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How to deal with other people's dogs - top tips, please!

(23 Posts)
Dragontrainer Wed 19-Apr-17 12:44:22

My sometimes sociable, sometimes wimp dog has just had an encounter with someone else's over playful puppy that has scared him (again).

DDog walks on lead and muzzled because of his random periods of being frightened of stuff and dealing with his fear by being the loudest, woofiest dog on the planet. Today we were walking through a field when a large puppy came up and started jumping at him. There was no owner in sight. My dog kept trying to jump / move away but the other puppy kept jumping at him and chasing. It clearly just wanted to play, but mine was shaking with fear. Even when I picked my dog up, the puppy kept jumping at me and my dog.

I asked the puppy to sit in firm tones, and it ignored me. We couldn't get away from it, and it just kept following. It took its owner considerable time to appear and inform me it was just a pup wanting to play - grr.

Putting aside my frustration at how this will have set back all my efforts to convince my dog that other dogs are okay, what are the best tactics to get other people's unsupervised dogs to away?! It's happened two or three times before. The dog and I already walk in fields/across countryside where we're less likely to encounter others to try and manage his anxiety. He's seen a behaviourist and we're trying to reduce his fear levels. However, realistically he's never going to be ok with a strange dog following him and jumping all over him. Does anyone have any tips on how to get a strange dog just to go away? Pretty please?

Oh, and I'd hope it would go without saying that I am only interested in non violent methods of repelling dogs!

ErrolTheDragon Wed 19-Apr-17 12:49:34

Might be worth carrying some treats to throw to distract the other dog, though that might backfire.

georgedawes Wed 19-Apr-17 12:51:45

Take a walking pole with you and wave it shouting "go away". Did this last week when a whippet ran barking at my daughter from about 200m away. Wouldn't do it to a human aggressive dog but certainly would to one with bad manners.

georgedawes Wed 19-Apr-17 12:52:05

Ps shouting as in big firm voice not shrieking etc

BiteyShark Wed 19-Apr-17 12:53:33

God no idea OP. I am teaching my dog to ignore other dogs and people because he is too friendly. An elderly women (I mention the age because she was struggling to keep up with her dog) let her very small dog off lead bounce up to mine yesterday and did the 'but he is friendly' excuse. Even when I pointed out that yes mine is a puppy but allowing your dog to go up to random dogs is a bad idea in case they are not friendly could result in your dog being injured, was just brushed off by her as me being daft.

Anyway rant over. What I do is take a hiking stick with me which I can use to 'bat' away the off lead dog. This at least can help to put distance between your dog and theirs and makes it very clear to the owners that I do NOT want their dog near me. Interestingly my dog was off lead today and a dog ran up to him, no owner in sight although I had spotted them earlier a long distance away, and just waving the stick at the dog and saying goaway did send the dog back (my dog is very used to me having the stick so didn't bat and eyelid and came to me when I recalled him).

Dragontrainer Wed 19-Apr-17 12:57:56

george - thanks for the suggestion, but unfortunately daft dog is also petrified of walking poles/sticks (irrationally - he's had no bad experiences with them)

errol wondering why I hadn't thought of that; I normally have treats to feed our dog when he sees others so that he associates other dogs with good things! Will give it a go next time

SlB09 Wed 19-Apr-17 13:06:14

Its hard because you need to train your dog but actually at the moment it sounds like you are reinforcing that he should be scared of other dogs by picking him up, shouting, shooing other dogs away. I know you feel like your helping and meetings ideally should be controlled but your actually showing your dog that other dogs are a threat. Hes sensibly got a muzzle on so cant hurt another dog and its a good signal to other (responsible!) dog owners. Some dogs would naturally 'tell off' bouncy pups or over excited adult dogs as this is seen as poor behaviour in the dog world so I wouldn't worry about this although its more irritating than anything that the owners dont care re manners.

You could get a 'yellow dog' bandana or lead to help in training aswell? Sounds like your dog needs more exposure to other balanced dogs rather than avoidance.

Wolfiefan Wed 19-Apr-17 13:11:21

Did the behaviourist tell you to muzzle? It may be making the situation worse?

georgedawes Wed 19-Apr-17 13:12:30

How about taking a spare slip lead and walking the dog back to its owner ? Perhaps tying your dog to a nearby fence or something whilst you do?

I'm vastly losing my patience with crap owners just now, and my dog isnt fearful of other dogs! You can tell it's spring and all the shit owners are emerging from hibernation. Virtually every walk just now involves a badly behaved dog either jumping all over my dog/daughtet/me or both. I prefer winter walking!!

Wolfiefan Wed 19-Apr-17 13:14:10

George. I agree. I love the frosty empty field. I was walking my giant sighthound pup on a longline. Lab bounces up. No attempt from distant owner to recall. Mine would leap all over it in attempt to play. Hence the longline. But then it would be my fault.
Recall, hire a safe space or lead. Idiots!!

Wolfiefan Wed 19-Apr-17 13:16:25

OP. How about throwing a ball for the dog to entice it away from yours?

