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etiquette with unfriendly dog

(16 Posts)
bassetfeet Sun 23-Sep-12 19:59:46

I look after my sons dog . He is a hound so very smell orientated and cannot be let off long leash but is so lovely .[will head to the hills otherwise ]
He barks and gets sometimes aggressive at other dogs though if we meet them . nervous I think .
So we step back on the walk and warn other dog owners he is noisy as they approach. Most times fine and we walk him in quiet areas .
But we keep meeting a professional dog walker who has 4 dogs on leads and two off leash . The ones off leash approach and she does nothing to stop them . I am so worried about a dog fight starting .
What do you advise I do ?
If my dog bites one of her charges what will happen re responsibility ?

TheCalmingManatee Sun 23-Sep-12 20:07:07

If her dogs are off the lead then it is her responsibility. I am very surprised at a professional dog walker walking off lead. I don't think i could walk someone elses dog off a lead.

To be honest i think you are probably making it a bit worse because you are reacting, i would just try and be as nonchalant as you can about it, because by shortening the lead and shouting out to other walkers that yours is a bit growly is going to alert the dog to a problem that isn't there. He will be thinking, "nan pulled me away from that dog and is now shouting at its owners, there must be a problem, now i don't feel safe and i have to protect myself and my nan" (well maybe not those thougths exactly, but you see what i mean). It is difficult not to react of course, but do try and keep it subtle.

If you see this woman regularly, i would ask her to keep her dogs away as yours tends to be barky and you are worried that they will fight. If you don't tell her there is a problem, she might not think their is one.

bassetfeet Sun 23-Sep-12 21:37:31

Thank you Manatee
Yes I think my fear is passing over to the dog. I do get a bit anxious if we see dogs approaching him off lead . Sometimes he is fine bit not always .
It is the unpredictability of it all that worries me .
Will follow your advice and thank you for reply .very helpful .

monsterchild Sun 23-Sep-12 21:41:05

i agree that it's the dog walker's responsibility to keep her wards safe. especially if they are off lead, she is taking a chance letting them approach your dog.

but I also agree that you shouldn't stress too much, most dogs don't launch into fights. And you said that you've run into this person and the loose dogs a number of times, I presume nothing much happened, so you should relax and let your dog see that it's not a big deal.

Good luck!

hippermiddleton Sun 23-Sep-12 23:06:15

Is he a basset? [Sherlock Holmes face]

I have a young hound too, and although he's generally very friendly with everything he meets, there are a couple of local dogs that he can be a bit barky with. It also make him sound a lot scarier than he is, if you know what I mean - hounds have barks designed to carry over fields. confused If I think there's going to be a problem, I get his complete attention with some cheese and an excited happy voice/face before he can start to react, and either put him into a sit, or get him to walk to heel for a bit - whatever distracts him. It takes quite a lot to come between a hound and a really smelly treat...

bassetfeet Mon 24-Sep-12 17:41:03

Thank you Monster and Hipper for advice . Yes he is a basset cross beagle with a love of food and the scent of the outdoors wink.

So will try to relax and distract him with smelly titbits when we come across other perfectly nice dogs Arghhhhh ! Funny thing is it is black dogs that send him into a frenzy mostly. Someone told me it was because he cannot read their faces ? Maybe who knows .

All my own dogs have been female collies so having this lovely male hound with ringing bark is new to me . I adore him though and am sad I dare not let him off leash . Thank you for replies again fellow dog lovers smile

monsterchild Tue 25-Sep-12 02:11:16

My dog doesn't seem to have an opinion about dogs of another color. Many people are wary of black dogs, so you may be communicating something to him? I know most collies are black, but they have white too. Dogs seem to go as much by posture as by "looks".
I do love hounds, but they are noisy!

hippermiddleton Tue 25-Sep-12 11:54:05

Ah, the only dog mine consistently gets stroppy with is a perfectly nice but quite big black labrador owned by my (cringe) lovely neighbours. There seems to be something about this poor lab - all the other local dogs react the same way to him, which makes me feel slightly better but also determined to stop things getting worse if I can. I was hoping that lots of yummy treats whenever Guinness appears might help. My other dog is absolutely fine with him, but then her default setting is 'imperious'.

Hounds are lovely creatures. I've got two bassets, and they're pretty quiet most of the time but they do have loud barks when unannounced visitors deign to knock they want to. I've only heard them baying properly a few times, and that's a really spine-tingling sound. Deeper and more musical than a pack of beagles baying, and quite otherworldly - you really feel they're singing to each other.

panicnotanymore Wed 26-Sep-12 10:08:47

Ask her nicely next time you see her to keep her dogs on lead around yours as you are training him for nervous aggression. If she is a professional walker she will understand. If she is an ar5e (like so many of the 'professional walkers' near me) she'll ignore your request. In those situations I turn and walk away and keep my dog's attention on me using treats or voice. Sometime we walk for miles in the wrong direction! Keeping the lead slack and your voice calm helps reduce fear levels.

