Sunday, February 7, 2010

Training Tips on Dog Manners in Public

Dogs will do what we set them up for. We set the stage for good greetings, bad greetings, fights at dog parks, snarks on the street on leash OR we set them up for good greetings, no fights and no snarks on the street on leash.

The first thing to do is cut the "phone line" when your dog begins to communicate to another dog from a distance or across the street. The problem is is that he won't be able to greet the other dog appropriately the way dogs normally would so a frustration begins on the leash. He may exhibt behaviors such as lunging, whining and barking. After a while this is what he has learned to do while on leash around another dog. He's not born this way.

Setting the stage for a calm interaction would be to have your dog focus on you and give lots of praise, treats or take out a toy. Be interesting to your dog.

Many of you already know this and it's probably old hat. But sometimes it's good to review, stay practiced and have it nice and smooth. Many times I see that timing is off. One thing that is important is to make sure your not waiting for your dog to be in the "I don't hear anything or care about anything because I'm making a stink right now" mode. It's too late to ask for your dog to come back to you and focus on you at this point. Try it BEFORE he gets lost in this.

Check out our Dog Aggression vs Leash Reactivity article on our site and our Dog to Dog Introduction article for more info.

Here's one of the very simple exercises done at our class to help with these issues among others. Notice that the dogs completely ignore each other as communicating in this setting without greeting sometimes causes the above frustration we talked about. These dogs are taking direction from their people and not the other dogs in class. Gomer by the way started out a bit leash reactive and loved to have a good fence snark when he was at the shelter. Here he is being a perfect gentleman. And of course Bella is doing very well too as you see - hint, hint they're both up for adoption!!

I'd like to thank Anna in this video. She's one of our certified trainers who's done a great job with our intermediate class! Thanks to Judy, Christina and Thad! Great job to you guys as well.


  1. More helpful and informative tips. Thank you for the post. Mom loved it.

  2. Glad mom loved it Twink. Fun for you too!

  3. YAYYYY Gomer is doing sooo good! I keep asking when he'll be at class, and of course he's there when I'm not.

    He was at serious risk for euthanasia because of his reactivity. The dog he came in with was already euthanized, so his chances were slim.

    Thank you guys for saving him! I miss him a lot..I hope I get to see him soon.

  4. Thanks Liz! Yes, his reactivity was initially bad. He's fantastic now. He has great fosters Thad and Anna. Thanks guys!

  5. Great training article.