Dog Training

How to Train Your Dog to Ignore Other Dogs

For many dogs and owners, encounters with other canines can be pretty stressful. In order to avoid uncomfortable situations, it's key to learn how to train your dog to ignore other dogs. After all, this kind of encounters are impossible to miss when walking your pet.

Train dog encounter
Table of contents

Why You Should Know How to Train The Right Way

For various reasons, many dogs react in an undesirable way to their peers. This causes stress for both humans and animals. In fact, a pet can be on the receiving end of an aggressive attitude!

However, a dog might get barked at despite remaining completely relaxed. Unpleasant encounters are unfortunately not completely avoidable, but you can make those less likely to happen. You just need to learn how to train your dog to ignore other dogs.

Reasons Dog Encounters Might Go Wrong

The list of possible reasons is quite big. Aggression is not always the reason for loud barking; the cause of it could be excitement or playfulness.

Sometimes, dogs also remember their bad experiences and therefore react defensively to any social interaction. It then becomes essential to correctly identify why that happens. For instance, excited pets bark more during a walk than those that leave the house relaxed.

Due to that, you should refrain from playing wildly in the house, which thrills your dog a bit too much. Otherwise, they will have to release all this excitement while you walk them. If you're going for an outing with your pet, make sure they are completely composed before doing so.

If not, socializing with another dog might get heated. Should your pet feel anxious, it might be a good idea to draw a lengthy distance from other dogs.

Many owners believe they have to let their pets play with their peers. This is half true: dogs don't necessarily need to meet with their peers to develop a proper social behavior.

In the wild, dogs also don't make new acquaintances all the time: rather, they stay with those they already know. Hence, it's not advisable to force yours to socialize with other pets every chance you come across.

If both dogs clearly show interest in each other, you can let them sniff. Most of the time, however, the interest subsides quite quickly, and they'll part ways nonchalantly. After all, they feel more secure in their own packs.

Dogs that live with people see them as their pack. As long as there is peace in the family, they will remain content and feeling safe. A pet that feels secure will react much more calmly than a fearful one.

Additionally, dogs feel most comfortable in the environment they know best. It's not unusual to see pets to ignore other dogs: they just want to mind their own business. This is perfectly fine.

In any case, there's no reason to force social exchanges. If you don't take into account your pet's personality, there's no way you can learn how to train your dog to ignore other dogs.

Furthermore, there are very sociable and rather shy dogs. With time, you'll notice you'll cross paths with the same pets many times.

If you know for sure that socializing will be troublesome, move on quickly. Dogs rarely behave differently. Pay attention to your pet's body language before socializing. If they raise their head, ruffle their fur or wag their tail, you're off to a bad start.

Your dog is physically showing anxiety. It's a better idea to retreat rather than force a stressful encounter. Moreover, you should watch not only the pet's reactions, but their owners', too. Them being loud or nervous is a bad sign: such behavior is transmitted to their companions.

Dog encounters

How to Train Your Dog to Ignore Other Dogs

To know how to train your dog to ignore other dogs requires some preemptive measures first: you need a way to redirect your pet's attention.

You can do this by giving them a toy, giving them a treat, or playing with them.

Shift their focus to you instead of their peers. To do this, you can also just run or go another way. It's also okay to just turn around if you can't avoid going towards another dog: your pet shouldn't needlessly attack or flee.

You can also distract yourself a bit by thinking and feeling positively. Dogs are really sensitive to their owners' feelings. If yours barks, remain as calm as possible. Barking is annoying, sure, but it's not the worst case scenario.

Scolding and shouting does nothing! Show an undisturbed front. Strict commands like sit are also useless: a heated dog won't follow orders. If you remain cool, your pet will calm down soon enough.

Nonetheless, don't let your dog bark uncontrollably and stand your ground. Otherwise, your dog will challenge your role as the leader of the pack. Parallelly, pulling on the leash won't do you any good.

Coercive means, such as wearing an electric shock collar, is animal cruelty and absolutely condemnable. Such mistreatment leads to a breach of trust and makes your dog unhappy. Love is the foundation of any relationship.


Long story short, how to train your dog to ignore other dogs heavily relies on how you can redirect your puppy's attention. You can use toys and treats for this. Eye contact is another tool at your disposal.

Your dog's focus should be on you at all times. If yours is generally aggressive on the leash, don't panic and remain at a safe distance from other pets.

Practice these things consistently and over time dog encounters will become much more enjoyable.

Share now:

Written by Anja Boecker
Written by Anja Boecker

My name is Anja Boecker and I am a dog trainer and behavior consultant (IHK certificate). With these articles I would like to help you understand your dog better and build an inseparable bond.

Learn more