Last week I was practising obedience with Movie and... out of the blue there was a big, Irish wolfhound puppy charging towards us, and even though it was 'just' playful I could see the owner has a little control over her youngster. Both of my dogs (being collies hehe) don't like other dogs bouncing around, jumping on them and making them play... Movie was trying really hard to keep the focus on me but... what shall I do to help her? If I will still be asking for sitting and the big pup jumps on / paws her she may loose trust in me asking for obedience commands, if I pick her up the pup is big enough to reach her anyway, and that might be even more stressful for her... It was an extreme situation!
What I find really important when it comes to creating a brave and bold dog is TRUST. With any dog, but especially the ones that need more confidence, we need to try to build a relationship where our 4legged friend believes we can actually save the day!
What to do then? Most of the time especially with smallish dogs I would probably release Movie from the position and block the other dog away or walk away. As this one was so big and jumpy I showed her to go behind me and was walking around her blocking the pup. In this situation you want our dog to know, that
1. obedience commands are not going to put them into uncomfortable situations
2. they do not need to react,
3. (because) you will take care of the situation.
Frequently, I additionally gently grab the stranger dog by the collar and kindly ask the owner to take it away. We need to keep in mind that not every single dog is safe to grab by the collar, however I'm always taking that risk for my dogs.
Thanks for reading,