How to Change Your Dog's Dislike of Other Dogs

Dogs can learn to like other dogs with confident leadership.

Dogs can learn to like other dogs with confident leadership.

Your dog may show a dislike to other dogs for a number of reasons, but you can typically help him get over this problem in a few simple steps. The key to helping a dog that doesn’t like other dogs is to make exposure to other dogs satisfying and rewarding.

Identifying the Cause

Put your dog on a loose leash. Give him enough slack to move relatively freely, but short enough that you can restrain and control him.

Walk him toward another dog in a neutral area, such as a park. The other dog should preferably be one that is known to you, that is socialized and of a calm disposition.

Observe your dog's behavior. If he becomes aggressive, he may be trying to protect you. This is more common among guardian breeds, such as Rottweilers. If he becomes anxious, demonstrated by refusing eye contact and curling his tail between his legs, he may be scared of other dogs. This may be a result of having had a bad experience with strange dogs in the past.

Note the triggers that cause him to react badly. These may include being approached by the other dog, being sniffed by the other dog or, in severe cases, simply the presence of another dog may be enough to upset your pet.

Bring another dog into your home. Observe how your dog behaves on his own turf. If he is aggressive as soon as he sees the other dog, he is most likely acting in a territorial manner. If he only behaves badly when the dog approaches his bowl or his toys, this is more likely resource guarding behavior.

Socializing

Note down a set of milestones for your dog. For dogs with a strong dislike of other dogs, this may simply be seeing another dog without getting upset. For protective dogs, it may be allowing another dog to approach without reacting. Use these milestones to measure your dog's progress.

Put your dog on a leash and expose him to the presence of other dogs. As you do this, praise and fuss over him for as long as he remains calm. By doing this, you are enriching his environment. The praise and contact are a positive stimulus.

Cease praise and fuss the second he begins to show his dislike of the other dogs and calmly walk him away. Don't give him any attention while he is acting out, simply ignore him. This demonstrates to the dog that reacting badly to other dogs has a negative outcome.

Reintroduce him to the other dogs. As he reaches his first milestone, give him a food treat and lots of praise. Remain calm as you do this. By remaining calm, you show your pooch that other dogs are nothing to worry about.

Repeat the socialization process each day, each time increasing the exposure time and progressing to the next milestone. Eventually, your dog will learn that when he is calm and passive around other dogs, he is rewarded.

Items you will need

  • Leash
  • Food treats
 

Photo Credits

  • Fox Photos/Valueline/Getty Images