Parallel Walking is useful for gentle introductions of even super friendly dogs, as well as training to overcome anxieties and boisterous behaviour. It avoids face on confrontations, giving dogs space and time to consider their actions.
Just as it sounds, the dogs are walked parallel but at a distance they can both cope with. This might be as much as a few car lengths – whatever it takes to start in a good place and where the walker is able to get their dog’s focus.
Sometimes it is useful to have people walk with you in between as well, acting as a barrier that feels even safer for the anxious dog.
As the dogs settle in, you can see them mirror each other’s body language, start to sniff the ground, and then you can use that as a guide to move a little closer. Don’t rush it though, a few short sessions are much better than trying to get them close in one go.
If one of the dogs starts to show the issues that you are trying to correct, then move apart again until they settle and then have a further training session another day. Try to end on a good note!
The video below shows Chance walking out with Norman. Chance is boisterous greeter, Norman is a little nervous. You can see that after several sessions Chance learnt to give a polite greeting, and the pair have become relaxed friends walking very close to each other.