Dogs are instinctively territorial. For this reason, it’s important that you begin to socialise with your dog as soon as possible. Not only should you learn how to assert control but also take the lead.
Never are these steps more beneficial than when you encounter other dogs or face challenging distractions on your walk.
Here are a few tips to remember:
- Your dog’s calm disposition will be shaped by your own measured approach and his trust in you as his leader.
- Stay focused and confident when you encounter other dogs. If an approaching dog is out front and pulling on its leash, there is a chance that the dog’s owner is distracted or is struggling to control the dog’s dominant behaviour. The calmer your energy is, the more your dog will adapt to any situation or experience. If you tighten your leash in anticipation of an aggressive encounter, your dog will sense your fear and instinctively react by taking control in a potentially negative way.
- A good way to avoid a possible confrontation is to read the situation ahead of time and move out of harm’s way. Cross over to the other side of the road if you have an opportunity.
- On every walk, keep your dog’s head up and his focus directly on the path ahead. Also, determine where you’d like him to sniff around and mark any bushes and posts. Don’t let him tell you when it’s time to stop.
Note the body language of Toby and the way I maintained control of the leash as he introduced himself to Steph’s rescue dog, Millie. Though both dogs were initially cautious [as you can see by Toby’s tail and Millie’s ears], Toby immediately sensed Millie’s sweet disposition and our composed control.
A great way to start with any form of socialisation is when your dog is a puppy.
I offer in-home training as well as DogSmart Australia Puppy Classes, which I host in a safe environment in conjunction with local pet stores and veterinarians.
I also assist older dogs including foster and rescue dogs and help them adapt to the rudiments of good behaviour and community socialisation. This includes teaching owners and dogs how to enjoy a stress-free walk.
Whoever said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was wrong. It’s never too late to start!
Please click here for further information on dog walking.