There are many reasons why your dog may not be keen on other dogs, but it can be stressful and embarrassing when your dog is barking and lunging at dogs across the road. However, you and your dog don't need to live with the stress forever, and finding the right people with the right tips and tricks can lead to happy stress free walks.
Who can help?
An accredited CCAB (Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist) https://www.asab.org/ccab-register
An accredited CAB (Clinical Animal Behaviourist) http://www.abtcouncil.org.uk/clinical-animal-behaviourists.html
CCAB’s and CAB’s have undergone extensive training and only work on a vet referral. Why? Sometimes there are underlying medical reasons your dog may not want to say hello to other dogs (such as pain) seeing a vet beforehand rules these out.
“Good quality pet insurance may cover the cost of behavioural consultations with an accredited behaviourist so using a specialist may save you time, stress and money!”
What to expect?
There is no quick fix, you'll be working slowly at your dogs pace to alleviate the underlying emotions. It is important to ensure you don't end up suppressing the behaviour but increasing the emotional response, by that I mean stopping the barking which is the dogs way of communicating its unease whilst increasing the (possible) fear.
Work will involve using counterconditioning and desensitisation and working with another calm, relaxed dog at large distances. This may be done in areas where the behaviourist can control the environment. You will learn a lot about your dog and their body language, this is good fun and you'll learn to notice the subtle communication signals dogs give us. Depending on your dog there may be some training aids that can help. These include; front attachment harnesses, head collars, muzzles and clickers. The behaviourist will go through any that may be beneficial as well as training you how to use them and introduce them to your dog.
How to manage in the meantime?
You can walk at quiet times away from other dogs and busy areas, this gives your dog a chance to be out of the house without the need to worry about other dogs and giving them some control. Fields you can hire out are great for this. Take a look on www.dogwalkingfields.co.uk or contact us and we can give you recommendations.
Also remember that not walking your dog can be a very good thing! Try staying at home but doing some fun trick training and enrichment to give your dog time to distress before working with your behaviourist.