As a responsible dog owner, you are no doubt keen to ensure your dog has impeccable manners. You correct his indiscretions and monitor him to anticipate when he might misbehave. However, if someone else's dog is showing bad manners, such as mounting your dog, you need a different approach. Your focus should be on diffusing the situation and then removing your dog from harm or distress.
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Tip #1 - Figure out the cause. Dogs mount for various reasons. The first thing to check is whether the mounting dog is sexually aroused. Look at his penis to work this one out. If his penis looks normal and his body language is quite relaxed, it's highly likely he's play mounting. If his penis looks normal, but he's growling or showing other signs of aggression, he's probably trying to dominate your dog. If his penis is erect and he's thrusting at your dog, he's most likely attempting to mate or simulate mating for his own relief. It's not unusual for males to do this to other males.
Tip #2 - Before taking action, stand back and wait for 20 seconds. It's always preferable to give dogs the chance to sort out their own issues. Dogs typically dislike being mounted, unless it's a female and she's ready to mate, so the chances are your dog will fix this problem himself. He'll do this either by growling, shaking the dog off, or if possible, walking away. If this doesn't work, or if the mounting dog has a tight grip or you suspect your dog is about to become aggressive, human intervention is necessary.
Tip #3 - If necessary, ask the owner to call her dog. If the owner isn't there, for example you're looking after the dog for a friend or a strange dog has bolted in the park and is hassling your dog, it's entirely reasonable for you to take action. It's not your job to correct the other dog, but you are entitled to gently discourage him if aggression is the likely result of the mounting behavior.
Tip #4 - Always try distraction first. Attempt to get the attention of the mounting dog by clapping, calling his name or clicking near his face. If this doesn't work and the confrontation is likely to become aggressive, restrain the mounting dog as follows: pull the dog down gently by the collar, leash or if necessary, the scruff of the neck if he isn't wearing a collar. Try not to startle the dog, as this can make him aggressive. If you are looking after this dog, guide him away for a time-out. Shut him away and give him time to calm down. It's not your job to train other people's dogs, but you should mention this behavior to the owner so she can correct it. If it's a strange dog, for example a dog in a park who ran away from his owner, attempt to find the owner and explain what happened so she can train the dog not to mount.
Tip #6 - Walk your dog away calmly and give him time to chill out. Being mounted can be stressful, especially if the perpetrator was aggressive. Praise your dog for being passive.
By Simon Foden
About the Author
Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.