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My dog frightens others :(

(50 Posts)
ForeverHopeful21 Tue 23-May-17 18:13:27

I have a 3.5 year old male mini schnauzer, he's always been a dominant and lively dog. We went to puppy classes and have done other one on one training. We've always had lots of house rules, and indoors he is PERFECT in every way. Everyone that knows him, loves him.

BUT ...when we're out he isn't as well behaved. He's always had a very keen interest in other dogs and loves to play. This has been ok until the past 18 months when he's been a bit hit and miss with other male dogs. He gets very excited, barks a lot, and if off lead he bounds over. If I call him once he's seen the other dog he'll only come back around 75% of the time. Most of the time he shoots off and then he'll just have a sniff and wander off or he'll try and play (admittedly sometimes his play does seem intense i.e. he'll mount the other dog). Most owners aren't bothered and he has never bitten or hurt another dog.
Strangely it's often the other dogs that will growl at him and other dogs that don't seem to like him, but I assume this is because he's giving off some kind of signal??

Today he ran over to a woman and her dog quite far ahead in-front of me. Although I didn't see him do anything bad, I could see that he was stood very still (in a menacing kind of way!). The other dog lay down submissively, and so the owner picked her dog up in her arms. My dog then tried jumping up to get to the dog and the woman got very upset. It's played on my mind all day because the last thing I want is for my dog to frighten someone. I actually feel like I don't want to take him anymore sad

I've done training on this and paid a fortune for private sessions. No matter how much training I do, he still won't listen when other dogs are around.
I live in a rural area and have always walked him off lead. I'm wondering if it's come to a point where he'll have to be on lead at all times just in case he frightens other walkers. I feel like this is a shame and a massive inconvenience but I know that he's my responsibility.

Had anyone else experienced similar?

roundtable Tue 23-May-17 18:19:56

Have you seen a behaviourist?

I only ask as dogs can be the most well trained dogs and do lots of different tricks etc but could still suffer from fear aggression etc.

If your dog is mounting other dogs, he is trying to bully them but his body language prior to that should tell you why.

There's lots online about body language of dogs. I think the dog listener has quite a few things and there must be other good ones.

Good luck though, it must be horrible to be in that situation.

BeepBeepMOVE Tue 23-May-17 18:26:04

I think this is a common thing with mini schnauzers. There are two-with different owners- round here that all the other dogs dislike. Very dominant behaviour, jumping all over them. All the other dogs in our area try and avoid them. I call my dog over now if we see them. They are the only dogs my dog has ever growled at.

Maybe contact a breed club/group and see if anyone has solutions? They may well have dealt with the same thing and will know how best to get mini schnauzers to work.

pigsDOfly Tue 23-May-17 18:32:45

Tbh in your shoes, at the moment I'd be keeping him on the lead around other dogs, especially given that his recall isn't reliable, and then I'd be going right back to the basics of recall training.

Agree with table, look into finding a good behaviourist.

If you're rural, could you hire a field for him to have his runs alone for a while and where you could work on his training without distractions.

Good luck.

Ylvamoon Tue 23-May-17 18:48:21

I think you have to get back to basic training.... especially out and about.
Maybe you both would benefit from "group training". The Kennel Club offers a good citizens dog program that should be offered by your local dog club. These classes are usually a lot cheaper than 1:1 training and run by people with an abundance of knowledge & experience.
Try the link and see what is available in your area!

Wolfiefan Tue 23-May-17 18:50:17

Could you use a longline?

sunshinesupermum Tue 23-May-17 18:51:01

I was told that you should never ever pick up your dog as it sends the wrong signals to other dogs.

Meanwhile I agree wth PP that your Ddog needs more training.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Tue 23-May-17 18:51:51

Has he been neutered?

LittlePearl Tue 23-May-17 20:52:08

I don't want to make you feel worse OP but I scan the horizon when I'm out in case dogs like yours show up.....sorry! My dog is not great with dogs he doesn't know so I keep him on lead unless I'm sure we're alone or a very long way from other dogs / walkers, and I dread other dogs approaching because I know he won't cope and fear it will end badly.

I've done loads of work with him and now we can pass other dogs while out and about without him reacting, but if off lead dogs run up to him I feel it puts my training back and so I avoid as much as possible.

So yes, from my point of view I'd say please use a longline with him unless his recall can be improved by further training.

ForeverHopeful21 Tue 23-May-17 21:46:56

Thank you for all the responses.
You've all given me some things to think about and other areas of support and training that I haven't looked in to yet.

I'd just hate to be that owner that everyone else hates avoids. And it's a shame because he's such a lovely dog. He's amazing with humans and most other dogs, but I think as roundtable said, he does seem to want to bully certain males.

When I think back to when we picked him from the litter, he was the 'crazy one' even then; jumping all over the other puppies, biting them and jumping all over the place. I think he's always been a dominant character but when he was 8 weeks old it seemed cute then [embarrassed]

Veterinari Tue 23-May-17 21:50:02

If he's very confident and bolshy then neutering may help - it can especially help with male-male aggression issues. But as pl have said you also need to work on your recall

SparklingRaspberry Tue 23-May-17 22:23:18

Neutering will not help with male-male aggression! It's a common myth.

