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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been trying really hard to desensitise my 6 month old puppy to other dogs walking by. He often gets super excited and wants to go over to say hi to every dog he meets but I've found that I'm able to regain his attention if I ask him to play chase with the ball. So I've tested this and it works quite well. For example, whenever he sees another dog walking towards him, I'll get his attention by telling him we are playing chase. He looks straight at me then gets mesmerised by the ball in my hand which I always carry in my treat pouch. I then put him in a "down position" and he needs to wait for the release word before he can catch the ball in his mouth. In the mean time, the other dog walks by (whether calm or lunging and barking at him) and he is able to not flinch a muscle by staring at me and the ball. Then I throw the ball a bit in the opposite direction and he goes to catch it. I ask him to drop the ball and we move on with our walk after the other dog passes by. I repeat this process every single time we see another dog because treats or a game of tug doesn't seem to distract him away from other dogs.

He is now able to stay still and focus on me while the other dog passes straight next to him, even those who try to sniff him or bark at him.

Will this work if I remain consistent or will he not be able to make the connection on our walks? Should I try something else or does anyone have experience with reactivity when seeing other dogs? My goal is to get him to walk past another dog without reacting and staying calm so any suggestions would be appreciated. P.S I don't have someone to practice with me who has a well behaved dog.

Thanks!!
 

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I think this sounds like an excellent training technique! To move on to being able to walk past another dog, see if you can keep his attention on the ball while walking at heel?

I think it would definitely work with consistency - I would imagine that not too far in the future he will begin to associate the approach of another dog with a game of catch with you, and eventually will turn his attention to you as soon as another dog is in sight :)
 

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Yes, it will work because you are channelling his prey drive into you and the ball, making both far more compelling than another dog. After playing with the ball, you can let him carry it in his mouth. It can also be used as @Zephyrdog mentioned above as a focus for heeling if you carry it.

Another exercise that achieves this kind of attraction is pushing. This is what I used with my dog and it worked not just on his attraction to other dogs, but also with cyclists, skateboarders, strollers, joggers etc.

https://naturaldogtraining.com/blog/how-i-developed-the-pushing-technique/
 

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Depends on your goals...

If you are willing/able to do this forever, it certainly can keep him focused.

But if wanting not to have to get the ball out each time a dog appears... I doubt it.
Reason being, it sounds like you are simply distracting. You're basically teaching ''don't look at or interact with the dog, stare at the ball I am holding.'' It's not going to teaching calm, polite interactions. And if you always stop and do a stay, it's not going to further your polite walking and other obedience cues in the presence of dogs (need to train those behaviors in this situation if you want to be able to use them). Again, not wrong, but just depends on your goals!
 

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Depends on your goals...

If you are willing/able to do this forever, it certainly can keep him focused.

But if wanting not to have to get the ball out each time a dog appears... I doubt it.
Reason being, it sounds like you are simply distracting. You're basically teaching ''don't look at or interact with the dog, stare at the ball I am holding.'' It's not going to teaching calm, polite interactions. And if you always stop and do a stay, it's not going to further your polite walking and other obedience cues in the presence of dogs (need to train those behaviors in this situation if you want to be able to use them). Again, not wrong, but just depends on your goals!
Do you have any suggestions about ways to train polite walking etc in the presence of other dogs? I attend weekly obedience classes near my area and there are approximately 10 -20 dogs spread across different classes in the open area. We do training and loose leash walking around other dogs in the class so does this count? My dog still gets super excited during training class but there is some progress after his initial attempt to bark and lunge on the leash.
 

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Do you have any suggestions about ways to train polite walking etc in the presence of other dogs? I attend weekly obedience classes near my area and there are approximately 10 -20 dogs spread across different classes in the open area. We do training and loose leash walking around other dogs in the class so does this count? My dog still gets super excited during training class but there is some progress after his initial attempt to bark and lunge on the leash.
I think you can treat other dogs as a distraction. Just as your puppy needs to start out in a sit-stay in a quiet environment, then you can slowly start to add distractions, one at a time. The training classes will help. Both of my guys are actually very good in class, but terrible in the real world near dogs (really just the dog park, we are having some serious trouble there, but we're working on it).
 
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