Help! My Dog Lunges at Other Dogs

Tools and Strategies

Certain cues may be causing your dog to react when he’s on leash or behind a barrier. The sound of approaching dogs, such as jingling tags or vocalizations, may set your dog off. When you are walking with your dog, you may inadvertently jerk or tighten the leash when you get nervous about an approaching dog. These cues make your dog even more tense. Change your dog’s association by pairing these cues with something pleasurable. Practice tightening the leash and giving your dog a reward. Pair the barking or collar jingling of another dog with the onset of a treat party.

Extra exercise outside of training situations and away from other dogs, such as treadmill workouts or fetch, can also be helpful for dogs with barrier frustration. Dog-friendly canines can benefit from a play session with another dog before training to satisfy their desire for interaction. In addition, using food puzzles instead of food bowls to feed your pet helps to channel his extra energy.

A Thundershirt can be extremely beneficial in training dogs with barrier frustration. Adding the pressure wrap shirt to a training session automatically calms many anxious canines.

Collars are not the best solution for dogs that react on leash, because they don’t allow you to pull your dog around to face you when needed. Instead, use a harness that clips on the dog’s chest, or a head halter for optimal control.

In an emergency, if your dog becomes overwhelmingly worked up at the sight of an approaching dog, you can distract him by tossing treats on the ground for him to pick up until the other dog is past.


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