How to Train Your Dog to Not Run After Other Dogs

Medium
4-12 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Are you tired of having your arm ripped out of the socket every time your dog sees another dog? Most dogs are quite social and merely want to get to know each other, but there are times when this behavior is less than friendly.

Imagine this: You are standing on the sidewalk chatting with a friend who is taking her dog for a walk. Your dog is lying at your feet, he isn't growling, barking, or trying to launch himself at the other dog. Instead, he is simply laying there looking at you as if to say, "Hey mom, can I go say hi?”

This doesn't have to be a dream, you can easily teach your furry friend to behave this way. It just takes plenty of patience and the desire to behave for rewards.

Defining Tasks

Training your dog to stop running after other dogs is not an easy task. This type of behavior is inherent in most, if not all, breeds. The concept behind this training is to teach your dog to completely ignore other dogs and to stop them running or lunging after them.

Whether you are trying to teach your dog to behave while he is on the leash, off the leash or both, this is a very important skill for your pup to learn. It could save you, your dog, and another dog or its owner from serious injury.

When walking on the leash you should be able to simply use the "No!" command to keep your dog in check. When he is not on a leash, you may need to rely on a strong recall or ‘down’ command to get the job done. Always remember, training your dog a new skill should be fun for both of you! Heap tons of praise on your dog and always be ready with plenty of his favorite tasty treats to reward him.

Getting Started

You will need:

  • Your pup's favorite treats: Your dog will learn better when he knows there is a tasty treat waiting for him when he gets it right.
  • Clicker training tool (optional): Some pet owners and trainers prefer using a clicker for training as it makes it easy to identify the desired action.  

The best place to start training your dog to behave around other dogs is a nice quiet area with a dog yours is friendly with, but tends to lunge after. Make sure everyone in the family is in on the training and knows exactly what you are doing to ensure you are all on the same page.

You need to schedule training sessions of ten to fifteen minutes three times a day until your dog finally learns what is expected of him. Of course, you should also practice every time you take your dog out for a walk as well. Remember, the earlier you start teaching your pup to behave, the easier it will be to train him.


The Long-Line Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Leash your dog
Attach your dog to a long-line leash and ask your family or friends with dogs to walk their dogs near yours.
Step
2
Let him wander
Slowly over the first few days, let your dog wander closer to the others, but maintain control.
Step
3
Call him back
As he starts to take off towards the other dogs, call his name and use your recall command. If he returns to you, be sure to praise him and give him a tasty treat.
Step
4
Hold steady
If he doesn't come back, use the leash to stop his forward movement, and then go and bring him back the starting distance.
Step
5
Practice
Repeat this process until you can let the leash trail behind him and he will come back when you call him.
Recommend training method?

The Run Away Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Out for a walk
Take your dog for his usual walk, keeping your eyes out for other dogs.
Step
2
Run away!
When you see another dog, use a fun, friendly voice to command your dog to "run away."
Step
3
Head elsewhere
Head off in a different direction, making the whole thing into a game your dog will enjoy.
Step
4
Come with me
This should get your dog to run with you away from the other dog.
Step
5
Lure with treats
If he doesn't run with you, try tossing a few of his favorite treats in the direction you want him to run until he gets the idea.
Recommend training method?

The Body Block Method

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Least Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Daily walks
Take your dog out for his daily walk watching for the approach of another dog.
Step
2
Don't pull back
If he starts to pull towards the other dog, don't pull back, stand still and hold your spot.
Step
3
Just say no!
Use a correction word such as "No!" and gently tug on the leash to pull his head to the side.
Step
4
Put your body to work
Use your body to turn your dog around instead of pulling him around.
Step
5
Reinforce with treats
If he behaves, be sure to give him plenty of love and a tasty treat.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 12/28/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cora
German Shepherd
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Cora
German Shepherd
1 Year

