We are not very popular. Advice please.

(61 Posts)
chipstick10 Tue 15-Jan-13 18:49:54

I need some advice as this is new to me. My darling old dog died last June, he had been with us for 15yrs. He wasn't keen on other dogs and was always happy playing with us or just sniffing around in the park.
We now have a new rescue dog and he is the complete opposite and is very sociable. He is still a puppy and loves rough and tumble. In the park I know he is the dog other owners dread seeing. He play fights all the time. He never growls or barks and just pins dogs down and play bites their ears. Some owners are really happy with this and tell me it is nice to see the dogs playing but I know other owners are less happy. They tut and tell me to keep him on a lead. One woman the other morning pushed him away with her walking stick. I absolutely dread going to the park now, every day is a nightmare. Am I over reacting? What is the eticate I have no idea?
I think perhaps I should keep him on a lead but another part of me thinks why the hell should I. Trouble is once he's in play he doesn't recall very easily.

Floralnomad, I think we have the same dog. My dog loves to run for his ball, and I walk him mainly off lead (high energy dog, needs to run). I do my best to avoid bouncy dogs, and am working with him much as Scuttlebutter describes. I don't lead him as soon as I see another dog as if he was bothered on lead his reaction would be intensified due to fear and being unable to get away. I tend to ask owners to call their dog back if I see one start thundering towards us.

chipstick10 Tue 15-Jan-13 22:19:48

Just to add I am very aware of my dog and I am not the dog walker who says "he's just being friendly" . I am paranoid and will from the get go say "no" the second he approaches a dog weather they want him to or not.

Floralnomad Tue 15-Jan-13 22:23:07

Chickens Mine is a Battersea rescue Patterdale X who we got at 14/15 weeks , I just think he missed the socialising bit early despite what we tried to do when we got him. He is completely ball obsessed to the point that he is not allowed them in the house as he drives you mad ,which makes them even more important when he's out! I've read lots of your threads with interest as they do sound very alike but I think you probably worry about what people think of you more than I do !

zonedout Tue 15-Jan-13 22:26:02

While I do sympathise with the owners of friendly but 'exuberant' young dogs, I agree totally with what scuttlebutter said. I have an almost 15 year old dog. She is very slow, frail and stiff but still enjoys a short walk in the park and a few sniffs. I keep her on a lead as she has a lot of 'senior moments' whereby she seems to forget where she is and what she is doing. I really really struggle with her getting harassed by young, crazy dogs. By the same token, some years ago she was very vicisiously attacked by another dog in our local park, requiring surgery. This happened in front of my ds1 (who has SN) leaving him absolutely terrified of other dogs sad. Nothing frightens him more than a boisterous, out of control pup. I would, however, like to re iterate that I am a huge dog lover, having had dogs all of my adult life so I also sympathise with and understand your predicament and really hope things resolve for you and your pup (which I'm sure they will, given time) smile

zonedout Tue 15-Jan-13 22:28:57

blush not sure I was very clear in my post, it is my ds who is now terrified of all dogs but our own and also the dog that attacked our dog was not a young, boisterous pup but an adult dog.

I do, Floral. Bloody anxiety. Jas isn't allowed balls at all unless we're training or on a walk. Even then, the ABOA is the 'big gun' used only as a reward or distraction. It works quite well, as now when he sees another dog in the field he comes back to me waiting for the ball. He's even got to 'know' a couple of bomb proof dogs and will play alongside them fetching the ball, but he has no interest in actually playing with them. Although today was interesting, as he was chasing the ABOA and his fuzzy friend was chasing his own ball. They would both run for each ball, but Jas left the other ball if he got to it first and vice versa. It's the first time I have seen him choose to interact even slightly with another dog and was almost like acknowledgement.

Floralnomad Tue 15-Jan-13 22:50:52

We do walk with one other dog sometimes but she is equally antisocial , doesn't chase his ball and they co exist at 6' apart!

Zonedout - I understand completely. Last year we lost our very much loved darling elderly girl. By the end, her eyesight was failing, she had arthritis, was frail, and then she had a stroke, but was still walking, and enjoying peaceful potters. She had become quite reactive - understandably - after one too many encounters with cannonball Labradors whose owners seem to think that recall is an optional extra. sad We often hear about the socialisation needs of pups, but we also need to remember the needs of dogs at the other end of the age spectrum.

Sorry to hear your DS is frightened of dogs. sad

Hi Chipstick - so sympathise with you here. Our lovely boy is v bouncy and playful with other dogs - and big. So it's a question of management - he doesn't need to be on lead the whole time. Here's what I do:

I try to walk him at quiet times in the park or go to places that are quieter.

His recall is excellent except when he is playing so prevention is the key. I keep an eye out at all times for other dogs.

I call him away from other dogs who are on lead.

I put him on lead if I see other smaller dogs.

If he is playing (with the other owner's permission) and he gets OTT, I don't use the recall word but say no v firmly. I try and grab him and he goes back on lead. This is tricky but the OTT behaviour is getting better.

Our trainer said don't try and recall when he is playing - I agree. it devalues the command so the key is prevention.

I do lots of distraction or training when there are other dogs around - he's food obsessed so that helps.

Stick with the dogs that you know the owners are OK with the play. It is often a question of guaging the owners comfort zone. I know one owner who really hates lurchers "lurchers always steal other dogs sticks", but whose dog always comes running over to play. I avoid him.

We're getting there - the biggest problem now is other dogs running over to us and then their owners getting miffed about OTT play.

