Meeting other dogs and their owners can be one of the best things about dog walks for your dog if he’s a sociable type. Games, sniffing and general fun can allow you a rest whilst they burn off excess energy together. But recognising the warning signs of when the games might turn into fighting or when you should keep your dog from approaching an aggressive or dominant dog is important so you can quickly react when situations change. Here are some tips to help assess when it’s safe for your dog to go and play:
- If the other dog is on a lead, then yours should be too.
- Ask the owner first if their dog is friendly and if they’d like to play.
- Know your own dog, if their version of playing is rough and they can be aggressive then don’t allow strange dogs to approach.
- Supervise the playtime – keeping an eye on both dogs means you can pick up quickly on changes in body language and act.
- Ensure your dog is up to date with vaccinations or blood titers (which tests your dog’s resistance to disease) and keep him away from new doggie friends if he has any kind of infectious condition or sickness bug that could be passed on.
- Make sure you are somewhere suitable where the dogs can run free – playing beside a road or in busy pedestrian areas is not ideal.
- Build up walking friendships with other dog owners, regular meetings can help your dog become more sociable and enjoy walks more with a companion.
- Practice obedience training and take treats or small amounts of your dog’s daily diet out with you so he comes when you call him away.