How To Greet Aggressive or Excited Dogs The Right Way

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Dog Behavior, Puppy Training
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dogs playing

 

 

 

If you have a dog and regularly take him out for walks, you will inevitably run into other dogs who are either excited, or aggressive. Really excitement and aggression go hand in hand, often when you meet an overly excited dog who is very eager to meet and play with another dog he can sometimes trigger aggression in the dog he is trying to play with. You do however have options that will help you if like many owners, you just don’t know how to greet excited or aggressive dogs the right way.

First off not all dogs are the same, they each have different personalities. Some may not mind being jumped on by an excited dog, and some will growl and hide behind their owners, others will in a split second, full on attack and try to kill the offending dog.

If you’re out walking and you see a dog in the distance, (sometimes as much as 100-200 meters away,) up on their back legs pulling and barking, lunging to get to your dog, then there are a couple of things to take into account.

Listen to the bark of the excited dog coming your way.

If you listen to the sound of the bark coming from any dog, you can tell if it is aggressive or excited and just wants to play. The bark will have what I like to call a “happy tone” subtle as it may be there is a distinct difference between an aggressive bark and an excited bark.

However as I stated, not all dogs are the same. You may encounter a dog who is not barking at all, but the other signs of excitement will be apparent,.for example, pulling on the leash, panting, tongue hanging out, scratching and digging for a better foot hold.

Note: If you have a puppy, say between 5-10 months of age, and he is showing signs of being excited to greet other dogs, you can nip this behavior in the bud, if you miss this chance and your dog continues until the age of 14-18 months, this behavior will now be reinforced and training him will take a lot more time and energy.

Early training is always better.

Aggression and excitement kind of blend together.

Are they different?

Totally.

What I’m trying to say is that dogs who are allowed to build up their levels of excitement to boiling over, are much more likely to become aggressive, or cause aggression in other dogs, than if you train them to be calm and quiet.

Some dog owners think that because their dog is so happy and excited to get to another dog and play that this is a good thing, I want to tell you that it is not. This is a very serious concern. You need to consider what is going to happen when your dog jumps and nips or maybe tries to hump another dog. The outcome can be dramatic, even tragic.

What can you do about it?

If your dog is too excited you can simply choose not to meet that other dog. Go to the other side of the street, and move your dog away.

Walking away is not failure.

The same rule applies if it’s another dog approaching you in a high state of excitement. Politely warn off the other person, and move your dog away.

You can size up the situation and let your dog go ahead and play with the other dog, and if everything is going fine, and the excitement levels are not off the scale then all is good and you can relax, give your dog this reward, and enjoy the moment.

Note: I rate excitement levels on a scale of 0-10,.. 0 being asleep, and 10 being red zone, or out of control.

Average levels of play excitement that will usually not result in aggression is level 5-6

Remember that this will be unique to your dog and your situation, not all dog’s are the same.

If the excitement levels suddenly spike, and you’re not sure about what may happen, you can leash up your dog and remove him from play, away from other dogs and people. Then take time to calm him back down, and slowly move closer to the dog and size up the level of excitement, if all is good, then free him to resume play.

Note: When I say free him to play, I mean to let go of the leash, if the owner is tense it will be related to the dog through the leash, and can cause your dog to become even more excited or nervous.

By letting the dog go, he will behave in a much different way, than if you are hanging on the leash.

Getting your dog to calm down quickly from say a level 8 excitement to a level 5, is not going to happen over night.

There is no magic pill, but if you keep at it, and celebrate the small successes, in about a month or so you will have a very different dog, and you will have learned how to greet aggressive or excited dogs the right way.

That’s it for today, I hope you found this informative, and please share it.
Thank you for your support.
Harley

 

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