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  #1  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:34 AM
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Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

When out on walks, I've actually come to dreading bumping into or meeting other people walking their dogs.

Snoop will virtually pull me off my feet, lunging towards the other dog, barking, whining etc

I'm confused - would he really pounce onto other dogs or is he just being protective and might stop once actually up close/next to the other dog? How do you tell? I'm worried taking him anywhere
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:39 AM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

Hi

How old is he?
How long have you had him?
When did it start?
What is he like off the lead around other dogs? Have you ever found out?
Does he walk reasonably well when there are no other dogs around?
When he sees other dogs up head, do his hackles rise, or is he just pulling to get at them, but otherwise relaxed?
What do you do when he does it?

Sorry about all the questions, but it is so difficult to know what is going on here without some more info.

Initial thoughts are that he is excited to see other dogs, does he have interaction with other dogs his own age/size?

Kate
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:52 AM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

How old is he?
He's 2

How long have you had him?
Nearly 2 weeks, he's a rescue dog

When did it start?
Basically he's done it all the time!

What is he like off the lead around other dogs? Have you ever found out?
We're too scared to let him off incase he pounces or something

Does he walk reasonably well when there are no other dogs around?
He's not the best on a lead, we walk him using a Halti cos he's very strong and 'enthusiastic' and keen to pull and find smells etc

When he sees other dogs up head, do his hackles rise, or is he just pulling to get at them, but otherwise relaxed?
He spots them, whimpers sometimes, then as they get closer, he''ll jump up to pull towards them, barking.

What do you do when he does it?
Aside from having the fear of him escaping off his collar, we try and pull him away, he's then very hyper for the rest of his walk!
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:56 AM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

Try and get another person with a calm well balanced dog that you can walk alongside for a while to watch his reaction and see if he calms down after a while.
We had a person here who's rescue dog did the same, they would avoid everyone and were scared to let him off. After we had passed them a few times, I realised that the dog just wanted to play, so encouraged them to let their dog approach mine onlead. They were fine and their dog is now enjoying life to the full
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:45 AM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

I also think from what you have said that it sounds more like excitement - the lunging, whining in frustration etc.

is the barking a deep bark or a higher pitched whiney bark? what is his body language like? does he snarl at all? what does he do that makes you think he is trying to go for them?

what did the rescue say when you got him about his background and about how he was with other dogs (they would normally assess this and advise).

sorry for all the questions, but it does sound very much like it could be excitement if he isnt allowed to meet dogs/doesnt come into contact with the very regularly, but the advice for that would be very different to if you think it could be aggression.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:54 AM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

Hi i can symathise with you on this, my dog is just the same, barking , whining to get to another dog when on lead. However,off lead he is fine and will not even make a sound just happy to play. I am soo pleased to see dogs off lead when we are walking.
For my dog it is just excitement and bit frustration that he cant play, because not all owners appreciate a dog barking at there dog.
I hope that you are able to find a way round this, what Rona suggets is really good.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:55 AM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

I would try and ignore this behaviour, stay as calm as you possibly can, don't change turn around and change routes, pull in for the others to pass etc as this tells your dog there is something to get worked up about. Hold him on as short as lead as possibly and walk past slowly and normally. When you have passed give him a treat and praise him. As others have said it would also be good to build up to practise meeting and greeting with some patient, well natured dogs with owners you know well and know they won't mind if he starts to 'get a bit wound up'. When he starts to be calm with them maybe even leave him have a run around with them in a secure place so he knows good behaviour gets rewarded.

I have found my dog can be a bit like this with some dogs when on the lead, yet off the lead he plays really well with them, I think he may be in protective mode!
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:01 PM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

Hi

Firstly, as you know, it is very very early days. Your dog is still adjusting to you, your routine and that he is going to be a permanent feature, there is no way yet you have a relationship that says he has to listen to you, or take any controls from you, this will come with time.

If he came from rescue, do you know how long he was there? Only it could be he has been in a kennel environment for several weeks and is just soooo excited to be out and about. Also in kennels, dog have restricted exercise, usually consists of taking to a pen or an area where they can either run free with other dogs and then back to kennels, which probably has a small area outside. Although this may happen a couple of times a day - in a good kennels, heelwork to and from the kennel is not priority, so he will have very bad habits, he may also have got into the habit of barking and lunging at dogs and people walking past the kennel, within the safety of being behind bars! His whole day has been lived to get out and run and play - that isn't going to change over a few weeks.

At 21/2 and being in rescue, he probably has had avery little training - this is one of the key ages that dogs go into rescue and you are right at this stage not to let him off lead yet, apart from the fact that he doesn't know you.

Was he mixed with other dogs in kennels, did he share? - it is extremely likely that he did mix, most haven't got the space to single dog up - did the rescue tell you he was good with other dogs? A good rescue will hopefully have done a basic assessment. If the answer is yes, then almost certainly your dog is just being over excitable and enthusiastic.

Firstly, make sure that you have good routines and structures in the home. He will probably have no manners at the moment, so it is up to you to teach him what is acceptable behaviour. This is done using food and repetition, with ignoring unwanted behaviours and rewarding positives. What you do in the home will affect how he listens to you outside.

Always have treats in your pockets!. Teach him a sit and a wait at home. Use this for anything that he needs, i.e. don't let him barge past in doorways, ask for a sit. It may take up to five minutes if he is a bouncy and excitable dog, but use this as a training exercise in itself. He will soon cotton on! Same with putting on lead, feeding etc. be calm and in control. If he doesn't do what you ask, then use your food as a lure and lure him to sit and then reward and start again. If you feel frustrated (you almost certainly will!), stop and have a break.

Out and about, try to find a calm dog to walk beside. Let him meet the dog first and get his initial excitment over with. As you approach dogs, use your treats to get attention. If he starts yanking, then turn a circle and ask him to sit (using your food), try not to 'hold' him back so he is on his back legs trying to get at the dogs. Think control, if you have to walk away in a different direction for a few paces, he should slow down and start to walk with you, as this is not what he wants, so reward him and then turn back towards. Again, if you can set this up as a training exercise it is good to do.

Work on your heelwork somewhere quiet, decide where you want him to walk in relation to you and keep to that goal. Haltis are OK, but they don't solve the immediate problem. Work on heelwork on a short lead with a normal collar. Do first in your garden, without distractions, until you can get him to walk a few paces. Watch your praise, if he is a high dog, then use low calm praise. Think about using a clicker.

When you are out, don't expect too much at this stage, nagging at him will have no effect, instead, use the treats you have at home and if he starts yanking ahead, stop, call him to you, ask him to sit, treat and continue, or use your turn around or circle. Walking in a cirle with the dog on the inside, naturally slows them down. Again it will take ages to get anywhere, so choose your moments when you want him to walk nicely and when he is more likely to walk nicely - or at least without pulling.

I would suggest, once you get to an area where he can sniff and wander freely, swap your short lead to a flexi - Not on the halti!!! - and let him have a little bit of a free run - if you use different leads for walking nicely (he shouldn't get in the habit of sniffing on the short lead), and a lead for free running, where he can also meet other dogs and sniff etc., he will learn the difference in the two.

Don't go rushing off to a training class just yet. Give your dog time to settle in first and start to calm down and realise that he will be with your for a while. Don't also go overcompesating for his bad start in life. It is much easier to start as you mean to go on now, than give lots of attention, let him have free rein and then find you have a problem later on!

A great book written specifically for people like yourself is

The Rescue Dog by Gwen Bailey

I worked with Gwen in a rescue environment and she knows what she is on about.

Give yourself time, I always say it take three months for a rescue to adjust and settle in and you to get used to it too, if you are still having problems, then contact the rescue, they may have someone who can give you advice and visit you at home.

Best of luck and good for you for rehoming what would be quite a difficult dog from a re-homing point of view.

Kate
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for the replies especially k8t (kate)

He was originally picked up as a stray from Ireland and took in by the Blue Cross, which is where we got him from. He was in kennels for ~ 10 days before we got him.

They didn't specifically tell us that he had any problems, just that they recommended he might need some social interaction with other dogs as he prob hasn't had much. They didn't say he had any issue with aggression towards others, so I'm assuming this wouldn't be a problem (?)

I'm only scared that if we are too close, he will lunge at another dog and not being the strongest, I won't be able to get him away.

First reaction from him is a whiney noise/whimper, followed by maybe a bark or growl, and the level depending on how much the other dog is reacting in return. He then trys to lunge at them, which gets me worried.

I watch other dogs getting on together in a fenced off green outsdie our house, and just wish I could trust him to respond like this
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:42 PM
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Re: Meeting other dogs on a walk = nightmare

Hi

Good for you for taking him on, I used to be centre manager for a Blue X centre, which one did you get him from?

It does sound like he is getting extrmemly excited by the other dogs he meets and you will probably find it will settle down. However, he could do with meeting other dogs and it sounds like you need some confidence, again this will come in time, in how he will react. One piece of advice when he starts pulling towards the other dogs is just to keep walking. if you are concerned the halti will come off, then clip the lead to both the collar and halti. but if you keep walking, he can't do anything just be confident.

Maybe you could find a dog walking group near you, that you can take him along, it will be hard work and you may have to walk slightly apart from the group inititally, but it will help him relax around other dogs.

I believe now, that most Blue X centres have behaviourists, or at least someone you can talk to. I would suggest you give them a ring and explain what he is doing and would it be possible to bring him over and meet up with someone who you could walk with, with another dog, so you can see what he does. They will also have a secure area you can let him off in and maybe see how how he responds with another dog, which may put you at ease. I am pretty sure it is just over excitment and not aggression, but this will confirm things and you should feel a bit happier about his reactions.

Don't be embarrassed to ring them, or think they will think you aren't coping, far from it. They will be pleased that you want to put the work in. They may even get someone to come out and have a chat. The last thing they want is for a dog to come back in. It is far easier to work with a dog in the home than have it back into kennels - not that you would be doing this anyway.

I would give it a couple more weeks, start some training at home, get your sits and waits with a treat. It is very very early days, give him time to settle in, he has had a lot of changes in a short time, don't expect too much just yet.

Best of luck and PM with which centre he came from, I may know someone there who can help.

Kate
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