Why is my dog crazy around other dogs?? :((34 Posts)
I'm at the end of my tether with my dog today.
She's 2, a greyhound X. She is a loose cannon around other dogs. Okay, sometimes she is okay, but - it's unpredictable.
I've reached the point where I'm afraid to take her to a dog park or dog beach. She goes wild with joy and excitement and stirs other dogs up. At the beach, she charges into the water and tries to get at swimmers and other dogs. She does all this with her tail wagging, she never snarls or snaps. But she frightens and upsets people, and other dogs. Then the other dog snaps at her, and it ends up in a whirlwind of mutual chasing and snapping and barking, which k have to then physically break up (and risk getting bitten by the other dog). It's embarrassing and horrible.
I know that by failing to let her off-lead anymore, I'm probably making things worse, as she is not being socialised. But letting her off is just so incredibly stressful.
I walk her on-lead for at least an hour a day, every day. I spend as much time with her as I can.
I've been to two training courses with her. Her recall is still shit, as her prey drive is so strong.
She's a rescue and I love her to bits. I would never give her up, but her terrible manners around other dogs is making our lives miserable.
Can anyone help, please?
Personally I wouldn't let her off lead if there are people/ dogs about. Then work on recall and ignoring. I don't know much about dogs but until my puppy can behave/come back he'll be staying on lead.
The thing is, I'm finding it really hard to train for recall because she goes so crazy around other dogs.
She is quite big and she just starts leaping around like a demon on the lead if there are other dogs in the park.
A friend of mine had a rescue greyhound. She said to me that you have to think about them not being a household pet, but an animal whose basic instincts have been allowed to fully develop. She never let hers off the lead if there were any dogs, other animals or people around, and her dog was muzzled all the time while out.
A long line and harness. Lots of recall training.
Thanks for the replies.
Can't they not drink/pant properly if muzzled? maybe that's the only solution, though.
She's not an ex-racing purebred, btw - I guess she's what you'd call a lurcher? She's like a more stocky, compact greyhound.
Recall training with a long lead is hell, but I will have to persist. She is v fast and strong, and I'm afraid she's going to do herself (or me) an accidental injury when she leaps at birds, or launches herself in the direction of another dog.
I had a similar issue when we rescued ddog2, he hate anything not part of our family and of he got the slightest inkling that another dog or person was going to even innocently acknowledges me it would sent him into an uncontrollable rage, which wasn't good as he weighs eighteen stone and is considerably bigger than an Irish wolfhound.
I found that training him to look to me for guidance worked well. I used a signal to break through to him when he's starting to rage, I click my fingers twice quickly and all our dogs know that means stop what you're doing and come and sit by my feet and listen to me.
None of our dogs are remotely food or toy motivated, so when training for finger clicking I used to feign being hurt, I used to yowl and fall on the floor whimpering, and as to our dogs me being hurt is the most unthinkably horrendous thing, I would instantly have the fluffballs' attention. If food or toys motivate your dog it will be easier!
All three dogs still hate anyone and anything not part of our family (but that's to be expected as we have two caucasian ovcharkas and a fila brasiliero), but they are impeccably trained and their training in reliable in all situations. We own a ranch though, so rarely see other dogs/strangers and that doses make it easier.
Thanks, Mother - your visual made me laugh!!
Good tips. My dog is not food-motivated either, remotely. I am finding it so hard to envisage her ever paying more attention to me than another dog/cat. She sees another dog and it's like she 'locks on' and I might as well not exist.
With mine it was an almost cartoon skid to a halt and "whaaaaaaat?!? Mummy's hurt?!?! Reverse, she must be extensively licked, sniffed and Nuzzled!" I know what you mean about locking on, it is a case of finding what's more important to them than what they're doing, once you know that its easier to train them. Any one of our three would happily slaughter anything they thought was a threat (or in the case of humans pin them down and snarl at them), that's why training them was essential, we didn't want our ranch hands resigning en masse!
I can't help you with the training (although I am taking note of the advice as I have a saluki/whippet who seems to think that recall doesn't apply to her!) She can also be a bit funny with the occasional dog and I do have too keep her muzzled now. Although, of course, I wish I didn't have to, she actually doesn't mind it at all and you can get proper sighthound ones to fit their pointy noses. The one that my dog has means that she can still pant and still have a drink when she needs to as well. Hopefully you won't need one but if you do it's not too bad
Thank you all, I really appreciate the advice.
Walking my 8 month Shih Tzu pup at the park today, I must admit that I willed his enthusiasm towards other dogs to end. It does make off lead walking quite stressful and, as with your dog, he doesn't always elicit the most positive response!
On the other side of this, please don't let your dog run up to others if you can't reliably recall. I have a 7 month old chihuahua. He loves going to the fields and sniffing around but too many experiences with other dogs running up and terrifying him while their owners ineffectively try to call them back and insist they are friendly ruins walks for us
Recently his reaction to his experiences is to bark at other dogs to try and get them to stay away, today this led to the other dog barking and growling back and getting really aggressive. When I picked mine up the other dog started jumping up me to snap at him
His owner (from half a field away) was still yelling his name and insisting he was 'just friendly and bouncy'. The thing is though, my small dog has the same right to a good quality of life as all the big dogs. If he was an Alsatian on a lead would the other owners be as blasé about their dogs jumping and snapping at him? No, because then they would be the one at risk.
It's really stressful and unfair. And now I've ranted on your thread! Sorry about that! But please, don't be that owner who lets their terrorise others just because he's 'bouncy'
God, reading that back it sounds as if I'm having a right go at you!
I'm not honestly, it's just so stressful for us and it makes me so cross, but your thread is not here for my rant and I apologise.
