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Dog running up to my dog growling etc - did I do the right thing?

(5 Posts)
Lauresbadhairday Fri 14-Aug-15 16:23:44

I am a relatively new owner of a retired greyhound. She can get nervous around other dogs and tends to growl at dogs who run up to her when we are out walking. I keep her on a lead most of the time on walks except in a small pocket park where I let her have a quick blast off lead but never if there are other dogs around as I'm not sure how she will react.

Anyway this morning we were in the park and she was on her lead. Another dog came charging up to her and started growling, barking and jumping up at her. She started growling, barking and snapping. The other dog's owner sauntered over slowly making little effort to recall his dog. I tried to move away but my dog was pulling hard on her lead away from me so it was difficult to get her to move. Eventually the other dog's owner arrived and said that his dog 'only wanted to play'. I asked the owner to hold his dog so we could move away.

There was another dog owner in the park who told me I should have let her off the lead so she could 'defend herself'. Did I do the right thing keeping her on her lead and waiting for the other dog to be recalled? What should I do in this situation in the future? I don't feel comfortable letting her off lead with other dogs yet.

Thanks. I have had good advice and support here from experienced owners. I am finding dog ownership much more challenging than I anticipated.

pigsDOfly Fri 14-Aug-15 19:28:45

Hmm. Not sure about defending herself, surely that would lead to fights.

I hate this 'he only wants to play' thing. If a dog is growling and barking at my dog I have to be the judge of how my dog is going to react.

I had something similar this week when another dog ran up to my dog (both off the lead, both small dogs) and started snapping and growling. Yes, my dog did start to defend herself but it was beginning to look like it had the makings of a fight to me so I started trying to grab my dog while the other dog's owner stood by doing nothing. Eventually, I got my dog away, only to be told by the other dog's owner that you 'have to let them sort themselves out'.

No you don't.

I think you did the right thing. If you don't feel happy about letting your dog off around other dogs yet, don't do it.

It's always acceptable to forewarn someone if you see them in the distance by calling out that your dog isn't good around other dogs and can they call their dog back. Although that often won't stop the hardcore 'he only wants to play' merchants.

Having said that, some dogs can seem to be a bit more defensive when they're on lead, almost as if they feel trapped because they know they can't run away.

MyGirlDaisy Sun 16-Aug-15 16:40:24

I have had this with my rescue Greyhound, whom I have had for two years he is much better than he was but if he is on the lead and another dog comes rushing up particularly when they come round his back end he does sometimes growl and try to whip round. After taking some advice from a behaviourist if the other dogs owner is some distance away or distracted I now extend my arm down towards the approaching dog with my palm uppermost and say very firmly No! So far this has stopped the approaching dog in its tracks and they normally stay away until I can either move away or the owner collects their dog. I then always apologise to the dogs owner and explain that my dog doesn't like dogs running at them. So far I haven't had anybody get angry with me for doing it but maybe I have just been lucky! I always think better that than a dog fight though! When my grey is off the lead he is always muzzled but he does seem better, maybe because he can get away if he wants to, but he also has excellent recall, nine times out of ten he is fine with other dogs but I don't want to take that risk. I hope that helps good luck they are beautiful dogs.

Lauresbadhairday Sun 16-Aug-15 18:04:17

Thanks for your replies. It might be a good idea to muzzle her when she is off lead as this will give me some peace of mind. I will also try and be a bit more assertive with approaching dogs and their owners!

tabulahrasa Sun 16-Aug-15 19:14:48

You don't want her to defend herself btw...what that does is teach her that that's appropriate behaviour and might well escalate her behaviour in future.

Also, muzzles on an off lead dog aren't a fantastic idea, they get caught on things.

Other than calling over that she's not friendly in plenty of time (which may or may not have made a difference anyway) really, you did the right thing by just trying to control your dog and letting the other owner get his.

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