As humans, inevitably, we sometimes meet people who we do not exactly like, or they rub us the wrong way. However, to be a part of society, we learn to socialize and get along with those said people regardless.
The same scenario applies to your dog. Even if they are aggressive or do not particularly enjoy the company of another dog, there are ways you can teach them to get along with them regardless. It will take a bit of patience and commitment on your end, but it will be worth it when you finally see your dog playing nice with other pups.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way when it comes to training your dog. Next time you are going for a walk, take them to a place where you know dogs tend to play or strut by often but stay distant (for now). Each time you see another dog in the distance, praise your own pup and treat them. After a few times of doing this, try getting a bit closer to the action and repeat the process.
Keep doing this until you can bring your dog close to the other dogs safely. Once you can get close enough to have actual interaction, parallel walk alongside other dogs while still praising your dog at the same time. Make sure that if you do this final step, talk to the other owners first to ensure that it is okay that your dog can say “hello”.
The Teaching to Give Method
For this, get your dog a new toy that they will love. Let your dog have plenty of time to enjoy it. The next step is to try trading treats for the toy. Give them a treat and hold out your hand and use a prompt word like “drop” to take the toy in exchange. If they let go of the toy, praise them.
After doing this a few times, try it again without the treat in your hand and just use the command word. If they follow directions, praise them some more. If not, start back in the beginning for now. Once your dog has this down, start doing it again with other dogs around to guide your dog to get used to sharing. The idea is for your dog to release their toy to other dogs, and they will receive an award and positive reinforcement for their exemplary behavior.
Other Useful Methods to Try
If you have a particularly aggressive dog, then here are some other methods you can try out that can ease them up around other dogs…
- Use basic obedience commands, such as “down”, “heal” and “stay” so you can prompt them to settle down if they get too excited seeing another dog. Doing this will help make them less hyperactive or nervous during the following encounters.
- Use a slip collar when walking your dog and keep them on a shortened leash (yet comfortable). You can also use a basket muzzle if you feel it is deemed necessary. This type of muzzle also allows your dog to pant, which can calm them down. Over time, once your dog gets used to seeing other pups around, you may be able to remove these devices altogether.
- Set up controlled situations, such as having puppy play dates with others who have dogs. Hosting these can help introduce your dog to others while still being able to monitor their behavior and intervene when needed. If you do decide to try this method, make the event outside of your home so your dog will not be in territorial defense.
Whether you are trying to introduce a second dog in your home, or have a mission to take your pup to dog-friendly locations around your area, preparing them to get along with other dogs is something you should strongly consider. The sooner you start the training process, the better the results will be.
This not only will give your dog the right skills on how to handle their temperament and emotional reactions when they see another dog, but it will also make the entire time much more enjoyable for everyone involved.