By having him done his testosterone will be lowered. It's this which helps with his confidence. By taking that away, you're then more likely to be left with a fearful aggressive dog - a dog who doesn't have the testosterone/confidence to defend himself will react out of fear instead. So instead of a 'normal' aggressive dog you'll have a fearful aggressive dog.

In our practice we do not neuter male dogs who have aggression problems for the simple fact that the owners will be more than likely left with a fearful aggressive dog, as they no longer have that testosterone.

Veterinari Tue 23-May-17 22:37:00

Sparkling male-male confident aggression is the only form of aggression that neutering is recommended for, this evidence-based stance is supported by the APBC.

It is indeed a common myth that neutering is detrimental in most other forms of aggression, and I would recommend that the dog is evaluated by a qualified behaviourist but from her brief description of his body language and behaviour, it seems less likely that anxiety is driving his issues

Wolfiefan Tue 23-May-17 22:41:38

It's worrying that you talk of dominance OP. You do know that pack theory has been debunked? Your dog may be being disobedient to you or rude to other dogs but he isn't dominant.

Veterinari Tue 23-May-17 22:43:14

Specifically castration is most likely to be beneficial in:
Confident aggression to other male dogs, and excessive mounting of other dogs.

Absolutely the emotional state driving the undesirable behaviour needs to be professionally evaluated, but it is not necessarily true that neutering doesn't help with confident inter-male aggression.

Whilst it's great to hear that you're advocating for anxious makes to be allowed to mature emotionally and physically, ideally you should also be tailoring your neutering policies to meet the individual behavioural and medical needs of the individual rather than having a blanket no neutering for aggression policy.

Thewolfsjustapuppy Wed 24-May-17 08:02:50

Is he aggressive or just rude? You mention other dogs growling at him does he actually initiate a fight or just bounce all over other dogs?

Thewolfsjustapuppy Wed 24-May-17 08:04:38

Sorry, meant to add. A it is normall behaviour to stop and be very still on approach to other dogs, my pup does it and she is totally unconfrontational, just checking out the situation before she commits to play.

SilverLegoBrick Wed 24-May-17 08:15:56

wolfiefan I thought pack theory in terms of a dog living with humans has been debunked, rather than pack theory amongst dogs themselves? So the theory that a dog wants to be 'top dog' and exert dominance over humans is no longer accepted, but within a pack of dogs there is absolutely a hierarchy?
So the OP's dog is trying to dominate other dogs. Mounting is a well-known method, no?
Some dogs are dominant towards other dogs, some are submissive and lie on their backs, exposing their tummies, immediately. Surely that can't be argued?

Blackfellpony Wed 24-May-17 08:35:22

Sorry but if he won't come back he shouldn't be off lead.

You don't know the dog your dog is harassing isn't terrified, sick or aggressive and your putting both dogs in danger allowing him to do this.

Please invest in a long line for his own safety!

JigglyTuff Wed 24-May-17 08:39:48

Get a long line and train, train, train.

There are some excellent free training resources at Naughty but Nice dogs. I have been practicing them for weeks and my dog is now focused on me on walks rather than bounding off. You can change his behaviour but you need to put the time in.

KarmaNoMore Wed 24-May-17 08:44:42

If he is willingly to go for a dog who is been held safe in the arms of a human, I think your dog should never be off lead.

He has lost his freedom (sorry)

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 24-May-17 08:47:17

Karma, no, the advice is and has always been never to pick up a child or animal to keep out of the way because the dog you are trying to move them from will jump up to them. Natural behaviour - not aggression or threatening on its own. There is much more to a dogs behaviour than that.

I agree this dog must be trained more in recall, as must my own, but that doesn't mean the dog will never ever be off lead again. Not least of all because at some point the dog will have to be off lead to be trained!!

elephantscansing Wed 24-May-17 08:47:41

Tbh in your shoes, at the moment I'd be keeping him on the lead around other dogs, especially given that his recall isn't reliable, and then I'd be going right back to the basics of recall training.


Also, have him neutered? I read that the best puppy to choose is not the one that comes bouncing over to you, super confident, but a more reticent one. The first one thinks they're top dog. Bit late for you, though!

KarmaNoMore Wed 24-May-17 08:53:50

So yes, we need to train all the public not to lift their dogs to protect them when an aggressive dogs is going for them?

I understand this advice if you are walking around cows, which are not expected to receive any recall training but not in this case.

The responsibility of the attack is 100% of the owner of the dog that was out of control. If the dog goes for other dogs and people is not a child that need compassion from its victims, is a dog that needs to be walked on the lead. Period.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 24-May-17 09:04:17

Karma, if you have a dog or a child then yes, I would expect you to know what to do around another dog. It's fairly basic stuff. Yes, the original owner is at fault, but that doesn't mean you can't learn basic methods of self preservation. Access to 999 doesn't mean you can't put a plaster in a cut.

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