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My dog doesn't "speak" dog

(25 Posts)
Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Jan-17 11:40:45

I have a 1 year old Goldie boy (unneutered but probably will be soon)
He had a tricky start as he came from a puppy farm - obviously didn't know when we got him at 8 weeks but with hindsight we are pretty sure he did.
We are quite experienced owners with time and money to throw at his issues so we got plenty of help and now he's a lovely boy but with 1 exception. He is a bloody nightmare with other dogs
If he spots one while out he will instantly go on alert and sit down, he then runs at it full pelt - obviously he can't go off lead so he doesn't get there but whoever is holding him has to hold on very tight.
If he gets within about 3 feet he's like a bloody balloon on a string trying to dive on the other dog. There is no aggression from him at all he just wants to play but he seems to really wind up other dogs to the extent that he has been attacked ( only badly once) by other dogs as he simply can't/won't read the signs that he needs to back off. I don't allow him near other dogs but we do get approached and the owner always says their dog is friendly and it usually is until our dog starts bouncing around and refuses to heed warning growls etc. This happened twice in 1 walk on Sunday and both owners were very surprised as their dog " never" shows aggression. The dog he was attacked by quite badly belongs to a friend and it's very soppy, the family used to foster rescue dogs so it used to many different dogs and has genuinely never bee aggressive to another dog.
We did puppy and intermediate classes but NOTHING can distract ddog from other dogs, no treat is better than a chance to lunge at another dog and blocking his view or turning around just makes him frantically try to get past me.
Funnily he seems to settle down quite quickly once his initial bought of lunacy is over. If I manage to control him long enough to stop and talk to another dog owner ( plenty of regulars round here) or we walk with a friend and their dog after 5 minutes he just sits down and isn't bothered - unless the other dog moves again and he might start.
All the other dogs we meet seem to really dislike him and I know it's not like your child having no friends but it makes me sad!! He occasionally goes to doggy daycare where apparently he is a pest for a bit and then goes and plays on his own. The other dogs don't want to play with him as he doesn't seem to know the rules
Any ideas how we can help him?
Sorry so long, thank you for reading

pigsDOfly Wed 04-Jan-17 12:22:05

Sounds like he was taken from his mother and litter before he learned his manners.

I know someone who has a dog like this, bought from a pet shop, so obviously puppy farm as well. He's about 12 years old and has never learned that persistently sniffing another dog can really annoy it. He's a lovely dog otherwise but just doesn't understand limits. He's a big dog and most dogs find him very off putting and my dog finds him quite scary.

In your shoes I'd be looking at finding a one to one behaviourist rather than classes. I've never used a behaviourist so not an expert on them but he's still very young so would imagine he would be able to be taught to be more polite.

MrsJayy Wed 04-Jan-17 12:27:04

My dog is like this its such a shame he just doesn't get it we know a tiny bit about his back ground he was dumped at rescue as a newborn so no mum or littermates to learn from

MrsJayy Wed 04-Jan-17 12:31:26

We had a behaviourist from the rescue who did somework with him but he isn't fixed sadly just managable (sp)

Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Jan-17 13:06:48

Thank you
He does stay with a lovely lady who also works with Dogs Trust as a behaviourist. She has a dog but ours settles quite quickly there and then leaves hers alone.
She helped us sort out his resource guarding so I will speak to her about this as well.
He just wants to play but has no friends - even his best puppy friend won't tolerate him now they are bigger

MrsJayy Wed 04-Jan-17 13:09:53

Aww bless him yes speak to the woman you know he is still a puppy though and he is maybe just v v excited about everything still

pinkbraces Wed 04-Jan-17 13:11:51

I have no helpful advice but lots of empathy. My dog is a loner, loves humans, not dogs. Makes me sad she has no Doggy friends. She also goes to daycare and is fine, just wants to play with the humans!
Perhaps your DD will get better at playing the more mature she gets.

pigsDOfly Wed 04-Jan-17 13:29:28

That sounds so sad Hopping because he clearly wants to have some buddies to play with but just doesn't understand. Hope you can get him some help.

The dog I know is like that, he'd love to be everyone's friend but other dogs just get irritated with him, it's such a shame.

My dog on the other hand doesn't want to play with other dogs, does love humans though.

MrsJayy Wed 04-Jan-17 14:01:36

Thing with my dog he is picky which dog he wants to "chat" too so he is unpredictable <sigh>

AllOfTheCoffee Wed 04-Jan-17 14:08:38

I had a dog like this. I was lucky enough to know someone with two completely bomb proof bull lurchers.

Letting her run off leash with them helped her (getting to that stage was a slow process and I knew all three inside out by the time we reached that stage and so could intervene before any serious fights broke out). They put her in her place firmly but without agression. She got a bit snappy once or twice, but they walked away rather than engaging with her aggression.

