Introducing your dog to another dog (calmly)

Introducing your dog to other dogsOne very common problem dog owners face is out of control excitement when walking and meeting other dogs while on the leash.

This situation is common with all kind of dogs. Everything from little Chihuahuas, German Shepherds and Rottweilers get overly exited when meeting other dogs while walking and they look so exited you get the impression they are going to blow up.

It is of course worse when you have a big powerful dog dragging you along and there seem to be no way to gain control over it. It is not only embarrassing but can also become dangerous as there is no way of knowing what will happen and how it is going to end.

Excitement Aggression or Stress?

It can be difficult to know the feelings of your dog when it is in a really exited state and about to meet other dogs. Is it just exited and happy, eager to play or is feeling nervous maybe scared? It might also be a question of aggression, when a dog is in such an exited state it really is hard to tell.

Just imagine how to other dog might see it when your dog is approaching, barking, pulling up on its rear legs, eyes bulging and gasping for air. You get the point, this might really scare and fire up the other dog and you might find yourself in a difficult situation.

What to do in a situation like this

In order to avoid getting into this situation there are three different options you can use. I will explain each one of them to you in detail. It is important to have a clear plan of action that you can rely on when getting into a situation like this. The first option is used when things are fine and your dog is calm and the two other ones are useful when your dog is getting overly exited and hard to control.

These are the only three options you can use and it is very important that you have established yourself as the PACKLEADER before trying it out. If your dog does not see you as its leader it is simply not going to work. Here is a post on how to become the pack leader your dog admires.

Now to the point, here are the three different options you can use:

Dogs meeting

1. Calmly approach the other dog. If your dog is calm then approach the other dog while keeping your hands firmly on the leash, stay out of the way and let dogs introduce each other. This is what you are aiming for and what you should try to achieve but this requires that you manage to get your dog calm first.

The thing with dog training is to reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior. If your dog remains calm and in control when wanting to greet another dog then it should be allowed to do so.

2. Keep well away from the other dog. If your dog is barking wildly, pulling the leash and is completely out of control you better keep away from the other dog. Trust your instincts here, if it is very hard to calm down your dog then you better just walk past the other dog, this especially applies if the other dog is old, small or seem scared and uncertain. It is also a good lesson for your dog to make it understand that you do not get to meet and greet every dog on a walk.

3. The third option is to first calm down your dog and then make a decision of what to do. If your dog is overly exited distract it with some play or training and once it has calmed down you go and greet the other dog. One very simple method that works well with an overly exited dog is the “calm freeze method”. You simply put your hand underneath your dog’s collar and you calmly hold it. No need to talk, simply hold your dog and he/she will feel your “calm energy” and soon calm down. Here is a video on how to perform the “Calm Freeze”

The Calm FreezeA post on how to calm down an overly exited dog will be released soon.
Once your dog is calm the you can go and meet the other dog. This will also reward your dog and make it understand that if you stay calm then you are rewarded with good things such as meeting another dog.

Now if your dog does not calm down within any reasonable amount of time you stay away from the other dog. You must at all cost avoid to reward bad behavior. That is if your dog is overly exited and you let it meet another dog then you have done just that. You have rewarded the behavior you don’t want your dog to have and next time you meet another dog, your dog will pull, bark and show exited behavior because this is what worked last time and so it will do the same thing again.

Think of it like with a child who wants a toy or a candy and will not leave you alone until he gets what he wants. So you give him what he wants just to get some peace and quit. Of course this works at the moment but the next time the child wants something he will of course whine, cry and complain until he gets what he wants.

This is because you rewarded bad behavior and gave him what he wanted because he bothered you. Now if you do the contrary instead, Ignore the child who is crying, whining and complaining. You wait until he calms down and then give him something. Now you have rewarded good behavior and he will understand that if you he wants something he must behave well and stay calm.

The same things goes for a dog. If they always get what they want when they misbehave they continue to misbehave but if they get rewarded for behaving well then they will continue to behave well. So the bottom line is: you have to reward the behavior you want your dog to have.

So, which one of the three options mentioned you should use depends really on the situation and if you manage to get your dog to calm down. There is of course a difference between individual dogs, some dogs get far more exited than others and the breed also matters a little as some breeds of dogs have much more energy than others. The age of the dog also make a difference and younger dogs will more difficult to calm down than older ones.

Free video dog training course

Finally, as mentioned before, in order to make your dog listen to you (and especially if it is in an exited state of mind) your dog must consider you as the Packleader. It is a natural instinct for dogs to follow their leader and if they consider you as the pack leader they will follow you. Once your dog sees you as its leader it is going to look to you for advice on how to behave and how to act. In this case if you remain calm and in control your dog will do so as well.

There are Five Golden Rules on how to establish yourself as the pack leader. You will find them by clicking the link below.

Click Here to Learn the Five Golden Rules

A post on how to calm an overexcited dog will soon follow. If you have any questions or tips and tricks on what to do in a situation like this then please leave them below

Jojo

Comments 17

  • Hi JoJo! I have found this post very useful. I have been encountering this problem more often recently so I started to research about it. Yes, knowing exactly what to do when my dog gets excited seeing other dogs in the street help me to plan ahead of time. And it also reduces the stress those situations bring. I’m interested in also reading you list of five golden rules.

    • Hi Ann,

      I am happy you found my post useful. Being prepared really does reduce stress and gives you more time to choose the right course of action when you and your dog meet other dogs.

