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Are some dogs just unfriendly by nature?

(31 Posts)
JKramer Wed 02-Apr-14 09:54:42

Are some dogs just unfriendly or they are not socialised enough at a young age?
I have a couple of dogs and they love running around in the park off lead.
There are plenty of friendly dogs that they play with, and I don�t generally worry about them.
They play with any dogs, large and small.

Every now and then, you get some that would growl, and attack other dogs that approach them.
Is this mostly down to the owners fault for not socialising their pets or poor training at home?
Is this unfriendliness a learnt thing from the owners?
Aren�t dogs meant to be social animals?

Owllady Wed 02-Apr-14 10:14:18

These are dogs on the lead? Why do you let your dogs approach them?

Owllady Wed 02-Apr-14 10:16:21

And no, not all dogs are social. I had a rescue dog who was nervous of everything and even when she gained confidence she was still uninterested in dogs. She generally ignored them though, but dogs behave differently if they are agitated or fearful as they all have different personalities

SnakeyMcBadass Wed 02-Apr-14 10:21:35

Most dogs who react like you describe are fearful, so not unfriendly, just scared. A strange dog (or person) running up and invading their space causes them to be afraid and panic. I have a spaniel who loves people, is soft and gentle with toddlers and will always roll on his back for a belly rub. But he is scared of other dogs (he was attacked quite badly as a pup) and, yes, if he is leapt upon by an unknown dog he will snarl, growl and snap to get the invader to leave him alone. He adores people, he distrusts (understandably, imo) other canines. He has a couple of doggy mates who he can tolerate, and even one who he actively engages with, but mostly he'd rather be left alone. He gives clear signals, and most other dogs can read those signals and keep their distance. The ones that bounce on his head get told off.

Booboostoo Wed 02-Apr-14 10:36:49

Just like people there are many reasons why dogs react in a particular way. Some are born this way, some are inadequately socialised and some have had a really bad experience that has made them worried.

I am not sure from your post if this is the case, but if it is you should not allow your dogs to approach other dogs that are on the lead. They are on the lead for a reason and it may often be because they are not good with other dogs.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 02-Apr-14 10:41:41

My dog is unfriendly towards dogs he doesn't know if they charge up to him. I think its fear. Once he gets to know them he's OK.

He walks off lead most days with a big group of dogs and they all get on fine.

I don't think it's my fault. We met another off lead dog today that he's not seen before. Mine growled at the other dog and kept his distance. Dog came over and mine was getting really annoyed. I told my dog off and stroked the other one while telling mine it was OK. He came for a bit of a sniff then but still wasn't sure.

Floralnomad Wed 02-Apr-14 11:03:46

My dog is not unfriendly but doesn't play ,I don't know what happened to him as a small pup as we got him from Battersea at 15/16 weeks as a stray. He doesn't ever approach another dog and if they come up to him he just sort of looks aloof and then might have a sniff . He doesn't seem to know how to play with another dog and TBH I'd rather they stayed away as on the couple of occasions that a dog has got physical with him ( probably trying to get him to play) he has become very vocal and sounds vicious . The problem being that although he never started the interaction he ends up looking like the bad guy .

ender Wed 02-Apr-14 11:57:09

JKramer, are your dogs very young? It sounds like they haven't learnt doggy interaction rules yet. Well socialised dogs generally pick up on body language cues. They understand if another dog doesn't want to be approached before it gets to the growling/attack stage.
My GSD X rescue completely blanks other dogs and is only interested in me and his ball, most dogs give him a wide berth but the occasional "he's only being friendly" dog that pushes his luck gets growled at, sometimes accompanied with a snap of the jaws.

Owllady Wed 02-Apr-14 12:25:24

Yes my dog atm is a 'oh all dogs looove me' dog
22month old collie!
For this reason she is kept on a lead, if need be

needastrongone Wed 02-Apr-14 12:45:39

Yes, was just going to ask this. Generally, in dog language/politeness terms, it's considered acceptable to stop before approaching, then approach from the side if 'invited'. Both of mine did this yesterday with an off lead older doggy lady, who lay down as they approached. Her owner assured me she was fine, no need to put mine on lead (her dog wasn't), and, in fact, both of my dogs politely circled round her and didn't even approach. Even my 5 month old cocker did this.

Later, we met an excitable and lovely 18 month old cockerpoo, who just dived into my dogs. My springer was fine and wanted to play, but my puppy is a timid soul and he ran back to me, until he judged the cockerpoo to be fine.

Just wondering how yours approach others? smile

ender Wed 02-Apr-14 13:03:37

I love watching my lab (complete contrast to the GSD) approaching other dogs. Until he was about a year old I had to put him on a lead to stop him running up to other dogs. Now if he spots another dog in the distance he just stands still, furiously wagging his tail. Absolutely thrilled if invited to play but if dog not interested he'll carry on sniffing and mooching about and ignore dog when we pass it.

