Getting better with other dogs

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Getting better with other dogs

Post by Goblin on Sun Apr 02 2017, 22:37

Gizmo was initially fine with other dogs as a little puppy, then as he got older he started reacting badly to small/toy breeds, particularly in groups. He wouldn't be aggressive as such, just refuse to come when called and leave them be if they were anxious. So I started avoiding small dogs as much as possible, until we bumped into a flat-faced big eared french bulldogs/boston terriers in the pet shop and it went for him. Neither hurt because we both dragged our dogs backwards, but Gizmo didn't retaliated or try to go forwards or anthing. After that he started to hide from french bulldogs/boston terriers in particular and got super-anxious around them. He gets walked on lead whenever there's any small dogs around, and if I see one before he does, he's popped on the lead. I tend to stop walking and crouch near him, so I'm kinda between the other dog and him.

We met the world's fiestiest Chihuhua/JRT cross in the park, she marched right up to him, barked in his face, and commanded him to play with her, owner told me to take Giz off the lead and that they would be absolutely fine and not to worry. Brilliant game of chase was played, all fine and then another dog appeared and he started getting anxious so I popped him on the lead.

He has to stay on lead most of the time at the park because there's birds all round the pond, and I now know he can leap the fence...but not swim. Despite this, total gentleman all last three walks. No bad reactions to dogs, tiny, small, large, and MASSIVE standard poodle, came back when off the lead (even when there was other dogs, footballs and a large expanse of mud) and was a very good boy. applause
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Re: Getting better with other dogs

Post by -Ian- on Sun Apr 02 2017, 22:57

It's odd you say how good he's progressed, which is great don't get me wrong but I think it's us as owners more often than not that don't actually understand why they react the way they do. It took me years to realise that my Flo's reaction was down to uncertainty rather than aggression.

For example, if Flo is unsure she will look for her Stix every time as that's what we've used as a distraction in the past but on other occasions when we've thought she'd be unsure she's gone straight up with a play bow and had a great game of chase.

Sometimes, and this takes experience, you just have to trust them to have fun and not worry that we are worrying. I have never been more relaxed around Flo as I am these days. She'll let me know when she's unsure, but it is great news that Gizmo is more confident and happy to play which I think in no small part, is down to you Big Grin


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Re: Getting better with other dogs

Post by Goblin on Sun Apr 02 2017, 23:07

Big Grin It took me a long time to work out the thing with lots of dogs, because he was fine with one of my friends who has three. Something on here made me re-think the way he acted and I started to watch how he kept flipping round to face different dogs and his tail was flat like __ with his back.
He doesn't always pick up if other dogs aren't happy with him, which is why I'm trying to make sure he's 100% on paying attention to me when I say to (he's probably about 80% at the moment) and doesn't go over unless I've ok'd it.

You're so right about the anxiety, he's hyper-aware of my moods and the mood of other owners.

Now, if I could just get him to stop licking my Dad's feet when he's asleep in the armchair, I'd be golden.
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Re: Getting better with other dogs

Post by -Ian- on Sun Apr 02 2017, 23:35

Laughing ewwwww feet licking is something I'd run from too, though I have to admit when Flo gets me with a tongues kiss or an eyeball kiss has the same ewww effect on me


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Re: Getting better with other dogs

Post by LizP on Mon Apr 03 2017, 08:06

I don't know, nature vs nurture... dog reactivity is so complex. Owners' feelings certainly can make a huge difference but it's definitely not the whole story. I still think a lot of staffies are just born worriers.

Very good news about Gizmo. Sounds like he's getting more confident. I think you've got the balance right, letting him interact but popping him on the lead when he gets worried.


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Re: Getting better with other dogs

Post by Goblin on Mon Apr 03 2017, 11:00

He's always been anxious about specific things, like you said definitely a born worrier. The fact that he sounds like Ray Winstone when he's play-talking does NOT help other people reacting to him.
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