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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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.
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The Run Away Method

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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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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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Auggie
German Shepherd
2 Years
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Auggie
German Shepherd
2 Years

My dog, Auggie, will charge at other dogs when we are taking a small walk around the neighborhood. Once he runs across the street he will not act aggressive against the dog he will just sniff them. Also when we start to walk past the dog I have noticed that he stares at the other dog and will not look away. I cannot get his attention when with another dog. Auggie does fine when around other dogs off leash or at the dog park. What can I do to make him stop charging at other dogs? We also have talked to a dog trainer before and he has said that it might be a territorial thing because it is only when we go around walks in the neighborhood. And when we go on walks in a new place we have no problem. (And I don’t know if this has anything to do with the solution but he already nows “heel” he just breaks the command around other dogs.)

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello CC, What you are describing is leash reactivity - does fine once they meet, and is fine off leash, but acts aggressive from afar on leash. Check out the videos linked below on leash reactivity; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOAtSxMWVlU Explanation of what's being done, in what order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvOqWMUt7Kc Example of training done in real time with a dog using a Pet Convincer for that dog; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfiDe0GNnLQ Be aware that any dog in a highly aroused state can direct aggression and bite whoever is nearest to them instead (you). If you feel this could happen with your pup I suggest hiring a trainer to help and/or using a basket muzzle on him during the training until he is calmer around other dogs. Also, follow up interrupting the aroused reactivity with rewarding heeling, focus on you, and good behavior in the presence of other dogs to complete the training - but do it very calmly. When you pup is staring down other dogs, starting to scan the horizon, starting to pull, and tuning you out, those are the times to interrupt too - instead of just waiting until he explodes. Staring is a challenge to other dogs, arousing to your dog, and the beginning of the explosion. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Arnold
rat terrier mix
4 Years
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Arnold
rat terrier mix
4 Years

My dog does great at the dog park for the first 10-15 minutes but then becomes aggressive. He's triggered by other dogs running and playing and he will run after other dogs and growl or bark at them when he catches up to them. He doesn't bite but has body slammed other dogs before. The behavior does not look playful. We always have to cut our time at the dog park short because he always does this.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brittany, Unfortunately, Arnold needs to stop going to the dog park completely. You can continue to have structured play dates with one or two other dogs that you know in your own fenced yards, and practice obedience between play times, to work on his impulses. You can also participate in dog walks with groups like meetup.com, or do structured dog sports, or hikes with Arnold with other dogs. If you continue going to the dog park the behavior will likely only get worse. Because of the pack environment of the dog park, the lack of structure, and how unsafe it would be to use treats or a long leash to enforce training at a dog park, you cannot safely and effectively train a dog in a standard dog park. You have to train a dog in other environments and then use your dog's current training at the park. The running of the other dogs creates arousal, and the pack mentality of the other dogs can cause dogs to act like bullies, try to control other dogs' movements, and even cause fights. It is the opposite of a calm and controlled environment, and some dogs don't do well with the lack of structure and odd behavior and emotional states of the various dogs at the park. This environment can bring out the worst in some dogs and actually cause behavior problems that were not there to show up and continue to get worse. Dog parks are not necessarily bad in general, but they are not a good place for all dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Charlie
Keeshond
11 Months
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Charlie
Keeshond
11 Months

She has discovered dogs across the field and runs away every time I let her out to be with the other dogs. How can I stop this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sandra, Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Reel In" method. Once she can come on the long leash without distractions, then practice on the long leash around other dogs. Start from far away and as she improves make the distractions harder by getting closer or practicing around multiple dogs and other types of distractions. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
cooper
Pit bull
2 Years
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Question
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cooper
Pit bull
2 Years

