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Why do some dogs go crazy when they see other dogs?

Some dogs get aggressive or scared when they meet other dogs. Maybe that’s on you. Do you know these tricks for stress-free encounters with other dogs?

Finally, an end to stress – tips for relaxed dog encounters

Your dog barks at other dogs as soon as he meets them? Maybe he even bites or is unusually aggressive or scared. Sometimes dogs go crazy when they see other dogs. But with the right behaviours, you as the owner can have a strong influence on how your dog reacts to other dogs. After all, there are so many dogs that contact while out for a walk is unavoidable. Read the following article on how you can avoid stressful encounters with other dogs, and what the reasons for your dog’s behaviour are:

Like wolves, dogs need their pack. However, this does not necessarily include other dogs. As domesticated animals, dogs see their family or household as their pack. All encounters with other dogs outside of this framework, however, often cause unnecessary stress and are influenced by how things are within the group.

Normally, a dog encounter should take place in such a way that the animals approach each other - no matter whether they are timid or impetuous. Then the dogs usually sniff each other and decide how they judge their counterpart. This moment can be stressful. What are the possible reasons behind why your dog goes crazy when he sees other dogs?

Reason 1: High negative excitement

Your dog brings the mood of the pack out into the open. For example, if he’s agitated by energetic games at home, he’ll need some time outside before he calms down again. In this state, encountering another dog can be stressful.

Reason 2: Bad experiences

Maybe your dog has also learned that it’s better to distrust other dogs. The retraining process is then difficult.

Reason 3: Great pleasure

Obviously, positive excitement can also raise your dog’s stress levels. Relaxation is more difficult if your dog has been waiting all day for a walk and is suddenly allowed to charge outside.

Reason 4: Pain

Anyone who doesn’t feel well is often more aggressive to others. A possible reason as to why encounters with other dogs aren’t so harmonious could also be due to sickness or an injury.

Reason 5: Natural dominant behaviour

Especially with young dogs, you can observe that the fight for rank plays an important role. If your dog puts his tail up stiffly, tries to put his head or paw on the other dog’s back, or the fur on his back bristles, then this is dominant behaviour. Whether the encounter with the dog becomes stressful or not depends on the behaviour of the other animal: Does the other dog placate, does he act confidently or is he also insecure and wants to gain the upper hand?

Tips for relaxed encounters with dogs

Whether an encounter with another dog goes smoothly or not usually depends on the owner’s behaviour. You should keep the following in mind so that your dog can be respectful towards other dogs or, at most, that the encounter turns into a little scuffle and not a fight for survival:

  • Train with search and retrieval games, so that you can distract your dog in an emergency with a toy, for example.
  • When encountering other dogs, you also need to stay as calm as possible.
  • Create equal conditions in terms of leashes, as the dogs should both be able to walk freely - leashed dogs should not face each other if possible.
  • Don’t misinterpret the other dog’s signals - a wagging tail doesn’t necessarily mean positive excitement, only excitement.
  • Observe the dog owner and assess if you trust this person when it comes to encountering the other dog.
  • Don’t be loud or particularly soothing - control your voice when giving commands.
  • Try to determine the timing of the encounter and create calm for your dog by first getting him to sit or lie down. Then, give him the “go” signal so he knows it’s time for possible encounters.
  • Keep enough distance from the two dogs to avoid getting between them and preventing your dog from trying to protect you.
  • Walk quickly past the other animal and signal to your dog to follow you.
  • Practise encounters with other dogs you know will stay calm.
  • Avoid the situation and take a detour if you feel insecure.

What to do if your dog barks at other dogs

The classic among dog encounters that go wrong is barking at other dogs. Does your dog never stop barking at other dogs? What could be the reason?

Why does your dog bark?

Reason 1: The dog feels your insecurity

If your dog feels that you don’t have a situation under control, this makes him nervous. Barking is his way of expressing that something isn’t right. When in doubt, he wants to protect you.

Reason 2: The dog is in pain

Barking can be a sign of discomfort. You should always rule out the possibility that your dog is suffering from an illness or painful injury before you search elsewhere for the reasons for his barking. Whether a dog with physical complaints goes crazy, stays calm or becomes loud when he sees other dogs is simply a question of character.

Reason 3: The dog lacks attention

Going for a walk is actually time for togetherness. However, in this age of smartphones, you could be paying less attention to your dog than he might like outside your home. A typical reaction is loud barking.

Tips against barking at other dogs

What can you do if your dog gets excessively loud during encounters with other dogs? Barking can also be a joyful greeting, but it should not turn into continuous barking. If it does, what can you do to prevent such behaviour?

  • Radiate self-confidence and clearly determine the course past the other dog.
  • Put your dog on a leash to provide him with protection.
  • Give the dog attention by playing with him, because keeping him occupied is a distraction and prevents him from barking excitedly as a way of looking for attention.
  • Work on building trust with your dog - also with the support of a dog trainer.

Escalated encounters with other dogs often become expensive

Many dog owners’ worst nightmare is an escalated encounter with another dog: at first, everything seems harmonious, then a fight breaks out. Unfortunately, bite wounds or other injuries are not uncommon. Some Dog Liability Insurance policies, like those offered by Coya, offer extra packages to protect you against dog bites. You will receive €500 in immediate assistance from the Berlin start-up if this happens. In this way, you can have your dog treated quickly. Also, check out which other injuries can be covered by dog liability insurance in order to make the next dog encounter as relaxed as possible.


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