      The best way to learn the five golden rules is to go directly to Doggy Dan’s site and sign up to his program. You can try it out for three days for one dollar and during these three days you will have plenty of time to learn the five golden rules (it is all on video on the site). If you like the program to stay on it for 47 dollars a month and if you decide it is not for you, you simply cancel before the end of the three days and you will only pay a dollar. You can sign up, using this link. The Online Dog Trainer

      I wish you all the best and feel free to contact me anytime if I can be of help.

      Jojo

  • My own experience is that the earlier you expose your dog to other dogs the better. In my case, I took advantage of dog parks. I could bring dog in a park twice per week. At first it was a fight every day. And making the difference between stress and aggression was not easy at all. But with time dogs learned to know each other and play together.

    Thanks

    • Hi, thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I think you are right, the earlier and the more often you take your dog to meet other dogs the sooner they will adapt and learn to play together. The important thing here is to make sure the dog is calm when they meet, otherwise just walk away with your dog and make it calm down before trying to meet the other dog again.

      Jojo

    • Hi, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. You are absolutely right. The earlier and the more often you let your dog meet other dogs the better it will adapt to them and your dog will be both calmer and more confident.

      Jojo

  • Its really funny the way my buddy reacts when she sees another dog for the first time. Some times she jumps around the new dog and play happily, and in other situations, she goes wild and really crazy. There was a time she broke a limb running away from another male dog. I would love to get the video to get some lessons on how to deal with her meeting other dogs. Best regards.

  • This is a very interesting and unique topic on how to take control of a situation when walking and meeting other dogs while on the leash. The thing that strike my mind is the following – “in order to make your dog listen to you (and especially if it is in an exited state of mind) your dog must consider you as the Packleader”.

    I think it is very important for the dog to listen to you in such a situation. Then it is also important to reward the good behavior so that they continue to behave well. I liked how clearly it is explained by giving an example of a child whose every wish (good or bad) is fulfilled and then how it becomes the habit.

    Overall very good post with nice explanation on how to calmly handle a situation on dog to dog meeting.

    • Thank you for your input and your kind words.to 

      Getting your dog to consider you as the packleader is indeed very important in order to make it listen.

      The same thing goes for rewarding good behavior while ignoring bad. A dog should not be able to get what it wants when it is behaving badly otherwise it will just keep on doing the wrong thing as it knows it will get something from it. Same thing goes for a child, if you give them what they want just make them calm they will continue to misbehave. If they instead are rewarded for doing the good thing and ignored when misbehaving they will soon learn to behave well.

  • Very informative article about how to act and not to act when two dogs meet. The problem is that when two dogs meet, they can’t communicate properly between each other because they’re in leach. This is not a natural position to be in for a dog. And they misunderstand the other dogs body language. Love the way you emphasize rewarding good behavior and ignore bad one. Dog training has surtently mowed towards the right direction. 

    • Interesting point about the leash. The thing is that if you are to take of a dog’s leash in public (and especially when there are other dogs around, you must be sure that you will be able to control your dog should something happen.

  • Thank you  for these great tips about introducing your dog to another dog. My dog gets very excited every time he see another dog, so I can relate to what you wrote. I’ll try next time to apply your tips. Until now I was simply pulling away my dog, and trying to avoid any contact. Thanks again! Great article! 

    • You are welcome. I wish you the best of luck and if I can be of any help, please get in touch and I will see what I can do to help you.

      Kindest regards,

      Jojo

  • Great advice from a writer with an obvious extensive knowledge of how dogs feel.

    This is a situation which can definitely become dangerous if not handled correctly & for most of us everyday dog owners, we have not received any tuition on calming the situation down.

    I feel a lot more confident now just by having read this guide & I have made note of your three scenarios.

    One question I’d like to ask though, can you give any advice on repelling / calming other dogs approaching my own in an aggressive manner?

    • You are soo right, when a dog who is over exited meets another dog it really can lead to a dangerous situation and many dog owners are not trained to handle situations like this. Education is important for a dog owner as one must learn how dogs think and function in order to handle certain situations and to properly train your dog.

      If another dog is approaching your dog in an aggressive manner then I suggest you do like this: Get control over your dog, using the leash or grabbing it by the collar and then turn your (and your dogs) back to the other dog. This is a way of showing the other dog that you are calm and that you pose no danger to him/her as no dog would turn his/her back on something potentially dangerous. Most likely the other dog will calm down if you do this.

      Try it and get back to me and tell him how it went.

      All the best,

      Jojo

  • You have some good advice here, and I totally agree about needing your dog to see you as the pack leader. I’ve always made that a priority.

    With my girl, I actually ran into the opposite problem in our neighborhood. There was a dog that the owner did not have control over and it would get aggressive with my dog if we met them when walking. I couldn’t reason with the other person, so I figured out when they usually walked and where. Then I changed our time and routine to avoid them. Not fair really, but I didn’t know what else to do, without created a real thing from it.

    I don’t know why people own or go out in public with a dog they cannot control. As you said, it’s dangerous.

    • You are so right. If someone is to walk his/her dog in public then that dog must be well socialized and kept under control as not to pose a danger to other dogs and people.

      A guy named Jack just asked me if there was a way of calming an a dog who is approaching your dog aggressively and I told him that one way of doing this is to take your dog by the leash and collar and then turn your (and your dogs back to the other dog. This will show the other dog that you mean no harm. This is because in the wild you would never turn your back towards something dangerous.

      All the best.

      jojo

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