One of my dogs hates dogs bigger than him. I do tend to walk him in areas where there aren't any other dogs as it got so annoying.
Anyway, that's by the by. I really only came on to say, Mother your dog is EIGHTEEN STONE?!!!
There is a facial muzzle made that is just a series of straps around head, still allows some movement of mouth for panting, drinking etc but means jaw can't open enough to bite. Made by Canny Collar. Its designed to help train dogs to stop pulling on the lead etc, but was great help training mums choc lab that not everything on the floor was lunch.
Billingsgate, no problems at all - you make very fair points.
Yes, that's absolutely what I don't want - my overexcited dog with no recall, bounding up to other dogs trying to force them to play and terrifying everyone.
I have a Saluki lurcher who sounds quite similar. He is just a year old and I am hoping that he will become less boisterous around other dogs, but maybe not. On one occasion he was quite snappy with another dog which had bounded up to him and since then I am nervous about letting him off the lead near unfamiliar dogs. With hindsight I realised that when he snapped at the other dog he was unwell, but unless I am able to identify that beforehand that isn't much help. Normally he is just too bouncy and sometimes once another dog has shown that it is willing to chase with him he can become quite bitey near the other dogs neck in an effort to prolong the game, which I think is a typical breed thing. I too worry that lack of socialisation might only make things worse.
I have bought a muzzle for him and he is happy to try it on but I find myself hugely reluctant to make him wear it. I feel that it labels him as an aggressive dog. Can some owners of muzzle wearing dogs give me a good talking to please?
I have also bought a whistle and am on the first stages of some serious recall training. I have bought the book 'Total Recall' which I saw recommended on here. I find it hard to imagine that I will ever be able to recall him from chasing a squirrel but I think recalling from other dogs might be doable with some hard work.
Birdy, you just described my dog, and my feelings about her behaviour, exactly!
I, too, am worried about the impressions muzzle will create - especially since she has never shown an ounce of aggression to a human.
My dog is the same. Over enthusiastic 1 yr old who just wants to play with every dog he sees. Great recall until he sees someone or a dog and then he's gone like the bloody wind & won't come back - just heads off with the other dog owners & their dogs. Drives me nuts and embarrasses my DS & DH!
If he's on the lead though, he goes crazy & barks and yelps as he's so desperate to play with the other dogs who are off lead. I've heard good things about Total Recall too so think that's probably a book/method worth learning.
One thought about the perception of muzzling - I got a tabard made up on Amazon for about £6. I designed it to say 'space please'. But I've also seen others saying 'training' or whatever.
I sometimes feel a bit silly wearing it, but my dog is very lead reactive so I'm training him all the time.
If I turn and walk away or whatever, other owners can see I'm not rude!
I also adopted a grey recently who is an ex racer. It might comfort you to know that (a) as a breed, they are not brilliant at recall, and (b) it is actually not uncommon for some greyhounds never to be walked off the lead if their recall never gets up to scratch. She doesn't actually have to come off the lead. Lots of rescues advise that you don't let them off the lead if they don't have good recall. It's for their safety above anything else - they can get out of sight in five seconds and they won't always remember how to get back.
If you're worried about her bolting on the long lead, I'd start by practising recall in the garden (if you have one) on a long lead with no distractions, and then with no lead, and then maybe with a couple of dog-friendly friends creating distractions in the garden whilst you work. Then when you have her consistently coming to you in the garden you can start to think about letting her off in situations with other dogs or people.
Mine is a lovely polite boy and very good with other dogs, including the small ones that some greys think of as prey - but if he sees a cat in the distance he immediately goes rigid and starts quivering and so far I have been completely unable to bring him out of that stage except by pulling him round. He tried to chase one the other day but he was on the short lead so didn't get very far. I don't particularly want him to kill a neighbour's cat and fortunately we're out in the country so I've already decided that I'm going to walk him on the lead on the estate and see if I can find someone who will lend me an enclosed garden or maybe a paddock somewhere nearby where I can take him to properly stretch his legs every couple of days.
Re muzzles, if yours is an ex racer she would have worn a muzzle routinely when with other dogs and with racing, so I wouldn't say it was cruel to put a muzzle on her provided it fits properly. Our rescue gave us a muzzle, which I don't use but only because he's always on the lead.
On the other side of this, please don't let your dog run up to others if you can't reliably recall.
This is more my problem at the moment. Two small dogs off the lead have had a massive go at my boy recently, who really does do nothing but wag his tail when he sees other dogs. I understand it in the sense that dogs are dogs and sometimes they behave like idiots, but I am getting a bit tired of owners who let their dogs off the lead and then just sort of amble along, miles behind them, with no idea what they're doing until the snarling starts and then are completely incapable of getting their dog away. "Fido! Fido! Oh dear, he's not usually like this" sigh
Somebody i know has being rescuing and fostering greyhound/lurchers for 20 years hesays he never lets them off lead ever his old girl is 17 and still tries to chasebirds in the garden the urge to chase and catch is just in them.
UtterIdiot, excellent points.
Mine is not ex-racing, though. She's not even pure grey - there is God knows what mixed in there (and I've had people ask if she's a whippet, although she'd be a pretty big whippet! ). She's just from a rescue that saved her from the pound, and I doubt she'd be familiar with muzzles, but I'll give it a go.
Don't even start me on the idiots who walk their dogs off-lead, and then let their darling little yappers bowl up to my dog and set her off. Cue lots of uncontrolled leaping and flying in circles by my 30 kg dog, wrenching my arm out of its socket, while the owner of the small dogs stands by gormlessly. So bloody rude!!
And yes, she is INSANELY reactionary to cats. I can't imagine her ever calming down around them, unfortunately.
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