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Doggy questions - barking and recall(24 Posts)
I have some questions about our rescue dog (who was rehomed due to change of circumstance) and am after some advice.
It’s our first dog (just me and DP) and we rehomed our dog a few weeks back. She’s been settling in fine I think, has been a little clingy which is understandable but on the whole settled in quicker than we expected.
I have a few questions though
- Barking - she is generally quite quiet. Barked once in the back garden and then over the last couple of days has barked at a friend that came over (which she hasn’t ever done before when people have come over) and also when walking barked a lot and jumped up in what I would consider to be not so friendly to a stranger whilst on lead
- Recall and playing
We are training her on this so she can walk off lead but she wants to say hello to every dog she sees. Not every owner likes this. We have been clipping her on her lead when approaching others but she does sometimes get quite forceful and really pulls. It’s been suggested that we let her say hello and if the other dog isn’t interested they will let her know. Does anyone have any suggestions on this?
In terms of recall generally she is okay but if she sees another dog or there’s a dead animal in the field/ woods she doesn’t always listen. Is this just practice, practice, practice?
My dog is horrendous on the lead and wants to say hello to every dog, and also barks at everything he hears as he’s quite nervous so I don’t really have much advice about that bit
The only bit he is really good at without fail is recall, he will now come back every time even if there is another dog involved (so far). It took a LOT of practice. We would take him out somewhere quiet without other dogs and call him back over to us every 30 seconds or so and reward him each time with a treat so they associate coming back to you meaning they get something rewarding. Then started taking him out to places with more distractions. Try to pick a high value treat and give lots of praise and eventually you will become more interesting than whatever it is she has found
Barking, oh I would love to know the answer to that so hopefully someone will come along!
For recall we booked those secure dog fields a few times (there are quite a few near us about £5 an hour I think) and did lots of playing and let him run about but called him back and lots of fuss and rewards when he appeared. It was perfect for a while and now we’re in teenage years he needs a bit of a refresher! But he’s not bad. The secure field definitely gave me the confidence to get started with off the lead, but then you need to move on to somewhere with squirrels/birds/dogs/etc for practice with distractions
Many dogs want to say hello, as long as they aren't making a pest of themselves (following other dogs who have made it clear they don't want to play) then it's fine, many dogs love to run around with their own kind for a few minutes. Jumping up you need to nip in the bud, it's a very annoying habit whether large or small as even if friendly it makes you muddy. Barking is something that shows your ddog is getting territorial over your house, as long as it isn't annoying the neighbours again don't worry.
Leads often cause greeting issues - mine hates being on lead and will bark at other dogs but off-lead he's fine.
Unfortunately he's a beagle with crap recall so he spends a lot of his time on the lead 😂
The best thing is to get them to focus on you instead of other dogs (either with a toy or treats) and so they associate seeing other dogs with food or play but it's not easy - if my dog wants to greet another pretty much nothing I do will distract him!
I had a dog that hated other dogs just coming up to greet them. Had hackles up and snapped. Never completely cured her of it, though she did improve. Just be aware such dogs exist and be kind and considerate to the owners. Your dog may get bitten. I used to avoid other dogs/owners like the plague. Current dog is fine (so far), so now I'm happy to talk!
Thanks for all of your advice / comments.
So for recall we have been working up to calling her back etc and have been following a stage by stage plan, consistently using high value treats. We let her off for most of the walk today and she was fine with saying hello to other dogs and others back. I think it really does just depend on what’s around and we need to be alert / ready to clip her on just in case. I do feel more confident when DP is around compared to when I am on my own.
However on our walk today she did the following:
- got a whiff of a bone (no idea what animal it had belonged to) but she would not shift. Fortunately she was on lead and DP who is stronger than me had her and eventually got her away.
