When you walk with your dog on a leash, you may encounter other dog-owner pairs. What is the right rule in this case? Approach them or not? Well, the answer cannot be unique because it depends on many factors. Here are two scenarios and some advice to avoid “accidents” between dogs on the leash.
When is ok to let two dogs meet on the leash
Contrary to what many dog owners think, meeting another dog while on a leash is not entirely wrong. You only need to be able to do it correctly and respecting the signals of both dogs. First of all, be aware of the possible reactions of your dog, but without being the cause of negative reactions. I am referring to the fact that, even unknowingly, you could transmit to your dog anxiety and fear, moods that could cause unfriendly reactions towards the other dog.
Try to “read” the signals that the other dog sends (and also the other owner): if you notice that the dog is relaxed and festive, there is no reason not to approach.
Avoid pulling your dog, leave the leash long, invite him to meet his new friend: the opportunities for socialization are always too few, better to exploit them all.
When is better to avoid to let two dogs meet on the leash
However, there are situations in which it is clear that the meeting will not be positive. In this case, it is better to avoid it, inviting the dog to change direction, without tugging it or dragging it on the asphalt.
Observe both your dog’s and other dog’s posture: is your body stiff? Is the gaze fixed? If the answer is yes, it is possible that the meeting does not have a positive outcome. In this case, it is better to avoid.
Avoid getting close even if you notice that the other dog has injuries or physical problems. When a dog is sick, it can have negative reactions.
Finally, always consider the other dog: if your shows you want to get closer but the other dog sends completely opposite signals, leave alone and respect his need.
And if your dog needs space, do not hesitate to ask. You can also use methods such as harnesses, bandanas or other accessories that signal the discomfort of your dog by sending a clear message to the other owners. But try to solve your dog’s problem by working on his socialization with a dog behaviorist.
The right meeting for two dogs on the leash
If you have decided that the two dogs can meet, always try to respect the dog rules for meetings. If you observe the interactions of two free dogs, you will notice that the encounters happen following precise rituals: they approach laterally, leaving space to the other, they sniff with discretion and then they interact more (if both parts agree).
So try to teach your dog to approach his friends correctly: never approach in a straight line, make an approaching curve, leave the other time the time and space he needs. Avoid to pull the leash and try to guide the dog with the voice and gestures of the hand.
To learn the correct approach, it is good to work with a dog that knows the rules, followed by a dog educator or an instructor.
What is your approach when you meet other dogs?