Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Reactive and friendly dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by ForestWomble, May 24, 2017.


  1. ForestWomble

    ForestWomble PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Messages:
    18,275
    Likes Received:
    21,102
    I know to many of PF regulars this is obvious stuff, but I've just read the info I've copied and pasted below and I thought it might be helpful to new / not as experienced dog owners.

    “Could he not SEE that my dog was upset?”

    “My dog was on leash and under control - it was his dog that was out of control!”

    “Why, oh why, do people let their ‘friendly’ dogs invade the space of my fearful, reactive dog, and then blame me for being a useless dog-owner with a nasty dog?”

    *******************

    Anyone who works with Growly Dog owners - owners of shy, anxious, reactive, or aggressive, dogs - is familiar with these cries! Yes - it’s so frustrating when you’re doing everything right for your dog: keeping him calm; keeping your distance from things he fears; keeping out of the way of other dogs, or bikes, or people … and another person lets their dog rampage up to your on-leash dog!

    At first, you may not be sure whether this is an exuberant, over-friendly, approach, or something more sinister. Is this dog going to attack mine? How can I get away? Oh no!

    Your heart is now racing, your dog is now lunging and barking - the whole thing is a sorry mess! And what does the other person do?

    Well, usually, nothing. (They have no recall, so they’re not going to follow your plea to “Call your dog please!” and demonstrate how useless they are!)

    If you’re lucky you won’t get abused or reviled. But sometimes they can’t stop themselves!

    “You ought to control that dog.”

    “That dog is nasty - you should muzzle him before he attacks someone.”

    “My dog is friendly - it’s your dog that’s the problem.”

    And so on, they go.

    It’s enough to make you cry. And often that’s exactly what happens. No-one likes their dog to “show them up”, and no-one likes being sneered at, talked down to, or threatened. I absolutely sympathize if this has brought you to tears.

    IS THERE A DANGER OF DOG OWNERS DIVIDING INTO CAMPS OF “THEM” AND “US”?
    But let’s have a look at what’s going on here.

    Many people, and that includes many dog-owners, have no conception that dogs have feelings too. They seem to think that all dogs will get along with each other, and that their dog barging in to play with another dog is totally OK.

    Supposing they were having a family picnic. How would they feel if some strange children landed in the middle of it, kicking over the food and drinks, and snatching the bats and balls and playing with them themselves? I don’t think they’d be best pleased, and may well express their feelings to the other children’s parents.

    So why do these same people think it’s absolutely OK for their dog to rampage about and approach other dogs uninvited?

    I think they simply don’t realize. But some education needs to happen. These same people whose dogs are flying about annoying others could well be pillars of society once they leave the dog park. They could be considerate, allowing diversity of thoughts and opinions, concerned to let children fit in and express themselves as they are. But sadly they don’t afford the same consideration to dogs.

    I guess they think that all dogs are the same.

    Or that all dogs should be the same.

    They don’t understand that gentle, loving, affectionate dogs can be forced to show aggression and panic when confronted by their tearaway.

    It’s up to the Growly Dog owner to do his best to protect his dog from unwelcome advances, and it’s up to the “friendly” dog owner to teach his dog some manners and restraint.

    SO FOR THE GROWLY DOG OWNER
    1. Keep your distance

    2. Seek out quiet places and times to walk your dog where you’re unlikely to meet other dogs.

    3. Give your dog a break from stressful walks - only walk her when you’re confident of a calm time.

    4. Understand that it’s not the fault of the other owner if they don’t understand what you’re going through. We often don’t understand something until we go through it ourselves. Maybe they will never understand until they get a shy, anxious, reactive dog themselves - then the light will dawn!

    5. Be patient with them when they don’t respond to your cries of “Please put your dog on a lead, my dog is afraid!” You need all your presence of mind to help your dog.

    AND FOR THE “MY DOG IS FRIENDLY” OWNER
    1. Respect the space of other dogs and their owners.

