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You’ve got a neighbor who also happens to be one of your best pals. You love your morning walks and catch ups. They happen to have a dog too. In fact, it was walking with them that inspired you to get yours. However, your dog isn’t so friendly when he’s on walks with other dogs, making your once relaxing stroll with a friend, well, not so relaxing. He’s the same when you walk with other friends, he simply doesn’t know how to behave. He won’t respect their privacy, he seems intent on winding them up and sometimes he can even be aggressive.
Training him to walk with other dogs is essential if you want to enjoy strolls with others ever again. It’s also important for him though. This training will help him learn to socialize with other dogs in a calm and appropriate manner.
Training your pooch to walk with other dogs isn’t always straightforward. He is simply so excited to be with other dogs and out and about with so many smells around, that reigning him in is going to be a challenge. You’ll have to use strict obedience commands to keep his attention focused and his behavior on point. You may also need to take a number of measures to increase your control when you’re walking with other dogs. If he’s a puppy he should be a fast learner and it may take just a couple of weeks to see results. If he’s older and been making trouble with other dogs for many years, then you could need up to six weeks.
Get this training right and he’ll be able to enjoy the company of other dogs. This will bring him joy, while significantly reducing your stress levels. This training will also make it easier to teach him a range of other commands too.
Before you can get to work you’ll need a few things. A short leash and a body harness will be needed. The harness will increase your control while reducing the strain on his neck. His favorite food broken into small pieces or some tasty treats will also be required.
You’ll need some time to practice every other day. Importantly, you’ll also need some friends with dogs to help you with the training.
Once you’ve got all of the above, it’s time to put your walking shoes on and get to work.
The Control Method
Secure him to a very short leash and a body harness, if needed. Then ask a friend to come over with their dog. You’re going to teach him to behave around other dogs in the safety of your house before you address his behavior on walks.
Walk him around the other dog. Keep a firm grip on his leash and introduce each other slowly. Don’t shout commands at him, this will only get him worked up. Instead, talk in a soft, quiet voice. This will help keep the mood calm and controlled.
Reward him as he gently plays with the other dog. Give him a treat and some verbal praise. Spend 10 minutes walking him around the other dog, then take them their separate ways. Repeat this every other day for the first few days.
Now it’s time to address the walk. Use exactly the same technique as above. Be calm and quiet as you walk, while keeping him firmly at your side on a secure leash. Don’t let him get to close to start with and reward him with treats when he behaves properly. Walk like this for the first few walks.
Lose the leash
When you think he’s starting to get the message, you can lose the leash for the next walk. Stay close to him, remain calm, and use treats to keep him behaving. If he gets worked up, secure him back on the leash for a while. Then try again. Continue doing this and his behavior will gradually improve until the leash is no longer required.
The Socialization Method
If he’s going to behave around dogs on walks, he needs to be comfortable and relaxed around them. His excitement could simply come from never spending any time with them. Group training classes are a great place to get him familiar with other dogs in a controlled setting.
The earlier you can expose him to other dogs, the more likely it is he’ll behave on walks with them. So have play dates with other friends and dogs. If he grows up around other canines his temperament around them will be much better when he’s older.
Before you go for a walk with other dogs, introduce him to the other dogs before hand. Have him on a leash when you do this and pull him back if he gets too excited. Calm introductions will set the tone for the rest of the walk.
Teach him to ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘stay’ and any other useful commands. Regular training like this will help instill discipline. It was also cement your position as the pack leader, so he follows your instructions on walks.
It’s important you reward him when he does behave on walks. Give him the odd treat, throw a ball for him, and give him verbal praise. This will all help motivate and reinforce the right behavior.
The Deterrence Method
Consider investing in remote controlled collars that emit an unpleasant spray of water or citronella. Then watch him closely on walks and hit the button whenever his behavior starts to slip. He’ll quickly realize how you want him to behave.
Another way to correct his behaviour is a compressed air can. It will emit an unpleasant high pitched sound that only he can hear. You get close to him and spray it and he’ll quickly jump back. This is particularly useful if he gets aggressive with other dogs on walks.
Before you let him off the leash on walks with other dogs, he needs to show he can behave first. Keep him firmly by your side so you can keep control. As his behavior improves, you can increase the slack on the leash so he can get closer to other dogs. Continue with this until you can let him loose with an extendable leash.
Even when he’s proven he can walk without the leash, you still need to be constantly on the look out. If you see any behavior you don’t like, put him back on a leash for 30 seconds. Then if he misbehaves again, make it 60 seconds. Continue adding 30 seconds until he finally gets the message.
It’s vital you don’t allow slip-ups. If he gets away with any bad behavior with other dogs in front of you, he’ll think he can do it again. You need to stamp it out every single time. Give him an inch and he will take a mile!
Written by James Barra
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 11/17/2017, edited: 01/08/2021