When your dog encounters another dog on its walk, it’s first reaction is to want to investigate the newcomer. By doing so, it reassures itself that the other dog is a friend or a threat. But since, you have it on leash, you might not allow it to greet the stranger. This is what makes your dog tug at its leash and bark. But with a little training, you can teach your dog to stay quiet on its leash so you can comfortably take it for that much-needed exercise outdoors.
The first thing you need to do is teach your dog that the appearance of strange dogs is a good thing and if it will refrain from reacting to them, it will get treats. Here’s how.
- Begin training when the strange dog is at a comfortable distance. Teach your dog to focus its attention on you and give it treats and praise in quick succession.
- Lower the distance gradually according to your dog’s tolerance levels. But remember to give treats only if it ignores the other dog.
Experts recommend that you try these options until your dog is used to newcomers.
- Try night walks when there is a lesser chance of meeting other dogs.
- If you have a small dog, pick it up and soothe it until the other dog is out of sight.
- If you have a larger dog, walk it with parked cars in between you and the stranger.
- Try a head halter to direct your dog’s gaze and attention away from the stranger and towards you.
- Understand your dog’s body language. If it starts to get tense, distract it with soothing sounds and when it relaxes, pat it and give it a treat.
Remember, leash aggression takes time to control and besides strange dogs, your dog could also be reactive to cats, other animals and people if it is not used to being around them.