Bubble2bubble Wed 19-Apr-17 13:34:37

Spare lead on you, always. Keep it cheerful so your own dog thinks everything is ok "hello doggie, here's your lead, come with us...,bla bla bla"
Take the dog back to his owner ( alternatively walk off with the new dog and when the owner realises how easy it was for their dog to be taken maybe they will stay a bit closer next time)

Dragontrainer Wed 19-Apr-17 13:36:08

sib - the dog's a large whippet (think small greyhound size) so is only rarely picked up! He'd already remained on the floor for a good minute of friendly harassment and I felt sorry for him. I am conscious he needs to sniff other dogs etc and encourage it when he's clearly ok with the other dog and they're ok with him. I take your general point about not reinforcing his fear though, which is hard as I have to make an effort not to tense up when seeing other dogs as he's unpredictable as to how he'll react to them.

wolfie - yes, the behaviourist agrees with the muzzle; the dog is a leaping lunging nightmare around all huskies and certain other triggers. The dog isn't usually bothered by the muzzle unless there's a delicacy of horse poo that the muzzle stops him feasting on - he associates it with walks!

Onlefoolsandheros Wed 19-Apr-17 13:45:09

A squirty bottle of water usually works well with over interested dogs and encourages them to sod off.

Dragon have you tried training classes with you dog. It may help to improve his confidence (even if he knows the commands already) and get him socialising in an environment that's much more controlled

Bluebell9 Thu 20-Apr-17 08:23:32

Will your dog sit still if you aren't holding the lead? I had a reactive dog and he would sit still if I told him to so I could get hold of the other dog and keep it away. I used to carry a loop lead so you don't have to have a collar on the other dog.

SparklingRaspberry Thu 20-Apr-17 13:43:11

I'm very surprised you were advised to muzzle your dog.

Keeping it muzzled and picking it up when another dog approaches is only going to reinforce its fear.

A dog is more likely to feel more confident if he/she feels it can defend itself. Many dogs are more aggressive on lead than off.

Personally I wouldn't be using the muzzle at all. Nor would I ever pick up the dog unless it was about to be attacked.

It needs to feel confident enough to defend itself. It'll never feel that way if you keep doing this. I know you mean well but you really aren't helping with its fear.

Booboostwo Thu 20-Apr-17 14:05:53

With an exuberant dog running up to your dog to play try placing yourself between the two dogs, in such a way as to block eye to eye contact, the extend one arm and say firmly 'stop'. It won't work 100%, but can help in some cases.

LilCamper Thu 20-Apr-17 14:09:36

Fear is an emotion and not a behaviour, you cannot reinforce an emotion.

yecartmannew Thu 20-Apr-17 14:11:20

Agree with Booboostwo. It also helps your dog to trust that you will keep him safe and therefore less likely to try to protect himself.

My bitch came to us with a default of run away when scared. Took us a while to teach a default of run to me instead but she now does that 100% and can be safely off lead because she knows I will protect her always.

jellyshoeswithdiamonds Thu 20-Apr-17 14:22:08

I've found that "No!" in a very firm (don't mess with me) tone stops most in their tracks. Even really naughty dogs know "no" hmm

Hate bouncy dogs jumping over/on my dog (he's 10 yo can't always get away these days) so if I can stop it with a no or body blocking I will. Then I deal with my own dog by saying "walk on" which he knows is .. ignore mam is dealing with it.

GreyHare Sun 23-Apr-17 19:39:55

I tend to either keep walking and hope the other dog loses interest or throw treats and walk away quickly, if this isn't going to work then I stand still and try to put the dogs behind me and I block the bouncy dog and try to make us dull and boring so it loses interest and I will start shouting for its owner to come and get it, and if all of that fails and I haven't had to do it yet but a swift kick would be my next move, just blocking with your foot can get results as people will come and get their dogs if they think you are about to kick their precious dog. Bugs the hell out of me that irresponsible dog owners allow their dogs to harass mine.

choppednutaddict Sun 23-Apr-17 21:53:53

I own a border a collie she gets upset and snaps the air to warn some dogs that come bounding up to her or won't take their noses out of her butt.
I trained her with the command AWAY very firmly said, clap of the hands and I walk away quickly so she follows.
I tend to agree with the other users about the use of a muzzle. If your dog doesn't bite other dogs or people I don't think it's necessary.
Dogs scrap with each other all the time (pin down/snap at each other) as long as it's not vicious they sort it out between themselves.
I have read picking your dog up is the worse thing to do, only encouraging the other dog more.
If it was me I'd remove the muzzle, don't give any treats to distract, you never know about allergies and you don't want to piss off some owner.
Putting the annoying dog on a lead again could annoy the owner or stress your pup out even more, plus giving you an extra responsibility.

Is your dog trained with recall?
Sometimes being tied up on the lead in these situations can make things worse.
Is it possible to let your dog off the lead, walking quickly away from the other dog whilst calling yours? Putting yourself between the two dogs blocking them?
I would clap saying NO! And AH AH!
And have some super tasty treats to reward your dog.

If you have a friend with a well trained dog you could practice this.

choppednutaddict Sun 23-Apr-17 21:54:41

Dogs pick up on your anxiety so try to remain calm and use a happy voice

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