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Joan Morris, The Mercury News on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

When she was a younger dog, she would enjoy meeting other dogs, but not now. What can we do to stop this from happening over and over?

Tim, Martinez, California

DEAR TIM: It might be that your dog has become overly protective of you and wants to keep you safe from other dogs, whether you need that protection or not.

You might want to hire a professional to help you with the training, but the basic idea the experts recommend is to distract your dog and put her attention on you, not the other dog.

Teaching your dog to heel and other basic commands will help with this task. You also need to be aware of approaching dogs so that you can take action before your dog even notices the other animal.

 

The best way to avoid the barking or aggression is to change direction and move away from the approaching dog. This isn't always practical or possible and doesn't really address the behavior, but it can make walking your dog more pleasant.

Whenever you see another dog, get your dog's attention by calling to her, having her heel or sit, and giving her a treat. Continue the distraction and treat-giving until the other dog passes, then put the treat pouch away. She eventually will connect the appearance of a strange dog with getting treats. Once she becomes accustomed to allowing another dog to pass without barking, you can substitute praise and pets for the treats.

It will take practice and patience, but it will eventually pay off.

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