- she barked at a stranger. She only seems to do this with some men and we have no idea why. We have had her a few weeks, she’s not done this to any other man other than in the last few days and again, it’s not all men. I can’t even say that they are physically similar. She was off lead today and she ran up to to this stranger and barked at him, she would not stop and it took a lot of cajoling to get her away. The man was fine but I was mortified. Obviously apologised to him.
It’s been suggested that we let her say hello and if the other dog isn’t interested they will let her know.
Oh she'd definitely get told off if her interest wasn't welcome. But how would she react to that? Would she retreat or would she respond in kind? (and being off-lead will always be the dog in-the-wrong).
DogInATent - but then what’s the right thing to do in that situation? There are times when the other dog doesn’t want to say hello but she generally doesn’t react too badly to it. Will usually walk away. Trouble is people are often po-faced and I never know what the “right” thing to do is.
Funny story (or perhaps not!) - she tried to say hello to another dog who was mid poop recently. I hadn’t noticed as said dog was behind a hedge and we were crossing through a path in between. That dogs owner was not amused!
My dog won't tell other dogs off but it is very obvious he isn't happy with other boisterous dogs bouncing on him trying to get him to play as he doesn't play back and tries to stick with me.
Most of the time I think it's about the owners ability to read the situation. For example, I am usually out in the countryside completely out of the way (so no where near the paths) training or playing with my dog. My dog is completely focused on me so when other dogs run up to him it is obvious that he isn't up for playing. It is also obvious that the other dog doesn't have recall because what we do is if the other dog doesn't leave mine alone I start walking off with mine to put distance between us so we can continue to play or train. Unfortunately lots then follow and I end up having to stay so the other owner who is usually miles away catches up to get their dog because they continue to follow us rather than going back to their owner.
Now if we are just walking on paths and our dogs cross they usually say hello and we pass. This is a situation when it's obvious that the dogs are going to say hello and then move on.
Any dog that's on a lead when yours isn't should be left alone in my opinion. They are on a lead for a reason. It may be that they are reactive, prone to running off or are recovering from an injury or illness. It isn't fair on that dog or owner to have to manage an off lead dog and even though mine doesn't run up I always give those owners a wide berth so they know my dog is not going to run up and I have spotted them.
For training recall my dog was a pain in the arse as an adolescent so I used to walk in places and at times when we wouldn't meet other dogs and people because otherwise he wouldn't listen and would be rewarded for not coming back. After many months when we cracked what we needed to do I started to walk at times when we would get other dogs as distractions as I was more confident I could manage the situation and read what my dog was going to do.
Bitey - I agree with you there. We do clip her on if other dogs are on lead and nearby. Where we live is fairly dog populated, many of whom are off lead. She typicallly stays fairly close to us and will not go more than a few metres without checking back to us.
The real distraction when she is off lead seems to be getting the scent of something dead - like the dead bird in the field last week and a bone yesterday.
DogInATent - but then what’s the right thing to do in that situation?
If the other dog is on a lead assume that it's better for your dog not to approach.
I have a staffy, she's a rescue with unknown history. She's ok with most dogs that are polite (general ignoring them), but she misjudges body language and can take a "playful" bounce as a threat. My suspicion is that she missed out on dog socialisation at the right age - but remember that dog "socialisation" is for the benefit of the owner, not the dog. I only ever walk her in the lead and I'm scanning ahead to avoid loose dogs - or I call out and politely ask owners to recall a dog we can't avoid. 99% of dog owners understand. But there's a couple of chi's that are usually loose and over the last few weeks have graduated from circling while yapping to darting in and nipping. So far she's ignored them - but staffy vs. chi is only going to end up one way.
If there's a dog on the lead in an area most dogs are off-lead (e.g. the park) please bear in mind that it could be a dog similar to mine.
BiteyShark - she is a lab rescue. She came from family and needed to be rehomed as the couple split up.
DogInATent - I do this already and in fact until yesterday would automatically clip her on whether or not the other dog was on or off lead. She was really good today. Had her off lead most of the walk, she came away from another off lead dog when called. She did growl at another person though when we walked home from the woods. I did apologise but I’ve no idea why she’s started to do this.
