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Really annoyed with other dog owners letting their dogs harass my poor rescue dog.

(36 Posts)
Beachcomber Mon 05-May-14 01:16:41

Will try to keep this brief and would be very grateful for any advice.

We have a border collie X rescue dog who has been with us for just under three weeks. She is very sweet and gentle with humans and pretty timid. At the rescue we saw her around other dogs and she was fine. She has encountered a few dogs since she has been with us (on the lead) and been fine.

The other day I was out walking her with my DC in a quiet country space when a large, obviously young, dog appeared out of nowhere and bounded over to us. My dog was on the lead as we had been advised by the rescue to keep her leashed for the first few weeks. This big dog was bouncing all over us, shoving up to my dog, coming up to her from behind and generally being ill mannered. There was no owner in sight. I firmly told the dog to go away which it eventually did but not before nipping my dog on a back leg. My dog yelped but didn't show any sign of aggression. The DC and I were quite shaken up by the encounter as I have no idea what I would have done if things had got even more out of hand.

Following that, about 10 days later, some friends of ours came over and unfortunately brought their dog with them without checking with us first (we would have said no as we are settling in a shy rescue dog).

Basically they arrived just as I had set off to walk my dog - I was about 10 metres up the track from my house when I saw them get out of their car with their huge dog (she weighs 60 kilos). The dog was on a lead but dragged the 13 year old daughter (who had no control or authority over the dog) to us where she promptly jumped up at me, practically trampled my 12 kilo collie, got right in my dog's space, had me tangled up in her lead, etc. My collie was really afraid and of course bared her teeth and tried to tell this dog to stop being so rude. I was trying to calmly ask the girl to get her dog the hell away and get it under some kind of control. The dog was not being aggressive but was basically trampling all over us. My collie lost control of herself and as her warnings had all been ignored by this boisterous dog, she snapped at the dog. She did a couple of those really loud air snaps that aren't a real attempt to bite but the final warning just before.

Our friends hauled their dog back into some kind of control and I took my dog inside the house in order to calm her down and reassure her. After a couple of hours of keeping the dogs separate we took them for an on lead walk together as I really didn't want my dog ending the encounter with such a negative experience. The dad had the big dog on lead and we kept the dogs a comfortable distance apart but were still walking together. My dog was wary of the other dog but as she felt safe there was no aggression. I feel pretty certain though that she would have been aggressive if they had been off lead and the other dog bounded up to her.

I'm so upset for my poor dog. On two occasions she has been minding her own business and really big dogs have totally invaded her space and really upset her. I can't help feeling worried that at this stage in her first few weeks with us that this could make her nervous of other dogs and consequently aggressive with them. I feel very annoyed with the owners in both cases but what's done is done and now I just want to proceed in the best way possible for my dog.

Thanks for reading this massive post and for any advice.

Beachcomber Mon 05-May-14 02:00:35

I have just read this excellent article from another thread which expresses exactly what happened to my dog, she has been upset by big dogs behaving very rudely.

moosemama Mon 05-May-14 10:13:07

Hi, I have a similar problem. My rescue pup was both very poorly and potentially infectious to other dogs during his socialisation period. We carried him everywhere and he's fine with everyone and everything, but anxious about other dogs due to this lack of early exposure.

What made it 100 times worse was the fact that on his first two lead walks after vaccination (around 17 weeks old iirc) we had large, illmannered dogs charge right across our large park to get to him and my other dog and bound all over them, without an owner in sight. As a result he is now hypervigilant in that park which is a real pain, as it's the closest one to my house, in fact we overlook it. When we walk there he will bark at any dog he sees from a distance, but is ok with on lead dogs up close.

I have spent a lot of time doing BAT training as well as counter conditioning work with him and at 11 months old he's now interested to greet other dogs and seems happy to see them. We avoided the place where it happened for a while and concentrated on building his confidence around other dogs in places where they would be on-lead and under control. Dog training classses were fantastic for this and had the added bonus off building our bond and teaching him basic skills. We also tried out lots of local parks and dog walks to find the ones that seem to hsve generally better controlled dogs. Then we,went there for our regular walks until we were happy he was able to finally cope around other dogs.

