If you’re asking yourself “why does my dog lunge at other dogs?” You’re probably tired of getting an arm workout and having to get your pup under control.
Don’t worry you’re not alone!
Many owners struggle with the same issue.
It can feel embarrassing to have your dog lunge and react on the leash but there is a way to teach your dog to remain calm and stop lunging on leash!
Why Does My Dog Lunge At Other Dogs?
When asking your self ” why does my dog lunge at other dogs” you have to understand that dogs can react on leash for a variety of different reasons from lack of socialization as a puppy to just practicing behaviors that are “self-Reinforcing”
Regardless of the reason, finding out the root cause will greatly help you approach the situation of your dog lunging!
Your dog can simply be lunging and reacting because he is scared!
In your dogs mind the way this scenario might go is:
Your walking your dog, your dog sees another dog he is uncomfortable or scared.
Out of fear your dog lunges at the other dog or what your pup is scared of.
Once your dog is lunging either you leave due to your dog’s reactivity or the other person leaves with his dog because of your dog’s lunging.
Now, what did your dog just learn?
Well, your dog just learned that if he feels uncomfortable or scared, lunging and reacting will make whatever is making your pup uncomfortable go away.
Yes, you read that right!
In your dog’s mind, he believes that reacting and lunging at what makes him uncomfortable will make that other dog go away.
why wouldn’t he believe that?
every time your dog lunges and reacts you probably leave or the other person leaves thus confirming your dog’s beliefs!
How To Tackle
The way to combat your dog’s fearfulness is to counter condition your dog’s perspective of other dogs.
How do you do this?
Nothing will Aid this better than proper training!
For this at home now who are looking to gain a little more control:
First, you have to work on the relationship between you and your pup so that he 100% trust you when you give him direction.
Second, you want to be aware of your dog’s threshold meaning, there is a specific distance from the other dog, that your dog will feel the need start to reacting and lunge.
You to find the distance right before your dog reacts.
Once you found that threshold distance, reward your dog in the presence of the other dogs.
All this is also made easier with clear communication which is the foundation of all of our training services
Lack of Socialization:
Another reason your asking yourself “why does my dog lunge at other dogs” is due to a lack of proper socialization as a puppy!
The experiences that your dog had as a puppy will carry throughout his lifetime.
Throughout puppyhood, your pup is conjuring up an overall perspective of how things are.
If your puppy had a negative experience with other dogs your now older dog may display reactivity towards other dogs.
How To Tackle
If your dog is reacting due to lack of socialization one way to tackle the issue is to take your pup out more!
If your dog lacks the proper exposure to enough dogs you should bring your dog around other dogs.
That doesn’t mean to let them interact directly.
What you want to do is work rewarding your dog in the presence of other dogs.
Specifically, those times where he is paying attention to you.
You don’t want to reward your dog for starring at another dog instead its best to show your dog that being in proximity around other dogs is ok!
What if your dog never had a negative experience?
If you socialized your pups properly and your dog never had a negative experience with other dogs then here are the most probable cause is:
If your still asking yourself “why does my dog lunge at other dogs ” the issue is most likely the way you socialized your dog.
More often than not you probably used a direct dog to dog interaction to socialize your dog.
Direct dog to dog interaction isn’t bad but there is a better way you can check out our SOCIALIZATION post!
What occurs when you allow your dog to say “hi” on a leash to other dogs is you create habit and expectation in your dog’s mind.
On-leash greetings can lead to many issues because it can create an obsession in your dog’s mind to the point where every time that your encounters another dog on a walk all he wants to do is lunge and pull to say “hi” because it became a habit to your dog to say “hi” on leash.
How To Tackle
When it comes to on-leash greetings with other dogs try to steer away from any on-leash greetings.
The last thing you want to do is to reward your dog’s lunging by allowing him to greet another dog.
If you do allow on-leash greeting make sure that it’s on your terms, meaning that only when your dog is not pulling towards the other dogs and when your dog is calm, then you can give your dog the say so to sniff another dog.
Lunging Due To Frustration
Your dog can be lunging at other dogs due to frustration. Frustration based reactivity occurs in your dog because he likely wants to get to something that he doesn’t have access to.
For instance allowing your dog to stare at another dog he wants to meet, play, etc but not giving him access to it will develop frustration in your dog.
If that frustration continues to occur then every time that your dog encounters another dog even though he originally wanted to just greet the other dog, your dog views the other dogs as negative because he associates them with the feeling of frustration.
Frustration in dogs are can lead to many issues like anxiety ad aggression!
How To Tackle:
As a rule of thumb, you never want to allow your dog to hard stare at anything, you know when your dog’s ears are perked up very fixated on something.
When you find your dog behaving in that fixated manner its best to snap your dog out of that state of mind.
Intense staring in your dog can create an obsession and nothing good comes of it, it’s better to start to redirect your dog’s attention on to you or something else.
Never Taught Your Dog to Follow You
The last reason your asking yourself “why does my dog lunge at other dogs” can be simply because he has never been taught how to take direction from you and the leash!
Teaching your dog to walk on the leash without pulling isn’t about putting on a collar or training collar and hoping for the best. It’s about showing your dog to follow your lead and to trust you!
Your dog may be lunging and reacting to other dogs because you are not advocating for your dog!
Many times your dog may lunge at other dogs because your pup feels like he has to take control because you are not.
In most cases, it’s just teaching your dog to follow your lead and showing your dog to not worry about the given situation because you have your dog’s best interest in mind, no matter what scenario.
How To Tackle:
Training, Training, Training!
All these tips given here are to give you ways to quickly get hold of your dog’s current situation and gain control.
These tips can never substitute what a solid foundation in training can do for you and your dog!
If you want more help in answering and tackling “why does my dog lunge at other dogs” awaken your dog’s true potential contact us here or Give us a call! Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!