Dogs will naturally want to meet other dogs. And they should be let to do so often. However, we can’t always let them and many dogs seem to have problems meeting other dogs on the street. Why? Normally it’s because people have unintentionally taught them to behave badly on the lead.
Dogs naturally slow down a little or even stop when seeing another dog. They do not want to walk straight to meet the other one but to do a little curve before the close encounter. Meanwhile they display so called calming signals to each other. So, the problem lies here. When people are strictly holding the other end of the lead dogs are not able to display these beneficial signals. It’s the behaviour of the people that bring many misunderstandings between the dogs and leads to displays of aggression. And people seem to be afraid of these displays of aggression. Although most dogs are not “aggressive” they simply pose as such, and only for a few seconds. We will make it easier for our dogs (and ourselves) if we let our dogs display calming signals, e.g. there should be no pulling or forcing on our end of the lead. If we live in the city and can’t and don’t want to meet every single dog passing by we only need to teach our dogs that it is nothing special that other dogs pass by and that’s it. It should be a positive thing.
We need to practice to get the attention of our dog and do this in a positive way. But we should not demand our dog not to notice other dogs. If we let our dogs slow down, do a slight curve and don’t pull their leads our dogs will be calmer. And so will be the other dog passing by. If our dog is very eager to meet other dogs and we do not want to let him, we can teach him for example to sit and wait for the other dog to pass. If we give our dogs space without forcing them by pulling they will be calmer.