A behaviourist will possibly know of similar dogs you could slowly introduce him to. I'd have a ring around.

Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Jan-17 14:17:50

Thank you all
He doesn't even get it when he is being "attacked"
We met 2 big bull mastiffs at the weekend, one and off lead. It approached and I said to the man that my dog was friendly but a bit over enthusiastic.
He said his 2 were absolutely fine.
The one not n a lead approached but within a few minutes was growling and nipping at him ( while I hung on for dear life as ddog still wanted to play) . The one on lead then lunged at him as well and the man had a job to control both - he called to his wife who just shrugged and said they were too big for her to control and I managed to drag ddog away, who still thought it was all great fun.
The man was very appologetic and said that he had never seen his dogs behave like that before ( I hear that a lot)

Floralnomad Wed 04-Jan-17 14:21:34

My dog also doesn't understand other dogs but like pigs dog he isn't interested in dogs anyway ( loves people) so the only time we get issues is when other dogs , probably like the OPs get in his face and then he really gets very cross ,we do have a group of dogs that we walk with that just ignore him . When you say your dog doesn't go off lead OP is that because of this issue or bad recall ? Do you use a long line so that he is getting a good run around ? Is it all dogs he's crap with or just certain types ?

Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Jan-17 14:30:55

All dogs, any shape and size
He can't go off lead as if he spotted a dog in the distance he would be off, even across roads. Recall would be pretty good ( I think) if there were no dogs even in hearing distance - he can get over excited about even a bark but as he could hear one before I could I just can't risk him off the lead.
DD runs with him on a long lead on the fields sometimes i make sure he gets plenty of walks to make up for the fact that he can't have a good run around off lead but it really isn't safe for him.
I know he's still young and does get a bit over excited about a lot of things but I can control it with distraction, for example we have just been out and 3 squirrels ran past. The ears went up but I called him to me ( long lead) and distracted him with a treat but with another dog I would have no chance - he literally quivers when he spots one!!

MrsJayy Wed 04-Jan-17 15:01:31

Is a goldie a retriever? I Read something about labs and retrievers being a hellohellohello type of dog they come over too in your face sometimes i only googled it because jaydog hates labs he is a collie and aloof and cant stand wiggley bummed hellos, i think you need to speak to your behaviourist friend.

babyblackbird Wed 04-Jan-17 16:22:17

Just as an aside you may also find that some dogs are beginning to react to your dog because he is unneutered and going through a testosterone surge.

My lab went through this at a similar age. It felt like nearly every walk another dog would growl / have a go a him and he generally ignores other dogs. A small proportion of neutered males won't tolerate entire males because they react to the scent of testosterone. We are out the other side generally now although we do still meet males who take a dislike to my entire male.

Just a possibility that the reaction may not be all down to his over enthusiasm.......

Hoppinggreen Wed 04-Jan-17 17:05:23

Yes a Retriever
baby good point but even the girls hate him!!!
We plan to get him neutered soon so if that's making it worse that shouid help

PlayingGrownUp Wed 04-Jan-17 17:15:15

This was my dog - he was a puppy farm baby and we had from 4 weeks (got him, quickly twigged something was up and took him to the vet who called police. She got 4 years and a ban)

Hes 2 now and much improved. Neutering helped as did a lot of off lead alone time - lots of walking the beach at ungodly hours when no one was there. Then we'd take him to the park and let him off lead - putting him on lead (after sotting) everytime we seen anything.

The best thing that ever happened was a young boxer snapping at him and in a big way. He's a medium spaniel cross and it really opened his eyes to not everyone wants to play.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Thu 05-Jan-17 07:08:13

My dog would be a nightmare if he didn't have plenty of offlead time so he could burn off his energy - running alongside a human isn't a substitute especially for a retriever as they need to be able to sniff around as well as run

If you really worked on his recall and could let him offlead I suspect you'd find his interactions with other dogs would improve dramatically - being on lead changes the dynamic for all dogs concerned. He's a retriever, not a husky, so I find it hard to believe that he couldn't be taught a reliable recall. Is there somewhere relatively enclosed or with no/few roads you could go to at a time when there aren't loads of other dogs around, armed with really high value treats, squeaky ball etc . Total Recall by Pippa Mattinson is brilliant - start the programme from scratch but you can't rush it until each step is secure

My boy also became a bit of a target when he hit adolescence - it was one of the main reasons we decided to get him neutered which stopped all the aggression from other dogs immediately

Hoppinggreen Thu 05-Jan-17 08:05:58

notyet I agree that it would be great if he could have a good run and believe me we have worked really really hard on recall - and it's great until he spots another dog or even hears one. He has been know to launch at certain people too, if I hadn't had tight hold of him yesterday on his walk he would have floored a toddler.
We have worked wth a trainer who has agreed with us that he simply isn't safe to be off lead and there are no high value treats or toy he prefers to the opportunity to "play" with another dog.
This is my 4th Retriever so I know they can be taught reliable recall but he doesn't have it yet.
He only place I know he can safely run is our garden, it's a decent size but not ideal for a large active dog

