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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Calmly Introduce Your Dog to Other Dogs

One of the most common issues that we experience when walking our dogs is the over-excited dog, and trying to introduce them to other dogs on the leash. No matter what kind of dog you have, they may appear to be so excited that they are going to explode. I have certainly had that problem with my Schnauzer, Cash. There is something about the sight of another dog on a leash that sends him into a frenzy, barking and pulling on the leash and dragging me along. It can be scary, dangerous, yes, and very embarrassing. I hate the looks I get sometimes when people just stop and gawk. But I do appreciate the people that approach calmly and manage to get Cash to be friendly. Those are the true dog lover! Things can rapidly escalate until I feel out of control. I just wish I knew what exactly was going on in that little doggy brain of his, what he is truly feeling and experiencing. Most likely, his behavior is very often a mix of both excitement and stress. However, this is not a great state for either of us to be in when we meet other dogs, as there is a far greater chance that things will go wrong, especially over time if it goes unchecked. Imagine seeing it from the approaching dog's point of view....Cash is barking, pulling, eyes bulging, gasping for scary is that? 

So how do you avoid such a situation? Well, in this post I will explain the options available to you. Then you will have a simple, basic approach to select one of the three and go and practice with your dog. Having a clear plan of action is the first stage to success.

First of all, it is important to be clear that there are ONLY 3 options available. Second, you must have established yourself already as the pack leader – this is vitally important. 

1. Approach the other dog: Your dog is calm and you decide to simply approach the other dog on the leash. Yes, this is the ultimate goal! Remember that you want to reward good behavior, so do not get in the way in this situation. Remain silent as you walk your dog towards the other dog and let them meet. Simply stay out of it and do not upset the calm environment that you have in front of you. Ok, I admit this has seldom happened yet with Cash, but I have noted that the more calm I remain, the more calm Cash is as well.
2. Stay away from the other dog: Picture your dog barking like crazy, completely out of control... this is where your gut instinct knows that it’s best not to go and visit the other dog and you are better off just walking away. Better yet if you can change the direction you are walking before you get close to the other dog. This works well for us most of the time. Sometimes I simply don't have time to work with my dog and try to calm him down, or the other dog may not seem keen on meeting, maybe they look a little unsure, old or small. One other important reason to do this is to show your dog that sometimes you do not get to meet and sniff every dog on the walk. (That's life, so get used to it!)
3. Calm your dog down then make a decision: In other words do some training to calm and distract your dog. After you have done this, then you may choose to approach the other dog or not. The choice is still yours. It is important to remember is that you are taking time out to show your dog that if they calm down (even just a little bit) good things will happen. As time goes on, your dog will learn that the calmer he is, the more chance there is of meeting the other dogs.

So you may be wondering, w
hat is the right option for me? Well, all three options are right at different times. In other words, I still choose all three options for Cash, depending on the situation. Younger dogs in particular will often need a bit more calming than older dogs and this training will certainly pay off in the long run. Which is the case with Cash. When I first adopted him as a rescue, he was only a year old and very excitable and energetic. Now he is almost 3, and he is getting much calmer. 

But remember, as 
mentioned earlier, you really must have the pack leader foundations in place before you can trust how you dog will react in different circumstances. Learning Doggy Dan’s five Golden Rules of becoming the Pack Leader will give you the assurance that you are in charge and your dog is looking up to you and respecting you for all of your decision making. Visit Doggy Dan’s website now to learn how to become the Pack Leader (Doggy Dan even offers a 3 Day $1 trial of the site that YOU can take advantage of, so I suggest the next thing you do today is take a look inside the site!).

Lately I have been busy painting dog portraits. Above is the one I just completed this past weekend. My art teacher has suggested that I start doing pet portraits as a sideline. I love animals and I love painting, so what better way to spend my spare time. If you would like to have a portrait done of your pet, please contact me. I would be happy to work one a special painting just for you! You can also visit my website to see more of my artwork.

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