Meeting another dog on a walk is nothing unusual as a dog owner and should actually not be a problem if both human-dog teams abide by certain rules. Nevertheless, there are always situations that worry us, dog owners, when another human-dog team appears on the horizon. It doesn’t matter if it’s the fear that the other dog will attack our own or the uncertainty whether our own dog will behave. A negative feeling here can also be transferred to your dog. To prevent this, we have 4 tips for you that will help you to react more confidently and calmly in dog encounters in the future.
1. Respect leashed dogs.
The most important rule for all dog owners: If you meet a leashed dog or a dog you do not know, then you also leash your dog and keep a sufficient distance during the encounter. If the other dog is not on a leash but your dog is, ask the other dog owner to leash their dog. Always try to remain friendly and objective in such a situation, even if not every dog owner will understand why they should now leash their dog.
What you can do if the other dog owner does not want to put his dog on a leash
Take three deep breaths and remain calm and friendly. Ask the other dog owner again to leash their dog and give them a valid reason why it is safer for their dog to be leashed. For example, say that your dog has a contagious disease, they bite other dogs that get too close, they have a flea infestation or is currently in the standing heat and you want to save them from unplanned offspring. Really remember to stay friendly and always turn the situation around so that you are not protecting your own dog but the other person’s dog. This will save you a heated discussion and keep everyone focused on their own dog.
2. Keep your distance on the leash.
Who hasn’t heard the phrase: “He just wants to say hello”? Just a quick “hello” can lead to chaos, injuries, and biting, especially on the leash, and by the way, you put your dog in the expectation that as soon as another dog comes towards you, they may rush to the other dog. It is therefore advisable to keep a distance from the leash. This way your dog learns that they do not have to expect to be allowed to play with another dog on the leash and at the same time you are spared the unpopular knot in the leash with another dog.
What you can do if your dog tends to bark on the leash:
In dog encounters, take your dog to the side away from the other human-dog team. In this way, you create the necessary distance between you and the other human-dog team and at the same time give your own dog more space to avoid. In such a situation, you mustn’t pull your leash tight, but let it hang loosely. This way your dog will not feel constricted and will not associate a tight leash with meeting other dogs.
3. They do NOT settle this between themselves!
If both dogs get along with each other or if the dogs meet without a leash, you must always keep an eye on the dogs and their “game”. The sentence “They’ll settle it between themselves!” already fails because a 2 kg Chihuahua could hardly defend itself against the weight and mass of a Newfoundland. Apart from the size, a game can escalate quickly. At the latest when the game becomes too one-sided, one dog is always on the ground or is chased and moped by the other, it is time to end the “game”.
4. Give your dog protection when he needs it.
Whether your dog is running free or on a leash, if your dog is looking for protection near you or between your legs, you should give it to them. The easiest way to give your dog protection is to shield them from other dogs, but at the same time allow your dog to avoid them. Small dogs, in particular, like to be picked up, but it is better to shield them between the legs in a crouching position, so your dog still has the opportunity to move forwards or backward to escape the situation. The same applies to larger dogs: enable protection, but do not force protection. Your dog should be allowed to decide for themself how long they need the protection of their owner and when your dog dares to leave the “hiding place” again. By the way, it should go without saying that if the situation does not calm down, you should leave the situation with your dog and either change direction or go home immediately.
We hope these tips will help you and your dog on your next walk. If you want to know how to guide your dog safely and calmly through a dog encounter, download the Pupy app for free now and start training today.