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Reactivity or not?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by spamvicious, Feb 10, 2018.


  1. spamvicious

    spamvicious PetForums Senior

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    So I’ve been gradually letting star off lead more and more and her recall has been amazing. However I’m still wary of how she will react to other dogs while off lead so when I’ve seen other dogs I’ve put her on the lead. Today we walked past a small dog that was on a lead and Star wanted to play but the other dog didn’t so we just carried on walking and I let her off lead again.

    Further on the path I saw a man with a pit bull type dog on the lead so I put Star on the lead. I also noticed the other dog was muzzled so the man had gone out of his way to cross into a nearby field to avoid us. All of a sudden star started barking and pulling toward the dog.

    I’m confused as to why she was fine with the little dog but not with the bigger dog?. Or is just normal “I don’t like you” as apposed to her being reactive.
     
  2. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    It could be a number of things, but it's perfectly possible that she is more intimidated by larger dogs. Holly can be quite nervy around large male dogs but has no issue with females and males that are smaller than her.
     
  3. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    It's not abnormal for dogs to react differently to different breeds or types of dog, or the behaviour the other dog is displaying.
     
  4. spamvicious

    spamvicious PetForums Senior

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    Ok thanks. My mum is taking Star to the seaside and will be letting Star off on the beach so I guess she just needs to have some good treats to get her back if she sees a big dog?. She was attacked by a Great Dane but I don’t know if dogs remember stuff like humans.
     
  5. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Oh they most definitely do.

    If you think Star will possibly to run up to a big dog when your mum takes her out, I'd probably tell your mum to keep her on the lead to be safe.
     
    Burrowzig, Sarah H and Sairy like this.
  6. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Yes they absolutely remember. Holly was set upon by 3 male Leonbergers (and one female). They didn't hurt her, but knocked her over and really frightened her - once the owners had fetched their dogs Holly was lying down in the middle of where they were absolutely terrified. This happened last summer and ever since she has been frightened of large male dogs if we see one on a walk, particularly Leonbergers and also male GSDs (I guess they look kind of similar apart from the ears). Other dogs though (and bitches) are not an issue for her at all.
     
  7. spamvicious

    spamvicious PetForums Senior

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    Aww poor Holly. It’s weird though because Star goes to doggy day care twice a week and I’ve had this discussion with the staff who I trust and she’s said that Star is absolutely fine with all the dogs. She only seems to feel threatened when out walking.
     
  8. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    It's a different situation. Holly is not bothered by large dogs at training class, nor would she be bothered if we met up with someone with a male GSD and went for a walk with them. It is a different kettle of fish if we meet one whilst on a walk.
     
  9. Animallover26

    Animallover26 I am me.

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    As a puppy Bungo was knocked over by a neighbours dog (a white cross breed) and he has been frightened of white dogs ever since and that was over 2 years ago.
     
  10. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    @ouesi suggested something to me that makes good sense. To a dog, a full face-on approach can be quite intimidating body language. So dogs that have a broad front (staffies, bulldogs etc) might not be doing anything intentionally; but their conformation may lead them to be perceived, often incorrectly, as threatening. I do recognise a tension in T when he sees dogs like that so it is something to consider.
     
  11. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

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    It's quite possible she was reacting to the dogs body language. If it was wearing a muzzle and the owner took obvious measures to move away from you then chances are the dog was not good with others. Spen reacts to dogs who lunge, bark, growl etc or just offer up unfriendly body language in general by focusing intently on me as treats are often forthcoming for him ignoring them. He's not usually bothered too much by them, a quick glance now and then to make sure they're not sneaking up on him then back to me. However, there used to be a Ridgeback lived near us and any time we encountered it he would scoot to the other side of me as far from it as he could get and crawl along on his belly. The dog never barked, growled or anything but its body language said it all, given half a chance it would have attacked him and it terrified him.
     
  12. steveshanks

    steveshanks PetForums VIP

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    I wish i could get into there heads and see what they are thinking, if a Rotty or Newfy comes near Pip he gets all hard as nails and tells them to get lost but if he sees a GSD he is terrified, as in shaking and cowering, he hates black labs but loves a black shittpoo .....Oh and there is a huge long haired GSD that he loves, they could drive you mad LOL
     
  13. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    Sox can be reactive and is certainly more scared of big dogs ( even though he is big ) especially if he is on the lead. He's ok as longs as they don't come to close. Also I know that after he was attacked I was more nervous if we had to pass a large dog he probably picked up on this.
     
  14. spamvicious

    spamvicious PetForums Senior

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    You could be right. It might be my anxiety she’s picking up on. I’m just automatically putting her on the lead now when I see other dogs but I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do.
     
  15. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    I do the same with sox although he is better off lead I worry in case he does have a growl. lily is normally off lead might stop for a sniff of the other dog is off. I move sox out of the way do watch me and keep going lily follows. I don't know if it's the right thing to do either but I don't want him getting in trouble. If it's a dog in the distance I don't because he stays very close to me.
     
  16. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    You can always put Star on the lead and have a game with her when you see another dog. Going back on the lead doesn't need to be a negative thing and yes it is perfectly possible that you are giving off negative vibes if you are worried. Keep the lead nice and loose and do something nice - examples being scattering treats on the floor, playing a game of tug, doing some tricks etc. That should help to take both of your minds off the other dog.
     
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  17. tabulahrasa

    tabulahrasa PetForums VIP

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    That’s more or less what I was going to say but from the other side, Brock’s hugely reactive and dogs quite often display uncharacteristic behaviour towards or round him.

    His body language is to me awful, and I’m human so I assume to dogs it’s even more noticeable.
     
  18. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

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    Yeah, we had it with Rupert too. Dogs would kick off at him "for no reason" according to their owners. All down to his body language and it was all too easily missed.
     
  19. tabulahrasa

    tabulahrasa PetForums VIP

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    In fairness some of them I think yeah right, lol, but often the owners are genuinely really confused.

    To me it looks a bit like Brock going, I’m going to get you, just you wait, I’m having you and the other dog finally goes - oy, get lost mate.

    But the other owner hasn’t spotted Brock having a go because up till that point he’s done it silently.
     
  20. spamvicious

    spamvicious PetForums Senior

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    So Star's recall is excellent recently and it's making walking her a lot easier. Yesterday she was on the field and there were other dogs also off lead but she didn't approach them but I did have a ball in my hand which she was highly invested in. Today I took her to the woods and took a squeaky ball in my pocket. We were sat on a bench and a woman with an off lead dog walked past so I kept hold of Star and off they went in the distance, I let go of Star and she went running off towards the dog not barking or anything. I squeaked the ball and she came back instantly. Whenever I see dog I'm automatically putting her on the lead till we're past them, even though nine time out of ten she just wants to play with the other dog and isn't barking or anything. Am I doing the right thing? or am I making her tense by putting her on the lead?.
     
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