching Come around distractions - this method uses a long leash and encourages practicing intentionally around distractions on the long leash - the leash lets you enforce your command. Right now he knows that when you call him you can't enforce it so he ignores you - you need the ability to follow through. His main issue is him ignoring you and not staying with you when told since he is friendly around other dogs. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ The information from the two articles above if practiced consistently is often enough for most dogs to learn to come reliably but a few dogs need further training. In those cases, I recommend teaching an e-collar Come - which is taught using a long leash on a dog's "working level" - which is the lowest level a dog indicates they can feel the e-collar stimulation. It also involves a lot of practice but gives you a way to enforce your command from super far away - providing the follow through that's missing in his experience right now. This training has to come after the Reel In method though. Check out the videos linked below on e-collar training - this trainer also has other good how to videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtJxSXu4rfs&t=537s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98dt9Uqu-Ds While practicing Come on a long leash also practice automatic following and attention. To do this, walk around with pup on the long leash. Randomly walk away from pup and let the leash catch him and give a little tug if he isn't paying attention. After it catches him a few times he should start paying better attention to where you are. Whenever he starts following you or comes over to you without being told to do anything, give a treat, then let him walk away again or continue to follow - whatever he prefers while on the long leash. If he chooses to stay close, reward with another treat occasionally. If he continues to stay close for a long time walk toward things for him to sniff that might encourage him to walk away from you again. If he still won't leave, he is probably ready for a little more distractions. The more times he is randomly rewarded for choosing to come over, the more he will probably want to stick closer and pay better attention to where you are on his own. Third, work on teaching an e-collar heel. Like Come, you have to work on a normal structured heel first. Sometimes practicing a normal heel first is sufficient and ends the pulling. Practice the Turns method from the article linked below. Once he can heel great on leash, then use the long leash and begin an e-collar heel also if needed or if you plan to walk with your dog off-leash and simply need him to stay close off-leash too. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel E-collar Heel - again, you have to practice a normal heel first so the dog understands the concept of heel. An e-collar heel is first taught in a distraction free area until the dog becomes really good at it. As they improve, you gradually increase the amount of distractions you practice around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yy-HHvNLDY Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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