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Dog walker for over enthusiastic dog loving puppy?

(51 Posts)
MissShapesMissStakes Fri 10-May-19 16:12:56

Our first dog is now 10 months ish. He’s a lovely mini poodle. Very calm and lovely at home. Walks nicely on his lead (most of the time) and recall at 80% success rate (mostly long line unless deserted).

But he adores other dogs and desperately wants to play. He’s calmer now if he sees a dog - he used to pull madly on the lead and stand on his back legs crying to get to them. Now I can distract him if they aren’t really close. He will meet dogs and occasionally calmly have a sniff and move on when I say. But if there is a hint of the dog possibly even thinking about playing with him, he goes bonkers. Gets so over excited. He’s incredibly submissive and gets filthy rolling on his back, but then bounds about in their faces and wants to chase etc. It’s understandably too much for most dogs.

A few people have suggested it’s because he doesn’t really spend much time with pother dogs at all. We don’t need a dog walker or day care as someone is home most of every day.

I bumped into a lovely dog walker today. We got chatting and I asked her how she would deal with our dog on a walk with other dogs. She said he’s just a pup with not much experience and would learn fast. That she would walk him on his lead for a number of times first and that if we were flexible with time and day she could make sure he was with dogs that would tolerate him but might teach him some manners.

Do you think this might work?

Someone else has suggested day care. Or will he eventually grow out of this? It would be lovely to relax a little with him off his lead. But I’m very aware that many dogs wouldn’t want him in their face. Friendly or not. So I won’t be letting him off lead near other dogs until I can sort this.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Fri 10-May-19 16:44:34

Completely unscientific, but my dog came to me as something of a frustrated greeter (ie he'd bark and lunge if he couldn't get to another dog at the preferred 100mph) and not especially well socialised.

With sufficient exercise in very dog heavy parks, the issue largely resolved itself - I think because he came to accept that even if he couldn't say hello to the dog on the other side of the A road, another would be along soon.

Are there any very popular dog walking places where you could take your dog? For instance, my local beach is full of dog walkers outside the summer ban months, especially on weekends in passable weather. DDog gets to bound around with lots of other dogs and has a whale of a time. You can be reasonably certain that the other dogs there are well socialised as you'd have to be mad to take a reactive dog there.

Similarly some breeds tend to have organised dog walks and other events (dachshunds spring to mind, but poodles may be similar). Sponsored walks, summer fun dog shows, country fairs etc all provide lots of opportunities to practice polite greetings.

The dog walker could be great or could be awful. I'd want to know what "teaching him some manners" looks like to her; you don't want your dog to be scared, and dog walkers have very varied levels of understanding about how dogs communicate with each other. Perhaps you could still pay the rates but go out walking with her so you can see how your dog gets on?

MissShapesMissStakes Fri 10-May-19 17:12:01

Thanks for your answer.

I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting him off his lead amongst other dogs because I know he will bounce in their face and I wouldn’t blame another dog for reacting to that. I also know some are afraid of other dogs and he wouldn’t take the hints.

I usually let him greet and then we move on. If we linger that’s when he gets silly. But then I realise that he will never learn if he doesn’t get the chance.

OP’s posts: |
MissShapesMissStakes Fri 10-May-19 17:13:23

The dog walker seemed very caring. She said her dog was fearful of bouncy dogs because one had come at him at a young age. So I THINK she would be sensible about reading the situation. But I don’t know really! What does teach dogs how to behave with other dogs?

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adaline Fri 10-May-19 17:24:40

It sounds like frustrated greeting to me. Ours is similar on the lead - it's very common. Dogs on leads can't (due to the restriction)

- escape the situation if they're uncomfortable
- display proper body language
- play properly without being pulled back somehow

Mine is getting better but it takes a lot of practise. If I can see a dog coming, I'll get him into a 'sit' and distract him with a sausage until the other dog passes and give him lots of praise. Today, he totally ignored a French Bulldog who walked past - didn't even look at it as he was so absorbed in the sausage I had in my hand!

However if I don't see the other dog in time, it can go one of two ways - either he's absolutely fine and will go, sniff and walk past, or he barks and pulls to say hello! There's no way of telling which way it'll go though - I can't figure out what triggers him to go one way or the other!

CarolDanvers Fri 10-May-19 17:28:22

* I wouldn’t feel comfortable letting him off his lead amongst other dogs because I know he will bounce in their face and I wouldn’t blame another dog for reacting to that. I also know some are afraid of other dogs and he wouldn’t take the hints.*

But this is what needs to happen. He needs to be put in his place a few times. He will never learn till that happens and he cannot express himself properly until he's off the lead. It's very frustrating for them when they can't just go for it with other dogs without being controlled on the lead.

I'm an ex dog walker by the way smile

OverFedStanley Fri 10-May-19 17:30:45

What does teach dogs how to behave with other dogs? the dogs owners and training.

My priority would be to have more emphasis on me than other dogs, so games , tuggy, bonding exercises etc. as she is a pup this is pretty easy to achieve.

Meeting other calm dogs could be useful but this would be the 2 second meet and greet then off with you to have more fun and games.

Never expect other dogs to "train" your dog - this is not their job and they can make things much worse

thinkingaboutfostering Fri 10-May-19 17:30:54

He is never going to learn though if you keep him on a lead all the time!
Take him somewhere safe with another well socialised but older dog (who will teach him some manners) and let them play! You can't blame him for being frustrated if he's never aloud off the lead to play!

Cyberworrier Fri 10-May-19 17:31:12

Hmm, my pup was similar at that age, I remember crossing roads to avoid meeting every dog in the neighbourhood. He has grown out of it. I think when he started his day or two a week at daycare it did help calm him down a little- maybe the novelty wore off a bit as he had plenty of playtime and doggy company. However, a behaviour person did tell me that his puppy classes were probably the cause of his over enthusiasm- as they had been so enjoyable he associates every other dog with party time.

OverFedStanley Fri 10-May-19 17:38:30

well socialised but older dog (who will teach him some manners) and let them play! absolutely the worst possible thing to do for both dogs

CarolDanvers Fri 10-May-19 17:42:27

Care to say why @OverFedStanley?

MissShapesMissStakes Fri 10-May-19 17:48:00

See this is my problem! There are very different ways to look at a solution!

I really wouldn’t feel comfortable letting him off lead with other dogs. I don’t want him hurt or another dog scared.

We have been doing the 2 second greet and off again. He’s pretty good then. But then sometimes with a friendly dog I might linger. That’s when he gets silly.

We did try letting him off the other week when the owner said her dog would be fine with it. He wouldn’t come back! Not even to Dh WITH primula. His two favourite things in the world! We had to catch him and it was hard work. Even when we walked out of sight (to him) he couldn’t care less. He was having fun!

I also work a lot on a long line and do stand on his lead and distract with food while a dog passes. So far the main issue with this is that people allow their off lead dog to come up to us, I smell good as have the food out. And then our dog gets distracted from the food anyway. And it takes the other owner forever to get their bloody dog away! angry
I need to be much more bolshy with that and say something. But by then the moment has passed anyway.

OP’s posts: |
MissShapesMissStakes Fri 10-May-19 17:50:01

Oh he has spent some time with an older dog (on and off lead once we had established how they reacted to each other).
He’s a big, older dog. Had a little play. Then got fed up. So he barked. He’s loud and pup scarpered. From then on he doesn’t bother with that particular dog at all. He hasn’t transferred that to another dog though.
If only they all barked he would be putty in their hands. He hates a barker.

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OverFedStanley Fri 10-May-19 17:50:45

What is the likely outcome of the dogs meeting?

Crazy puppy has shown that it has no idea of body language so you are putting the other dog at risk of going over threshold to control the puppy.

The normal cues that a dog gives out will not be enough for the puppy at this point - they do not know what they mean so eventually the calm dog will have to over react to get the puppy to stop.

This does two things puts the calm dog in a stressful situation and shows the crazy puppy who is already in a high emotional state that dogs can be grumpy aggressive - the puppy will either try to calm down calm dog by doing the only behaviour they know which is to be crazy or will be terrified by dogs and here begins the first stage or reactivity in the puppy.

MissShapesMissStakes Fri 10-May-19 17:54:01

That’s exactly what worries me OverFed

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OverFedStanley Fri 10-May-19 17:55:25

I would as suggested above work on you being his entertainemtn.

If you do have doggy friends then parallel walking would be great with puppy concentrating on you not the other dog - this will be very hard to start with and the distance between you may be the size of a football field.

When he can be calm with a dog beside him (and this may take weeks) they you can walk closer and have the 2 second calm meet
and greet at the end of the session when he is tired.

Meeting dogs = calm behaviour from him. To be able to take him out and about and him have a happy life dogs greeting need to always be calm.

OverFedStanley Fri 10-May-19 17:58:40

However he is young and he is a clever clever breed (love poodles!)so with a bit of training he will get there.

It may be worth having a 121 with a good trainer to give you strategies to deal with this and work out a plan to move forward so you are happy that what you are doing.

Lots of focus work, lots of brain work to keep that very clever poodle brain from going self employed smile

Nettleskeins Fri 10-May-19 18:03:22

I have a toy poodle terrier cross. He is six months old. He goes to dog daycare once a week, where he meets two other older "puppies". He has been going from 18 weeks. There is also another much older dog there who largely ignores them.