    2. If another owner is struggling to restrain his leashed dog while your unleashed dog dances around them - please race in to collect your dog!

    3. In fact, when you are approaching a dog on lead, put yours on lead too.

    4. Put your phone away and focus on what your dog is doing.

    5. Always keep your dog within a few yards of you so that you can practice your recalls.

    6. Notice how other dogs behave, and rejoice in the individuality and diversity of our best friends.

    Copied from: https://positively.com/contributors...-other-folks-fault-that-they-dont-understand/
     
    Lurcherlad, Nettles, Spidei and 5 others like this.
  2. Annniebertandned

    Annniebertandned PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    this is nice advice but i do believe that 'growley' dogs should be taught manners too. I've had a anxious nervous dog and made it clear to him that he isn't to bite or react aggressively. He still did not enjoy other dogs invading his space but with training and exposure to it he was able to be off the lead and he simply ignored other dogs completely. Although i agree that dog who are too friendly are to be taught manners too and i know it is easier said then done but surely just removing a anxious dog from all things that make it anxious will make it much worse when they encounter that sort of thing again.
     
  3. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    If you're scared of spiders, is being exposed to spiders going to make you less scared of them?
    Conversely, if you're with a friend who always keeps spiders away from you, are you going to be more or less scared of spiders when you're with that friend?
     
    Katalyst, Lurcherlad, Nettles and 5 others like this.
  4. cbcdesign

    cbcdesign PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Messages:
    3,394
    Likes Received:
    3,158

    People who specialise in helping people overcome phobias would deal with a phobia of spiders using controlled exposure to spiders in a safe controlled environment, they are in effect the friend. They may start with pictures and gradually work up to the real thing, slowly desensitising the person to spiders. They would not simply tell the person off for being scared of spiders!
     
    Lurcherlad, Nettles, Lexiedhb and 7 others like this.
  5. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    Messages:
    6,018
    Likes Received:
    18,711
    Growling is a dog's way of showing he (or she) is uncomfortable with the situation and asking the other dog to back off. I don't really see how this is "bad manners" to be honest. It's much better that the dog growls and gives the other dog chance to back off. If someone sat next to you and kept poking you would you want to ask them to stop? Would it be rude of you to ask them to stop?
     
  6. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,725
    Likes Received:
    12,914
    Well in an ideal world you'd avoid the trigger altogether, then work at the dogs threshold distance and gradually work closer to it. In the real world if you have a dog that is people or dog reactive I imagine that is near enough impossible unless you live on some remote mountain or island. But there is a balance there. You aren't always going to keep a reactive dog 'below threshold' but giving them plenty of space where possible can go a very long way.
     
    Lurcherlad, Nettles and ForestWomble like this.
  7. Annniebertandned

    Annniebertandned PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    Dogs are not people, they do not think like that. If you desensitize a dog with positive training and a few calmer dogs to help them on their way they will start to understand and be less anxious! If you have a dog and take it away from everything that scares it and other dogs you are going to have a aggressive fearful dog! why do you think people push puppy socialization? so dogs can cope with situations like this! i'm not saying just get another dog and do nothing, training is key.

    I have worked with an aggressive spaniel and the first thing i did was get my trustworthy older lab to rehabilitate it, you wanna know why? Bert is perfectly socialized and knows how to deal with those things. And it helped the spaniel greatly! simply removing the dog from other dogs is not solving the problem it is avoiding it.
     
  8. Annniebertandned

    Annniebertandned PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    the post says 'lunging and barking' i don't think growling is wrong, i tell owners it's okay when thier dog corrects my younger dog for being rude, at it is dog communication and they learn greatly through that.
     
  9. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2017
    Messages:
    6,533
    Likes Received:
    7,605
    But not everyone has more than one dog. And just because it worked for that dog doesn't mean it will for every dog. And it's pretty rude of you to come on and insist you are right just because it worked with that one dog.
     
