How To Train Your Dog To Ignore Other Dogs (Pro Tips)

Dogs are fun to walk with. You could take time to enjoy the outdoors, do some brainstorming, and keep yourself fit while giving your pooch the daily exercise it needs.

However, this peaceful activity can be ruptured when your dog meets another dog. It pulls at the leash, lunges, and barks.

This could be detrimental for you, your dog, the other owner, or the other dog.

The advantage of training your dog to ignore other dogs is that it helps keep your dog from being distracted, which could be a problem. How fast this training works depends on what breed you own, as well as your patience and consistency.

This article serves as a full guide on how to train your dog to ignore other dogs.

You’ll also get other information like why it is necessary to give them this training and how to signal them when it’s time to socialize.

How Do You Train Your Dog to Ignore Other Dogs?

Person Training Dog to Pay Attention

This training falls under the category of obedience training, and it can’t be downplayed.

It involves teaching your dog new habits, and as we’ll see later, there are many reasons you shouldn’t ignore this.

Let’s begin by looking into some steps you can follow to achieve this form of obedience training:

Train your dog alone

Before you take the dog outdoors for a practical session, start the training away from other dogs.

The purpose of this step is to get your pooch’s attention when there are no distractions, before increasing the challenge by letting it meet other dogs.

This step is best done either indoors or in an enclosed yard with the least distraction possible. 

Get some treats

To keep your dog motivated, you need this next step. Treats are a good form of motivation, and you should find the kind your dog likes.

For example, if it prefers chicken treats, you get more of those types. You could also mix it up so your dog won’t get bored with one taste. 

Train your dog to pay attention to you

Obedient Beagle Dog Paying Attention to Owner

For your dog to avoid getting worked up over other dogs, it needs to have its attention fixed on you.

This next step should be focused on achieving this. You’ll need the treat here, and a word to use as a command.

This could be any word, but we recommend something easy for your dog to learn. An example could be “Here, boy” or simply “look”. 

If your dog looks, give it a treat. If it doesn’t, still give the treat so it can associate the command with the treat.

Hold the treat up when saying the command to motivate the dog. Keep repeating till the dog looks up without you holding a treat. 

Teach your dog to walk while paying attention to you

Before embarking on this step you should have given your dog basic leash training (if you haven’t, start with that).

Here, your dog should learn to walk while keeping its attention on you. You should only practice with other dogs once Bobby has gotten this step. 

Put the dog on a tight leash and close to you with a bag of treats on the other side. Give it the command while walking so it will pay attention to you.

When it does, reward it with a treat. This step can go on for some minutes, or as long as it takes for your dog to master this step.

If the dog gets distracted by something, give it the command to pay attention to you and immediately hand over a reward once it does. 

Practice outside with enough distractions

Once your dog can walk and listen to your command, you then take the next step and head outdoors.

This step should come after other steps, not before them.

It may not end well if you should start training your pet around distractions when it hasn’t yet learned how to obey the command to pay attention. 

In this step, take your dog on a walk in different locations. This would get the pet exposed to different forms of distractions, and with enough consistency, it will learn to ignore these distractions.

One such location could be a dog park where you’re likely to meet other dogs.

You could also go into the woods where squirrels and bonnies are, or a route with many people if you live in an Urban area. 

While in these busy areas, repeat step 4 with your pooch till it can ignore distractions consistently.

Don’t be discouraged if your dog struggles to focus at first when outdoors. With some practice, you’ll get some improvement. 

Why You Should Train Your Dog to Ignore Other Dogs

Safety should be one of your first concerns when pet parenting, and this is a core reason you should train your dog to ignore other dogs.

Some dogs don’t react positively to other dogs. They are territorial and competitive by instinct, which means the other dog could come across as a rival.

You don’t want to be in a situation where the other pet parent would have to ask you to control your dog. 

Then there are overenthusiastic canines that are dog friendly but portray their excitement in boisterous ways.

These dogs may want to play with the other dog, and in their bid to go off running they could cause multiple risks. 

Another reason you should train your dog to ignore other dogs is to avoid dog fights.

Sometimes the other dog might be the aggressor, and your dog should know how to ignore it or they could get into a clash.

Once you’ve taught your dog this technique, all you have to do is give it the command to focus on you.

Then you could be the one to tell the other pet parent to control their dog. 

Finally, teaching your dog to remain focused on you is a big form of obedience training. This would come in handy when you want to teach it other forms of training.

Teach Your Dog When to Socialize with Other Dogs

Everything in this article to this point might make you wonder what would happen to socialization if your dog is ignoring fellow canines.

Socialization is still important, and will even be better when your dog knows which dog to ignore. Not every canine is your dog’s buddy and would want to socialize with it. 

When at a park and off leash, your dog can be free to socialize with any dog with supervision. You only need a recall command to draw it back if any turbulence starts. 

The dog can also socialize while on a leash, and this will be more efficient after you’ve trained it to ignore other dogs.

If you give the command for it to pay attention to you, it won’t engage with another dog.

By contrast, you can step close to the other dog and stop without giving a command. This would be unspoken permission to socialize. 

More Tips on Controlling Your Dogs While on a Walk 

  • Always lead your dog during the walk and even after it. This makes you the pack leader, which registers in the dog’s brain. If the dog is allowed to lead, it may think it is the pack leader and become uncontrollable in the long run. Let your dog stay behind you or beside you as you walk.
  • A shorter dog leash is more recommended than a longer one. The short one lets you have more control, and when you attach it to the top of the collar you can easily guide your pooch. The collar should also be safe.
  • Find a good walking time that’s suitable for both you and the dog. The recommended times are in the mornings, evenings, or nights. Noon is usually sunny and may not be convenient. 
  • Reward the dog during and after the walk. A reward during the walk could consist of letting your dog roam for a while. The reward after the walk could be treats or a nice meal. (This shouldn’t be given immediately after the walk). 

Related Questions

What breeds of dogs don’t get along with other dogs?

Some dog breeds are friendly with every canine they come across, and on the other end, there are highly suspicious dogs that are less dog friendly.

The latter includes the Chihuahua, the English Bulldog, the Great Dane, the German Shepherd, and the Schnauzer.

Why does my dog go crazy when he sees other dogs?

There are two main reasons a dog will go crazy when he comes across other dogs. It could either be a positive reaction (it is excited and wants to play) or a negative one (it wants to fight). 

How do I get my dog to tolerate other dogs? 

Your dog can learn how to tolerate other dogs through training. You could do the training yourself or hire a professional trainer to do the work.

Using positive reinforcement, a calm method, and consistency, an unfriendly dog can be taught to coexist with other canines.

Final Thoughts on Teaching Your Dog to Ignore Other Dogs

Dogs should be trained to ignore other dogs (and not be the aggressor) for the benefit of everyone involved, including you and the other pet parent.

Two uncontrollable dogs can be a disaster, which can, fortunately, be avoided through training.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let them socialize. Dogs still need to meet other dogs, and there should be opportunities for that.

There is no doubt that proper training helps to maintain and manage dog behavioral problems. You can easily train your pup and achieve your goal of a well-mannered dog faster with our complete dog training checklist.

Authored By

Robert Miller

Robert Miller is a dog behaviorist and professional dog trainer. With more than eight years of hands-on experience in the field, Robert relishes sharing his vast knowledge to help prospective pet parents choose the right dog breeds that suit their lifestyle and provide dog owners with the information they need to ensure they raise a well-behaved canine companion. ...