We took him to a large vw show yesterday - this would have been out of the question even a couple of months ago - and it was fantastic for him. Hundreds of dogs, but all strictly on-lead and for the most part so used to these events that they walk past each other without having to say hello to every dog they see. We were there for about 6 hours in total and by the end of the day he was so used to seeing other dogs he fell askeep on the picnic blanket with dogs being walked past him on every side.

I can highly recommend Suzanne Clothier's articles (as mentioned above) and if you can, download her lecture on anxiety and fear as it really helps to get your head around how it feels from the dog's perspective and gives you insight into how best to handle it. Patricia McConnell's books are also a quick, useful read and I would also recommend Turid Rugaas' book on calming signals to help you read both your dog and the intentions of other dogs. Also, look up Ahimsa BAT training and functional rewards.

It's such a shame that she has been upset by these bad experiences. It makes me so mad when other people don't control their dogs or socialise them appropriately to learn good manners, then let them terrorise other dogs, especially when they,are often completely oblivious and go through life causibg such upset time and tume again. sad

moosemama Mon 05-May-14 10:18:51

Should also say, it's not just big dogs. Mine is actually a big dog and is scared of small breeds, as so often their owners think it's ok to leave them off lead and allow them to rush up to and run around yipping and snapping in and out of the legs of large dogs. I am always stunned that someone that has a dog that would be not much more than a mouthful for my dog is happy to let them rush up to him when he is clearly nervous and I have him on lead. hmm

tabulahrasa Mon 05-May-14 10:36:29

Mine is a big dog and reactive so muzzled, him being on a lead, muzzled and me shouting - He is not ok with dogs still doesn't stop some owners from letting their dogs over to say hello hmm

You can try saying - she'll bite, or she's infectious...that works on a fair amount of people grin but for those with no owner in sight, there's really not much you can do, sadly.

Owllady Mon 05-May-14 11:38:26

Your poor dog sad
Why do so many nob heads have dogs?

Your dog's reaction is normal. I had a shy, sensible collie who I lost last year and if dogs got too out of hand she would snap at them. It used to really annoy me too. At least when recall is sorted and a bit training, off lead your lovely dog will be able to avoid other dogs (if she is anything like my old onesmile)

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 05-May-14 11:47:03

My poor friend was on the opposite side of this recently. She was walking her young lab off lead along what she thought was a nice safe deserted beach when a lady with two terriers on leads suddenly appeared. The terriers were strangling themselves and yapping their heads off to get at my friends lab, who had gone over to say hello but was being very cautious and staying back as my friend was calling her back. Then the lady with the terriers started waving a stick at my friends lab and yelling at my friend to 'get her dog under control'. Friend said lab wasn't doing anything! If she'd seen her coming with dogs on leads she have put her own dog on her lead but she simply didn't see her until they nearly bumped into each other. Friend said if the lady had hit her perfectly well behaved lab with the stick she didn't know what she'd have done.

So, anyway, was going to say perhaps you could carry a stick with you to bat over-friendly dogs away but in light of my friends experience with the mad terrier woman perhaps that's not such a helpful suggestion.

Owllady Mon 05-May-14 13:50:25

Or you could hit the other owner with a stick? wink

moosemama Mon 05-May-14 14:32:34

blush Posted on my phone earlier and thought I'd corrected all the mistakes on preview. I'm so embarrassed now I've re-read my post on the laptop. blush

I tend to be pretty forgiving when it's a genuine accident and the other owner simply hasn't seen us. It's the people that either have zero control over their dogs or simply don't care that really get me down.

TooOldForGlitter Mon 05-May-14 14:38:55

We had this happen to us yesterday. I was going to whine about it on here but decided against it as that's all I seem to do! Shook us up badly.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 05-May-14 14:49:50

moosemama that's exactly what happened to my friend, she just didn't see the other woman in time, but from the other woman's tirade you'd have thought my friend was roaming the beach with slathering hell hounds, not a young Labrador that was more frightened of the horrible yapping terriers than they were of her.

She's so anxious to train her dog well and this woman really upset her. I told her she hadn't really done anything wrong, it was just one of those unfortunate things and you get people like that in all walks of life. I said I'll go with her next time, she won't shout like that at me, she'll get her stick snapped in half. grin

subtleplansarehereagain Mon 05-May-14 16:53:59

There seem to be a large number of people who want to make it Somebody Else's Problem..their dog "just wants to be friendly" so our poor rescue dogs just have to endure them rather than them develop basic recall. And manners....

