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  • Writer's pictureRichard Chan

Absolute Zero

I am a strong advocate of zero on leash greeting. By that l mean when my dog is on leash we will not under any circumstances greet another dog in any form--no sniffing, no body contact, and no playing.


Because dogs are very black and white creatures. The more crystal clear the direction, the less stressed and confused they will feel.

When my dogs are on leash they know it is not the time to get excited or concerned when they see another dog. There is no exception.

This rule is very easy to understand and follow.

When l see another dog, l do not keep saying "leave it leave it" or cooing to my dogs with baby talks such as "now let's be a good girl, we can play later but not now okayyyy?"

I do not make a big deal out of it; l just ask them to follow me and keep walking.

By not making it a big deal l am not sending them the message that other dogs are supposed to make us worried or excited. I am also not building them up to anticipate a correction when we pass the dogs.

By making sure there is no exception, l am not confusing them (e.g. if you are good l may let you sniff, if you know that dog we can play a bit, if you do not react l will let you say hi later, l am running late so we cant say hi now, you have been a bad girl so no sniffing this time, you can say hi to girls but not boys...).

There is only one, not two or three or four, proper response. My dogs are not confused about what they should do when they see another dog on the walk. They know they need to ignore all these dogs and follow my lead at all time. That's it.

Confusion adds stress and anxiety; a good leader is supposed to give very clear instruction to his pack.

With clear directions, our dogs can relax and follow our lead with a calm state of mind.

#dogpark #distraction #socialization #reactivity #focus #engagement #dog


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