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Discussion Starter #1
I've alluded to this before, but it's been bugging me more lately. I think this question might be more for the city dwellers. We live in a city and our walks are almost 100% on sidewalks on residential city streets with cars parked along the sides. There aren't really any suitable large parks within walking distance for a 3-mile weekday morning walk, for example. Biscuit walks great on a leash, but sometimes when we cross paths with another dog, she freezes and is obviously scared to walk past. Often when we do walk past, the other dog barks or snaps or stares menacingly, so I don't think she's being irrational here. Optimally we would cross the street or change course, but that's not easy to do when there are parked cars and lots of car and pedestrial traffic, or maybe no sidewalk on the other side.

My concern is that she used to be totally friendly and want to greet every dog, and now she doesn't even want to walk past some dogs. It would be fine if she would just ignore and walk on by - that would be my preference - but instead she just freezes. I try to distract her and lure her to heel with a treat, then click and treat right after we've passed, and that mostly works but I can tell she's sort of freaking out. And to be honest, we have just passed so many dogs (especially small dogs, FWIW) that snap in her face just for daring to pass by, that I can understand why she would be nervous about encountering other dogs on leash. Sometimes when I lure her to keep walking, I feel like I'm luring her into a lion's den because I can't control whether the other dog will snap.

So you can see, this is really one of those problems with other owners. How do other city dwellers deal with this sort of thing?
 

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Yeah, I hate that, too. I don't blame Biscuit, either.

I do two things: 1. I grab the leash way down so that Kabota has no room to move and has to stay right at my side, on the side away from the other dog, putting myself between him and the dog. And yes, this does involve some maneuvering that looks pretty funny, I'm sure. 2. I have Kabota sit a ways away from a passing dog, again putting myself between the two. I really prefer no. 2, but lots of people get mean if they see you and your dog on their property.

Putting you between the two dogs accomplishes two things. For one, most dogs that will snap at another dog will not snap at a human, so you diffuse that, and for another, it communicates to your dog that you are the protector, allowing them to relax. Keep in mind, you are putting yourself in a position to be bitten.
 

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Shasta gets antsy when another dog/owner approaches us on the sidewalk and it stems from a couple of things, I think. She doesn't like these "rude" dogs approaching her head on, usually both dogs are walking fast, sometimes with tension on the lead (increases anxiety), the dogs are forced to stare at each other, owners would start getting nervous, etc. I realized that what I want was for her to be relaxed, to ignore the other dog, and to ideally be paying attention to me.

So to keep her, me, and the other dog comfortable I like to keep a sharp eye out and if I see someone with a dog coming up I find someplace out of the walkway to go. Sometimes I go up someone's driveway (I don't go in their plants/lawns though) or step between two parked cars, or scoot over far enough to where her back is facing the sidewalk and I make her sit. Then I play the "look at that game" with her pointing to the other dog/human. As they get closer, I hold a treat in my hand and she nibbles it (ignoring the dog/owner walking by). If she broke from the treat and went to look at the dog I would say "good girl!" real quick and put another treat in her face.

A couple things happened. Shasta didn't bark or try to stare down these other dogs (cause she was busy playing the game), the other dog's felt safer cause my dog was not staring at them, approaching them head on, or moving quickly towards them. I was calmer, and those other dogs could try and get a "drive by" sniff at my dog's butt while she was sitting and not paying attention (very non threatening). The other dog no longer seemed as snappy because they had no reason to be, my dog was ignoring them.

Occasionally I mess up though and don't notice someone approaching. I just collect her up as best I can, keeping myself between her and the other dog and move quickly by. That is just what has worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That's a really good idea. Can't believe I didn't think of it, although some of our sidewalks are really only narrow enough for two people to pass so B and I have to walk single file. But I'll try that. I do think it will help. I was sort of trying to get her to think of passing dogs as non-dangerous, but the fact of the matter is, some horrible little dog snaps at Biscuit almost every day, so "non-dangerous" is sort of a lie.

Most of these dogs don't really seem aggressive or likely to actually bite, so much as poorly socialized and reactive, and with owners who think it's fine to walk a dog like that on a Flexi lead (not even legal where we live) or 6-foot leash. Putting myself in between is a good idea.
 
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