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My 6 months old dog loves her hairy friends. She loves them too much. When there's another dog around, she plays with them, jumping and biting them. When that happens, she completely ignores us or any other people/toys around, and all she cares about is the other dog and playing with him/her.

This is a minor annoyance when the other dog cooperates and plays with her (I'd still like her to listen to me when I call her and give her commands), but it becomes intolerable when the other dog doesn't. If the other dog lashes out and bites/warns her, then she sees it as a game and just goes on pestering, but even worse when the other dog ignores her, she starts barking at him/her really loud, and we live in an apartment...

At this point I try calming her, even pulling her away and holding her, but she's so enthusiastic that she does whatever she can to get free, including biting my arms pretty hard (not aggressively though). If I put her in another room she starts scratching the door (even if I'm in that other room with her).

Any ideas?

  • For a short term solution, you can give your dog a treat. I don't mean a small treat, I mean an antler or a bone that they can chew on for hours. Depending on the situation, you might need to do the same for the other dog – Huangism Dec 10 '14 at 20:18
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One of the best ways to calm her down is repetitive training. Trust me -- I have a 7 month old, and I know it sounds a lot easier than it is. But training really is the best way for this. Unfortunately, this issue is extremely common and hard to break. Every dog is different. Below I'll list a few methods/tips, but it's up to the trainer to exhaust themselves with the methods and evolve them to work around their dog.

The best way to train your dog behaviorally starts with her obedience. You don't say how well-trained she is this far, but I'd start with making sure she has a few basic commands down. As a general guide for future people having the same question, a few of the most important commands are:

  • Sit. Sit is a great way to keep your dog still and close. It also sets the tone for how you want to introduce your dog to the other dogs. Once your dog has a basic understanding of "sit," begin making her sit before meeting people, going outside, and eating. Once she obeys, use a release command and reward her with whatever it is you were doing (i.e., allow her to eat the food or walk up to the new guest). For many dogs, these are all exciting activities and it's likely she'll have trouble doing these at first. Once she masters sitting under these stressful situations, begin to make her sit when passing dogs on a walk and before playing. While walking, it's likely you won't be able to allow her to play with a passing by dog, so make sure to keep treats in your back pocket. Before playtime, make sure that once she sits and stays still for a few seconds, you give her a release command and allow her to roll around with her friends.
  • Come. Also known as "here" or "front." Come is essential when encountering an unfriendly dog or a dangerous environment. First, make sure that your dog can come in stressful situations. After your dog has a basic understanding of come, introduce it when your dog is in the backyard, when she's playing with another person, or when she's chewing on a bone. After she has these situations down, try it during playtime. Make sure to reward tons, depending on how stressful the situation was. If she chose you over a squirrel or another pup, you better have treats in your pocket. Also, remember that a command is a command. She needs to obey them. Bowser will be barking around the backyard at another dog, and no matter what I do he won't stop. But when I say the word "come," he better hopes he comes or one little pup is in a bit of trouble. Because of the way we trained him (command is a command, not a request), he'll come running to me when I say come.
  • Stay, heel, and wait. Once your dog masters sitting for a few seconds in front of playmates, begin to give short stays and releases. Similarly, if your dog will allow another dog to pass by on a walk while sitting without going crazy, begin to use heel. Wait is more of a temporary command where your dog should know to stop doing whatever she was about to do. You can teach this command by keeping your dog on leash and throwing a treat in front of her. When she bolts for it, give a tug on the leash (*Note: this better be a light tug. Ideally, use a training harness like the the easy walk or sensation harness. You don't want to damage her trachea/neck area. If the tug hurts her and/or is too violent, she'll brace herself for pain when you say wait instead of actually waiting). Then let her go for the treat with a release like "okay." Do this repeatedly (remember, don't hurt her. Use a training harness like the one below, please!) until she gets the hang of it. Begin to do it before letting her outside or when she encounters something like a stick while walking. Make sure to treat when she listens to you.

Once your pup understands these commands (this can take up to a few months! Don't expect it to happen overnight), your dog should be more controllable, especially around dogs that don't appreciate your dogs energy. I'll list a few tips below that should begin to help your puppy with high energy situations.

  1. If you need to lock her in another room while a dog is over, lock her in with a bone, give her a small treat, and then ignore her. Don't pay attention to her if she begins barking and whining. This will only make her think that you'll give in if she whines, and she'll begin to train you. Once she settles down and stops barking, you can reward her from another room (i.e., give her a nice "good girl Lucy! Good girl!").
  2. Make sure she earns playtime. If she won't sit while another puppy is around, don't let her play with that puppy. Once she does what you want her to do, reward her. Remember that you need to make this subtle at first. If, for the first time she sits, but only for a nanosecond, make sure to reward and let her go. On the second time, you want her to do it for two nanoseconds. On the third, maybe a full second.
  3. In the middle of playtime, give her a come, make her sit, reward, then release. It's important that she knows that coming and sitting doesn't mean it's time to go. At five minute intervals, be sure to interrupt her playtime for a short training session. If she doesn't listen to you, grab her (ideally, get your friend to grab his/her pup also) and then get her to sit.
  4. Find a treat that your dog really, really likes (bananas and pup-peroni with my dog). Hold it in front of her nose when you want her to stay by you. Don't force her to stay by you by pulling on her leash (i.e., there should always be slack in the leash, but limit the length of the leash to ~3 ft so she stays close). Control her by the treat and reward when she does a good job. As she gets better, you can start moving the treat closer to your body instead of right in front of her nose (like pictured below).
    Dog heeling
  5. Use patience. Your dog is a puppy, and she's only 6 months old. Training will take a while. Additionally, if you don't have basic obedience down, don't expect her to know "sit" during stressful situations if she can't even sit at all. Work with her and do what works.

Good luck.

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