    Lurcherlad, Nettles and Magyarmum like this.
  10. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    17,011
    Likes Received:
    9,452
    So what if the rude dog decides it doesnt want to be 'corrected'?

    Dogs may speak dog, but they dont have to listen to what the other is communicating.
     
    Lurcherlad and Nettles like this.
  11. Annniebertandned

    Annniebertandned PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    this isn't me 'insisting i'm right' and how i am being 'rude' good god. Is it too much to say what worked with the dogs i've worked with? i've had dogs all my life and i know that a fearful dog will not benefit from not being tucked away from everything!
     
  12. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    Messages:
    6,018
    Likes Received:
    18,711
    There's a big difference between working with your reactive dog and a carefully selected dog or dogs that you know and just exposing your reactive dog to any dog it happens to meet on a walk. My dog is friendly with other dogs, but I do not allow her to just approach other dogs, particularly if they are on lead. As friendly as mine may be, she has a lot of energy and can be too much for other dogs - I don't think she would be a good candidate to help most reactive dogs.
     
  13. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,725
    Likes Received:
    12,914
    Haha, if only it were that easy!

    Sorry but you can't generalise anything with 'reactivity'. Much of it in many dogs is genetic and you can't change genetics, only help manage it. Sticking a "perfectly socialised" (IME there is no such thing, the 'best' dogs I find that are socially well balanced are dog neutral, and have little to no interest in other dogs) in front of an anxious/reactive/aggressive dog won't do anything in isolation.
     
    Lurcherlad, Nettles and ForestWomble like this.
  14. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    Messages:
    21,987
    Likes Received:
    8,420
    Im glad that it worked out for your 'growley' dog but not all dogs are the same. There are levels of anxiety and reactiveness and what works for your dog may not work for another.
    I have 2 that react badly to friendly (bully) dogs with growling and snapping but they also respond in a proportionate way, meaning that they dont seek out other dogs but will shoo them away then be happy to ignore them if they go.
    However I also have a reactive dog that has major fear issues with pretty much everything. We stick to the same road walks as new environments dont desensitize him, they turn him into a catatonic fearful mess. We avoid other dogs because even with positive reinforcement and behaviourist input he still overreacts to other dogs.
    As Labradrk points out unless you have complete control over your environment sometimes its best to just manage your dogs issues to make them as confortable as possible. Alfie will never be sociable or confident but he can be perfectly happy in his safe little world, even if it means he is more restricted then other dogs.
     
    Nettles and ForestWomble like this.
  15. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    Yeah, that was kind of my point ;)
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  16. Annniebertandned

    Annniebertandned PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    i don't understand all the attacks on me to be honest! of course circumstances vary but training is part of 'managing'
     
  17. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,725
    Likes Received:
    12,914
    Because you are suggesting that one size fits all. It doesn't.
     
    Nettles and Kimmikins like this.
  18. Annniebertandned

    Annniebertandned PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    5
    sorry for what suggesting that people should work with their dogs! good god. at the end of the day you can't deny that many trainers use methods like that, and many of the dogs end up getting better!
     
  19. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    1,416
    Likes Received:
    3,529
    Tad off topic but as a new puppy owner - Lily hasn't yet met any dogs, saw a couple but I encourage and reward her for focusing back on me. I don't know anyone with a well mannered adult dog for her to meet.

    Am I setting myself up for problems if she doesn't mix? TBH I have no desire for Lily to mix with other dogs - sure acknowledge their existence but I'd rather her focus and attention be on me.

    We have GCDS puppy foundation course in July - primarily to learn me :Shamefullyembarrased but perhaps learn Lily to continue focusing on me around other distractions; dogs, people and a new environment.
     
  20. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2017
    Messages:
    6,533
    Likes Received:
    7,605
    And now you're getting annoyed cos people don't agree with you. Suggesting is a good thing. Insistence not so much.

    BTW how exactly did you 'make it clear' to your reactive dog that he wasn't allowed to react?
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice