My 16 month old dog attacked another dog

(31 Posts)
Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 13:08:56

I have three dogs - an old golden retriever(14) and two flat coated retrievers one is 8 and another who is now 16 months old and usually very sweet natured. Today in the park, he played with a few different dogs which he often does. A small spaniel had a bit of a go at him and he didn't retaliate at all.

Then, as we walked along the path, a couple were coming towards us with a labrador on a harness. Blake approached the labrador and I thought he was going to play with him but suddenly, for no reason, he jumped on him and started having a go at him. Obviously the dog's owners were upset - and so was I. Thankfully no damage was done - it was more noise than anything but I don't want him to start being aggressive to other dogs.

He has barked at a couple of dogs in the past when he has been on his lead, and I've had to shut him up but again it's just been noise.

Any advice? Would castration help? What do people think?

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Hoppinggreen Tue 10-Mar-20 13:12:43

Was it a black lab?
For some reason black dogs seem to set off other dogs more than other colour. Also, there are just some dogs that don’t get one. My Ddog loves most dogs except one cocker spaniel and most pugs seem to hate him
If it was all just noise and no damage I wouldn’t worry too much about it as a one off

pilates Tue 10-Mar-20 13:20:31

Was your dog off lead?

TeacupRex Tue 10-Mar-20 13:43:09

He could be getting to that age (in entire males) when the testosterone is pumping and they begin challenging other males, or they have less tolerance for certain behaviours of other dogs that they might have happily accepted as pups. Even more so if that Labrador was also unneutered. It usually doesn't result in any physical damage, most of the time it's all a lot of bravado and noise but of course it can look very scary and other walkers will not take kindly to it. A natural behaviour (male dogs are often hardwired to compete with other males) but definitely needs to be managed.

My male spaniel went through a similar phase of having a go at other male dogs, as well as other males being attracted to him and having a go back. He never hurt another dog and vice versa, but the noises that come out of them sound horrendous. Plus there's always the chance of them challenging a dog that will actually cause some damage.

He was neutered at 3 years old and I must say it definitely took the edge off things. Much calmer around all other dogs and much more willing to 'live and let live'. Familiar dogs (who also were neutered in the end) that used to go for him before, now couldn't care less about him. It was incredible to see a red cocker spaniel, who before would make a beeline across the park for him to start a scrap, would now just sniff him casually and the two would just carry on with their business. Not all aggression is hormone-based, but it seems with the case of my dog, it was. Neutering is definitely a very personal decision and you'll have to weigh up the pros and cons yourself, but there is a reason that a lot of daycares/home boarders/walkers refuse to take on entire males over a certain age.

Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 16:36:03

Thanks for responses. I’m feeling a bit calmer now. I was so upset because I don’t want Blake to turn into an aggressive bully boy. Interesting the comment about black dogs because, of course Blakie is black! This is him looking as though butter wouldn’t melt.

I was just a bit shocked to be honest because we’d been all around the park - a good 45 minutes walk - and he’d greeted other dogs and played chase with one or two. As I said, a cocker spaniel had a bit of a growly teeth baring at him and he just backed off.

The couple with the Labrador, it was a yellow btw, were literally just walking towards us and Blake ran up to the dog. Thinking he was going to start tormenting it to play, I wasn’t bothered at first, but suddenly he jumped on the poor dog and it was full on teeth out. The other dog responded in kind but it really wasn’t that dog’s fault. It was my boy who started it.

Reading lots of stuff on the Internet some people say castration doesn’t help or can make it worse. Opinion is very divided! I think I’ll see how he behaves over the next few weeks before rushing to wield the scalpel.

I have told him that he’s on a final warning though.

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Hoppinggreen Tue 10-Mar-20 16:43:15

Our boy calmed down in general post neutering but he was never aggressive anyway, he was more likely to be a target

frostedviolets Tue 10-Mar-20 16:58:23

were literally just walking towards us and Blake ran up to the dog. Thinking he was going to start tormenting it to play, I wasn’t bothered at first

Please don’t allow him to interact with other dogs like this.
‘Ran up to’ and ‘tormenting it to play’
That sort of behaviour is extremely rude and can come across threatening to other dogs.

