How to Train a Dog to Ignore Other Dogs

Imagine this scenario: You’re taking your dog out for a walk around the neighborhood. Everything was peaceful and relaxed, and then suddenly, another person with their dog is coming in your direction. Your dog instinctively starts to bark and lunges towards the other dog. 

Trust us, we know how frustrating it is to have your furry friend become fixated on another dog. Not only are such behaviors inappropriate, but they can even lead to someone or another dog getting hurt.

Good thing, your dog can learn to turn its focus on you and ignore other distractions. Surely, it’s more fun to have a properly trained dog that will walk calmly by your side even as another dog passes by.

So in this article, we will share some tips to teach your dog to ignore other dogs and make your experience as a dog owner even more pleasant.

Getting Started with the Training

The main purpose of dog training in this situation is to teach your dog how to behave in a certain manner under a specific circumstance rather than training it for a new task or skill. While initially, you might need to use some form of a command word, the longer-term goal is to train your furry friend to ignore other dogs without having to be commanded.

As much as possible, train your dog to ignore other dogs while it’s still young. You can start while you’re training it how to walk on a leash. While older dogs can still be taught how to behave properly around other dogs it passes by on the street, note that it might take a little more time.

Training Without the Presence of Other Dogs

The most important thing to remember when you conduct this kind of training is to do it away from other dogs. You’d want to ensure that there’s little to no distractions so your dog will learn faster. You can begin the training inside your home or in an enclosed yard.

What You Need for the Training

There isn’t much you need when it comes to training your dog to ignore other dogs. These include:

  • Dog treats- This will serve as the main positive reinforcement when your dog performs the desired behavior.
  • Leash- You’ll need this as you take your dog out for a walk.
  • Time- You need to dedicate enough time for two to three walks every day, which can last for about 15 minutes on average each.
  • Patience- Expect that your dog won’t get it exactly right the first time. So be patient and never resort to punishment when your dog gets it wrong.

When it comes to dog training, consistency is key. You should be willing to dedicate your time and patience until your dog learns the right behavior. Also keep in mind that the more you tug on the leash, the more excited your dog will get. So stay calm and you’ll see that your dog will also calm down and back off.

Effective Training Methods

Here are two training methods that you might want to try out to teach your dog to ignore other dogs:

Attention and Reward

Step 1: Before you take your dog out for a walk, call it by its name. If your dog looks at you, give it a tasty treat.

Step 2: Repeat this process several times around the house over the next couple of days until it learns to look at you every time you call its name.

Step 3: Begin walking your dog at a good distance from other dogs. When you see that your dog notices them, call it by its name. If your dog looks at you, reward it with a treat. 

Step 4: As you start to gain confidence in your dog’s ability to turn its focus towards you when you call it, start working your way closer to other dogs when you take it out for a walk. Use the same method– reward good behavior and move further back out if it fails, and start again.

Step 5: Keep working closer until your dog can pass by other dogs while remaining calm and not misbehaving.

Nudge Method

Step 1: Take your dog around your neighborhood.

Step 2: Stay calm and relaxed so your dog will behave the same way.

Step 3: If your dog passes by another dog and tries to lunge towards it, don’t pull on the leash because this will just make your dog pull harder.

Step 4: Using your knee, gently nudge your dog on its side to distract it. If your dog settles down, reward it with a tasty treat.

Step 5: If your dog doesn’t stop trying to attack the other dog, give your leash a short sharp tug while calling your dog. This should get its attention. If it finally backs down, reward your dog with a treat.

Step 6: It might take a few weeks for your dog to learn the proper behavior. So be patient and give it time.

Final Thoughts

Training your dog to ignore other dogs is an essential aspect of obedience training. Your dog can get easily distracted when they see other dogs and may lead to them forgetting or ignoring your commands. 

By teaching your furry friend to ignore other dogs while out and about, you will be able to take it out for walks without worrying that it will annoy other people it encounters outside or get into a fight with another dog. If you don’t have the time, patience, or skill to train your dog, you might want to seek the help of professional dog trainers.

The Delaware K9 Academy team uses effective training methods centered around positive reinforcement to help your dog learn positive behaviors and get rid of unwanted ones. Get in touch with them to learn more about their private lessons, puppy training, and two-week bootcamps!