Dogs are very social creatures, and they are pack animals as well. When they see another dog, they are naturally curious about the other dog and want to get to know the other dog. Just imagine how excited you would be to see another human if you were around dogs most of the time, and didn’t see other humans very often.
There are several reasons a dog might be excited to see another dog, but just getting to meet a new dog is a thrill in itself for seeing most dogs.
Why do dogs get so excited when they see other dogs?
Dogs naturally want to meet other dogs because they relate to them. It is hard for dogs to communicate with their humans, and they don’t know what many of the sounds humans make even mean. They can relate to other dogs and communication is easier.
Dogs want to smell the other dog, the new dog they have not met before. From this, they can tell a lot about dogs – where they have been, what kind of dog they are, what they eat, and so forth. They want to play with the other dog if the other dog is cooperative.
For some dogs, it is also about protecting their pack. They see their human family as their pack, and another dog – or another person – could be a threat to the pack.
The anticipation of all of the above is also a reason to get excited. Anticipation causes chemicals to be released in the brain that makes the dog feel good. The anticipation adds to the excitement and makes it even more enjoyable. The anticipation is part of the fun for a dog. Humans are the same. We get excited when we are about to do something fun. A combination of adrenalin and dopamine gives the dog a chemical mix that is often even more fun than what they end up doing.
The anticipation and excitement also build on each other. They may remember previous times they met other dogs. They may know a dog is behind a certain fence you walk him past every day, so they anticipate passing that fence where another dog will be barking. Of course, they join in the barking and the excitement builds on the excitement.
Dogs can also get addicted to the adrenalin rush of excitement at seeing another dog, or any moving object. Dogs may wait at the window to see a squirrel go past so they can bark and get that adrenalin rush. They won’t get used to seeing the squirrel, and it will always excite them. This is part of the predatory instinct of dogs. They are natural hunters, and the act of hunting itself causes a great level of excitement. The same is true when they see another dog. That desire for excitement can add to their excitement and curiosity, and they act out because they really want to get to that other dog.
Why does my dog ignore me when other dogs are around?
Dogs get hyper-focused and don’t notice anything other than what is the object of their focus at that moment. The excitement and adrenaline grow and feed on themselves, and they will not notice anything else for a time.
It is part of their natural hunting instinct. When you are hunting, chasing what will be your dinner, you cannot afford to be distracted by anything else. When a dog is in the wild, this serves them very well. Staying focused on your target will help achieve the goal.
They are excited about the new dog they have not yet met, and want to meet the dog. They want to get to know the dog. Everything else fades into the shadows. They may even start to see you as an impediment to reaching their goal, which is to meet the new dog and feel the need to run from you.
It is not so much that the dog is ignoring you, the dog is just not paying attention to you. The dog has other things on its mind and is focused on something else.
Ironically enough, this is the key to training your dog to not get so crazy and act so crazy when they see another dog. Proper training would have your dog paying attention to you, regardless of what else is going on around them. The key to teaching your dog to not get so excited by new things is to have them focused on paying attention to you in the first place.
Why won’t my dog leave other dogs alone?
Dogs are naturally social animals and want to interact with other dogs. They want to get to know other dogs. They may like you, but they may also get tired of being around humans all the time. They can communicate easily with other dogs. They speak the same language and understand each other.
Your dog wants to get to know the other dog or other dogs. It is hard for them not to be excited, especially if they are not often around other dogs. They want to learn about other dogs and want to play with them.
A big part of this is also training. A well-trained dog will focus on its owner, and not be too distracted. You can’t expect a dog to do this on his own. He is just following his natural instincts to want to get to know other dogs and to interact with them.
How to get my dog to stop being so excited around other dogs?
Dogs can be trained to do just about anything. Most behavioral issues can be solved with training. Some dogs are more easily trained than others, and some dogs are just more stubborn than others.
Well-trained police dogs, for instance, will not accept food from anyone other than their handler. They are perhaps the most well-trained dogs out there. But your own dog can be a very well-trained dog if you are willing to do the work and have the patience. A big part of that is knowing how to train the dog. You can hire a professional trainer, or you can read books to learn about training your dog.
There are a few things you can do to keep your dog from reacting too strongly to other dogs.
- One popular strategy is to remove your dog from the thing that has him so excited. The only problem with this is that at times you cannot do so, but when you can it is a reasonable thing to do. If you see a dog in the distance your dog has not yet seen, you can walk in another direction. If your dog is looking out the window of your house, and barking at a dog that is outside, you can move the dog to where he can’t see out the window.
- You can work with another dog owner to train your dog. Both of you can let the dogs get close, and remove them when they get too excited. When they have calmed down, let them be together again. This is effective if the dogs are of a similar temperament.
- Do not yell at your dog, or punish them, for being too excited about other dogs. They may be so focused they won’t even notice your yelling. They may think you are excited too, and essentially barking along with them, and that will just excite them even more. They will not understand what you are doing or what you want them to do.
- Thinking like your dog is also a good strategy. Being excited around other dogs is natural for them, so you have to train them to overcome their own nature. Training them to overcome their own impulses is very hard. Just think how hard it is for you to ignore your impulses. Understanding why they are doing what they are doing will make training easier.
- Reward the behavior you want to see. Keep some treats handy, and when your dog avoids getting so excited around other dogs, you can reward them with a treat. Also, praise your dog when her behavior is what you want. To get to this point, you have to get the dog to understand what it is you want.
- Teach your dog to pay attention to you at all times. When you see a dog approaching, talk calmly to your dog. Tell your dog to sit or lie down, and to remain calm. If you get the dog’s attention before he gets too excited, you will be able to control the barking and behavior. Once a dog gets to a certain point of excitement, there is no turning back.
Why does my dog get so excited when they see strangers?
Your dog gets excited around strangers for much the same reason that he gets excited about seeing other dogs. The dog is curious about the new person, just as they are around a dog they have not yet met. They want to sniff the person to see what kind of person they are. The dog learns a lot about other dogs, and about people, by sniffing them.
Many dogs are also protective of their pack. They see you as part of their pack, and hopefully, they see you as the leader of their pack. They may want to protect you from the other person. They may see the other person as a threat. Dogs can be territorial about their pack members just as they can about the area they consider their territory.
Your dog is a social creature. They like interacting with other dogs and other people. There are some dogs that are “one-person” dogs, but those are not so common. Those dogs will only pay attention to one person. Dogs want to find out about a new person. They want to get to know them and they want to find out if they are a threat to the pack.
You can get your dog to stop overreacting to other dogs, or other people, by training. This takes time and patience, but the rewards are there for those that persevere. Your dog also wants training. They want to know what is expected of them in the pack, and what their role is. Training is helping your dog to understand these things. Training should start when they are very young to be most effective.
Letting your dog be around other dogs and other people is a good idea. It will get them socialized and used to meeting new dogs and new people. The dog will be more excited if it is something unusual or something they do not get to do often. If something becomes routine – even meeting new dogs and people – they are less likely to get too excited.