Wild Excitement Around Other Dogs
Some friendly dogs get so excited to see other dogs that they’re completely out of control. Learn how to help these dogs keep their cool – and when friendly excitement might reflect anxiety.
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In earlier episodes of the Dog Trainer podcast, I’ve discussed dogs who bark and lunge aggressively at other dogs, and how to help them. What about dogs who aren’t aggressive, but who get so excited when they see other dogs that they yelp and bark and try frantically to get to them? They’re friendly, but they can pull your shoulder out of its socket. And many dogs respond defensively to this hyper greeting style. This week, we’ll talk about 3 steps you can take to help your over-the-top Bouncy get a little more suave.
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Step #1: Teach and Reward Attentiveness to You
In my earlier episode on attention, I explained how to teach your dog to look at you when you say her name, and also to check in with you spontaneously and often. The more your excitable dog focuses on you, the less attention she has left over for other dogs. Remember that attentive behavior is harder for Bouncy than it is for her laid-back cousin Mel O., so you’ll need plenty of practice without other dogs around. And use Bouncy’s favorite treats, so that looking at you is the most rewarding thing she can find to do. Keep focus fun – toss treats on the ground for her to find, and ask her to do tricks while she walks with you.
Step #2: Keep Your Distance
How close to other dogs can your dog get, and still be calm and attentive? During your training period, work with your dog at that distance as much as you can. As your dog gets better and better at paying attention to you and keeping her cool when other dogs are in view, you can gradually decrease the distance.