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

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

Effective
0 Votes
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

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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Bentley
Staff x mastiff
6 Years
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Question
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Bentley
Staff x mastiff
6 Years

When my dog sees another dog head on he will put his hackles up, tail upright and sneak towards the other dog and then run at the other dog in to it’s personal space, he doesn’t attack the other dog although if the other dog is bigger, the way he comes across can trigger a fight as he’s a bit much. If he sees another dog across the field he will run full pace to the other dog and can’t just walk past a dog calmly without getting stiff and looking very intimidating. When he’s on the lead I feel although he feels other dogs are a threat as he doesn’t have the freedom to greet them and he’s on the lead to keep him away as something bad could happen. I’m not sure how to correct this behaviour so he doesn’t make such a big deal when he sees another dog

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Esme, First, start with pup on leash - and work on this with pup on leash. If pup can pull you over or is generally hard to handle I would use a no-pull training device during walks to help you manage pup. If pup has ever shown signs of redirecting aggression toward you when they are highly aroused, I would also desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle before working on this, and have pup wear the basket muzzle during walks to ensure your safety. I suggest working on the structure of your walk first. You want pup to be working during the walk - having to stay behind you, focus on you, perform commands periodically, and not have his mind on scanning the area in search of other dogs. The walk should start with him having to exit your home very calmly, performing obedience commands at the door if he isn't calm. He should wait for permission ("Okay" or "Free" or "Let's Go") before going through the door instead of bolting through if that's an issue. When you walk he should be in the heel position - with his head behind your leg. That position decreases his arousal, reduces stress because he isn't the one in charge and the one encountering things first. It prevents him from scanning for other dogs, staring dogs down or being stared down, and ignoring you behind him. It also requires him to be in a more submissive, structured, focused, calmer mindset - which has a direct effect on how aroused, stressed, and aggressive he is - it makes him feel like the responsibility is on your shoulders not his around other dogs. Additionally, when you do pass other dogs, as soon as he starts staring them down, interrupt him. Don't tolerate challenging stares at other dogs. Remind him with a fair correction that you are leading the walk and he is not allowed to break his heel or stare another dog down. It is far easier to deal with reactivity when you interrupt a dog early in the process - before they are highly aroused and full of adrenaline and cortisol, and to keep the dog in a less aroused/calmer state to begin with. This also makes the walk more pleasant for him in the long-run. Leading the walk this way can actually boost a dog's confidence in the long run around other dogs because the dog feels like you will handle the situation so they can relax. Pay attention to your dog's body language also when deciding whether to allow your dog to greet another. Looking very tense, who staring another dog down, giving warning signs like a low growl or lip lift, looking very puffed up and proud - that type greeting with a dog is likely to end in a fight since those are signs of intimidation, dominance, or competing. A stiff wag is also a bad sign. A friendly wag looks relaxed and loose with relaxed body language overall. A tense dog with a very stiff wag, especially with a tail held high is a sign of arousal and not always a good thing. 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 Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Outside of the walk you can work on building pup's trust and respect for you in other ways too. The following commands and exercises are also good for that: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Working, Consistency, and Obedience methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you A long down stay around distractions is also a good thing to practice during walks periodically. A good way to practice introductions with other dogs is to recruit friends with calm dogs and use the Passing Approach and the Walking together methods from the article linked below. I suggest hiring a professional trainer and only practicing this with them and their well trained dogs at first. After a few practice session of this, when the dogs can calmly walk side by side finally, take pups on walks together with both in a structured, focused heel. This gives both dogs something other than each other to focus on, keeps their energy calm, and helps them associate each other with the pleasant experience of a walk. Repeat this with lots of different dogs, one or two dogs at a time - you want other dogs to be associated with calmness, pleasant experiences, and boring things - not roughhousing, wrestling, nose-to-nose interactions always, or being rushed by them. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs Sometimes you can even find others to practice with through obedience clubs, meetup groups, or hiking groups. When he does greet another dog nose-to-nose, give slack in the leash, relax yourself, and keep the greeting to a max of 3 seconds, then happily tell him "Let's Go" or "Heel" and start walking away, giving him a treat when he follows so that she will learn to quickly respond to that command in the future. Keeping the greeting relaxed and short can diffuse tension and give the dogs enough time to say hi before competing starts. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jack
Standard Poodle
1 Year
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Question
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Jack
Standard Poodle
1 Year

