My dog growled at another dog on walk for no reason

(9 Posts)
millerjane Sat 15-Feb-20 13:40:45

First of all I need to say I have put my heart and soul into my boy (GSD). He is my pride and joy and we have done everything you're supposed to do - puppy classes, early socialisation, behaviourist etc.

We got the behavourist in because my dog barks at strangers in the house (typical GSD protective behaviour really).

My behaviourist wrote " X is a wonderfully balanced dog whose only real issue is around visitors to the house. His daily routine is
varied and you provide him with much stimulation which in turn makes him a very well rounded and happy dog"

"When outside of the house X behaves very well around people, in fact he largely ignores them"

(just a bit of context)

My behavourist accompanied us on a walk and withnessed him interact with dogs and people. She said his interactions were beautiful as he mirrored the energy of any dog he met - we worked on this A LOT when he was a puppy.

Literally days after the behaviourist observed us my darling boy was attacked out of nowhere. The only reason my dog wasn't mauled to death was because my DH was able to eventually hold him up whilst I flung my coat at the out of control dog. A dogwalker later approached us and said the attacking dog is a psycho and has a reputation for aggressive behaviour.

Anyway, my boy has never been the same. My blood boils that the inconsiderate actions of an idiot owner has changed my boy. If a dog gets in ddog's face he will sort of lunge - he previously would've tolerated dogs almost biting him before the attack.

Today we were walking past a dog in the woods and out of nowhere my dog just growled and lunged at this dog who was giving him a wide berth. Since the attack I always have him on a retractable lead (8m) so nothing happened but it has left me really upset.

Would love some advice as it just makes my perfect boy look aggressive. Given his breed I can't allow this.

OP’s posts: |
millerjane Sat 15-Feb-20 13:42:49

My boy is innately quite nervous and anxious.

OP’s posts: |
BadEyeBri Sat 15-Feb-20 13:53:25

I would love to give you some positive news. Unfortunately a very similar thing happened my lurcher. He was a happy go lucky, super friendly boy up until a collie with known aggression issues bit half his ear off in the park. I now have a large lurcher who is so fear aggressive and dog reactive that I avoid walking him anywhere he might come in contact with stranger dogs.
He has great recall and I can distract him most times with his ball and focusing on me but it is just so distressing for him to encounter strange dogs. He becomes so fearful and angry it's like he's lost his mind. I chose not to put him in these situations as you can never trust other people to control their dogs and I know my dog would get the blame even if he is on his lead.
Contact your behaviourist again and work through some counter conditioning and behaviour modification. I really hope you have better luck than me.

adaline Sat 15-Feb-20 14:28:21

The same thing happened to us.

Our beagle was perfect until he got bitten by two off-lead terriers on a walk (he was on lead). A few months later, our neighbours' terrier jumped into our car where our dog was strapped in and bit him on the stomach.

He now absolutely hates terriers. Every time we see one his hackles go up and he growls and barks. I've done all the desensitisation and he's better than he was but it's still a work in progress. Only yesterday I had to apologise to man with a lovely terrier because mine was barking.

BUT he is absolutely fine off the lead. I do think both the attacks meant that felt lead = trapped.

Veterinari Sat 15-Feb-20 14:31:48

I'd strongly recommend you get a behaviourist back in
You'll probably need to do some counter conditioning with other dogs.

Unfortunately leads give humans a sense of security but for dogs they remove the 'flight' part of the fight or flight response,
I'd strongly recommend that you don't use an 8 m flexi as it's much more likely to be a hinderance than a help in controlling/safeguarding your dog

SecondRatePony Sat 15-Feb-20 15:40:31

He is growling and lunging because he is scared - I suspect you probably already know that but it's worth being clear that's what's happening.

An immediate way to stop him being so scared is to not allow the thing that scares him to get too close. If you can. In the woods, instead of walking past this dog, in future you might try turning heel and walking back the other way. Or taking another path. Anything to create more distance between your dog and the other dog. If your dog growls or lunges then you are too close and need to give him more space.

The more he is exposed to dogs at a proximity that scares him, the more he will growl and lunge. Every time he growls/lunges and it works (the other dog goes away) he will be more likely to do it again. With a bit of bad luck, he may also try the same tactic against other things that scare him to see if it works.

Alternatively, if he is exposed to dogs at a distance he feels safe and they never get any closer, he may start to relax around them. He may feel safe that they won't get too close and not bother. Over time (lots of time, lots of other dogs) you may find his safe distance gets smaller and smaller, so long as he doesn't have any significant setbacks (scares). That's desensitisation.

You can help this process along a bit by trying to partner other dogs with him getting something he likes, such as food. e.g. He sees another dog at a distance, you get his attention and give him a treat. Repeat this enough and he may start to see the dog and automatically look to you for the treat. This is him starting to learn that other dogs can mean good things for him. That's counter conditioning.

The mechanics of doing all this can be tricky and often owners need help to work out exactly the best way to arrange all this for their dog to get the best result. They also need help to correctly assess any progress to understand if they are helping their dog.

Because they need help, and because not doing anything at all can sometimes cause this reaction to spread or escalate as I described above, a behaviourist to support you is really the best option.

jinxpixie Sat 15-Feb-20 16:25:09

Haven't you written about this before and the advice then was to get a behaviourist in - did you do that?

It is impossible to give advice on counter conditioning without seeing the situation in RL.


Iminaglasscaseofemotion Sat 15-Feb-20 16:46:03

The same thing happened to my springer when he was a young pup. Had him off lead as was working on his recall (he had, and still has very good recall, since a very young age) 2 fully grown gsd dogs, also off lead attacked him and nearly drowned him in the river. He did get over it and has always been a very gentle dog. Although if he feels threatened he will bark. The onky time I have every witnessed him show any really aggression was when he encountered another springer. I have no idea what triggered it, I have never seen him do anything like that before or since. The other dog was also very aggressive.
A few nights ago he was attacked by an off lead pointer, that chased after him, pinned him from behind and gave him a few bites, luckily he had a coat on which seemed to stop his skin being punctured. He was very shaken after. He was very dosile with the next slightly aggressive dog we encountered. It came charging up while he was on lead barking at him. He basically hid behind me, and then barked a few times as a warning. This was a smaller dog, and quite old so perhaps he didn't feel too threatened. I'm yet to see how he reacts to a bigger aggressive dog. There seems to be so many people with 2 of the same dog, which unfortunately I think gives them a sort of pack mentality. Where I live I see this a lot with larger dogs. Akitas, gsd, huskies, golden retrievers. I suppose it is quite natural dog behaviour. Unfortunately not many people are strong enough to control these dogs if they do decide to attack.

Kirkman Sat 15-Feb-20 21:32:15

This happens so often. My now 3.5 year old cocker, was set on by 2 bedlingtons when she was a pup. Luckily my, now, exh picked her straight up. But the dogs were jumping to get at her. The owner was further down the trail we were on. She couldnt even see what was going on.

I told her to get her dogs under control and she just called them in the most pathetic voice. One of the bit exh, luckily he had on his PPE trousers. He end up kicking it. Not hard, but enough to make it back off. then they ran back to their owner.

The owner only reacted when I shouted I had taken her photo and was putting it in Facebook to trace her so I could report her dogs. I hadnt, but it scared enough to out them on lead.

So many put of control dogs and owners who dont seem to give a shit.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in