Why is my dog obsessed with other dogs?
Written by Louise Glazebrook

There are many reasons as to why your dog could be obsessed with other dogs. In this blog, I’ll explore why your dog may be finding it hard to control themselves around other dogs, signs to look out for and how to handle their behaviour.

This type of behaviour can stem from a number of different places. We have to consider genetics (what they were bred for, how they were bred), we need to look at how they were raised, were they from a big litter or single litter, we need to consider if they live in a multi-dog household and many other things.

It is important to understand the factors that contributed to YOUR dog as they aren’t all the same and neither is their journey of how they got there.

3 signs your dog is obsessed with other dogs

The 3 signs your dog is obsessed with other dogs and how to handle their behaviour

  1. Your dog isn’t interested in you in the park 
  2. Your dog wants to run off into other dogs
  3. Your dog spends their whole walk scanning the horizon looking for other dogs

How to handle your dogs obsessive behaviour

1. Your dog isn’t interested in you in the park

When we have a dog that isn’t interested in their owner out on a walk, it tends to show that either the dog was bred to do a job whilst out e.g. hunt or that the dog doesn’t associate the owner as being ‘a part’ of the walk. As in, the owner simply takes the dog to the park but isn’t actively involved in how that walk is structured, doesn’t play with the dog, doesn’t take snacks and won’t reward the behaviour we want.

It is really important as an owner that if your dog is doing this, that you aren’t constantly reprimanding them and telling them off. Instead you want to be looking at how you set your dog up to succeed. How can you reward the things you want them to do instead?

That might be that you take a toy with you that your dog loves to play with, aim to get 3 mins of play interaction from your dog and see if over the coming weeks you can build this up. Rome wasn’t built in a day so do not think you are going to magically solve this problem within a week.

Do look at if your daycare or dog walker is focusing too much on dog to dog interactions and play – as this can severely hinder and impact how your dog perceives the walk you take them out on and what they ‘expect’ from that walk time.

Take treats and take a lot of them. Stop expecting your dog to work for free! Reward them for staying close and paying attention to you. Each month I release a limited treat bag – to help you with exactly this issue- making sure you are equipped with brilliant treats that your dog wants to come back for. Sign up to the mailing list to be the first to know about the treats.

For more information on treats and how to use them, head to my blog and read ‘What are the best treats for dog training?‘.

2. Your dog wants to run off into other dogs

This is a hard one as your dog is actively running away from you and into other dogs. And on top of that, lots of owners will not welcome your dog running into them. So this is an issue that we need to get on top of and stop it happening, for yours and other dog’s safety and out of respect.

First things first, you need to be using a 5-10m long line, make sure it isn’t one that will rip your hands to shreds or that will be agony and you won’t continue to use it. You will also need to make sure that the long line is attached to a safe, well fitting harness (more on that in a huge amount of detail within my Wonder Club)

Once you have those items, you will need to be walking your dog in bigger parks and spaces so that you have room between you and the other walkers and their dogs. So that you can help your dog learn that staying by you is rewarding and fun – remember point no. 1 where you will be using more treats and toys?

We do need to ensure that your dog isn’t constantly practising the very behaviours that you don’t want to be encouraging – so using a long line to show them where you want them to be and how to be there is crucial.

3. Your dog spends the whole walk scanning the horizon looking for other dogs

This may be as a result of you taking your dog to the park and walking them straight up to dogs, so your dog now thinks this is what is done on a walk!

One of the most helpful things you can do is to change where you are walking your dog, to make sure you aren’t taking them only to places where it is very ‘dog dense’. By that I mean, you aren’t only walking your dog in parks and fields filled with lots of dogs. Or else you are going to find it exhausting trying to train, play with, bring their focus back to you on each walk.

I always recommend to clients to find some walks and places to go where it is empty and where your dog can just be a dog and it can be a relaxing walk for both of you. Otherwise you will both be shattered and frustrated with each other. And that isn’t conducive to very much and it certainly isn’t great for building relationships.

Lastly I’d try to organise a walk with a friend or family member who has a calm, chilled dog that isn’t bothered about running around and entertaining dogs. That you can start to accompany on some walks but so your dog can learn from it – that walks are for sniffing, exploring, having fun but without badgering every dog. You will need to make sure your dog is not annoying the accompanying dog, as that isn’t fair. Do not expect that dog to tell your dog off or to put them in their place, as that also isn’t down to the calm dog to do – that is up to you to keep your dog on the lead or long line and actively train them to focus on you. 

Within my Wonder Club we have lots of games and activities to help with focus work and teaching our puppies and dogs how to focus. As it’s a lifelong skill that when they have it, is incredible but teaching it, can take some time and work – which is where us working together can set you up on the right track.

If you need my tailored 121 help and live in London, we can work together on this or you can join The Wonder Club – my amazing online club for puppy, rescue dog and adult dog owners.

Need help with your adult dog?

Whether you’re considering getting a rescue dog, or have a change in your life that you and your dog need help with, I can support you. 

 

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