Re-homed dog doesn't know how to interact with other dogs

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Re-homed dog doesn't know how to interact with other dogs

This is a discussion on Re-homed dog doesn't know how to interact with other dogs within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; We rehomed Archie, a 2 year old yellow lab, a couple of months ago and he's been wonderful. The soppiest, lovable dog who just wants ...

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Old 03-27-2012, 07:05 AM
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Re-homed dog doesn't know how to interact with other dogs

We rehomed Archie, a 2 year old yellow lab, a couple of months ago and he's been wonderful. The soppiest, lovable dog who just wants to lick, love, cuddle and play all the time - we have two young children he is great with and he is the perfect addition to our family EXCEPT...he doesn't seem to know how to behave/interact with other dogs. We live in the countryside and so he doesn't come across other dogs regularly on his walks and initially I just wanted him to get used to us and his new life so didn't go out of my way to take him to public parks etc thinking it might get a bit much for him. A friend has a dog and Archie really likes him and they run about and play fine - they bound around like lunatics though - he can't seem to react calmly! I am now taking him out more publicly and, whenever he sees other dogs, he wags his tail, gets REALLY over excited and sort of agitated and seems desperate to see them. When I let him go over and meet them he sniffs them and wags his tail but freezes when they sniff him and I can see he feels nervous/unsure. The other day at his training class this happened when he met one of the other dogs and he ended up snapping quite aggressively at the other dog (though clearly warning him not trying to actually attack him) - when I moved him away he started wagging his tail and acted like he wanted to go and play with him and make friends! This has happened in a minor way on another couple of occasions. On all occasions he's been on his lead and it's when the other dog starts sniffing and exploring him that it all seems to get too much for him. Has anyone got any advice on how I should best handle this - it's so out of character as he always seems the most gentle and loving thing but I am now worried about taking him to his training class in case it happens again and I am nervous when he meets other dogs which i know he will inevitably pick up on and make the situation worse. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:21 AM
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I am going to split this up, because there are a couple of things going on here.
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Originally Posted by Hanmorgan View Post
We rehomed Archie, a 2 year old yellow lab, a couple of months ago and he's been wonderful. The soppiest, lovable dog who just wants to lick, love, cuddle and play all the time - we have two young children he is great with and he is the perfect addition to our family EXCEPT...he doesn't seem to know how to behave/interact with other dogs. We live in the countryside and so he doesn't come across other dogs regularly on his walks and initially I just wanted him to get used to us and his new life so didn't go out of my way to take him to public parks etc thinking it might get a bit much for him. A friend has a dog and Archie really likes him and they run about and play fine - they bound around like lunatics though - he can't seem to react calmly! I am now taking him out more publicly and, whenever he sees other dogs, he wags his tail, gets REALLY over excited and sort of agitated and seems desperate to see them.
Here is how I would handle this. I would make my dog sit until they calm down. I would slowly walk towards the dog(just a few steps). If my dog remains calm, I'd give him a treat. Then go closer(another few steps), and if he remains calm, I'd give him a treat. If he begins to get excited, I would step backwards away from the dog until he returns to a calm state. This will teach two things to the dog. The first lesson is how to calmly approach a dog. The second lesson he will learn is control. I would do this over and over until I was confident my dog can approach another dog calmly and properly.


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When I let him go over and meet them he sniffs them and wags his tail but freezes when they sniff him and I can see he feels nervous/unsure.
Some dogs can get this way, and I cannot see a problem unless they react in a negative way. As dogs learn to greet each other, they gain confidence in the process. Remember, your dog does not do this everyday.

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The other day at his training class this happened when he met one of the other dogs and he ended up snapping quite aggressively at the other dog (though clearly warning him not trying to actually attack him) - when I moved him away he started wagging his tail and acted like he wanted to go and play with him and make friends! This has happened in a minor way on another couple of occasions. On all occasions he's been on his lead and it's when the other dog starts sniffing and exploring him that it all seems to get too much for him. Has anyone got any advice on how I should best handle this - it's so out of character as he always seems the most gentle and loving thing but I am now worried about taking him to his training class in case it happens again and I am nervous when he meets other dogs which i know he will inevitably pick up on and make the situation worse. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
Not every dog is going to like other dogs, just like not all people like other people. Dogs have a energy. Some dogs energy is very calm, some very aggressive or nervous, and some dogs are just plain laid back. Your dog just didn't like the energy of the other dog, or it didn't like the approach, so he reacted. As long as that does not happen every time he greets a dog, then you have no real problem here.

Whatever you do, you must always remain calm, cool, and in charge of the situation. If you have a nervous dog, and a unsure owner, this is a destabilizing situation for the dog. You can have some very unpredictable behavior when these two things line up. If you don't feel confident with your dogs body language, move him out of the situation immediately. Always give your dog a out.

