How do you stop a dog from crying on walks near other dogs?



Vee DeOllos-Hudson asked me what to do when her dog cries and acts overly excited on walks when he sees other dogs (dog in picture is not Vee’s dog). The problem is, he loves other dogs and can’t control himself around them because he is so friendly. He is OK when he meets dogs in other situations, but when he’s on a leash, he cries excessively.

So, does anyone have any suggestions for Vee? How do you stop a dog from crying during a walk when he sees other dogs?

I suggested a few things:

First, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise to get rid of any pent-up energy. Not getting enough exercise is usually the main problem. Another good idea is to sign up for an obedience class with a group where your dog can get used to heeling around other dogs while on a leash. But this situation can be created without taking a formal class by walking side by side with a friend and his or her dog. Keep moving forward and do not let your dog smell the other dog until the end of the walk when he is calm.

If your dog cries and pulls near a dog in a yard, try walking by the same dog several times just for practice (and until you drive people nuts). You could try walking in the direction of another dog, and the second your dog begins crying, turn and walk the other way. When he’s calm, walk toward the dog again, but walk away if he cries.

I think it’s best to correct a dog right away if he begins crying or pulling and to never let an overly excited dog smell or play with another dog until he is calm. The pinch collar works best in most cases for control, although a choke collar or Gentle Leader might work for some dogs. Remember to keep the leash loose except for a quick leash pop. A tight leash and collar will create more tension and excitement and make a dog cry or pull even more.

And my last suggestion: If there is anything the dog likes more than other dogs, like a tennis ball in my mutt’s case, carry that with you on your walks to get his attention when needed. Maybe it’s bits of hot dogs, jerky or cheese. Use whatever works.

How do you stop a dog from crying on walks when he sees other dogs?

Email your dog-related question to me at Lindsay@thatmutt.com, and I

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  1. Apryl DeLancey on August 19, 2008

    Yeah, this is a tough one…I do believe correcting right away and getting enough exercise are great suggestions. The last one about distractions is very good also. I often used distractions with my mutt – mostly the ball or a stick since I didn’t want her to always have treats/food for everything.

    Apryl DeLanceys last blog post..The Greatest Athlete of All Time

  2. jan on August 19, 2008

    I never have the problem, but then I walk all four of my dogs at the same time.

  3. Mayra Calvani on August 19, 2008

    I never had this problem. On the contrary, I’ve sometimes wondered if there’s something wrong with my dog–he’s so quiet and calm when other dogs get wild when they get close. I’ve always associated this with him being passive, but I’m not sure.
    Mayra

    Mayra Calvanis last blog post..Review of Janoose the Goose, by J.D. Holiday

  4. vee on August 19, 2008

    hey thanks for putting my question up there and the tips! We’ve started out this week with longer exercise time and are looking in to obedience class.
    The boys are also having their first day of doggy day care this week as well!

    vees last blog post..there’s always tomorrow

  5. K9 Amiga on August 19, 2008

    Dogs learn really well by example. Try walking him with a really well behaved dog? He’ll have some company and maybe seeing the other dog remain calm will be a good influence

    K9 Amigas last blog post..War and Peace

  6. Biggie-Z on August 19, 2008

    Oooh. This is a hard one. I think you really have to understand why the dog is making noise in the first place. Is it wanting to play? Investigate? be friendly? be aggressive? Is it fearful of the other dog? (yes, a dog can be fearful yet still be trying to get close to the other dog)

    If there is any fear involved, I would really hesitate to “correct” the dog because you’d be punishing the dog for being afraid, which doesn’t make them less afraid, it just makes them more afraid the next time of the stimulus PLUS possible correction.

    Redirecting the energy would be my suggestion – deciding to go in another direction in a non-negative way (“oh hey, let’s go over there!”) or teaching the dog to sit on command are possibilities.

    Ultimately what you want to do is teach the dog to look to you for guidance and to pay attention to you on command – the “look” command is good for this. I differ from Apryl, I think food rewards are great for this because if a dog is chewing on a piece of biscuit or taking it from your hand as you walk, the dog physically can’t whine or bark, and its attention is focused on you, the handler. As the dog gets conditioned to look at the handler more, you can decrease the # of food rewards the dog gets, and substitute praise and petting.

    Biggie-Zs last blog post..Training Momma

  7. Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 19, 2008

    Hey everyone, thanks for all your input. You have some really great ideas.

    Apryl, I think distractions work really well too, especially if you predict the problem before it starts.

    Jan and Mayra, I think you are lucky you have quiet dogs!

    Amiga, I think that is a great idea to walk the two dogs together. The calmer dog will act like it’s no big deal, and that will naturally calm the other dog.

    And Biggie, you are right. I think we could all work on getting our dogs to look to us for what to do.

    Good luck, Vee. Although I know many of us have the same problem and will be working on this right along with you.

  8. Saint Lover on August 20, 2008

    I need to work on this with my Saints. Big TIME!

    Saint Lovers last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Puppy Edition

  9. vee on August 22, 2008

    To Lindsay and her readers that gave me some suggestions for Jake’s crying issue-
    I’ve got an update on my blog on some of the tips I’ve implemented.
    Thanks again for the great suggestions!

    vees last blog post..Doggy Updates.

  10. Lindsay Stordahl Author on August 22, 2008

    Vee, thanks for keeping us up to date on Jake’s progress.

  11. Mary on October 28, 2010

    I don’t see why a dog who simply cries when he sees another dog should be punished. Maybe he’s just lonely and wants to say “hello.” Dogs are social animals. There are a lot of worse things to be concerned about.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 28, 2010

      Good point. The dog should not necessarily be punished. But, the dog should not be rewarded for acting overly excited, either. It’s best to distract the dog or redirect her attention and then go visit the other dog once she is calm. That way the dog learns that if she is calm and quiet she gets to go greet other dogs.

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