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Really excited about rehoming this dog, but....(35 Posts)
I drove two hrs today with my two DDs to see a 1 yr old dog suitable for children AND cats. A rarity I understand.
This dog is a mongrel, 12 months old, mega excited, friendly and playful. He’s a small terrier size. Showed no signed of aggression or food possessiveness- just was wagging, excited and happy to chase a ball.
Due to data protection (obvs) - the home weren’t able to give many details other than that he was -
- VERY friendly with other dogs
- lived with 3 cats
- lived with small children and fine with them
- very excitable
- can play too enthusiastically with other dogs and needs to learn some manners.
Reading between the lines and gleaning snippets of info, this lovely dog hasn’t been exposed to the nicest of dogs.
The good news is, he LOVES treats and seems easily distracted.
The concern I have is observing him near a calm friendly dog. Tail erect and wagging furiously, barking and lunging and the dog.
He’s utterly adorable in every other aspect.
This is one of the bigger UK charities. Not saying which but I’m sure you can guess which ones they are. From what I’ve gleaned - their criteria are pretty strict.
Hubby is mega careful etc. Am I ok to reassure him. I KNOW there are NO guarantees where dogs are concerned. Just want to gauge opinions on the assessments done by these large UK charities.
Is he going to be near other dogs other than those he comes across on walks? If not and you are willing to put in the work and money with training him to not be reactive around dogs then I think it should be ok.but no one can ever know 100%.
He’ll only be exposed during walks. Totally committed to training
If he’s completely dog reactive then you may not be able to reliably let him off lead around other dogs or have him around other dogs that are off lead. Depends how much of a deal breaker that is for you.
He’s much smaller than our previous dogs so pulling our arms out of their sockets isn’t such an issue. I just hope we can help him not bark so much around other dogs.
Depends. I know someone with a dog reactive dog. She can’t take the dog out where there are likely to be lots of other dogs. It’s just too stressful. You can’t necessarily train a dog out of that behaviour. Does the charity have a behaviourist you can talk to?
Your post is massively contradictory.
The rescue say he is ‘very friendly with dogs’ which tbh would concern me straightaway because ‘very friendly’ usually actually means ‘is extremely overbearing and rude and won’t take no for an answer around other dogs’.
Then they say he ‘plays too enthusiastically and needs to learn manners’ which again isn’t friendly at all.
You say you feel he hasn’t been exposed to the nicest of dogs.
What makes you think that?
His behaviour is far from nice.
Imagine how threatened you’d feel if a big burly dude came running over to you from the other side of the pavement and hugged you and insisted on joining you on your walk and no matter how many times you said no continued regardless.
You’d feel very upset and threatened and would quite likely react quite aggressively.
You certainly wouldn’t think that the man is simply over friendly, but too enthusiastic and needs to learn some manners.
The other dogs aren’t the problem here.
Then you say around a calm dog he has a ‘tail erect and wagging furiously, barking and lunging at the dog’
At best he sounds massively overaroused and frustrated that he can’t get to the other dog but that description doesn’t sound friendly at all and I wouldn’t have thought that most otherwise sociable dogs would welcome a dog like that with open arms because his behaviour is threatening..
If you take him on i think you need to work on getting him calm around other dogs.
My terrier mix is a nightmare with large dogs when he is on his lead yet is perfectly ok off lead , obviously they are all individuals but having a reactive dog doesn’t necessarily mean having a dog that has to stay on a lead.
But letting a reactive dog off lead isn’t necessarily a solution. The issue is that this dog is an unknown entity. I would want more info or proper advice before taking it on.
My guess would be that this is a dog that's a frustrated greeter. In other words, it really wants to get to the other dogs to say hello, can't, and gets frustrated so starts to lunge and bark - not especially logical but it happens.
DDog is / was a frustrated greeter when I first met him at 14 months. It almost totally resolved itself over time, with lots of exercise and off lead doggy social contact. He sounds rather like yours - small terrier x, overenthusiastic and lacking manners, and was told off a few times (he deserved it); he has learned and now even respects that older dogs might not want to play zoomies with him(!)
The rescues are generally pretty good with their assessments of dogs; they don't want to see the dog returned to kennels. Of course, there can be things that aren't picked up upon in kennels, but that could be said of any dog.
If you're concerned, ask to see the dog off lead with another dog. A reactive dog will show clear issues but it sounds like this dog will just play enthusiastically. When walking this dog, I'd err towards taking it to places with lots of other friendly dogs - for instance, my local dog friendly beach always has lots of other dogs there; you'd have to be mad to take a non dog friendly dog there.
You're right to ask questions but I wouldn't rule this dog out based on what you've said.
I’m not saying it’s a solution all I’m saying is that not all reactive dogs have to stay on leads and / are a complete nightmare . My dog is an absolute pleasure , albeit a bit of an embarrassment at times when on his lead .
Do you know anyone with a calm older dog who can help to teach potential new dog some manners?
My lab cross is ace at that, he is friendly and loves other dogs and often friends with excitable dogs ask to walk off lead with us because he will take a LOT of being jumped up at/ being barked at but after a while he will " tell off" the excited dog ( usually by pinning them to the floor for a second ) but with no aggression.
My guess would be that this is a dog that's a frustrated greeter.
Based on the OP, that would be my guess also. If this were me, I would factor in the cost of a behaviourist, should you need one, but start with some good 1-to-1 training lessons.
Your description alone wouldn't put me off.
My rescue dog who we sadly had put to sleep before Christmas was very reactive to dogs on walks. He was a terrier x poodle. He was described as good with dogs and cats but reality was he wasn't good with any cats and wasn't good with dogs unless he knew them. I'm going to he honest, he was a nightmare. We loved him but he was an actual nightmare on walks. He wasn't strong, we could control his barking and lunging but the walks just weren't enjoyable. He could never go off lead either. We trained and trained and it didn't help much. Depends how much you're willing to accept that it may or may not get better and if it doesn't, can you cope never letting a dog off lead? Can you accept that walks won't be stress free and peaceful? If you can then by all means give this dog a home but if there is any doubt then don't. I wouldn't change having my dog but if I hadn't adopted him before finding out the truth we probably wouldn't have took him.
Doggydoggydoggy, the man at the centre said that he’d been exposed to not very nice dogs
I’m prepared to put in lots of work and even go down the road of 1 - 1 professional training. He’s utterly lovely other than the barking / lunging
the man at the centre said that he’d been exposed to not very nice dogs
Or maybe he’s been exposed to perfectly nice, normal dogs who are quite sociable usually but feel threatened by his behaviour and are telling him so?
It’s a rare adult dog that will tolerate over excited, rough, rambunctious dogs with no manners.
Most dogs will get annoyed and tell them off.
He needs to learn to be calm in the presence of other dogs before the wrong dog disciplines him too harshly.
I would want to see what he was like off lead. I would want the advice of a behaviourist. But with all the work in the world you may not be able to change this issue.
I am inclined to agree with all that Avocadoes has said - it sounds from your description as though he actually wants to meet and play with the other dogs. My rescue dog, if excited and on the lead, will lunge towards a dog she wants to meet and play with and perhaps growl a bit (Staffie play growl). Off the lead, she will run up to play with them and do the dog social sniffing meet and start racing around with them or, if they don't like the look of each other, she'll just leave and continue with her walk, but she is now 6 (4 when I got her from Battersea), not 12 months. Battersea were quite accurate in their assessment of her, I now feel, and what they could tell me about her was helpful. She was very tense when I first brought her home and I think all, or nearly all, dogs in rescue must be quite stressed - it isn't the sort of environment you can relax in, they are always on tenterhooks about what is going to happen to them next, as various dogs are removed from kennels around them, taken away, sometimes brought back, sometimes never brought back. Once home, she took a good six months to learn to relax and feel safe and enjoy herself. My point is, what you see when you first meet your rescue is not necessarily how they are always going to be - give him a chance, I would expect that you will be able to sort out his boisterousness (and he is only 12 months, still a baby in my book). The "needing to learn some manners" around other dogs in the rescue's assessment is simply that - they also expect that he can learn some manners and I should absolutely think he could. It is very unlikely a 12-month-old is beyond redemption on any score. Exposure to other, calm, dogs (not being kept on a lead away from them at all times as I sometimes sadly see) is his best way of learning dog manners.
Exposure to other, calm, dogs (not being kept on a lead away from them at all times as I sometimes sadly see) is his best way of learning dog manners. If only it were this simple......
it sounds from your description as though he actually wants to meet and play with the other dogs
This ^^. He sounds friendly and enthusiastic and maybe a bit too friendly. We come across dogs on our walks who are dog-reactive but in a negative way - lunging and barking in a defensive / aggressive way from the other side of the road (when DDog hasn't even noticed them because she's deaf and too interested in a particularly sniffy bit of bush on our side). Those ones I wouldn't want to take on but one who just needs to learn good manners, absolutely.
Those ones I wouldn't want to take on but one who just needs to learn good manners, absolutely
It should be up to owners to step in and advocate for their dogs.
It is not the place of dogs to try and discipline other dogs and it frequently ends badly either for the rude dog who ends up reactive after constant aggression towards it and/or too heavy handed discipline from said other dogs or badly for the disciplining dog who can end up fearful of other dogs and losing their prior tolerance feeling like they can’t rely on their owner to protect them.
So many people play down the problem of boisterous over friendliness.
At best it is really irritating to other dogs, at worst it’s downright terrifying for them.
They shouldn’t have to ‘teach manners’, that is your job!
It should be up to owners to step in and advocate for their dogs.
Where did I say it was up to the dogs????? OP has talked about being very into providing training and getting someone in to advise her on what to do - I'd expect anyone taking on a dog to train them even if they were relatively calm. The point is that a dog who is over-enthusiastic would, in my opinion, be easier to train to behave acceptably than a dog who is defensive or aggressive. You're taking existing friendliness and tone it down a notch or two rather than having to create it from nothing. The same concept as having a child who is too keen to join in and needs to be taught to slow down a bit versus a child who wades in and beats the other toddlers up - neither is acceptable and neither is left up to the child to resolve, the parent teaches (trains) them, but the over-keen child is easier to sort for the parent.
Thanks for all the messages. I’ve watched the videos I took of him sooooo many times now. One thing I did notice was that despite dogs barking in their kennels everywhere - two dogs in the grass enclosure and this boy barking v excitedly and jumping around in circles, as soon as a treat was put in front of his nose, he forgot everything around him and just focused on the treat. This gives me hope that he can be distracted with positive reinforcement. I’m thinking of buying one of those leads that states ‘in training’ on it so people know we’re working on undesirable behaviours.