When it comes to your dog, you give it unconditional love. However, that love is often tested if you have a dog that doesn’t get along with other dogs. It could involve situations of fierce barking, growling, and even a fight. So what do you do with a dog that doesn’t get along with other dogs?
Essentially you have two options. You can either avoid other dogs at all costs or train your dog to socialize. Let’s look at these two options.
Avoid Other Dogs
We completely understand an owner’s desire to avoid other dogs. It can be extremely stressful when your dog is barking uncontrollably at another dog while on a walk. So your natural instinct might be to remove yourself and your dog from the situation and avoid the situation as much as possible.
Permanently avoiding the situation is not only a hassle but it can make your dog even more likely to lash out the next you eventually run into another dog. If you have two dogs, and they don’t get along, avoidance is almost guaranteed to make the situation worse, as separation creates territories.
So in summary, avoidance is possible, however it isn’t the optimal solution.
Training and socializing your dog is the best way to handle your dog not getting along with other dogs. This involves a lot of work and patience but will have the best results in the long run.
The first thing you need to do, is to train your dog basic commands if they don’t already have them. Commands such as sit, stay, and heel are all great options when further training your dog to socialize.
If you already have these, the next thing you need to do is to desensitize your dog the the stimulus that caused the reaction; other dogs. That means actually putting your dog in a situation where it will see other dogs, but at a controlled distance.
One great way to do this to bring your leashed dog to a dog park without entering. Keep yourself and your dog at a large distance and move towards to the edge of the fence until your dog begins to react. This is your starting point. This is the distance in which your dog will react to another dog. Step back until they calm down and stop reacting to the other dogs.
Now you can start desensitizing your dog by giving them their favorite treats as they watch the other dogs play. Slowly work your way closer, providing plenty of treats and affirmations, but make sure your dog is always under your control. That means, they should hear and react to your commands. If they get too focused on the other dogs and look like they might react, step back.
When you take walks with your dog, you should bring treats along. When you see another dog approach, your job is to get your dog’s attention with the treats.
The common theme here is to get your dog to associate other dogs as a cue to receive treats. You are attempting to remove any negative stimulus they have regarding other dogs.
Training your dog to become desensitized from seeing other dogs and eventually to socialize is no easy feat. It will take a lot of time and effort in order to fully socialize them. Professional trainers can be a huge assistance because they often have a dog of their own that they can bring to help train yours.
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