I hope this helps you out.
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Old 03-27-2012, 12:27 PM
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Our dog is way way way more excited about meeting another dog if he is on a lead...he will wag like crazy and pull, play bow, try playfight etc. When off-lead he will say hello, maybe have a quick game of chase, and then run off because there are other interesting things about. What happens when he meets dogs on walks off-lead, is that possible? A lot of dogs get frustrated when on-lead and wanting to meet other dogs, and it can make their behaviour worse.

As for him not liking being sniffed, I wonder if that would be better if he was off-lead too? Because he'd have the chance to run away and stop the behaviour. Kasper doesn't like being humped by other dogs, but if he's off-lead he will just run away from them and start a game of chase, and it doesn't become a problem!

I also thought maybe you could teach him a positive interrupter (I'll add a kikopup video below!) so that if a dog was starting to sniff, you could make the noise and Archie would instantly look to you for a reward...either that or you could teach a 'let's go' command and click and reward for walking away with you...


Finally, as for him being really overexcited when meeting dogs, that could just be because of his age and even because of the fact he doesn't get to meet dogs that often. When we adopted our dog at 9 months old he was a whirlwind with other dogs...somewhere between 1 year and 18 months old he really calmed down and became very polite when saying hello and playing...

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Old 03-27-2012, 06:37 PM
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Since your dog has a buddy he plays with and has no adverse reaction to, I'd say it is an issue with being on lead. My small dog is super friendly and gets along with even aggressive dogs, however, when she is on lead she becomes very timid. When we first got her she was terrified of meeting dogs on lead, now she simply ignores other dogs or sniffs noses as she passes them. She does not like them sniffing her when she is on lead, she freezes, her ears go back and she becomes very timid.

I would try the treating techniques listed above to help your pup either get over this or learn how to deal with it effectively. Good luck!
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:23 AM
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Thanks for your advise everyone. I will definitely work harder at reward based distraction etc so he can learn just to walk on by - with time and patience he'll learn some manners!
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:29 AM
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I agree with what the others are saying...I have sort of a similiar problem but its between my new addition and my seniority dog. The new addition (Abby) is about 13 lbs while my senior dog is 80 lbs. The larger dog loves to play but her 'play' has frightened the smaller dog to the point of shivering with nerves and / or growling when the bigger dog comes too close. I've tried sitting on the floor alternating who sits 'in' my lap, pet both at same time, reward both at same time (bigger dog I make do a command while I'm training the smaller dog who gets a hot dog bit with every correct response). I'm exhausted and the jealousy between the two is driving me bonkers.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:30 AM
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I agree with what the others are saying...I have sort of a similiar problem but its between my new addition and my seniority dog. The new addition (Abby) is about 13 lbs while my senior dog is 80 lbs. The larger dog loves to play but her 'play' has frightened the smaller dog to the point of shivering with nerves and / or growling when the bigger dog comes too close. I've tried sitting on the floor alternating who sits 'in' my lap, pet both at same time, reward both at same time (bigger dog I make do a command while I'm training the smaller dog who gets a hot dog bit with every correct response). I'm exhausted and the jealousy between the two is driving me bonkers.
Joyous,
The little dog is growling as a warning for the big dog to stay back. My dog Bo(who is a sh!tzu) always growls and boldly charges my three pitbulls when they play excitedly in the house. That is because Bo has been trampled by them several times during play. The growling causes the other dogs to calm down, and Bo does not get trampled. Because the bigger dogs respect Bo(he definitely is the leader among the dog), they move away and play somewhere else, or they calm down and lay immediately.

I don't think your problem is jealousy, it is control. If the little dog only growls when the big dog wants to play, then the little dog just does not want to play with the big dog. If the little dog growls at the big dog anytime he or she comes close, then you have a problem.

If this is the case, try doing more activities with both dogs where you can control the environment. I often have fosters in my house, and the first thing I do to introduce the dogs is a nice long walk. IME dogs that walk together frequently, don't usually have issues with each other. Use the walk as a re-introduction, and a way to re-orient their interactions. When indoors, don't let the dog play get too rough or wild. If it does, calm it down quickly. Keep the indoor activities more calm so the small dog is not threatened by the large dogs activity. When the small dog is frightened, do not pet or try and sooth it, or it will think this is the way to get your attention.

If the indoor environment stays calm, then the small dog will eventually not look at the bigger dog as a frightening thing as it does now. It appears the rough play was the trigger that frightened the smaller dog, so control the play and the smaller dog will eventually get used to the larger dogs presence.
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