Butterflylovers Wed 02-Apr-14 13:19:09

There is a dog that everyone avoids in a park that I go to.
The dog doesn�t like others approaching him or even be near him, yet the owner doesn�t put him on a lead.
Even if your dog is metres away he would growl and if you�re not near your dog, he would come up to your dog and start being aggressive.
I have had a word with the owner but all I had was �keep your dogs away, my dog has as much right as anyone else�s to be off lead�

ender Wed 02-Apr-14 16:35:25

Yes, dogs are social animals. So are humans and there are lots of reasons we don't interact with everyone we see, must be the same for dogs.

withextradinosaurs Wed 02-Apr-14 18:05:00

My dog isn't keen on other dogs. If they leave him alone, he leaves them alone. If they run up and insist on trying to play, he will growl and warn them off. Some don't take the hint and will get barked at.

toboldlygo Wed 02-Apr-14 19:29:04

Early socialisation has a huge part to play I think, though it would be best to consider that not all dogs you see have been in their owner's possession since puppyhood and it's quite probably not their fault that they were poorly socialised.

One of mine will howl and lunge at an approaching dog not because he's aggressive but because he's anxious, a little bit scared and simply doesn't know how to appropriately interact with a strange dog. He's fine given careful exposure and time, not usually an option when passing a lone dog on a walk, so he's kept on a lead and I endure the tuts of those who allow their dog to come and taunt him.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 02-Apr-14 22:14:18

Yes I only got my dog at six months. I had no idea how much lack of early socialisation would affect him. I wrongly assumed as long as I socialised him ASAP it would be ok.

Kleptronic Wed 02-Apr-14 22:27:56

I got my collie 'free to good home' at 2 and I don't think he was socialised properly. He is obsessed with other dogs (lies down), is lead defensive, and I can't trust him to meet and greet politely - six times out of ten (after many months of training classes, still ongoing) he'll be ok, then the other four, not so much. It's sad because I have to keep him on lead, but so it goes.

But yeah, it would be good if people could try and remember, some owners might not have had them from pups.

Ludoole Thu 03-Apr-14 00:59:33

My yorkie loved other dogs until 2 incidents on the local field... Both times my boy and the other dogs were on leads. All started friendly with wagging tails and sniffing (and other owners telling me that their dog was friendly with other dogs....), then other dog suddenly snapped at my little man....

I now have a 5 and a half pound yorkie who is terrified of other dogs....

Owllady Thu 03-Apr-14 08:31:22

Kleptronic, keep with it. I personally find collies hard to train (especially those who are rescued) but they are worth it in the end smile

I bet you wish you had £1 for every time someone said to you. 'But collies are $o easy to train!' hmm

I have started doing agility with mine, which makes a difference to her ability to listen. In obedience it's too straight forward fir her to be bothered to concentrate !

NCISaddict Thu 03-Apr-14 08:44:34

My collie (8 months old) seems to be very good at 'dog' language, sometimes he will start going towards another dog and then turn away, others he approaches with a play bow and they have a good game. So far he's been attacked properly once but that dog approached him, not the other way round. I don't let him go up to dogs on the lead although to be fair he shows no interest in them.

He was socialised a lot when very young with my sisters dogs, one who is happy to play all the time, and her 14 year old one who never wants to play now and told him so in no uncertain terms so I think he learnt the body language quickly. He also met several other adult dogs at the breeders.
I don't worry about a growl and a snap from other dogs providing he takes notice and backs off instantly, which he does, I think it's dog language for 'you are really pissing me off now, back off, you irritating pup!'.

Kleptronic Thu 03-Apr-14 09:04:53

Thanks owl, I will smile glad there's hope!

scarfaceace Thu 03-Apr-14 09:24:04

We've had our dog from a puppy, took her to socialisation classes and then training, and she played happily with all other dogs and loved humans - until she met another dog that attacked her. She was about two years old at the time. She met the same dog several days in a row and the same thing happened; ever since then our dog has hated other dogs and will go in for the attack if another dog approaches.

We took her back to training, but that didn't help, and then to a dog behaviourist for several sessions, and she said that our dog is now terrified of other dogs and would never change, that we would never be able to let her off the lead.

It's really sad because we can never let her off for a good run and it's horrible when other dogs come running up to us and the owners are saying happily 'it's ok, they're friendly' while my dog is lunging and growling to warn them off.

So, OP, if other dogs are on leads, please don't let your dog/s run up to them. It's traumatising not only for a terrified dog but for the owner.

Floralnomad Thu 03-Apr-14 09:46:29

Let's face facts ,the problem is never really the dog it's the owner . The other day there was a man walking a small poodle type on our local field on a lead ,my dog was off lead so I put him in a 'down and wait' whilst they passed and the chap nearly died of shock at my thoughtfulness . No doubt he has been squished in the past by the Labrador / retriever brigade who let their dogs run amok with cries of 'he's friendly ,don't worry' as they all stand in a huddle gossiping ( can you tell I'm not in that clique) .

Owllady Thu 03-Apr-14 10:29:33

No, I have never been in that clique either grin
Nor when my children were young tbh. I was the mum on the equipment, helping children on and off and sorting out squabbles hmm

JKramer Thu 03-Apr-14 11:12:16

If they are dogs that mine have previously played with, I usually let them approach them themselves.
But with strange dogs, I call them to wait and they can sus out whether it's appropriate to approach or not.
But you do get some dogs that are aggressive and looking to bully/intimidate other dogs even if yours are not that near.... it's those kind of dogs I'm referring to.

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