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How to pups learn to stand up for themselves as they get older?

(8 Posts)
WeAllHaveWings Mon 01-Dec-14 23:22:18

Our 20 month old male neutered black lab has always been very dog friendly. When he plays with other dogs, if there're any challenges he is always submissive to them and if he's being too enthusiastic (or tries to mount them blush) takes a telling off (growl, snap) from other dogs and calms down/backs off as needed.

always has been very laid back/placid, most excited playing with other dogs. Sometimes nervous, but this can be variable for example not fazed at all out walking firework night, but a temporary road sign on the pavement worried him hmm. Not vocal at all, only time he ever barks is one single little quiet bark if he wants in from the garden.

Neutered around 11 months, was tempted not to as he was so placid, but he tried a couple of times to mount friends dc and as a big lab gave them a fright.

Recently there have been some "new kids on the block", younger pups 4-10 months old he has been playing with who are a bit nippy when playing, but he doesn't tell them off, he stays submissive to them and then they get more nippy and he yelps like a puppy himself until their owners pull them off.

Today he had a 18 week old cocker hanging off his face and just sat there looking at me with his eyes saying "will you get this bloody pup off me!"

Yesterday a 9 month old lab was nipping him, hanging onto his ears and he just yelped.

Will he ever learn to tell off another dog, or is he destined to be bullied by every young upstart? Sometimes think it was a mistake to neuter him as he might have matured more if we had left it longer.

CleaninQueen Tue 02-Dec-14 06:21:02

Think some of it depends on the breed, my mums french bulldog won't defend itself. My two however do, they've got plenty of attitude. Female dog is spayed and still has attitude, male dog isn't neutered but when our last dog was neutered he still had attitude in bucketfuls.

muttynutty Tue 02-Dec-14 07:35:46

It is just his personality so it is up to you to prevent putting him into the situations that he cannot deal with.

He is just the sort of dog to develop fear aggression in dogs at a later date. He has been polite to them and then realises that they only way to get them to leave him alone is to lunge and bark and snarl. To prevent this from happening you need to monitor his interactions with all dogs and make sure that they are ok and not hassling him

WeAllHaveWings Tue 02-Dec-14 15:00:52

I think he is the most laid back Labrador in the world, except when he is playing with other dogs then he lights up! My ds(10) was desperate for a black lab but I think he finds him a bit boring, still loves him to bits!

The possibility of fear aggression in the future is a real worry. I do remove him from the situation as soon as he looks uncomfortable or yelps, we generally meet the same dogs all the time so know the ones that are incompatible with him and avoid.

It is strange as he plays with a mature staffy bitch and they roll around and hold each other down by the throat (gently), each giving as much as they get and have a great time and you can see he is really enjoying it.

Then, there is a wee shit of a miniature poodle who chases him as soon as he sees him and he runs desperate to avoid it (so I remove him), but today the same miniature poodle was walking round with another lab and ignoring it, but still went nuts with mine?

Think I need to buy a dog behaviour book to understand this? Does anyone know of one that's not too heavy and would cover this type of behaviour?

SpicyBear Tue 02-Dec-14 16:10:56

What Mutty says is spot on. Despite knowing what I'm looking for I missed some signs that my younger dog was uncomfortable in certain interactions and he did get barky. We are now undoing it but would have been much easier if I'd stepped in earlier. You have a big advantage in that he makes it clear when he needs you to help him out so don't be worried about just stepping in. Better that he knows you will protect him than feel he has to try to handle it himself.

ender Tue 02-Dec-14 17:36:38

My lab's like this, v friendly, never barks or shows any sign of aggression even with extremely annoying dogs. He'd just look at me pleadingly and I'd rescue him.
When he was 2 yrs old the trainer told me he'd never learn coping strategies if I kept intervening, so I left him and was amazed at how quickly he learnt to deal with things.
He's still friendly and completely non-aggressive, but if another dog's bothering him he just lowers his head and keeps very still. Dog quickly gets bored and leaves. The technique works well with groups of small yappy dogs, as well as large ones looking for a fight.

WeAllHaveWings Tue 02-Dec-14 22:07:12

ender he is ok with most dogs but there are a few recently, mostly nippy pups who need put in their place by an older dog (as he was as a pup), but he just lets them nip him, they get more excited with this game and nip harder until their owners remove them or I rescue him when he yelps.

muttynutty Wed 03-Dec-14 07:54:28

It needn't be difficult to sort out - just do what you would for your DC's if he looked uncomfortable a cheery come on lets go and walk away. If a puppy is hanging off his ear just remove said puppy treat your dog and walk away. Alternatively stay away from all puppies smile

I never ever stay longer than 3 secs meet and greet with dogs I do no know
greeting sniff and walk away - that way no negative interactions can happen.

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