there was a similar question to mine, about a dog getting excited at a dog park and chasing down other dogs. Cooper has this and it comes out at the park when an owner throws the ball for his dog to fetch. cooper runs down the dog. But he also does this NOT in the park. Any time another dog is excited cooper wants to chase him down and make him stop. Cooper is very friendly to people and most dogs. How do I get this to stop? He is pretty easy to train I just dont know how to set this up or what to do.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kathleen, First, if he is at all aggressive toward the other dogs once he catches them, hire a professional trainer to help you. Practicing this if he is aggressive is not safe without having the right tools and environment to keep everyone safe. If he simply stops the dog from running and is being controlling but not aggressive, many herding breeds will do that, and some dogs that do not herd as well. You need to work on teaching him a couple of commands and work on those commands until he can perform them around high levels of distractions. When he starts to move toward another dog to chase, before he is in full chase give him a command, such as Leave It or Out (which means leave the area). He is probably not a dog that can ever play with other dogs without some structure and instruction from you. Some dogs simply need the extra management to help them make the choices you want because their own instincts compel them to do something that would get them in trouble. First, teach him what "Leave It" and "Out" mean. Once he understands what they mean and can do Leave It around objects and food, practice it on a leash around movement, starting with small movement like your hand and a toy and gradually working up to harder things. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Leave It" method to teach him what Leave It means. After you have taught that, then continue the training around harder distractions, like movement on a longer leash. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Once he knows what "Out" means and will obey it at home, use a long leash to practice it around other things that excite him, enforcing your command with a long leash and harness by reeling him in to you when he is further away from you and disobeys. Practice until he will immediately move away from something exciting before you have to reel him in when you tell him "Out". You can also teach Out and use a vibration collar for added reliability. I suggest hiring a professional trainer to help with any e-collar training though. To teach what "Out" means: 1. First call him over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat tossing hand and saying "Out" at the same time. Repeat this until he will go over to the area where you point when you say "Out" before you have tossed a treat. 2. When he will do that, then whenever you tell him "Out" and he does not go to where you are pointing, walk toward him and herd him out of the area with your body. Your attitude should be calm and patient but very firm and business like when you do this. 3. When you get to where you were pointing to, then stop and wait until he stops trying to go back to the area where you were standing before. 4. When he is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If he follows you, then tell him "Out" again and quickly walk toward him until he is back to where he was a moment ago. Repeat this until he will stay several feet away from where you were when you told him "Out" originally. 5. When you are ready for him to come back, then tell him "OK" in an up beat tone of voice. 6. Practice this training until he will consistently leave the area when you tell him "Out". 7. When he will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for him to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when he is being pushy, an area with a plant that he is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that he should not be bothering. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Willow
German Shepard border collie
7 Months
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Willow
German Shepard border collie
7 Months

I’m trying to train her to walk off leash, and she does so good with recall and everything until she sees another dog or person. She runs off and goes right up to them and I can’t even get her back. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know how tI train her to not do that.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kylie, You need yo practice with a long leash before going completely off leash. I suggest starting with a 30' leash and going places like the park where she will see other dogs and rewarding her for heeling while the leash is dragging on the ground, coming when called and generally staying with you. As she improves move onto a 40'-50' leash that is very light weight - to give the feel of being off leash. The leash will let you enforce your commanf while dogs are around by stopping her from getting to them and you reeling her in wen she disobeys your Come command. She is not ready for freedom until she never disobeys with the light weight fifty foot leash. Check out the article linked below and the "Reel In" method for how to teach Come using a long leash. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training Caitlin Crittenden

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Muffin
Labradoodle
2 Years
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Muffin
Labradoodle
2 Years

My dog knows all the commands, but still stubborn sometimes. However my problem is my dog is 60 lbs and I can’t hold on to him. We walk 3 miles every other day. Other dogs have have kind of mastered when walking but we have deer here and other animals. However she gotten she can chase deer. However when baby comes she takes off. The other day I came around the corn on and there were baby chicks in the road and I wasn’t prepared. My biggest problem is she loves the neighbors across the street and runs off to see them when they are out. I don’t mind her loving the neighbors but I just don’t want her running across the street to them unless I give her permission ( we do live on a dead end street but still I want her to know the street is a enemy if you get my drift. I have tried so many things but she ignores my commands when it comes to thing like that. Help. I really can’t afford lessons but I getting desperate and frustrated

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Pat, I suggest teaching an e-collar recall because of all the animals in your area. Check out Sean O Shea from the Good Dog, Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training, and James penrith from TaketheLeadDogTraining. All of them can be found on YouTube and are trainers with how to videos about e-collars. E-collars are generally something I recommend hiring a trainer to help you with but if you are willing to learn enough about their use on you own, you can use one yourself. Take the time to learn about fitting, finding the working level, when to reward and correct, and how to use it for come. The YouTube channels I mentioned above will have videos on those things and more. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Texas
American Staffordshire Terrier
3 Years
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Question
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Texas
American Staffordshire Terrier
3 Years

He is very well socialised and has always done well whilst at day care etc in group environments. Recently we have begun to have problems with him chasing other dogs, usually timid female dogs, and trying to grab hold of their legs whilst at the dog park. This only happens once the other dog has begun to run away, he seems to think this is an invitation to chase. He will let up with the chasing as soon as called and return to playing fetch and ignoring the other dogs, but I’m at a loss as to how to stop this behaviour in the first place. He has 2 large brothers although he is the oldest (all neutered) and his dog park best friend is an adult male Great Dane.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kelly, It sounds like he is having fun bullying. Dogs will sometimes bully other more timid dogs. At the dog park he is probably very aroused which encourages a form of prey drive - not with the end kill as far as you have experienced but the fun of the chase and the controlling of movement. The behavior needs to not be fun for him anymore - his chasing behavior needs to be associated with something unpleasant, while his calmness around other, especially timid dogs, encouraged and calmly rewarded. I suggest hiring a trainer who has access to a large number of dogs with different temperaments and is very experienced with e-collar training. The correction needs to be associated with his behavior and not just you and not just being in the presence of another dog - but specifically his behavior by correcting at the right timing and rewarding him being calm around that same dog. A high quality remote collar can be used on vibration or a working level stimulation level (a working level is a predetermined level that is the lowest your particular dog responds to - which is different for different dogs depending on temperament and sensitivity). This shouldn't be done at the dog park because you will not have control there. This needs to be done in a controlled environment with other well trained dogs, where you and the trainer can determine the outcome and not your dog. Be sure to do your research on quality collars - do not buy a cheaply made one, they can be inconsistent and even dangerous. Ask your trainer for recommendations. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sadie
Pit bull
12 Months
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Question
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Sadie
Pit bull
12 Months

