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How to Train Your Dog to Not Run After Other Dogs

How to Train Your Dog to Not Run After Other Dogs
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon4-12 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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.

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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.

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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.


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The Long-Line Method

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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.

2

Let him wander

Slowly over the first few days, let your dog wander closer to the others, but maintain control.

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.

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.

5

Practice

Repeat this process until you can let the leash trail behind him and he will come back when you call him.

The Run Away Method

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1

Out for a walk

Take your dog for his usual walk, keeping your eyes out for other dogs.

2

Run away!

When you see another dog, use a fun, friendly voice to command your dog to "run away."

3

Head elsewhere

Head off in a different direction, making the whole thing into a game your dog will enjoy.

4

Come with me

This should get your dog to run with you away from the other dog.

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.

The Body Block Method

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1

Daily walks

Take your dog out for his daily walk watching for the approach of another dog.

2

Don't pull back

If he starts to pull towards the other dog, don't pull back, stand still and hold your spot.

3

Just say no!

Use a correction word such as "No!" and gently tug on the leash to pull his head to the side.

4

Put your body to work

Use your body to turn your dog around instead of pulling him around.

5

Reinforce with treats

If he behaves, be sure to give him plenty of love and a tasty treat.

Written by Amy Caldwell

Veterinary reviewed by:

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

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Nova

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Pit bull mix

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Six Months

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Question

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I walk her around my apartment complex iff leash and she has been responding to me when I click the clicker and say come firmly. She is a puppy so I try to understand she is going to act like this a little. There was a girl that came out with her corgi as well and this time she didn’t listen I grabbed her and sat on the ground with her for her to calm down. About a 1 minute goes by and the girl stopped over the bottom of the hill and I didn’t know, I let go of her and she just goes sprinting. Again obviously she’s a puppy but it’s frustrating when she’s doing good then not.

Sept. 15, 2023

Nova's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Check out the the Reel In method from the first article I have linked below, as well as the long training leash and Premack Principle sections of the second article I have linked below to deal with these types of situations. Find intentional times to practice around distractions like other dogs, from a distance, places like your neighborhood or park, away from cars. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Long Leash section and Premack Principle section: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 9, 2023

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Hershey and Oliver

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golden-lab adoodle

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Five Years

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Question

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They always chase other dogs and bit one it’s seems like dog aggressive we are always having issues with people walking their dogs

March 5, 2023

Hershey and Oliver's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, how are your dogs getting to the other dogs? For aggressive dogs I recommend only using secure physical fences, like a tall wooden fence, and not using electric fences alone or having the dog's off-leash. Not only does that protect others who walk past but it also protects you from being sued, your dogs from being taken and euthanized, and helps the behavior not get worse - since the more pups practice attacking the worse that can make the attacks. With that said, I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and has access to lots of other well mannered, dog friendly dogs. I would work with a qualified trainer, with safety measures like a basket muzzle, to gradually desensitize pups, one at a time, to other dogs, using obedience command practice to help pup stay less aroused and in the thinking part of their brain and out of fight or flight. I would begin training at a distance where pup can tolerate other dogs at, rewarding pup's obedience during obedience command practice, having the other dogs just be in the background. As pup improves and becomes calmer and unconcerned about the other dog being in the area, then I would very gradually decrease the distance, practice with the dog moving about more or making more noise in the distance, rewarding pup's continued focus on you and calmness around the other dog. This process would be done over lots of different training sessions, where distance is decreased as pup's body language shows that they are ready. Once the dogs are within a few feet of each other and pup is unconcerned, you could practice having them walk past each other, then eventually go on a walk with each other with the safety of distance and/or a basket muzzle for safety. When pup is okay with one dog, then you would start at the beginning with a new dog, until you had worked up to the walk again with that dog. Once pup was fine with the first two dogs, then you would continue this process with at least a dozen different dogs, until pup is generalizing the training to all dogs, and more relaxed around dogs in general. When working with a reactive or aggressive dog, be aware that a basket muzzle is sometimes needed too, even if the other dog is further away, because an aroused dog will sometimes direct their aggression toward whoever is closest, such as you - the one walking them. Training with an aggressive or reactive dog needs to be done carefully, and ideally under the supervision of someone experienced with handling an aggressive or reactive dog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XzwUmSHyIc&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=39 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 6, 2023


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