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Pax is almost 8 months old and is already over 65lbs. He was socialized extensively with people and dogs when I got him and he is very friendly. However, he tends to be TOO friendly and in-your-face, not so much with people but very much so with dogs. His own training is progressing and the biggest hurdle is getting him to focus on me when other dogs are present - he obsesses over wanting to greet and play with them. If we're walking, I can give him the 'leave it' cue, and he listens pretty well, but I think that's because we're moving. When he has to be still, he finds it harder to "leave it" with other dogs involved. BUT I'm working on that, and I know with time he'll get better.

Now, when he's actually playing, he doesn't get rough or display bullying behaviors. He's really good with playing nicely with dogs of all sizes. However, he doesn't seem to take "no" very well. Like if the other dog wants to stop, or if they don't want to play at all, he'll continue to get in their face and lick them or paw at them, whine, or bark. Even when dogs growl or snap at him, as my two older terriers are wont to do, his 'goofy grin' expression doesn't change and he continues to pester them.

With my little ones, I'll separate them because they can get nasty if provoked (they have ZERO patience for rude dogs) and I'm afraid they'll attack and Pax, being much bigger, will hurt them while defending himself. I'll usually take Pax to another place and either take him on a walk, or play fetch or tug with him. They'll play with him most of the time, but it's when they say "stop" and he doesn't that things can get ugly.

With dogs I don't know, I'll separate immediately if he seems to be pestering them. But I have a few friends with dogs who are about his size or bigger that I know very well, and sometimes I'll let the other dog tell him off a few times to let him get the picture. If after a few reprimands from the other dog he's still annoying, I'll separate him.

I have two questions: Is it better for me to separate, or let him get accustomed to dogs telling him "no"? And will he learn to respect social cues like this as he matures?

I feel like I know dog body language pretty well to know when the other dog has had enough and so far I've intervened before anything goes south. The only fights happened at my own home when he was playing with my little ones and I had left them alone for a moment.
 

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I would redirect him to something else (a toy, yourself, etcetera) and reward for that. That way he is learning that it's best to find something else to do if the little dogs aren't having his goofiness.

As he gets older and gains more impulse control, he will be better at curbing his own exuberance where it is not appreciated. :)
 

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I understand this situation and it's really hard! Cosmo does the same thing, especially with dogs that appear nervous which is the worst time to act up and be in their face. I consider this bullying and I don't tolerate it with him.

What's worked for us is me calmly approaching him, leashing him and walking away from the other dog. I will then redirect his attention to a rope toy (his favorite game is tug) or toss his chuck it frisbee because it's his favorite fetching toy. Just do some high value games and make yourself interesting and fun. If you have to, keep him on leash so he can't get distracted if the dog begins running around. Running triggers Cosmo to go try to play but when he's in bully mode it never ends well.

I always bring snacks and do some hardcore proofing on his tricks in the corner of the park if he acts up as well. If other dogs notice the food however, I put it away and focus on games instead.

Good luck! That's a tough one to break, but learning social cues and playing nicely is important :)
 

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I would let the dog handle it if possible. They are so much better at it. If the body language gets to stiff separate them. You don't want anyone to draw blood.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would let the dog handle it if possible. They are so much better at it. If the body language gets to stiff separate them. You don't want anyone to draw blood.
With dogs I know well that have met him before, I let them deal with it until I think he's just not listening. My little terrier will get nasty if Pax oversteps his boundaries, but I know when Jimmy (terrier) is okay on his own or when I need to intervene.
 

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With a dog you know is safe and won't hurt him, I'd let them tell him to leave them alone. But with dogs you don't know, that could be dangerous so I'd take him away and do obedience/tricks, that sort of thing to redirect him. Generally if they know that a certain type of play gets all play stopped, it doesn't take long for them to calm it down.

He is absolutely gorgeous by the way!
 

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You've gotten great advice above, so I won't add anything, but I had to comment on how big and beautiful he is! It's kind of amazing how quickly they grow up.
 

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He's acting very small today, he just got neutered yesterday :( Lol!
 

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He's acting very small today, he just got neutered yesterday :( Lol!
Awww poor guy! Hopefully he's more mellow than Levi. No one told Levi he was supposed to relax for a week.
 
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