Are you among the many dog owners who have a hard time walking your dog? A friend of mine once came to me and started telling me about his dog when I asked him about it. “I certainly do” he explained, “we can be happily strolling down the sidewalk when suddenly we see another dog coming. This is where the issue usually begins and it’s anyone’s guess how it will end.
What usually happens is that my very dominant dog will begin to pull toward the other dog and then make its best effort to leave a mark on yet another dog and this can lead to a very bad situation.
Although both dogs have leashes, there is trouble ahead if they get too close and meet. I hold tightly to the leash while my dog is pulling strongly to get to the other dog where I can see the hair on both their backs already rising which is not a very good sign of things to come.
When this happens, I usually try to find a way around this collision path or if you prefer an exit strategy. Of course, over time I have tried different ways to get my dog to behave – such as tugging strongly on his leash, I tried various collars and a variety of distractions such as food without success… I really could not find any way to resolve this awful situation thinking it was just a matter of having a dog with a very strong will.
My dog is not as much trouble at home with the family but when we go out for a walk, I never know what to expect and I’ve pretty much given up hope at this point.”
So we talked a bit more about issues he was having with his dog not only when going out for a walk but also the way he behaves at home with him and the other family members.
I explained to him that the many dog owners don’t seem to understand is the importance of giving the right message to the dog at home as well as outside the home, and that misunderstanding cannot be instantly corrected when he’s out walking the dog and another dog comes along.
The fact is that dogs are simple animals. They are all about survival before anything else that will include protecting the surroundings and its members and they need to be extra protective of any family members when they are out of the territory.
So why does this dominant dog behave this way? The answer is rather simple, dogs are pack animals and they understand one simple principle: in the group, there are leaders and there are followers.
The role of the leader is to decide what is dangerous and take action in protecting the pack. It’s as simple as that!
So my friend already has a strong tempered dog that has the understanding that he is the leader so he gets very protective when he sees another dog coming towards him so he immediately takes the initiative to walk up to the other dog chest and head up and his tail straight up making all efforts to get the other dog back down and away from you.
The real problem here is not the way the dog is behaving, the problem is that the dog understood the message that he is in charge in the first place, in other words, he is the pack leader in your home, therefore, he is also the leader outside your home and needs to protect you at all times.
What is the secret?
There are many excellent training approaches that you are certainly currently using but, without a solid foundation, they simply will not work or have a minimal and intermittent result.
The very foundation is that you need to be the pack leader! Once it is clearly established between you and your dog then all the other training tricks will begin to work easily such as a gentle pool on the leash, a soft word of warning, and an occasional food treat.
In the actual context such as with my friend’s canine, the dog finds himself in this situation of assuring your safety as the other dog is coming towards you – his pack, and is not taking any notice of your commands.
So it’s not really a secret but it is certainly the necessary foundation that follows the natural instinct of the canine species. Again, you need to assume the role of the leader.
So my friend was quite happy to learn this information and is presently a member of the online training club and is getting amazing results with his dog with the dominant behavior.
As he told me recently: “among the many things that I love about this method is that I am working with my dog’s natural instincts.” This is specifically true as it is natural for one dog to be above the other dogs in the group. This is buried well within their ADN and you cannot take that out of them.
Once you have positioned yourself as a top dog in this pack, the dog will not feel the need to be overly protective, tense, and create unneeded situations.