Excited by and jumping at strangers while on leash

Posted by persona
Dec 30, 2010
My shihtzu is eleven months old, reasonable in most areas, but gets over-excited when encountering people. Out on the leash I sense he is constantly watching for such meetings. A car door clicks and he becomes alert. Out for a walk and seeing a stranger approach he pulls on the lead and if the stranger walks past--that's fine. He might look back at them ruefully. But should they stop to pet him he has to be tightly restrained to prevent him jumping up at the stranger. How do you demand a stranger not to make a fuss of him without seeming abrupt?
When allowed to run free on an open field his response to recall is quite good. But if a stranger appears he will run in that direction and all previously good recall is forgotten. This reaction is also prevalent with other dogs---all very playful, but can be annoying, when he will run away 100 metres or so to make the encounter.
People coming into the house had similar reactions but we are overcoming that by leashing him for a few minutes until his excitement subsides. I noticed a separate message on the forum about this aspect of behavious which has been helpful.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 3, 2011
Hey persona,

When you're taking your pup for a walk, can you anticipate in good time these bouts of excitement? Try to give him a command like "sit" when you see an opportunity for him to get riled up. Take his attention away from it as best you can with a command and a following treat or praise. Keep giving him commands (down, roll over, beg, whatever you want!) to keep his attention.

When someone approaches you, have him sit, and ask the person not to pet him until he's calm, explain you're working on doggy manners This is what I did with my own dog when I was leash training him, he had a tendency to pull toward people on walks so I gave him a stern "heel", and said hi to the person before they approached us, explained we were still a pup and working on listening Most other dog owners will understand!

Sounds like you're on a great track with training him at home using the lead and waiting til he calms down. Can you try this sort of training at the park? Don't let him off lead until he's calm, and frequently call him back to you, whether there are other people around or no, so that he gets used to coming back when its asked of him. Bring toys he loves and treats so that you can reward him and hold his attention.

As you noticed other threads might have helpful hints, as well as other members on here. Let us know if my suggestions work or not, we can always come up with more! Good luck!