Dog Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so from the title you might think "Well DUH, why shouldn't he?", and yes, I get not liking someone who hurt you, but it's a bit uncomfortable for us, and here's why.

We live in a neighborhood with a lot of dogs – One neighbor has 3 labs, two have mixes, one has two, one has one… etc). And the dogs are often allowed to play with each other off-leash, running from yard to yard - we sometimes have them over in our backward for playmates etc.

Our dog is a 1 year old male (neutered) fluffy white Samoyed named Chewie, and he loves all dogs. Maybe too much. But he loves to play, and gets along great with all the neighborhood dogs except the one directly across the street from us, which is a mix of some sort – it looks like a black lab, only bigger.

That dog is maybe 3 years old, and when our dog was a puppy he seemed to get along ok with Chewie. He didn't really want to play with him, but wasn't overly angry towards him, and we would sometimes walk together. When Chewie got to be around 7 months, that dog did a quick snap at him one day, seemingly out of the blue when they were sniffing each other. I suppose you never know what a dog is truly thinking, and we assumed our dog, being young, maybe breached some sort of dog etiquette, and let it go.

over the next 3 months, there was one more snapping incident, so we decided if we saw that dog off leash, playing with the other dogs, we would just keep Chewie inside. This worked ok for a few months, but this winter, with all the snow, we had Chewie outside playing with our neighbors labs, and then the dog that doesn't like Chewie came over. The three dogs began running around and playing fine for about 10 minutes, and I began to think maybe they were working things out when suddenly there was a lot of snarling, a yelp, and the dog bit Chewie's snout (not bad enough to cause any damage I could see, thank goodness) Now they were BOTH snarling and snapping at each other, sop I ran over and I pulled my dog away while the other owner came out and tried to stop his dog (I'd say both dogs are about 70 pounds, although Chewie looks a big bigger due to his puffy fur, which might have helped protect him a bit from the random snaps).

Since then we have made it a point to avoid that dog at all costs.

So the problem is, we see this dog a LOT. Even if we do not plan to, our neighbor walks his dog a lot, and so do we, and we often pass each other on opposite sides of the street. When we do, I can feel Chewie tense up, and he now begins growling at the other dog. The other dog growls occasionally too, but Chewie seems to initiate the growling (again, who knows if the other dog is giving off a vibe or not). If you were some random person (or a kid biking by) that did not know us/him and only saw him pass this dog, you could easily get scared and think he was a scary dog.

So my question is: What can I do, if anything, to stop Chewie from growling at this dog as we pass? We can kind of distract him with treats, but we don't always have enough and he is still looking at the dog out of the corner of his eye, clearly not trusting him. Is it worth it to try to have them play off leash and become friendlier, or is it too risky?

the only reason I care is it is the only sign of aggressive behavior I have seen him exhibit, (like all parents I think my dog is perfect) but I'm worried the more he feels he can growl at this dog, however justified, the more likely he is to growl at some other dog or even a person. We have 2 kids and their friends love Chewie, and he IS adorable and smiley and soft and fluffy, so even random stranger's kids walk up to him and pet him in front of their parents (without asking even which baffles me). So obviously I don't like the idea of seeing Chewie act angry at anyone, even a dog that hurt him.

Other random info that might be pertinent :

- While the dog that bit Chewie seems to play nice with all the other neighborhood dogs besides Chewie, rumor in the neighborhood is that that dog snapped/bit at the older of the 3 labs next door recently, and when talking to other dog owners in the neighborhood, we found he had bitten a smaller dog a couple months ago. His owner, our neighbor, is a nice older man, and we like him very much, and he likes Chewie, but doesn't seem overly worried about their animosity. He actually boards rescue dogs, and his dog seems to be more aggressive towards Chewie when he was walking along with one of the rescue dogs, perhaps he felt protective of the dog. I assume his dog does not act aggressively towards the dogs he boards, but I don't know.

- All kidding aside, Chewie really is as good a dog as I have seen, and has a bunch of dog friends, and we have done about as good a job as you can to socialize him. He goes on walks with 5- or 6 different dogs throughout the week with my wife, we take him to dog parks and dog beaches, and his first reaction when meeting any dog is to try to play. Not all dogs like him though, I'd say 10% of dogs he meets on walks will bark or growl at him. Since this biting incident, Chewie will now growl back if another dog instigates it (when he was younger he would just whine), perhaps to protect my wife or I, or perhaps just because he is now one year old, big, and knows he doesn't have to slink away anymore.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for any feedback.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,885 Posts
This is a good example of why dogs should be kept away from dogs that they are uncomfortable around, especially Dog-Aggressive ones. DA dogs like this will, in a sense, 'screw up' other dogs that they're exposed to. I think it's a real shame that the owners continue to let this dog off-leash with other dogs when clearly it is not very fun for him!

BUT… what's done has been done, and now you have a wary little fellow. You need to make certain that his experiences around other dogs are entirely positive, while not shutting out his 'negative feedback' that he is giving you to let you know that he's uncomfortable.

If the treats are working… keep using them! Even if you are one day caught without them, it's less likely that he'll react badly to the lab granted that he usually gets free appetizers when you pass the dog. For a bit of extra insurance, you can ask him to 'Watch Me' before you are treating him around this dog.

In addition to this, I would avoid this dog as entirely as possible. If you pass him on a walk… switch to the other side of the road. If he comes to the park, pack it in. No walk less one hassle or play time at the park is worth the development of fearfulness and aggression in your animal!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Grabby, I was actually just reading the Reactivity post and thought it was interesting. Some of the games looked fun too. We're getting bored with some of the games we play with Chewie currently.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
It might be time to talk with the neighbor who owns this dog, and make plans for keeping your two dogs from being free off leash together. Your dog is still maturing and deciding how he feels about other dogs. Its important he not have any more negative experiences.

Once you have a plan for avoiding the scenario where these two dogs are loose together, then you can eventually work on counter conditioning your dog to feel better about the other dog. Check out the links others have given you on working with reactive dogs. Look up "LAT" training and "BAT" training.

But I must emphasize again, the first step to this problem is better human management so the situation does not get worse, which it almost certainly will unless you and the other dog's owner stop letting your dogs meet off leash.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,331 Posts
So my question is: What can I do, if anything, to stop Chewie from growling at this dog as we pass?
So the thing here is rather than thinking of "stopping him from growling" recognize that he is growling because he of his EMOTIONS. He FEELS afraid of the other dog, so he is warning the other dog away, which is totally justifiable given their history.

A good end goal to shoot for would be for these two dogs to feel OK passing each other on the street while both on leash. But it may be unrealistic to expect them ever to "play nicely" together off leash.

So what you want to do is work with your pup so first he feels safe that the other dog is not going to come over and attack him. That is why you need to be coordinating with the other owner. Once you have that established, you can begin the reactivity exercises to CHANGE HIS EMOTIONAL REACTION to the sight of the other dog. What you do is train his brain to think... "oh that other dog... this always means treats! yay!" Obviously this will take much time and repetition of pleasant experiences.

Expect this retraining to take as much time or even more, than it took to get into this pickle in the first place. So you are thinking in terms of months, with proper training, to reach a good place on this.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top