Ah I was wondering because you mentioned the scent issue. Working or show type lab?
I have a working cocker and his hunting instincts are very strong. If yours had a strong hunting instinct it might be worth looking for some gundog trainers because I found that when I started working with my dogs instinct rather than against it recall was much much easier.
Bitey - She is show based on her physicality. We weren’t given any pedigree / history beyond a basic background and her vaccination history as the organisation we rehomed through destroy those records to prevent breeding. She’s currently conked out after our walk today. I think she’s probably a bit lazy as an hour’s walk seems to knacker her out a lot and she seems to like to cuddle on the sofa. She goes to daycare a couple of times a week usually and seems to enjoy that a lot.
We weren’t given any pedigree / history beyond a basic background and her vaccination history as the organisation we rehomed through destroy those records to prevent breeding.
The shelter destroys the papers rather than just redact details of previous owners?
Destroying the paper will almost certainly be a data protection issue to stop you tracing former owners. Any reputable shelter insists that dogs are spayed/neutered which is a more effective means of preventing breeding.
Sorry to clarify - we have to get her spayed within a period of time and have agreed to do it under the adoption agreement but based on her last season can’t do it just yet. They’re a small charity and rehomed home to Home for us. I guess not passing the information on stops you from contacting former owners. We only know the rough area where she came from and live quite a way away. We were told that they rehome at least a certain number of miles away to avoid bumping into former owners. They did pass all the info our vet needed to them directly.
Even if she is show line it might be worth looking up gun dog training for labs and see if you can work with her hunting and retrieving instincts.
Now when I walk we hunt and fetch all the time together and my dog, who used to run away hunting deer, no longer leaves my side.
Our dog is a terrier and so has utterly crap recall. He doesn't see the point if he is having fun. He is very sociable, but can't seem to read other dogs at all. We have only been letting him off the lead in the last couple of years.
Our puppy barks at other dogs when we're walking, but again, he is a terrier, so is supremely indifferent to being told off for doing this. It will be years before he is allowed off the lead!
We do throwing a ball for a bit, she will collect and bring it back to us and drop it for us to throw and her to chase. We throw a few toys around the house sometimes too. Is that what you mean Bitey?
Some of that but also getting your dog to hunt the ball on walks.
Before I used to just walk my dog like everyone does and then found he would pick up a scent and run off tracking it.
Now I am constantly working with him on our walks. We do a mixture of throwing the ball, practicing tricks and recall where he gets the ball thrown as a reward, as well as hunting the ball (so I get him to sit whilst I walk in some thick grass/bushes and drop the ball then I get him to find it with some commands to help him go left or right or signal if he is almost on top of it). Since doing this he wants to stick by me no matter what because he gets to hunt and chase and always gets his prize. Because I am the one that gives him the ball or hides and helps him find it again I am much more exciting now than hunting deer or running off to sniff a dog.
Re the barking at strange men:
This is a difficult one. I don't want to discourage my dog from barking or being wary with passing strangers as some may indeed be dodgy and it would be unhelpful if she greeted them all with kisses (there have been one or two occasions in past years with odd bods when I was very glad if my dog didn't want them near either). I usually make sure she is on the lead if she looks suspiciously at someone nearby and I tell her it is all right and well done and she then usually quietens down as she knows I am in charge again. I think your dog (and my present rescue dog is the same) must have had some bad experiences with one or more aggressive men and associate some men with danger. My dog is much better than when I first got her (I've had her nearly 2 years now) but is still not sure whether to growl or be friendly when approached by some men . 2 local policeman came to our road last week and one wanted to put his hand out to her to say hallo and she really wasn't keen - I assume she had come to associate policemen with trouble when she was living on the streets of a horrible Inner London borough or maybe her previous (unknown and uncaring) owners had a bad relationship with the police.
Thanks Bitey - I will speak to DP look Into it after Christmas.