This isn't training advice, it's coping advice. I'm not a trainer, and have yet to meet a trainer who can solve nervous aggression (I have tried loads, including the APDT one.)

bassetfeet Wed 26-Sep-12 17:53:34

Ahh ....had to You Tube the baying basset hipper . Spine tingling so right . Loved your description . A brace of bassets sounds just lovely !

Thank you panicnot for wise coping advice . Indeed I often do the "Turnaround trot" most days. But will now carry cheese and ham in my jacket pocket and try try to keep the edge out of my voice and behaviour . He is my sons dog and I dogsit when he is on shift so we need to be singing from same hymn sheet I realise .

To be honest I am annoyed at this dog walker .......but hey ho know nothing about the job so maybe being a bit confused. Four dogs on tight leash and two off .
She puts head down and doesnt check the dogs approaching mine although I say he is barky and nervous . They do back off though thankfully .

Just makes me think that owners sometimes may not know that their much loved dog is being taken out with so many others and on tight leash all the time and the ones who are not.... are at risk . How can you tackle dog fight with that many dogs to control ?
So do not mean to demean the good employed pet walkers here truly . Just thinking online as dog lover .

Piffle Wed 26-Sep-12 19:37:39

I have one (also a hound) who is a bit funny with large breed bitches but fine with all boy dogs <slapper> and puppies <maternal>

I always keep her on a lead/retractable and carry a headcollar. Generally if I see a dog in an area where dogs are off lead frequently I assume that they are perhaps a bit touchy and I make sure my dog/s are under control ( I have others that go off lead that are bomb proof but I always put them on if see other dogs on leads iyswim)
If a loose dog approaches I put the headcollar on my dog and wave and say loudly - sorry she's not great with some dogs and point at the lead and headcollar.
We did have it once where a JRT growled at her and launched at her neck - she swifly flicked it off (she's a big dog) and growled and held it down by the neck.
Not a mark on it, she was just explaining how things were.
The owner went ballistic <sigh> my dog however had blood everywhere under her neck <shakes head>

charlearose Wed 26-Sep-12 21:32:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

panicnotanymore Thu 27-Sep-12 09:57:12

Good point Charlearose - there is a lot of dog communication going on that it pays to be aware of. I know which dogs locally will set mine off. There are two types - the starers (usually nervous types), and the bouncers (lab puppies, I'm looking at you). Staid old matriarchs ignore him, and he's absolutely fine. V dominant dogs look down their nose at him (they know he is a nervous wimp from his body language), and he's much more circumspect in his behaviour. His aggression is a nervous thing, so he doesn't kick off if the other dog isn't being (in his eyes) threatening, or if he can see that the other dog is a Mr Big who'll beat him up.

I wish other dog owners would appreciate how difficult it is owning a dog with nervous aggression. I am sick of the 'tuts', and comments on 'poor socialisation', 'inadequate training' etc. My dog has been socialised to within an inch of his life (he's fine, plays nicely... once he has got his initial panic attack over with), and I have spent literally £1000s on training.

charlearose Fri 28-Sep-12 12:49:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsJohnDeere Fri 28-Sep-12 13:53:20

I have a springer who is very nervous of other dogs.

In your situation I would stand to the side, as far away as possible, and say something along the lines of 'please could you call your dogs back to you, mine is grumpy and unfriendly'.

panicnotanymore Sun 30-Sep-12 13:47:30

charlearose - my dog most definitely is the problem in all cases!!! I'd love to think that he's just picking up on my fear, but really he isn't. I'm not even remotely stressed by his antics. A tad embarrassed at times perhaps. Often my first inkling that another dog is approaching is that his wimpiness has hidden in the ditch. It's quite funny really grin

All the local dogs of his breed have this issue - it is a genetic trait that has unfortunately been bred in. He's a working dog, and very very skilled at what he is bred to do. Sadly the local farmers breed and breed from the good workers, and those happen to be the dogs with nervous aggression issues. It doesn't matter to them as their dogs don't need to be around other people's, and in some ways it is probably useful to have a slightly aggressive looking dog. Theft from outbuildings is a big problem round here. A dog with a certain reputation is quite handy (I've had no intruders since I got this dog.... smile I had quite a bit of trouble before).

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