Thanks, Alandog does seem keen to say hello but it's almost like she wants to do the sniffing and doesn't want them to do anything but stand still! ( not gonna happen) she snaps at them and they yelp and jump away so I Think she is making contact? If she didn't seem keen I wouldn't push it but as she is only 8 months old ( and an un socialised rescue) I'm hoping we can work on this..
What both you and Redwing say resonates with me. Gymdog will do exactly as you describe - ie sniff and snap and I attribute it to two things. Firstly, I reckon Gymdog is not fundamentally that interested in other dogs. He certainly has no desire to play with them and I don't think ever will. I think in his experience the inital sniff is so often followed by a 'great, so we can go and play then' reaction from other dogs and he simply doesn't want to. So although he can now tolerate or even enjoy that inital sniff he doesn't tolerate what comes next. Hence the bark/snap when it all appeared to be going so well! So I tend to avoid the sniff altogether at the moment. If it's unavoidable then I BAT it there and then - ie sniff, sniff, well done, reward is to walk away
Secondly, Gymdog is a rescue and I think wasn't socialised at all when he was young. I have never seen him use calming signals with other dogs, ever. He seems pretty clueless about what they mean when other dogs use them with him as well <disclaimer, it may of course be me who is being clueless here, not Gymdog as I am no canine behaviour expert>.
I suspect with us the next stage may be to 'teach' him calming signals and what they mean which I understand is possible. As far as I can see he's not teaching them to himself! I think that will help us with the next stage - what Gymdog needs now is to be able to issue a polite 'no thank you' rather than the bark or the snap. I imagine in time that probably means just coming back to me. <more copious disclaimers, happy to be corrected>
I wonder if Alandog has moved on too fast, and needs to go back a step? If there's a serious risk of other dogs getting injured, then I don't think she should be meeting all these other dogs.
Meeting other dogs when off-lead is much easier for her than when she's on a lead, as she can behave naturally and normally without being restrained. If she is okay when off lead, then let those interactions continue, but try and restrict the on-lead interactions until she's had a bit more practice.
Personally I think an air-snap to say 'back off' is fine. I mean yes, it would be better if she just looked away or licked her lips to show displeasure and the other dog backed off, but tbh not all dogs are well socialized and won't necessarily respond to those signals. So I think it depends on the situation whether an air snap is justified or not.
(I watched my husky air snap at another dog yesterday but he was bang-to-rights; he had just stood patiently, then looked the other way and licked his lips, while another dog first sniffed his genital area and then moved in and gave him a thorough licking down there. Nothing wrong with an air snap in those circumstances!).
If you're talking about something more than an air snap, then you definitely need to take a step back with the training. If other dogs are at risk - e.g. if she has bitten badly before - then of course she needs a muzzle. But if that's not what she's doing, then it's best to manage interactions so that she doesn't get to that dangerous stage.
Alandog is soo much better now than when we first got her. Slowly, after lots of BAT and clicker, she will walk past other dogs without a negative reaction. It's been fine for weeks now so I think we've cracked that side.
However, I'm not sure what to do for the next stage. She is happy off or on lead to sniff other dogs, in fact she pulls enthusiastically to say hello. But it's like she doesn't know what to do after the sniff so snaps at the dog, she has just gone up to, to tell it to back off!?
I'm wondering if muzzling her will help her see that saying hello and playing doesn't need warning snaps. And that other dogs aren't going to fight her. ( these are 'safe' dogs we know) . Is it a bad idea?