I regularily let my dog off the lead in the small park near us, with puppies of about the same age, usually a month or two older, sometimes a year older. I have done this since the puppy was about 14 weeks. I supervise all play, ask owners if it is alright, and stop them playing if it all gets too much (ie too long, prob 15 mins max)

Dog is now brilliant with other dogs (his age, up to three years) and knows when to back off, and when to play. He will also come back to me if he has run after the other dogs and I want him back. He now doesn't bother with older dogs that don't want to play because he gets enough playing elsewhere.

I think the answer is that you have to let him off the lead, but start with a friendly looking dog owner, and a younger dog, in a safe space (no exits) when dog is not too tired or too frisky.

I have met some dogs whose owners tell me their dogs are too frisky to be let off the lead, and just want to play with everyone, but they had to stop this behaviour because they were too overexcited. I felt incredibly sorry for these dogs.

My dog is not anxious, nor is he mobbing the other dogs.

I think daycare with a small group of dogs that are the right size and age might be perfect to reassure you, that yes your dog can cope with normal play.

The wrong age dog will find a bubbly adolescent infuriating.

Jayblue Fri 10-May-19 18:06:39

There are training classes that offer socialisation sessions for older dogs. I imagine they vary a lot in quality, but a good one, run in a structured way, could be exactly what your dog needs. Is there anything like this local to you?

Dogs are a social animal, and just socialising with humans won't meet all their needs- so by not offering your dog the chance to socialise, they will get more frustrated, more over enthusiastic and never learn doggy social skills.

I think you do need to find a way for your dog to socialise with other dogs in a controlled way. It sounds like you have a bit of anxiety about this. Most dogs won't over react to an overfriendly young dog- and if she backs off at a bark then there's unlikely to be much of a problem. It sounds like there are issues with recall, but you can rent contained fields/barns where you could let your dog off lead safely and she will eventually come back (it will get easier the more she does it, too, as it's less of a rare event).

Nettleskeins Fri 10-May-19 18:10:27

I don't need a dog walker /daycare, but I thought it would be good to have a backup and a social outlet. The other day I was regretting that I let the dog go to daycare; he was about to be picked up and I was thinking, really a nice peaceful day at home ,and a beautiful long walk, why have I organised this stressful day for dog - away from all who love him [sentimental emoticon]. Dog walker arrives, with another dog in tow, my dog goes completely berserk with joy practically pulls us both to the dogwalker's car, and tries to throw himself into dog walker's car. Clearly DOG did not want a peaceful day at home...hmm

Dog walker just turned up to drop something he had forgotten. Dog started dancing with joy at the sound of his footsteps and again tried to follow him down the path. Other dogs are FUN!

Pigletpoglet Fri 10-May-19 18:14:44

You could possibly try a ringcraft class or club if you can find one near you. They are aimed at helping you to train your dog for the show ring, but there tend to be quite a lot of well trained dogs there of all shapes and sizes, who are used to ignoring other dogs. It would be a good place to practice ignoring other dogs if your pup didn't get too overwhelmed!

BiteyShark Fri 10-May-19 18:17:20

My dog is like Nettleskeins. He goes crazy when he is picked up for daycare and runs off without a backward glance. He loves playing with his doggie pals.

Fortunately he is totally ball obsessed so when we are on our own he blanks other dogs. He wasn't like that as a puppy until we found out he loves chasing balls more than other dogs.

Nettleskeins Fri 10-May-19 18:18:52

Overfed If the dog that he meets in a neutral space, is younger but confident, surely there won't be the same issue with grumpy reactions from the other dog. If both dogs are off the lead, and the owners give off calm vibes and allow them to actually meet each other without constantly interfering surely that is the best way to start socialising. I really feel that a dog that only loves its owner is a liability in park.

MissShapesMissStakes Fri 10-May-19 18:24:04

Haha Nettle. Mine is very similar when he goes for his hair cut. I have to avoid the road it’s on unless we are going there. He LOVES it. I think because they have dogs there. Plus the groomers are so friendly. I’ve just remembered that they said they do let him out to wander round their feet at times when he is waiting as he likes to have a good sniff at the other customers. So maybe he’s ok with them in that situation.

My friend has a dog his size and age. She lives far away unfortunately but she did bring hers round to our house once. My pup was all over hers. Matched energy to start with. Then he was getting his ear chewed, patted down etc. He took it all on the chin and still assumed she loved him as much as he loved her. Though when he finally did settle a bit she came over and poked him for more games.

His recall is fantastic. As long as there are no other dogs! He used to try to mob people but he doesn’t do that now.

We have had a trainer over for 1-1 sessions a couple of times. I might give her a call and see what she suggests. She left me working on recall/long line and moving to the side as a dog passes. Just need to get the other owners trained to stay away!

OP’s posts: |
Nettleskeins Fri 10-May-19 18:24:35

I agree with Carol.

It's like letting your child go on a climbing frame. You have to do it eventually. And if you never let them do the scary bit that they actually want to do, and can manage, you do them a disservice.

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