What to Do if Your Dog Lunges at Other Pets During Walks

By April 25 | See Comments

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What to Do if Your Dog Lunges at Other Pets During Walks
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Taking your dog out for a walk in the sidewalk, often means running into other pets. If your otherwise well-behaved pet has a tendency to lunge and bark at other pets, then here are some techniques that you can use to bring the situation under control.

Why do dogs lunge at each other during walks?

The problem with walking your dog on the sidewalk is that it puts your pet in a setting where other pets would find it threatening and vice versa. Dogs usually like to approach each other in an arc, giving each other space, as they sniff and observe each others’ behavior. However, dogs are put in a more closed setting in sidewalks, and approach each other upfront, in a straight line. They naturally perceive this as a threat or rude behavior, causing them to bark or lunge at each other.If you have a tendency to yank at your dog’s leash or sternly ask him to stay when you notice another dog coming close, then your dog will perceive it be a threatening situation, and respond aggressively. Your best bet is to stay calm and composed, and not tug at your dog’s

collar

. Your dog may respond aggressively when leashed because he is scared or excited.The other dog’s stature or behavior may leave your dog scared, and being on a leash means that he has nowhere to escape, which is why he uses aggressive behavior to keep the other pet away. Or, your dog may even be barking out of excitement, as he wants to play with the other dog in some cases.

How to keep your dog under control during walks

The best way to prevent your dog from lunging at other pets, is to avoid running into them. If you notice the other dog approaching at the end of the street, turn around and take a different route, so you can prevent these triggers. You can try and counter-condition your pet to the situation using treats. Every time, you see the other dog approach while taking your pet for a walk, reward your pet with a

treat

; slowly, he will start expecting treats every time the other dog shows up, associating it with something positive like rewards, rather than a negative emotion like fear.What you also want to do is tire your dog out through training sessions or a game of fetch before you head out for a walk; with all the energy expended there’s a lower chance that he will grow aggressive in the presence of the other dog. Also, make your walks fun and unpredictable. Vary the speed and the routes, so your dog has to stay alert to keep up with you, and does not focus his energies on the other pet.

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