As dogs’ guardians, it is our job to ensure their safety at all times. The urban environment has an abundance of threats which could compromise our dogs’ safety including traffic on the roads, dangerous objects and parks from which they can escape. Whilst these examples are potentially dangerous, most owners have their own dogs under control to avoid such incidents. One threat, however, which is not in the owner’s control is other peoples’ dogs who suffer from aggression problems.
It is an impossible task to educate every owner to keeping their dog under control but it is possible for each owner to aim to have maximum control in any given situation to be able to avoid and remove their dog from any others who might turn aggressive.
The first thing is to make sure your dog’s recall is brilliant when around other dogs. This can be achieved with long lead training. Using the long lead to keep your dog within your reach at all times, you can start by calling your dog to you, at first from a distance away from other dogs and then closing the gap until you get to the stage that your dog will come back even in mid play.
A dog that is aggressive is not a happy dog and there will be some tell tale signs of their heightened state such as panting, risen heckles, pulling frantically, eyes bulging, stalking, not listening to its owner etc. So if you spot any of these things, the second thing to do is to trust your instincts and react by immediately choosing flight and walking off in the opposite direction when you see a dog that appears aggressive. Providing you have put the training in on long lead your dog will likely follow you off lead.
The third thing to do is to never let your dog approach another dog which is on lead. A dog has instincts to react to perceived danger of flight, freeze or fight. If your dog approaches another on lead, this dog’s choices are limited and they cannot choose flight by turning and running away. Depending on its perception of the situation and if it believes it is being threatened, it has no option but to choose freeze or worse, fight. This situation can be avoided by being careful about who your dog goes up to.
To sum up, by training your dog to have perfect recall, trusting your instincts and understanding the dog’s instincts and reacting appropriately will minimise the threat of your dog being in a fight.
For more detailed advice contact out behaviourist and trainer for one to one help in London.