Hearing those words ‘it’s ok my dog is friendly’ as a dog is approaching at speed can make your heart sink. As this phrase often means that the dog on route is an over friendly, rude dog with no manners or recall. So when the dog does arrive it may jump all over you or your dog, refuse to leave and generally make a pest of itself. In addition to this behaviour being rude and unacceptable this behaviour is also potentially dangerous.
· What would happen if you dog was running towards another dog close to a road or with a road in-between? The potential consequences are horrific!!
· What would happen if the dog being visited reacts to your dog’s behaviour? A friendly dog can accidently start a fight they did not mean to start and are not prepared for.
· How will your dog feel if they are continually told off when running up to other dogs? I often hear it ok he / she needs to be told. I do not agree. It is not my dog’s job to teach your dog manners. Plus continually being told off by unknown dogs can lead to anxiety and nervousness in your dog.
Although most puppies tend to want to be friends with absolutely everyone. As dogs get older they tend to become a little more choosey about what dogs they want to interact with. In addition there may be other reasons that a dog doesn’t want to interact with others. The other dog may be in training, they might be nervous, they might be older or they may be recovering from surgery.
Maybe think about this in a slightly different way. How would you feel if you were out for a walk and an unknown person came running up to you all excited, chatting away and maybe even trying to give you a cuddle. I would be horrified and I would find this behaviour unacceptable. So why is it different for our dogs?
Can I say hand on heart I have never uttered these words. No I can’t. Although I work very hard on my group walks, when walking my own dog and when out and about training to be considerate and responsible. Only letting my dog (s) approach and interact if the other dog and owner are happy. Despite this even the best trained dogs have their off days which may lead to the occasional oopsy daisy.
If you shout this phrase once in a blue moon. Fantastic you and you dog are doing a great job J. If you are using this phrase more often than not though this is a problem that really needs to be addressed.
If you dog is guilty of running up to every dog he or she sees. What can you do?
· Prevent your dog practising and perfecting this unwanted behaviour. Put your dog on a lead around other dogs so you can control any interactions.
· Teach your dog that they don’t need to greet every dog that they see
· Walk your dog on a long line so you can practice your recall and control interactions.
· Work on recall with your dog and make it as fun as possible.
If you are struggling please consider employing the help of good dog trainer who uses positive science based training methods to help you. It could you save your dog’s life and it will also make walks more enjoyable for all.