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 05-Jan-17 09:55:16

I wonder if it's a labrador thing as that has happened to us several times on our dog walks (used to be with my 2 old bull terriers, now occasionally happens with my staffy cross pup). We'll be walking along innocently across the fields and an off-lead lab (and they always have no recall) will race towards my dog/s, barking furiously, get to within a few feet, then hang back and taunt them, barking. In fact I once told an owner what I thought of her as she was hopeless - had zero recall and had the dog approached mine (which were under control and on a lead) much closer, they'd probably have taken it down and got the blame, being bull breeds. She told me I had no right to tell her what to do. I pointed out I probably did as her failure to have any recall could have resulted in a dead dog - my dogs wouldn't start a fight (they were both really amiable with other dogs) but if challenged to one, they'd sure as hell finish it.

So that's how it looks from the perspective of the people your dog charges upto.

It does seem to be this breed that do it as almost every single time this has happened to us over the years, it has been labs.

My very socialised and friendly old dogs would happily play with any dog they met - but not one charging towards them barking and with weird body language. So I'd geta trainer back in and get this fixed urgently. It often struck me the lab owners in question round here, didn't seem to grasp that they were risking their own dog's life by letting them offlead if they had no recall (if this happens on lead it could still be dangerous). As you can't guarantee that a friendly dog, approached like this, won't take it as a threat. So I'd treat it as an urgent problem and get help for this specific situation.

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 05-Jan-17 09:59:22

ETA: What I mean is, I'm wondering if this isn't even a trait of that type of dog? Or just another by product of a working dog being kept as a pet. It's boisterous because it should be active.

Also, as a breed they do seem to have been overbred so are often from puppy farms or bred by a random farmer in a barn somewhere so never socialised. As it does seem to be a thing with labs. My uncle had retrievers but as working dogs (farmer turned poacher in the 1950s and 60s, he's long gone!) so they were pretty chilled out because they were worked at night.

Hoppinggreen Thu 05-Jan-17 10:45:36

Thanks joff
He isn't allowed to approach other dogs unless we know them well as I am aware of the danger. He doesn't get to charge up to other dogs. Other owners will ask if he's friendly and I just say he is but he's a bit over the top. Sometimes they still approach and say " oh my dog won't mind" ( they often do). I might have to start saying he's not!
It might be a breed problem but I doubt it as we had 3 before and one was a bit daft with people but soon grew out of it and the other 2 were friendly with other dogs but a bit aloof

ToffeeChops Thu 05-Jan-17 11:23:26

Our Border Terrier is similar. If he sees another dog, that's it, and if he wasn't on lead I'm sure he'd bolt.

I do let him off on the beach but I constantly scan the horizon just in case something with 4 legs appears in the distance.

He's got good recall (most of the time) and very good recall when he's out with other dogs walked as a pack, but I really don't think he knows how to read other dog's signals and he's so unpredictable. On the odd occasion we risk a 'meet and greet' there's usually a split second when I think 'Oh, this might be ok!' before he starts barking his head off and jumping around. I don't think it's aggression, but it sure as hell ain't good manners.

With easy going dogs he usually settles down pretty quickly and consequently he does have doggy friends, but I live with the fear that one day he will wind up a bigger (and not so easy going) dog so badly that they, understandably, react. So for now, it's a lead or long-line pretty much all the time.sad

ProcrastinatingSquid2 Thu 05-Jan-17 11:43:33

Hopping, you have my sympathy. I've got a 10 month old golden and have the same problem. Great recall but if he sees another dog, there is nothing I can do with him. He bolts and if the other dog doesnt like him, he seems to take it as a challenge to win that dog round by being ridiculously bouncy and full on. We walk him on a 20 metre line so he can still have a bit of freedom, and if I can see a long way into the distance that there's no one around, I just drop the lead so he's free. We've worked so hard on his recall, bringing high value treats out on walks and toys, but nothing compares to another dog, does it? We send him to daycare once a week because we thought that might make him a bit less excited by other dogs. That doesn't seem to have worked.
I've been told he'll calm down at about 18 months. We've had phases where we have let him completely off the lead but it's only luck (ie not encountering any other dogs) thay results in a good, stress-free walk. I've had other dogs and never experienced this kind of frenzied sociability with any of them.

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 05-Jan-17 12:06:08

There probably is such a thing as socially awkward dogs... When a dog pisses off other dogs who are normally pretty friendly and nice, it often seems to me their body language is all out of whack and other dogs can't 'read' them.

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