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How do I help my dog to like other dogs?!

(16 Posts)
pigsinmud Wed 05-Feb-14 13:30:36

My dog is 5 years old and I've had her since she was a pup - am friends with her mother's family. Mum is a springer and father is lab/collie/staffie cross. She has always been a bit nervous - training classes as a puppy (hid under the chairs), hates vet, pees when certain people arrive....yes, you mil! She loves people.

We live in a village surrounded by fields, so lots of dogs around and she has been out and about from the moment she was allowed after vaccinations. However, she doesn't appear to like other dogs! She likes her mum and a few select dogs we meet, but most others she will let them sniff her once, but any more she warns them to piss off. Now some people think she is being aggressive and give me a funny look. She has never bitten or snarled - she just makes a grumpy snappy sound.

She is our first dog, so am not sure if this grumpy piss off noise is ok. Should I put her on the lead whenever I see a dog coming, but the problem with that is that when I have put her on the lead, other people don't put their dogs on lead and they come up to her and she gets much more grumpy - I totally understand why as she is stuck.

When she was a puppy a little dog came charging over the fields and nipped her bottom - I don't know if it stems from that. She really dislikes little dogs! Or do we carry on as we are with me apologising for her being grumpy? I am worried that as she gets older, she might just become more grumpy!

tabulahrasa Wed 05-Feb-14 13:43:48

I wouldn't be apologising...

Not all dogs like to interact with other dogs, there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Personally I'd put her on a lead to signal that I don't want the other owner to let their dog come over - but only because then I could say, well she's on a lead, why did you let your dog come and annoy her? Lol.

Basically unless she's the one doing the approaching, she's not doing anything wrong.

SnakeyMcBadass Wed 05-Feb-14 14:55:47

My spaniel is exactly the same. He's terrified of most other dogs and chooses to ignore them, but if approached will tell them to do one. I do as tabula says and lead him more as a signal to the other owner than anything. Not all dogs long for doggy company.

LEMmingaround Wed 05-Feb-14 15:07:12

The grumpy piss off noise is fine by me - the other dogs usually get the message my stupid terriers do, generally

I certainly wouldn't recommend putting her on the lead when you see other dogs - this is sort of telling her that there is a problem and that you need her to be close to you because there are other dogs, she will percieve them as a threat. One of my terriers will happily piss off if another dog tells him to, if he is off the lead, but when he is on the lead he is an arsehole and they only have to look at him wrong and hes all bared teeth and snarls.

To be honest, if it doesn't ever escalate past the grumpy piss off noise, it wouldn't worry me - i quite like it when other dogs tell my dogs to piss off, it means they will come away and i can continue with my walk.

pigsinmud Wed 05-Feb-14 15:27:06

Ok. Thank you. I suppose I was worrying because some people give me that look implying.. bloody hell your dog is an aggressive so & so! I probably read too much in to looks!

To be honest, most people I know to say hello to near me, but it becomes more of a problem when we are somewhere different. Had an awful moment once when she was on lead (near a pond and the spaniel tends to come out then!) and 3 little pugs surrounded her. She snapped and the owner said to me "not a very nice dog you've got". I was a bit shock and all I could say was "well she's trapped on a lead".

tabulahrasa Wed 05-Feb-14 15:43:02

"I suppose I was worrying because some people give me that look implying.. bloody hell your dog is an aggressive so & so!"

They probably do, because people who let their dogs run up to every dog they see never seem to realize that they're in the wrong...after all they're only being friendly hmm

They don't allow for the fact that your dog might be on a lead because it's old or ill or just isn't keen on dogs running up and saying hello.

LEMmingaround Wed 05-Feb-14 15:45:46

Now see i would have been inclined to reply that at least she was better than overbred, mutations that could barely breathe ;)

some people are very precious about their dogs. if my dog gets told off, i think its funny

nuttymutty1 Wed 05-Feb-14 16:23:52

It can not be explained better than by the wonderful fantastic Kris Glover of Pets in Practise

Monday Myth: My dog doesn’t want to play with other dogs. Surely, something is wrong with him?

