Making the decision to buy or adopt a dog is a major commitment. One of the biggest concerns new dog owners have is how do they protect their dog from other dogs. Luckily there are many steps a pet owner can take to keep their new companion safe from harm.
One of the most important things people can do to keep their dogs safe from other dogs is to make sure they are aware of their body language when greeting another dog. Dogs look for verbal and physical signs from their owners, so if you suddenly tense up around another dog, your dog will take this as a cue that something is wrong. If your dog reacts by getting defensive, this could cause an issue with the other dog that leads to injuries. The more laid back and calm you are around other dogs, the less likelihood of one of the dogs acting aggressively.
Assess the Other Dog
Not only do you want to be aware of your body language, but you want to take a look at other dog’s body language. It is easy to tell when a dog is interested in a friendly meeting with another dog, their tails will wag gently and they will appear relaxed. If a dog is aggressive, they will most likely show signs through a rigid stance or have its ears pushed forward. If you see these signs, it is best to keep your dog away. Also, it is always a good idea to ask the dog’s owner if their dog is friendly before approaching.
Restraint and Distractions
One of the scariest occurrences with a dog can be when you are walking it on a leash and another dog, not on a leash, approaches you. There are several steps you can take to keep you and your dog safe. There is an excellent chance the approaching dog is just looking to say hello. Just keep your dog calm and on its leash and hopefully, the encounter will just end with a few wagging tails. If it is unclear, the approaching dog is friendly, you can use treats to distract the dog briefly while you get you and your dog to a secure location.
Ensure Your Dog is Trained
One of the most efficient ways to ensure your dog is safe around other dogs is to make sure it’s properly trained. Training must start from the day you bring the dog home, and you must remain consistent through the dog’s life. There are many great books out there that you can read that will provide tips and behaviour techniques to teach your dog. Make sure any literature you read is specific to your dog’s breed. Different breeds of dogs have very different personalities and need to be trained to best match their unique personality traits.
Another useful tool to consider is getting your dog involved in a dog training course with other owners. A dog training course will help your dog learn the proper behaviours to have around other dogs. Also, a professional dog training class will give you the tools you need to train your dog consistently. A properly trained dog will significantly reduce the chances of the dog been caught up in a dangerous situation with another.
On or Off the Leash?
While most of the time it is recommended that your dog remains on a leash if you bring your dog to an off-leash area, it is recommended you remove the dog from the leash. In a closed in area where other dogs are free, keeping your dog on a leash will make the dog less secure as they feel they cannot escape if put in a dangerous position. Keeping your dog on a leash in a dog park will make him or her prone to attacks from other dogs.
Also, if you have a small dog, no matter how brave you many think they are it is imperative that they are in the dog park designed for small dogs. When a small dog panics it often makes quick, sudden moves as it tries to get out of harm’s way, this can trigger the larger dogs prey instincts to kick in resulting in the smaller dog being seriously injured by the larger dog.
Although you may not be able to completely prevent a problem from occurring, you can follow the above advice to ensure you’re being as cautious as possible.