Sorry so long, but really empathise. you'll get there

chipstick10 Wed 16-Jan-13 08:28:19

Thanks paddy
Reading your bullet points here I do actually follow a lot of them. I try to avoid going at times and places when other dogs are around. I keep an eye out constantly for other dogs.
I call him away from dogs on leads
Trouble is he is part greyhound and so can out run most so I have no chance.

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 09:17:46

I tend to work on the etiquette that if a dog approaching you is on a lead you put yours on a lead too. If it's off and your is off happily then you can leave him/her off. It has always worked for me smile

Floralnomad Wed 16-Jan-13 09:34:49

But with respect owllady that is the issue ,just because my dog is off lead it doesn't give other dogs the right to jump all over him , my off lead dog would simply walk past another dog because he doesn't want to play so why should he be forced to . My dog is off lead having his exercise ,he is not a plaything for other people's dogs!

Gomez Wed 16-Jan-13 09:35:33

Aye me too owl lady. Does remind me of a rather interesting encounter however. Huge Alsatian coming towards us on lead, so I stick my working cocker spaniel on her lead. Say hello to owner usual chat. Note that seeing as she was holding lead quite tight, dog straining a bit that we would move on.

At which point horse sized dog gets out of slip lead and lands on top of our dog and has a nip!

Owner than adds she's not sure what she is like with other dogs (or presumably people/small children as my friend and I are moving the 5 small children out the way) as she just rescued her that day...

There was no real harm down but it did reinforce my dogs fear when on ahead which now manifests itself in much noise if an other dog gets too close when she is on the lead.

Gomez Wed 16-Jan-13 09:36:07

Doh - on a lead. No ahead.

Gomez Wed 16-Jan-13 09:38:27

But Flora my dog off lead won't approach another dog either she is too busy doing her thing.

But if the dog approaching is on their lead I assume it is for a reason and so will reciprocate.

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 09:38:29

why don't you put him on a lead then when you see another dog? I do find if you do that the other dog owner usually will put theirs on a lead.

My older one is a quite a shy sensible dog and if off lead she walks past any dogs that try and play with her and gives them the look confused

Sorry if I have completely misunderstood what you mean but I have only read a few posts regarding on/off lead and old ladies with walking sticks

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 09:40:54

the putting them on/off a lead is signal to other dog owners I have always found

I know it sounds simplistic, but if you don't want bounding dogs near your dog put them on a lead and 9 times out of 10 the other person will too. I do realise sometimes this doesn't happen and it depends how busy the place you are walking is

I agree with Floral (unsurprisingly). Tbh, I think most people are really good at 'reading' both the dog and the owner. They notice if you do an about turn and start moving off in another direction, and they distract their dog from approaching yours. If that doesn't work, most will apologise and remove their dog if mine starts panicking. If they seem oblivious (thankfully reasonably rare), I ask them politely to recall their dog as mine is nervous. Most people are fine about it, apologise and fetch their dog. Occasionally I meet someone who despite all of the above, thinks their dog should be allowed to bounce on my dog's head. My dog will then jump at the other dog, mouth at their face and make a lot of noise. I try not to automatically apologise, and they generally don't let it happen again. The issue for me is that every time we have a negative encounter, it sets back our training which is a pain in the arse. I don't walk my dog in a park, though, or take him to environments where dog 'play' would be expected.

Floralnomad Wed 16-Jan-13 09:46:43

If my dog is playing ball and minding his own business I think the onus is on the person with the dog that wants to play to remove it , if they don't then I move my dog on to another part of the field . I'd be mightily pissed off if the other dog then followed us . I may well be in the wrong here ( I don't actually care) but IMO my dog has a good recall and doesn't approach other dogs so its the person who's dog wants to play and won't respond to being recalled that should be taken away by its owner . I've no problem with them being off lead just take them away if they are a nuisance to other people . I'm not suggesting that the dogs should never be off lead as has been shown in my previous posts.

Floralnomad Wed 16-Jan-13 09:47:33

Thanks chickens , I'm beginning to feel like a minority here!

Problem with that OwlLady is that you don't always get time, and putting your dog on a lead won't help if the other owner can't recall. You end up with a scared dog, on lead, unable to escape the off lead dog bouncing on them. I think that there would be more chance of aggro in that situation, tbh. If a dog runs up to mine to say hello, he will just avoid them. Dogs with manners take this as a sign and leave him alone, but obviously young dogs who have yet to learn their manners carry on regardless. That's why I tend to walk away while distracting my dog rather than automatically lead him.

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 09:50:17

grin @ dogs with manners!

I tend to think dogs with poor recall shouldn't be off the lead yet in very busy situations confused but maybe I am shy and sensible too

It is hard, the recall thing. Because they have to be off lead to learn, and sometimes you think they have learned and the buggers show you up. I remember vividly being stood in a field as Jasper hightailed it over the horizon towards a football match. No point yelling, the wind was howling and he wouldn't have heard me. And he really loves balls. I ran/hobbled/wheezed my way across the field to find him sat in the middle of the field lying across the football. Luckily, the players hought it was funny and no harm done, but I grovelled and apologised like mad. Everyone slips up sometimes, no one is a perfect owner, I just think that everyone should be responsible for their own dogs behaviour. You can't expect other people to be tolerant, although of course it's lovely when they are. For the record I am always understanding and polite when a boisterous dog gets away from its owner as long as the owner gives a shit. I only get narky when they don't seem to care that my dog is now cowering and shaking between my legs.

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 09:57:55

I know, I do agree with you

Christ, I sometimes think that people have stronger opinions about dog ownership than they do about parenting grin

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