Dear Homeward Bound: My dog goes crazy around other dogs

Dear Homeward Bound,
Whenever I walk my dog she gets really excited when she sees other dogs and starts barking and pulling on the leash. It’s hard for me to control her and makes walks not very fun. Is there anything I can do to train her out of this habit?
Dear Curious,
There is a trick you can teach your dog which will not only help in this situation but is also useful anytime you need your dog to focus on you rather than whatever has caught her eye. The trick is called “Watch Me” and you are going to teach her to look at you whenever you say this.
Start by getting some small and super-yummy treats and work with her in a quiet place where there are no distractions — just saying “Watch Me” and holding a treat near your face which you hand her immediately. Do this a few times a day for a few minutes each time. Then go somewhere slightly more distracting and repeat a few times a day for a few minutes each time. Your dog will be connecting the words with the food and should start looking at you (or your hand!) each time she hears the words. Keep increasing the distractions as you train and stay focused on positive results. If you go somewhere too challenging for your dog and she ignores “Watch Me,” take it back a step. As she consistently looks at you when hearing “Watch Me” start to give the treats only occasionally.
I hope this helps; training is a great way to bond with your dog. Happy walking.
Jessica Danyow
Homeward Bound

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