While walking – etiquette and body language
When you go for a walk, do you sometimes ask yourself whether you should leash your dog at a dog encounter or if you should really put him on a leash? Many dog owners are unsure when it comes to dog encounters while walking and ask themselves: “How do I behave correctly? Should I now leash or should I rather keep my dog on a leash? ”
What are the different types of dog encounters?
- Dog / dog both on leash
- Dog on a lead / dog without a leash
- Dog / dog both without a leash
In all cases, it can be difficult. Why can dog encounters lead to sweating in humans and what can you do?
Dog encounters are often misunderstandings between humans and dogs: dogs like to run away when another dog comes towards them. For dogs, this is a polite gesture, because from the dog’s perspective, it is rude to walk head-on to another dog. There may already be a discrepancy here, because people have a tendency to stay on the path and continue straight on. We can offer the dog the opportunity to switch sides: If a dog comes towards us on the left, we let our dog run to the right and the other way around. If your own dog might like to dodge a meter or two or maybe even want to have more distance, you can also walk with him into the meadow or give him enough leashes so that he can decide how much distance he still feels comfortable .
If the dogs become fixated, you will help your dog. Watch who is fixed. Is it your dog or the dog that is approaching you? If your dog is fixed, you can try to defuse eye contact by querying an alternative behavior. A nasal touch, a “look at me” or if he can’t take his eyes off, maybe he can make a seat. Sitting is a movement that is directed backwards and appears less threatening to the other dog than a dog that approaches fixative and creeping.
Human body language change
When using collars or Haltis (headholders) you should consider that humans influence the posture of the dog on a leash. A dog pulling the collar automatically gets a different posture. It looks bigger to the other dog because humans keep the leash up. The intraocular pressure can be increased by pulling, the eyes emerge, which can be perceived as a threat by the oncoming dog and which can feel provoked or even unsettled. All of this fine print of body language can cause a dog encounter on a leash to not run smoothly.
Often one hears from the oncoming dog owner “mine doesn’t matter, you can calmly leash yours””. Or when both are on a leash “Typical! He always performs on a leash. If we take the lines off, then it will be fine… ”
On dog meadows you can often see that the dogs are already fixed from a distance. If such dogs then meet each other without a leash, it can quickly lead to an argument or a bullying situation.
Anyone who has ever seen a dog “attacked” by another has stomach pains with such suggestions with “let’s just take off””. Or how would you react if someone fixed on you from a distance, seemed very threatening to you and suddenly ran towards you in the last 5 meters? You would defend yourself. And that happens every day on dog walking.
Basically there is nothing wrong with a nice dog contact if the environmental situation allows it. Even if your dog is happy to contact you, you should first ask the other dog owner if their dog would also be happy to get in touch. Not every dog encounter has to go hand in hand with the dogs. It helps a lot of dogs if you walk together on the leash for the first few minutes without contact and only then take off the leashes. This allows them to perceive in peace even before freewheeling and run side by side and not towards each other.
If a dog on a leash comes towards you, it is polite to call your dog back and keep him on a leash. There will be a reason why the other dog is on a leash. After consultation with the other dog owner, dog contact may or may not take place.
Support can be given for dogs that approach each other without a leash. The behavior of the dog can be strengthened and rewarded with a marker signal or a friendly praise, e.g. if the dog is walking on a bow, is slowly approaching or is just making friendly contact. After dog encounters, especially in busy dog free areas, you should give your dog the opportunity to take a breather.
Prefer not to allow contact?
Dogs that feel threatened or maybe even threaten themselves should not make contact with other dogs in this mood. A dispute is then almost inevitable. Don’t be afraid to tell the other dog owner kindly that you don’t want to allow contact. If your dog has problems with dog encounters, whether with or without a leash, you should get support from a good dog school that works with you on such dog encounters and can give you advice and tips on how you and your dog can do a dog encounter in everyday life Can cope with sweat on the forehead.
Should a dispute develop between two dogs, it is important to keep calm. Screaming and throwing lines in between, or possibly hitting the brawlers, is counterproductive.
Also, don’t try to pull the dogs apart on the hind legs! If a dog has bitten into the other, violent pulling apart can cause serious injuries. It is better if you prefer to throw a jacket over the attacker’s head, for example, in order to interrupt the dogs’ line of sight. Usually, this gives you a brief moment when the dogs can be released and separated. After the separation, you should not bring the two brawlers out of sight of the other. Otherwise the last impression of the brawl will remain in the memory of both dogs. It is more skillful to calm the dogs at a suitable distance from each other and only leave when the dogs have visibly relaxed.
Should something happen in the worst case, please examine both dogs thoroughly. Exchange contact information, because even after the fact, an injury can still emerge. Also think about human interaction, because it doesn’t help a dog if both dog owners shout or scold each other. Excuse me, because the shock is usually deep in everyone involved. Take care of your dog the following days, because he too needs to recover. Take quiet walks with your dog that do not particularly excite and stress him.
Dog encounters must be practiced: “This is training in everyday life!”. A competent dog trainer in your area will surely assist you with advice and action during active training.