Excitable on walks w/ other dogs

Posted by rannescott
Sep 17, 2009
I have a 1 1/2 yo Irish setter who does fairly well on leashed walks except when we come into close proximity to another dog being walked. If he's able to say "hi", he's usually okay after a minute and we can move on. But I would prefer to keep on walking by instead of relying on other dog walkers being okay with saying "hi" as many seem intimidated (some b/c of his leader and them not knowing what it's for or his size!). It seems that after a handful of dog encounters on a single walk, he begins to calm down. He also calms down if it's been a long walk or he was tired out for other reasons. He's also fine if he's off the leash and we come across dogs. I have tried the reassuring voice when we pass, strong no when he barks or jumps towards oncoming dog, tried getting him to sit while other dogs pass, and avoidance! I know there are some alpha dog issues with him and training as a puppy did not start off well. It's embarassing for me and I know he's anxious whenever it happens. Any advice greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Posted by KOPsarah
Sep 26, 2009
hi rannescott, and thanks for your post.
This is a really common problem but it is fixable and your on the right track. When walking him past another dog praise him gently for calm behavior as soon as the other dog comes into view. When he starts to bark and misbehave immediately but calmly walk him in the opposite direction from the dog so that you are removing the privilege of interaction. As soon as he calms down praise him again. Do not attempt to reassure him or tell him off during his inappropriate behavior, just keep with the clear message that walking him in the other direction sends.

While you are out training your dog you may well get some unwanted looks and comments from other people as your dog reacts badly however the more you take your dog out the sooner this problem will be resolved and dealing with these people will be only a memory!

Keep up your general obedience and alpha-dog training too as this will help. If he doesn't feel like the leader of the pack he should feel a lot less obliged to protect you from other dogs and people on walks.

Hope this helps, and let us know how you and your dog get on. All the best,