Owllady Mon 05-May-14 17:45:41

These threads make me feel like an old hand as I have always said
And people have backed off
Maybe it's my west Midlands accent blush confused

You girls on here seem well clued up though, trust yourselves
Though beachcomber you had stray dog really as no owner in sight

TooOldForGlitter Mon 05-May-14 18:31:17

I would have said it y'day but owner was nowhere to be seen. By the time he ambled up I was so stressed and wound up all I could do was splutter get your damn dog away!

ditavonteesed Mon 05-May-14 18:38:54

"but from the other woman's tirade you'd have thought my friend was roaming the beach with slathering hell hounds, not a young Labrador that was more frightened of the horrible yapping terriers than they were of her. "
I am going to step in in the women heres defence, I have a horrible snapping terrier on a lead (she isnt she is gorgeous but that is all you will see), she is on a lead not becasue I think she will be frightened of your big dog but because she will probably start a fight with it. I spend a lot of time training her but every time one of your friendly labs bounds up to her it undoes the whole lot and since it happens every walk I have now given up.

moosemama Mon 05-May-14 18:51:22

Owllady, I do tell people mine's a nervous rescue that had a bad start, but frequently there's no owner in sight when it happens to us either. The owner is still at the entrance to the park, right over the other side. They just unclip their dog's lead as they walk through the entrance and let them go. Very often they saunter up a very long time afterwards, having had a nice stroll along the winding path, rather than cut across to where their dog is clearly behaving like a hooligan and trot out the usual 'he just wants to play' or 'oh Fido you naughty boy - he always does that, he just loves everyone'. hmm

My older Lurcher also loves everyone - and every single dog we see, but I have spent a lot of time and effort teaching him he only gets to go and say hello to the ones I give him the permission for. Quite apart from it just being basic good manners, I don't want him bitten/injured from running up to the wrong dog. We went through a period last year, when our old dog passed on and we took on a new rescue pup, that his recall disintegrated, so he went back on the longline and we went back to basics with training until I felt he was reliable enough to go lead-free again.

I do think things have changed a lot. When I first had dogs almost too long ago to remember blush all the dogs in the park were off-lead and just mucked along together, sorting out their issues as they went. In the vast majority of cases the dogs rubbed along ok, with just the odd scuffle and no serious fights. They were well socialised from constantly mixing with a wide variety of breeds from a very young age.

A huge part of the problem is that so many dogs aren't socialised properly (imho just taking them to a short set of socialisation classes isn't enough, in fact some socialisation classes that are a free-for-all of large and small breeds all off lead creating havoc can make the situation worse) and never learn good manners. Add that to owners who have no intention of putting in the time and effort required to train a good recall and do their best to control their dogs until they have one - and it's a recipe for disaster.

Then there's the dogs that are cooped up without walks for the most part, then go completely fruit loop when they are finally taken out - by owners that have done very little training with them.

I always say I prefer walking my dogs in the rain, as then you tend to only get the more responsible dog owners, who walk their dogs come rain or shine ... now, if I could just persuade my wimpy Lurcher pup that rain is not actually the work of the devil, I'm pretty sure we could enjoy more hassle free walks. hmm grin

Owllady Mon 05-May-14 18:56:22

I'm 36 and had my first dog at 18 and she was 2, a rescue border collie and she died two years ago.
I still did not act like a nob , well not when out with her in public

Some people are just not at all self aware

moosemama Mon 05-May-14 18:59:02

Dita, I agree totally, but Ilovemydog did say that the Lab didn't actually approach the terriers as her owner was calling her back.

If the terriers are used to their owner screaming and waving a stick every time another dog appears they are never going to get any better and could potentially inflame the situation if the approaching dog took fright and attacked her, but I do accept her behaviour is probably the result of untold numbers of occasions where out of control dogs have actually approached and leaped on her dogs.

Actually, both dogs that trounced my pup in his first couple of days on-lead were juvenile black labs. I have nothing against labs, I know plenty that are absolutely gorgeous and very well trained, but in the area where I live there seems to be a disproportionate number of bolshy, untrained juveniles. As it happens, my boy was fostered in a house with several black labs and they were the one dog he was happy to approach before those incidents, now he panics if he sees one from miles away. sad

tabulahrasa Mon 05-May-14 19:02:22

"I always say I prefer walking my dogs in the rain, as then you tend to only get the more responsible dog owners, who walk their dogs come rain or shine"

Yep, pouring rain or dark winter evenings...less dogs and those that are about are usually under control, lol.

