Helping to Keep Your Dog Comfortable Around Other Pups
Your dog might have a difficult time approaching other pups. This can occur for different reasons. Maybe an encounter with an aggressive dog has made your dog nervous and uncomfortable. Or maybe a lack of socialization has made him a little aggressive towards potential friends.
These issues are never fun do deal with but they can be fixed. When your dog is tense and uncomfortable around other dogs, it can make things awkward or even dangerous for the dogs. In this article, we’ll explore a few of the many approaches to helping your dog become more comfortable and calm around other dogs so you both can enjoy taking walks and going to the park again.
Socializing Your Dog
Dogs are naturally social, but sometimes a bad experience or a lack of early socializing can make them nervous or even aggressive around other dogs. Remember to make socialization a priority as early as possible. Even if your dog has been socialized with other dogs regularly, it’s natural for them to get excited when meeting a new friend. Next, we’ll discuss a few tips for socializing your dog in a comfortable and safe way.
Guests with Dogs
If you are a guest at a friends house and you’ve chosen to bring your dog to help get him socialized with other pups, it’s a good idea to have your dog on a leash at first. You can never fully know how your dog will react in a new environment and you also don’t know what other dogs might be there and how they might react to a newcomer. Also, be sure to check with the hosts or other dog owners before bringing your own pets. Everyone involved can work together to ensure the comfort of all your pets.
Meet and Greet
Another great way to socialize your dog and help him learn to stay calm when approaching other dogs is to ask a friend with a calm dog to assist you. Have the friend and their dog meet you on a walk. Make sure both dogs are on leashes for now. When you encounter your friends at a distance, have them stop before your dog begins to react to them.
Ask your dog to sit and reward him when he obeys. Have your friend come closer and when your dog begins to react aggressively, they should turn around and walk the other way. When your dog calms down and sits again, your friends can come walking back toward you. Repeat this until your dog knows that he must remain calm for other dogs to approach and greet him.
Keep in mind that while bad habits might seem to pop up over night, they can take a long time to correct. Keep practicing this over a few months, remain patient and calm with your dog, and always remember to reward good behavior with a treat.
Sometimes, a dog can react aggressively to other dogs just because they are being protective of you. They might be lacking confidence that you will take care of any situation and that they are safe around other dogs. To build confidence and trust, try working on a few training techniques.
Training your dog simple tasks shows them that you are in charge, they can turn to you when they are unsure of a situation, and they will get rewarded for obeying commands. Here are a few basic tips to teach your dog discipline:
- First, teach your dog a simple command like “sit.” Hold a treat near his nose and move your hand up so your dog’s head naturally leans up and his rear goes down. When he’s sitting, say “sit” and give him a treat.
- Whenever you dog starts to do something bad, make a loud noise to distract him. Just remember to also reward with attention and a treat whenever they do something good.
- Practice time out, or just ignore your dog for a short period (like 30 seconds) when he does something bad.
- Once you’re comfortable with the “sit” command you can move on to “stay.”
- Dogs and especially puppies can get themselves into some dangerous messes. They’re always sniffing the ground and picking up bugs and trash in their mouths. This can be really dangerous! Teach your dog to “leave it” anytime he reaches for something he shouldn’t, even shoes!
Unfortunately, dog attacks are on the rise and not only involving other dogs. Postal service workers constantly face the potential that they could be attacked by a dog at any turn. Some have already been injured or even died from an attack. If your efforts at home aren’t fixing the issue and your dog seems persistently aggressive toward other people or dogs, it’s time to look into professional dog training.
Professional Dog Training
There are a lot of good reasons to hire a professional trainer for your dog. When your dog gets uncomfortable or aggressive with other dogs, it affects his life in many ways. You dog is stressed and unhappy when he doesn’t get to make new friends. A tense encounter could lead to an attack and possible injury. And you spend less time out on walks and having fun when your dog finds them stressful.
Signs You Need a Dog Trainer
Dog training can fix many, if not all, of these issues. But if you’re still on the fence, here are five sure signs you need to hire a dog trainer:
- Your dog is growling or nipping at other dogs or people.
- Your dog tries to bolt out the door every time it’s opened.
- He or she relentlessly jumps on others, scratching and hurting people. Although this may be unintentional, it’s still a habit that should be corrected.
- He guards objects, like a bone, aggressively.
- He constantly pulls the leash while on walks.
Any one of these habits might seem minor at first but they can develop into more serious issues or result in an accident. It’s best to get help at the first sign of a bad habit so your time with your dog can be a positive experience as often as possible.