Helping a Marina del Rey Dog Learn to Stop Rushing Up to Greet Other dogs

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 28, 2017

Kizzie is a two-year old Corgi Lab mix who lives in Marina del Rey. Her guardian set up this dog behavior training session to teach her to behave better when meeting new dogs.

Because Lizzie lives in an apartment complex, she accompanied her guardian on the walk down to let me in. She showed good confidence and social manners when we met on the street.

As a dog behaviorist, I have learned that anytime you have a dog who is dog reactive or dog aggressive, the best place to evaluate a dog is in their home. I find most of the best dog behaviorist want to see how the dog behaves when its at its calmest and also see what kind of rules and structure are in place.

Kizzie didnt appear dog aggressive to me, she was just displaying poor social skills; approaching dogs in a confrontational way and being too excited when meeting other dogs. Her approach wasn’t so much aggressive (although many other dogs would likely interpret it that way) as it was poor social etiquette. Most of her energy was excitement, but there was also some frustration, probably to the handler not stopping her to settle down when she pulled towards other dogs.

After suggesting ways to flip the leader follower dynamic (petting with a purpose, passive training and disagreeing with the escalating consequences), I went over a positive dog training exercise that will give her guardian the ability to redirect her attention before she can act inappropriately or aggressive to dogs. I call this exercise the focus.

While the focus looks easy, don’t disregard its effectiveness. It can be a powerful tool that can stop a dog from getting into trouble long before anything actually happens.

After her guardian finished practicing he focus exercise, we headed out for a short walk so I could give him some additional pointers on teaching a dog to behave on walks via loose leash training. Eventually the guardian will be able to add the focus to this mix once Kizzie has mastered it in lower intensity situations.

On the walk we ran across a great lab mix and the guardian was willing to let us bring Lizzie over to meet her. I wanted to observe Kizzie’s energy and social skills. They were definitely in need of work. She pulled towards the other dogs in a direct path and with unbalanced energy.

A direct rushed approach is confrontational in the dog world so I had her guardian stop and placer her into a sit. Because she was too close, the other dog’s presence was too intense for her to calm herself down. I had him walk a few additional feet away and keep increasing the distance until he was able to get her to sit. Once she was sitting calmly, he started walking towards the other dogs again, but as soon as she pulled in front, he stopped and repeated the sit pause again.

It took about 90 seconds, but eventually we were able to get Lizzie close enough to meet the other dog in a calm and polite way. Its going to be really important for the guardian to repeat this process and completely eliminate any dog greeting where Lizzie pulls towards the other dog. Eventually Kizzie will get the message and learn that way of approaching other dogs is no longer an option.

This calmer greeting approach will help the other dog feel much more comfortable meeting Kizzie. Combined with the other things were covered in this in home dog training session should help Kizzie develop the canine social skills she will need to stop her inappropriate way of rushing up to meet new dogs.

We wrapped up the session by shooting a roadmap to success video with many of the dog training tips and secrets I shared with Lizzie’s guardian in the session.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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