There are probably as many different opinions on the subject of dog training as there are dog owners. It becomes difficult when dog owners meet and teach each other. We asked a dog trainer when to speak up and when to hold back.
No one really likes being pointed out. Especially when it comes to dealing with your beloved pet, for which you only want the best. Then being lectured by others and hearing that you should do something differently is usually not nice.
This often leads to discussions and arguments between dog owners. From time to time there is also competition between dog owners, says Rita Kampmann from the Munich dog school “Joy in the dog”. But what can or must you address, which comments do you prefer to keep to yourself?
Leashing and unleashing the dog
Problems often arise between dog owners when one does not put his dog on a leash and the dog simply runs towards the other dog. As dog trainer Rita Kampmann explains, not all dogs seek social contact with others. There are also dogs that are scared or traumatized or just don’t feel like it.
What you should do: If this is the case and you notice that your dog is uncomfortable with being sniffed by another dog, then you should urgently point this out in a friendly manner to the other dog owner and ask them to call their dog over and to leash.
According to Kampmann, in the worst case, leash aggression could otherwise develop, because if you, as the dog owner, do not solve the unpleasant situation for your dog, he has to do it himself: “Dog owners should protect their dog on the leash. It’s like taking a child by the hand,” explains Kampmann.
Contact between dogs is good if both parties want it! Leashed dogs are an exception. Dog contact should be avoided here, as the dog trainer explains: “The dogs cannot express their body language properly on the leash”.
Man’s dealings with dogs
Should you point out to other dog owners if they behave badly towards their dog? That depends on the situation, according to dog trainer Rita Kampmann. There are many different opinions and attitudes. Something is not always wrong if it does not correspond to your own ideas. There are many different options for dog training.
At a certain level, however, you have to get involved, and that is when the animal suffers from the behavior of its owner.
What you should do: If you observe that a dog owner is inflicting violence or pain on his dog, for example pulling his collar so hard that he is choking off his breath, you should intervene urgently for the welfare of the dog.
How should you speak to the dog owner? In such situations, caution is advised, as the other dog owner is usually already irritated. If you react aggressively, he will probably be aggressive towards you and will not want to hear your remark. Instead, react calmly and kindly and show him that you want to help him and what alternatives there are or how you would solve the problem.
Dog owners do not pick up the dog’s poop
Many dog owners are annoyed when other dog owners simply leave their dogs’ piles lying around. How should one behave when one observes that a dog owner simply walks on when his dog has done some business?
What you should do: Standing still and observing whether the other person collects the pile or not and then instructing him is not an option for dog trainer Rita Kampmann. She thinks that’s going too far. It’s a different matter if you overhear it: if you happen to observe that a dog owner isn’t picking up his dog’s poop, you can draw his attention to it in a friendly manner.
How should you speak to the dog owner? According to Kampmann, in such situations it makes more sense to point out the error more subliminally. Instead of lecturing, “Clean up your dog’s poo,” you can politely hand the dog owner a bag and say, “I think you’re out of the bag.” Here so you can collect your dog’s poo.”
Dog owner gives wrong commands or dog pulls on the leash
You notice that a dog owner, for example, gives commands or rewards incorrectly, his dog constantly pulls on the leash or does not listen to him?
Here’s what you should do: In most cases, it’s better not to say anything here and do your own thing. That is the responsibility of the respective dog owner, as long as the animal does not suffer or endanger others. After all, you can never know what the history of the dog or owner is or whether they are already working on the problems. “Live and let live” would be the right keyword here.
However, everything has to be considered situationally. “Human body language and facial expressions usually say a lot,” explains dog trainer Rita Kampmann. If the person seems visibly overwhelmed, it can of course make sense to offer his help or to give a recommendation for a dog school.
The dog jumps up on people
There are always dogs that just jump up on strangers. However, some people don’t like it at all. What should you do if the dog’s owner doesn’t do anything about it himself?
What you should do: If a dog jumps up on you, calmly turn away from the dog, cross your arms, look away and politely tell the owner that you don’t want this.
How should you speak to the dog owner? It is important that you remain calm and friendly, otherwise the tense mood will transfer to the dog.
How to deal with unreasonable or ignorant dog owners?
No matter what the situation, there are always people who don’t get along when they are taught. In addition, many dog owners do not want to hear that their dog is behaving “wrongly”. Unfortunately, dog owners are often unreasonable or ignorant, especially when it comes to points such as jumping up or unwanted contact with the other dog. Sentences like “He doesn’t do anything” come up when you ask her to call her dog over.
It is important that you remain calm in such situations. Aggression is known to trigger aggression and does not change the situation, so try to explain your perspective to the other person in a friendly manner.
Conclusion: According to dog trainer Rita Kampmann, three aspects are particularly important when dealing with other dog owners:
- put yourself in the other person’s perspective;
- the friendly and calm demeanor;
- consider each situation individually and act according to the situation, do not generalize.