Hi looking for some help my 18month old shepherd has recently started behaving strange shes always been socialised I also have a 10 year old Pomeranian they cuddle up together ,, recently when out on walks off the lead she has become ignorant and began chasing dogs she seems to analysis every dog and if they growl she is turning back but today she chased a spaniel on a open field and began growling and turning aggressive she soon stopped but we are unsure why she is behaving like this as she is great with most dogs

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Natalie, It sounds like pup is progressively learning aggression through practicing it over and over off leash. I would leash pup for a while to stop her from being able to chase and practice that aggression. In the meantime, I would work on teaching an Off-leash Heel and and Off leave Come and Leave It. I would gradually transition back to off leash around distractions once pup has learned an off leash level, using a long training leash and attachment point to enforce those commands in public while making pup fee like they are off-leash. Come: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Leave It: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Transitioning from teaching those commands to off-leash work. https://www.youtube.com/c/JamiePenrithDogTraining Do not allow pup off-leash in public until this is resolved and pup is completely reliable off-leash. Every time pup practices this the behavior gets worse, plus it puts others in danger. 1-2 years is a common age for aggression to show up because territorial instincts, competing, protective instincts, and predatory instincts all increase with mental and sexual maturity around those ages (even if pup is spayed and especially if pup isn't). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Winnie
Lurcher
6 Months
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Question
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Winnie
Lurcher
6 Months

Winnie is a great pup, she is great off lead by herself and is very attentive, she responds great to treats. I have worked around sheep in fields and she never shows any interest to anything else but me.
This changes however when we go for walks with my partners dog, she is so fixated on her that it’s very hard to grab her attention, there could be 100 other dogs in the field but she would only care for our other dog. Treats don’t work as well either.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dominic, What you described is fairly common with puppies your dog's age, when they have another dog they see often and really love. I recommend working on the Premack Principle from the article I have linked below with your partner's dog as the distraction during practice. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Ted
Pointer x lab
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Ted
Pointer x lab
9 Months

My dogs recall is variable when there is no other dogs. He runs straight to play with other dogs when he sees them. I can't seem to break that attention when he sees a dog and he won't listen to the whistle at this point. What can I do to fix this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Terri, Check out the article I have linked below and follow the sections on how to use a long training leash and the premack principle. Those sections are a couple of ways you can teach pup to respond to you around distractions too. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ This whistle is good for pup being able to hear you and learning what coming to you is, but the whistle itself doesn't motivate pup to come, and often treats aren't enough when they are competing with the fun of playing with another dog, so pup needs help with the motivation part of come - the long training leash can teach pup that coming isn't optional, even around distractions, and that the sooner they come, the sooner they might get what they want after. The Premack Principle uses the distraction itself as a reward, by withholding what pup really wants until pup comes to you, then letting them sometimes get what they want but for coming, not for ignoring you. Obviously pup won't always get to go say hi, but you want pup to learn to check in with you first, then follow your lead on whether its okay that time or not. Come: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Crissy
Chichauna
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Crissy
Chichauna
2 Years

Doesn't resspond when call to come back.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the article I have linked below and especially the sections on using a long training leash and the Premack Principle to train a recall. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Additional details on Come - Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Charlie
Borador
16 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Charlie
Borador
16 Months

He runs of when he sees another dog(s) and will not come back.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Allyson, Is pup running after them due to aggression or to say hi? If pup aggressive toward other dogs, I recommend joining a G.R.O.W.L. class with pup or hiring a private trainer who has access to other well mannered dogs to practice desensitization with, and at least one other trainer to help assist them with the other dogs being practiced around. If pup is simply wanting to say hi and this is just a recall issue, I recommend practicing the following methods with pup, working up to practice around other dogs with pup on a long training leash, with the help of friends or family with friendly dogs. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall More Come - pay attention to the PreMack Principle and long leash training sections especially once pup has learned what Come initially means. These need to be practiced around all types of distractions like dogs and kids at the park to ensure pup is reliable before attempting true off leash. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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