Jack is a very happy, sweet and loving dog. But he has a really bad problem with listening to me around any sort of distraction.
if people come over to my apartment, he wants to jump on them and love them, but he needs to know his manners and i’m struggling very hard to get him to understand.
Also when we walk, or go outside to go potty, it is extremely difficult to keep him from pulling me around, especially when there is another person or dog outside. He will lunge at any person, dog, or really anything that moves (bike, scooter, etc.) wanting to play and talk to them. It’s very hard getting him to listen to me in that state, and i’m running out of options and feeling hopeless 😔

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello, has Jack started obedience training classes yet? You would be surprised by the difference they can make. Consider signing him up for classes asap to learn commands like sit and stay. You and Jack will form a bond training together that will help him to be more receptive to listening. Start here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-pitbull-puppy-to-listen and https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-dog-basic-obedience. As for pulling outside, all of the methods here are excellent and will help Jack to focus on you and not pull so much: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Try the Treat Lure Method and the Turns Method. Don't be discouraged - I had personality issues with my first dog and once we started obedience training, all became much better. Jack is young, clever, and highly trainable. But he is also an energetic breed who needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation (like treat toys and interactive feeders). Be prepared to work with him and he'll soon be a great dog. Good luck!

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Question
Theo
Golden Retriever
7 Months
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Question
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Theo
Golden Retriever
7 Months

Hi, I am having trouble with training in general given Theo is neither treat/food/Toy oriented. He goes nutts for a ball and chasing but that is not too useful when teaching not to chase=)
I have various issues, Recall is not 100% reliable, although works fine enough as long there's no other people or dogs. (I have been training for 2.5 months since he got to our home and we do it consistently and daily, maybe i need to be more patient?)
2. There's no way he doesn't run behind other dogs/people if he is off leash: With the leash we have been practicing self control with treats and the ball, it is ok-ish until he gets to a 4 mt distance where he just loses it and i become a statue till he calms etc. BUT if he is off leash, and he engages from afar with someone else/dog, he zones out and there's NO WAY to have him either pay attention or come. He lit forgets i exist, even if i have 5 balls, Leberwurst, do the super call, dance like a monkey, jump and/or look like a clown... he won't pay attention till he's done his thing. Although i start doing the turn around, ball, recall thing way before he zones out, sometimes it just doesnt work. It kills me bc i have to either keep him on a leash or be stressed about the other dogs coming around. Again, we have been training for 2 .5 months now since he arrived to our home but i don't know whether i am expecting too much too fast??? or if we are heading to an issue here. What can i do to train him when he is not food/toy oriented but only chasing balls/sticks?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
706 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nicole, Check out the article I have linked below. Use a long leash in your training to teach pup that they always have to come even when they don't want to, by consistently practicing with the long leash, working up to distractions, and gently but quickly reeling pup in each time they don't come. You can reward pup with a ball when they get to you, by giving a short 1-2 foot toss direction to pup - keeping a ball in a treat pouch on your side, or large pocket during walks on the long leash. I would focus a lot on the Premack principle though, which is in the article I have linked below also. At 2.5 months, I wouldn't expect off-leash reliability just yet. Practicing daily like you said you are is a great way to get there faster though, so keep that up. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ I would work on the long leash and premack principle come training for at least 6 months total. If pup is still unreliable practicing multiple times a week by then, you may want to consider low level e-collar training to get you fully off leash. Check out the video below and this trainer's youtube channel - he also utilizes a lot of positive reinforcement, teaching preliminary commands like the Come you are working on now, before adding the e-collar as a way to reinforce that command - so that pup fully understands how to get a reward and avoid a correction, so the training is gentler, and encourages practicing a lot to create habits of things like coming. E-collar Come info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtJxSXu4rfs&t=331s Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
sosa
Spanish Mastiff
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
sosa
Spanish Mastiff
1 Year

jumping on strangers and running after other dogs

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
92 Dog owners recommended

Hello, you are wise to be looking after these issues now. Sosa will only get bigger and stronger. She will no doubt intimidate people as she gets bigger. I think she will benefit the best by attending dog training classes - it will socialize her and give you the tips you need to be able to manage her with people and dogs. In the meantime, start the training at home, working with Sosa every day for at least 10-15 minutes. Start with simple commands like sit and stay (good to use when she is trying to jump): https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit-and-stay. This guide has excellent tips: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-pitbull-puppy-to-be-obedient. Read the entire guide through as it will be very helpful. For good behavior around other dogs: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs. All the best and happy training with Sosa!

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Question
Willie
Cockapo
8 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Willie
Cockapo
8 Years

Runs after people and dogs and barking horrible to walk ....😔

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
126 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is information on teaching recall. Recall: STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

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