Recently my ex dropped off his dog for a few weeks because he had to go over the road for work. we have had an issue of her chasing down small dogs such as chihuahuas in the neighborhood. Once she broke free of her collar and the second time we were working with a leash and training collar. She unhooked the leash before we even realized the dog was being walked by and ignored the training collar. I’ve taken her to dog parks in the past and have the dogs approach her because she will rush them if I don’t but always plays well. On walks if I walk her she doesn’t pull towards other dogs as long as I see the dog ahead of time and tell her ignore but I’m the only one she listens too. It’s only been a little over two weeks. At first I thought it was due to him not training her or socializing her but now I’m thinking it’s more aggressive after actually seeing it and not just being told. She will also at times growl and snap at others who try to get her to do something she doesn’t want except for me. Especially my child that is with the ex if I’m not in the room. I also found out she would poop on his bed, I have not had this issue. Part of me feels it’s due to bad training on his part. Any tips on any of this would be greatly appreciated!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michelle, When she reaches the small dog does she attach them or just want to play? Assuming she is trying to attack the small dogs, even if just excited with larger dogs, some dogs can have a prey drive toward small dogs - it's not common but may be what's going on. If she was never socialized with small dogs while young it could also be related to that. Either way you really need a trainer to help you in person with this. In the meantime, check out the video linked below on how to reinforce a prong collar - attaching it to another collar, such as a martingale collar. You can also use a harness like Ruff Wear Webmaster Harness along with the training collar - use a small traffic leash to attach the training collar to the harness as a backup in case it breaks, or simply walk her wearing a basket muzzle. As far as behavior goes, it depends on whether the desire to go after small dogs is prey drive or a socialization issue. If prey drive, you will need to teach an avoidance - you are not going to remove prey drive but you can teach your dog to avoid the thing they are driven toward. If the desire is normal dog aggression, then a combination of building respect and trust for you so that she will let you handle situations and obey, and working on desensitizing her around small dogs - to teach her to be calm around them and not pay attention to them. The goal here is not off-leash playing with small dogs - the goal is calmness. Building respect and trust through boundaries: 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 Working method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle her meal kibble around it. Do this until she is comfortable eating around it. Next, when she is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward her with a piece of kibble every time she touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed her her whole meal this way. Practice this until she is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that she has to poke her face into it to get the treat. As she gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that she has to poke her face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until she is comfortable having her face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while she holds her face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until she can hold her face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when she can hold his face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while her face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed her a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until she is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while she is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As she gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give her a treat, until she can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or territorial aggression, or very possibly prey drive going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. Aggression protocol examples - getting started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAE0jCL9Gbs Dog aggressive dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpsEwePWEeQ Pulling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHwcvjWOaII More leash work - be careful with protocols that involve you being right next to the dog while training - some dogs will redirect their aggression toward whoever is closest when in an aggressive state- which could be you - a muzzle is needed in those situations, and laying the foundation of respect and trust first helps minimize that. Pet Convincer tool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfiDe0GNnLQ&t=20s Place command multi-dogs - more advanced desensitization - notice the slack leashes tethering the dogs to the ceiling just in case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HedxL5Dns54 Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sam
German shepherd/mastin cross
8 Months
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Sam
German shepherd/mastin cross
8 Months

Sam is a rescue - he had obviously been abandoned and just turned up in our garden one day. He is growing into a big, strong boy - 36 kilos of muscle and bone! He is very sweet natured, but walking him is a nightmare. If he sees another dog, he wants to dash over to him to play. No aggression, but neither does he listen! He doesn't respond to voice commands, treats, pulls on his harness, body control … nothing. Occasionally, he is so hyper I have to let go of his lead or be pulled over. HELP

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Yvonne, First, work on teaching a structured heel in a calm place, where other dogs aren't around, like a fenced in yard, culdesac, or field. You want to work on the basics, focus and getting him to follow you using the "Turns method" from the article linked below. This will take a lot of repetition and practice. Expect walks to be boring for a while - this is normal and walking in square and circles is still exercise. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Next, once he understands what he is supposed to be doing because you practiced structured walks in calm locations, he has the skills from practicing, and his respect for you has increased, work on the following training around distractions. I suggest also finding something that does motivate him during walks - that can be a tug toy, praise, getting to move forward to something he wants to investigate, or the mental stimulation of working and focusing (many high drive dogs actually get a lot of satisfaction from learning harder things that challenge them mentally), ect...Keep what rewards him in mind so that you can also calmly show him that you appreciate when he is doing well. Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo How to Introduce the Prong collar – plus how to connect to buckle collar with carabiner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23zEy-e6Khg How to walk with a Prong collar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVvy6fztL2Q&t=6s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sketch of smiling australian shepherd