When we attend puppy classes or watch dogs frolicking in the park, we get used to the idea that dogs should play with each other and if our dog doesn’t, we automatically assume something’s wrong with him. Surely, if he doesn’t play he might need more socialization, maybe he needs to learn how to play, so we make our dog meet other dogs in an effort to “socialise” him and get him to show playful behaviours.

The truth is, however, not all dogs play. Play is typically associated with juvenile individuals, who still need to refine their social skills and like to engage in rough and tumble, chase or tug of war with other dogs. And although many adults will keep playing with other dogs later in life as well, the older your dog gets, the less playful he is likely to be – and it is absolutely understandable that some dogs just want to say hi to another dog, and carry on without engaging in play.

Please do not try to force your dog to interact with other dogs in an effort to “socialize” him – your dog should have a chance to be as sociable as he chooses, and not how you would like him to behave. Not all people love parties and socializing, and the same is true for your dog. If he looks uncomfortable in a busy dog park and tends to avoid all the bouncy labs running up to him, you might want to take him for walks to areas where he won’t have to be subjected to constant unwanted social interactions.

pigsinmud Wed 05-Feb-14 19:29:04

Nutty you are right. I think my dog is like me. I'm an introvert and so is she. I prefer to walk by myself rather than making chit chat with another dog walker. She loves us, but doesn't need anyone else (apart from my mum!) or any other dog.

FiscalCliffRocksThisTown Wed 05-Feb-14 20:27:50

I have s super social pup, and we know which dogs are grumpy and we avoid them by keeping her on the lead.

TBH it is MY responsibility to keep my bouncy dog away from grumpy dogs, IMO.

Dog's grumpiness is no reflection of your character, no need to apologise.

applegate Thu 06-Feb-14 10:18:09

I feel this thread has been a bit of a lightbulb moment for me. I have an 18mth old springer who I have always described as antisocial because I thought he should want to play. He blatantly doesn't!
He was attacked when he was four months old, he was on the lead and the other dog ran over and just went for him. He was terrified and it took what felt like forever but prob wasn't that long to get the much larger dog away. I don't know if this was the trigger or if he always would have been nervous.
We have always gone to training and he has mixed with other dogs out walking etc, he tolerates them coming for a sniff but will have his tail firmly between his legs and looks unhappy . If a dog bounds over to him he will frequently roll onto his back in submission.
I have in the last few month relaxed about it, I had as the other post suggests tried to force him into situations where he would have to socialise but have now realised its okay if he doesn't want to.His idea of heaven is having a job to do ie chasing a ball or training it is not playing with other dogs. This realisation has made us both so much happier.....

applegate Thu 06-Feb-14 10:25:31

Quick question tho for you owners of not hugely sociable dogs...have they been to kennels and if so howdid thet get on??
We will be away for a week in sept and I have looked around several kennels and found a small one that seems lovely, having been a bit shocked by a couple of the larger ones.I was going to see if he could go for a day and then a weekend before to get used to it.
It is more the 'other dog in his space or face!' that he hates rather than other dogs being around but just wondered how anyone's slightly solitary dogs had got on as I am already worrying a little .

pigsinmud Thu 06-Feb-14 10:32:54

My dog has been to kennels once. Usually she goes to stay with her mum and I have her mum when friends go away. She would rather be with us, but if know she is used to them.

One year we were away at the same time, so they went to kennels together and shared a pen. We dropped them dog did not want to go while mum was quite happy - frankly she will go with anyone who shows an interest in her! Our friends picked them both up 5 days later....apparently our dog could not get out of there quick enough. She had lost weight and the kennel owners said she refused to eat sad mum was fatter obviously having eaten our dog's share.

I don't think I could put her in kennels again as she hated it.

pigsinmud Thu 06-Feb-14 10:34:03

Sorry that is not very reassuring for you.

applegate Thu 06-Feb-14 17:11:32

Thats okay shilke, that's what I have been worrying about......

moogalicious Thu 06-Feb-14 17:20:34

Quick question tho for you owners of not hugely sociable dogs...have they been to kennels and if so howdid thet get on??

My dog is not hugely sociable - he's happy to have a quick sniff off lead, and then move on. He went into kennels last year, and had a kennel buddy who was an older calmer dog. They got on really well and it made me feel better for leaving him. Kennel owners said he was a bit wobbly the first day, but after that was fine.

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