Meeting Your Neighbor’s Dog

When people take their dogs for a walk, they often deal with the dogs wanting to interact with each other. However, while some dogs are socially friendly, others can be socially aggressive. No one wants to see a dog fight break out, so here are Five Tips When Meeting the Neighbor’s Dog. 

#1 Listen

Your neighbor will naturally give you a heads-up about the temperament of their own dog(s). Many adopted dogs have come from traumatic situations and don’t interact well with other dogs. Other dogs are instinctively protective of their family members and view other dogs as a potential threat. If your neighbor warns you to keep your distance, listen.

#2 Be Calm and Cool

Leash aggression is a real problem with many dogs. It’s also observed that dogs feel (and adopt) their owner’s emotions. If you are nervous or afraid, they pick up on this. Being calm and cool is important when approaching other dogs. HOWEVER, just because you are in a good situation to “meet-on-the-street” doesn’t mean your neighbor is. Always listen first.

#3 Loosen the Leash

Many dogs are aggressive or defensive when on a leash but interact well in a dog park. Why? One reason is they feel confined with no room to react. Imagine if an unknown person were coming toward you and you were tied to one spot? Would that make you nervous? Of course. Loosening the leash gives them room to respond and can lower their anxiety.

#4 Go First

Your dog will often follow your lead with neighbors’ dogs. Let them sniff your hand first, and witness your own kindness. If they see you are a friend, they’re more likely to drop a protective or defensive posture. This works great if you happen to have two of you walking your dog(s). One of you can go greet and test the situation while the other stands at a comfortable distance and observes the initial interaction.

#5 Be Smart

While it’s great for neighbors to know each other, there’s not a social expectation for dogs to all be friends. Different breeds have different temperaments intentionally cultivated within their DNA. It may be that you can be a friend to a neighbor’s dog while not expecting friendship between your dogs. Just be smart, assess the situation, and don’t push your pet.

Dogs are amazing companions and – in general – will naturally want to meet other dogs. It’s healthy for dogs to interact with neighbors and their dogs (and it’s healthy for humans as well). Enjoy the social aspects of a good walk while showing respect, practicing hospitality, and helping your neighborhood develop a pet-friendly vibe.


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