Dog Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I have a large German Shepherd. When I take him for walks and pass by someone else walking a dog a fairly common thing occurs. If we stop and let the dogs sniff one another in a very short time the other dog becomes aggressive and starts a fight. These other dogs are always medium to large dogs but smaller than mine (there is no problem with small dogs).

At first I thought I was just having 'owner's bias' and was blaming the other dog unnecessarily. But I have watched very closely multiple times and notice that it is, in fact, the other dog that is the aggressor. Usually they are smelling each other's groin area when it starts. Is this a behavior trait where dogs, out of fear perhaps, want to show a larger dog that they won't be dominated?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Is he neutered? It's very common for dogs to take a dislike to entire dogs. Also, is it just males who attack him?

This can be an indication of illness in your dog, or something else that makes him smell different such as medication.

Also, how old is he, and how does he respond to other dogs in general - those that don't attack him? Some dogs are typical cowards and bullies - they see a bigger dog which makes them feel insecure, realise that the dog is actually quite easygoing and no threat, and then decide to duff him up just to make them feel more macho.

You really want to try to avoid this as much as possible to he doesn't end up fearful - if he's on lead this shouldn't be difficult, and if off lead you might need to turn and walk in the opposite direction if you see a dog you think might go for him. You could consider putting him in a vest that reads 'I need space' or similar, but then it's difficult if you would like him to interact with the sort of dog he would get on with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Is he neutered? It's very common for dogs to take a dislike to entire dogs. Also, is it just males who attack him?

This can be an indication of illness in your dog, or something else that makes him smell different such as medication.

Also, how old is he, and how does he respond to other dogs in general - those that don't attack him? Some dogs are typical cowards and bullies - they see a bigger dog which makes them feel insecure, realise that the dog is actually quite easygoing and no threat, and then decide to duff him up just to make them feel more macho.

You really want to try to avoid this as much as possible to he doesn't end up fearful - if he's on lead this shouldn't be difficult, and if off lead you might need to turn and walk in the opposite direction if you see a dog you think might go for him. You could consider putting him in a vest that reads 'I need space' or similar, but then it's difficult if you would like him to interact with the sort of dog he would get on with.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, he is neutered. He is 6 years old and I haven't noticed if its solely males or not. He has just returned from the vet as he had a muscle spasm which we thought might be a slipped disc so they took x-rays and blood of him and he is is in perfect health (not even hip dysplasia :) He is extremely reward-oriented and is solely interested in only his ball, which he almost always has in his mouth, and squirrels. In fact we laugh because most of the time he shows little, if any, interest in other dogs, especially if he has his ball. His only 'medication' is fish oil for skin allergies.

He is a rescue dog and as a result he has been around other dogs considerably (we have had him since he was 2). He grades out as a level 4 (extremely active) and, as I mention, this is reflected in his always wanting to play ball or chase squirrels. There has been times, however, when he is playing with other dogs that his energy level, combined with his size, has led to confrontations. I have seen him as the cause of this type of confrontation in these situations. However, I differentiate between that and what I am now talking about, since there is no 'play' before the other dog initiates the aggression.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Hmmm, there's nothing obvious there, is there? I still wonder if he could smell a bit 'odd', just as people have different smells, which we usually can't detect anyway. Or maybe there's something very subtle about his body language that the other dogs don't like - when humans interact, there can be a very marginal difference between what seems OK, and what is invading your personal space, or when the friendly hand on your shoulder rests there just a microsecond too long...

But as you say, maybe it's because he looks intimidating to other dogs and then they realise they don't need to show him respect after all. Dunno.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
What you are assuming is aggression from the other dogs is simply their fear of your dog and they are trying to let your dog know not to mess with him/her - Napoleon complex I think it's called. :) This is more apt to happen if they are both leashed since the smaller dog knows he has no defense so he has to put on a good show. I have Great Danes so I see it a lot - although mine do not start any fights nor do they engage with the other dogs unless they feel threatened. On the same token when my dogs see a larger dog, they are quite intimidated and will usually hide behind me or try to run away. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
What you are assuming is aggression from the other dogs is simply their fear of your dog and they are trying to let your dog know not to mess with him/her - Napoleon complex I think it's called. :) This is more apt to happen if they are both leashed since the smaller dog knows he has no defense so he has to put on a good show. I have Great Danes so I see it a lot - although mine do not start any fights nor do they engage with the other dogs unless they feel threatened. On the same token when my dogs see a larger dog, they are quite intimidated and will usually hide behind me or try to run away. :)
Yes, that's what I was thinking. But I thought with dogs it was called the 'Yapoleon' complex! :p
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top