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Where Your Little Dog Should Be When An Unleashed Dog Runs Up To You During A Walk

You’re taking your puppy or small dog on a leashed walk when a loose dog runs up to both of you. The loose dog’s owner is nowhere to be seen.

The loose dog is circling or lunging at your little dog.

In a panic, you pick up your little dog.

Picking up your little dog is motion. That motion triggers the loose dog to jump up and attack you or your little pooch.

Immediate tips (in the moment):

  • Guide your pup behind you with the leash

This makes you a wall protecting your little dog.

  • At the same time, firmly say words to the loose dog like “go home” or “sit.” Something the. loose dog might know.
  • You can also try shouting “is this your dog?” at anyone nearby.

Ideally, you would be standing with your legs apart and guiding your pup into the space between.

Since most of the advice online only seems to tell you what not to do, I wrote this to tell you what TO do.

Training Game At Home

Teach your little dog or puppy to drop into a down-stay between your legs on cue.

The cue can be whatever you want. For my dog the cue is “DERP.” Not an acronym.

Being in a down position makes your little dog far less interesting to the loose one.

Your legs present a barrier to the other dog, a safe fortress for your little one to remain in.

Author’s image

How To Play This Game

Start playing at home, in a familiar room where your puppy feels confident in.

What you’ll need:

  • a hungry dog
  • 1 to 3 minutes to play. You can play once a day, or multiple times throughout a day.
  • cut up many small, soft treats of different values for your pup

Low value treats are those that your pup will eat at home if there’s nothing else like kibble.

High value treats would be ones that your puppy loves and will take any time, anywhere. These are treats you bring to vet visits.

Steps Of Game

Stand with your legs comfortably apart in a doorway inside your home.

When your curious puppy approaches you:

  1. Say “search” and count 1–2 in your mind
  2. Gently throw a low-value treat behind you, through your legs. This should be an underhand throw.

Throwing the treat gets your puppy chasing the food item and gives your puppy the choice to return.

  • When your puppy returns another round, give your puppy a high-value treat in position between your legs.

Your puppy can be in a sit or a down. As I mentioned, the down position will be the safest for your dog.

If your puppy doesn’t know the down cue, that’s easily remedied.

After you’ve rewarded your puppy for lying down between your legs, say “search” and throw another low-value treat behind you.

To build your puppy holding the down position, give multiple high-value treats (3 to 5) for doing that behavior.

Release your puppy from the down position with “search.”

Thanks for reading!