Mine isn't a rescue, or nervous, he's just faulty and I'm trying to prevent him throwing himself at their dogs snarling and'd think that might be a good enough reason to keep your dog away from mine, but obviously not.

moosemama Mon 05-May-14 19:06:43

Me too Owllady - first dog just after I turned 19, rescued GSD bitch that we found dying under a hedge.

I have a W Mids accent too! grin

What I was trying to say was that back then, dog walking was a much more relaxed affair, dogs tended to be 'naturally socialised' by frequent exposure on walks and there was less miscommunication between the dogs themselves.

I have seen a big shift in the numbers of undersocialised pet dogs with little or no basic training and poor communication skills over the years. I would maybe meet one or two every now and again back then, but now it's several on every walk - in certain places - I find I have to choose the location of my walks very carefully if I want to have a relaxed and enjoyable walk. It could be the area I live in though, so many people wanting working breeds and gundogs, but expecting them to need virtually no exercise, come ready trained, be non-shedding and able to stay on their own for endless hours every day while their owners are at work. sad

That said, I was at a show (VW not dogs) yesterday and there were literally hundreds of on-lead dogs all getting along famously. In six or so hours there I didn't see one scuffle or snap. I did see a couple of 'yellow dogs' which were being respected and I was really pleased to see that. So, maybe my previous thought is right and it is the area I live in that just has an inordinate amount of numpties who really shouldn't have dogs.

Beachcomber Mon 05-May-14 20:22:58

Gosh thank you so much for all your helpful posts. I'm sorry to hear of others who have experienced this sort of thing. I wish it were uncommon but I know that it is not. And I know it is all sizes of dogs, little uns and big uns - our experiences just happened to be with big ones!

I have let our rescue dog off the lead earlier than recommended by the rescue as for several reasons I felt it would be better for her confidence. Her recall has been extremely good so far, I'm really proud of her.

We went for a walk this morning and met a young medium sized dog behaving well on lead, its polite owner asked if we could let them say hello and all went well. That has done us good.

I am feeling a bit better about it all, I think a big part of why I felt so bad was because I felt that I had let my dog down by not protecting her from rude people and their badly trained dogs.

Such a minefield. Sorry for short impersonal reply to so many lovely posts, am on kindle. I am reading and appreciating everything, thanks lovely doghouse people smile

Beachcomber Mon 05-May-14 20:50:57

Also agree that when I was young dogs seemed to be better socialised - certainly where I lived it was all kids and dogs out playing and there were rarely problems with the dogs. I met countless dogs with my old dog that we had at my mum's and I honestly don't remember anything like such a level of dog rudeness.

I am appalled at the way my friends are with their dog for example. They have a big big dog and it drags them about on the lead, has practically no recall, jumps up, bumps kids over, has no manners and is totally loopy because they hardly ever walk it because it is so unmanageable. What were they thinking to get such a (rescue) dog in the first place and how dare they impose it on others?! I'm really annoyed with them. Their dog not only upset mine whilst it was here, it damaged our fence, ran amok around our neighbourhood whilst they yelled fruitlessly for it to come back, scared my kids, hurt my DHs leg by running into him full tilt and to top it all, turns out it has fleas. What would posses you to take such a dog to someone else's house especially if you knew they were trying to settle a nervous dog a fifth of the size?? Grrrrr.

And of course they see little wrong in all this and think that we have the bad dog because she displayed aggression whilst their dog was just being "friendly" .

<scores friends off Xmas card list for being knobbish dog owners>

Beachcomber Mon 05-May-14 21:18:20

AND when we walked the dogs, theirs did a ginormous poo right in front of someone's house and they didn't have anything on them to deal with it or pick it up. I fished a poo bag out of my pocket and frostily said that they better not leave it with the most pronounced cats bum face I have ever done and with my judgy meter exploding.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Mon 05-May-14 21:33:32

Oh dear Beachcomber, I think you've found yourself some delightful dog owners there. Perhaps you should direct them here!

TooOldForGlitter Mon 05-May-14 22:10:46

Annoyingly the two that caused the situation with us yesterday were Lurchers and I love lurchers so I felt even worse and like a precious wanky owner stood with a stressed and fearful massive greyhound.

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