As the weather becomes more pleasant, we’re likely to see more dogs getting walks around the neighborhood. For some dogs, this walk is always pleasant. But for others, there is often a fear that their dog will bother other owners and that they will be either embarrassed or responsible for issues should things get out of hand.
For those dog owners that have dogs that may be too aggressive or excitable during walks, it’s not uncommon to wonder how to stop your dog from barking or lunging at other dogs during walks.
Changes may not occur overnight. But there are ways to help train your dog to be less aggressive during their walks. These tips include:
Dogs tend to show aggression out of fear or confusion when faced with other dogs. It’s important for your dog to have as much time around other dogs as possible. The more exposure your dog has to other pets in the area, the less dangerous or aggressive they’re likely to be.
Try taking your dog to dog parks as much as possible. If you’re concerned about aggression, keep them on a leash and hold them so that they can watch dogs around them, but won’t have an opportunity to act out. For especially aggressive or barking dogs, contact a local dog trainer as they often have classes for these behaviors.
Start off by making your dog think that seeing another dog is a good thing. You can do this by integrating treats into your walks.
Every time your dog sees another dog, give them a treat. If they notice the other dog but stay quiet, you can reward them with a treat or a “good boy/girl” to encourage that behavior. Keep at it until things improve. It’s okay if this takes a while.
Continue with this training by making your dog walk by your side when another dog approaches. Again, by offering a treat to your dog every time he/she replicates this behavior it will reinforce that said behavior until a treat is no longer required and the behavior is normalized.
Next, we want to teach your dog to heel on a leash in order to avoid the obnoxious confrontations with other dogs. Make sure the leash on your dog is loose - tight leashes may actually accentuate reactivity. Every time your pet walks astray or crosses your path, try luring him/her back with a treat.
An alternative strategy to deter your dog from barking at others is to distract your dog by having them do something else, like performing a trick. Just as we’ve previously mentioned, treats go a long way in encouraging a desired behavior.
Call out your dog’s name to get its attention. Then ask it do a trick - for example, sit, stay, turn, or high five. When it performs the trick, give it another treat, and then try another trick again. Continue until the other dog has walked by. Your dog will start to learn that other dogs mean treats and that even though they ignored the dog, no harm came.
These are only a few of the dog walking strategies that you may want to consider to help control barking and other aggressive behaviors. As professional dog walkers, we always make sure that your dog is as safe as possible when they walk, and are able to adjust to the behaviors of your pet should they struggle to get along well with others.
For more information about our dog walking services, contact FurBabies Home Pet Care today.