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SirVixofVixHall Tue 10-Mar-20 17:04:57

My dogs have always hated certain types of Lab. eg not the fat, waddling benign type, the muscly , very bouncy type. Every dog I’ve had, has hated them. The vet said it is because they can “bristle” like Boxers, who my dogs also hated.
So it might have been that , or teenage hormones. In my experience dogs tend to want to fight others roughly the same age and size, when they hit 18m .
Is your dog neutered ?

MissShapesMissStakes Tue 10-Mar-20 17:08:28

Sorry but you shouldn't let your off lead dog approach an on lead dog without checking with owners first.

If I see a dog on a lead I put mine on his. It's good manners. You don't know why that dog is on a lead - it could be reactive, or had an op for example.

My dog is now scared of other dogs because he has been 'tormented' by other dogs off lead, most of which he was on lead (either near a road, or before he was recall trained).
He freezes completely if a dog approaches him and doesn't move until they have gone. Or he collapses onto his back in complete submission.

pilates Tue 10-Mar-20 17:13:23

I was told at dog training you shouldn’t allow an off lead dog to approach an on lead dog. Also if both on lead just a three second greet.

MaidenMotherCrone Tue 10-Mar-20 17:20:00

Never allow your dog to approach another dog on a lead. You just don't do it. Your dog was not under control.

If it had been my dog he'd approached like that it really wouldn't have ended well at all. It would've been your fault.

Girliefriendlikespuppies Tue 10-Mar-20 17:21:48

I'm fairly new to dog ownership but have learnt that the correct etiquette is if a dog is coming your way on lead you call your dog back and put them on lead.

I'm not surprised the other owners were upset.

jinxpixie Tue 10-Mar-20 17:33:00

He is showing signs of discomfort eg the barking at dogs on lead etc.
By letting him approach with no control from you he has no choice but to deal with the situation himself. It is hard to comment but the labs body language may have been too much for you guy so he had no choice than to react to what he say as a threat.

I would train him to ignore other dogs and walk by your side when he sees them. 121 trainer will help with this.

You may not want him to turn into an aggressive dog but he is needing help dealing with his reaction. This will not go away if left but will be more likely to escalate.

No I would not get him castrated- your research was correct it will possibly make him worse

Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 18:27:13

Sorry if I didn’t make it clear. BOTH dogs were off lead and they started heading towards each other, meeting in the middle. They had a bit of a sniff and then Blake, for some reason, decided he didn’t like the other dog and it was all noise and ‘fisticuffs’. It seemed ages but in reality was a minute at most.

The PP who said it could have been a mistaken identity thing, could be on to something. I’d never thought about labs resembling boxers, but Blake was attacked by a boxer when he was about five months old so it’s possible.

Our park is well populated with dogs and owners. Many of the dogs know each other well and there is a lot of chasing and playing goes on which is lovely to see.

This is Blake in the middle of a group of some of his friends recently. As you can see there are lots of different breeds and sizes of dog.

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Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 18:34:11

I can’t stress enough that BOTH dogs were off lead. Reading so many replies to my post, I hate you all thinking I’d let Blake run up to an on lead dog! He’s seriously NOT that naughty or out of control.

To be honest, you rarely see a dog on a lead in our park and on the odd occasion we do, I only have to tell all my dogs to ‘come away’ and they don’t go up to them at all.

Blake has always responded to the occasional dog who clearly doesn’t want to socialise by backing away which is why this behaviour was unexpected and so upsetting.

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EnglishRain Tue 10-Mar-20 18:39:51

Have you heard of suprelorin? Think it suppresses testosterone temporarily in males. One of my friends in NZ used it on her dog to see what the impact was as she was on the fence about neutering. It's quite new and I've no experience of it myself, but thought it might be worth mentioning.

Any photos of 'old golden retriever'? 😁

frostedviolets Tue 10-Mar-20 18:47:58

Sorry if I didn’t make it clear. BOTH dogs were off lead and they started heading towards each other, meeting in the middle

I still think it’s unacceptable to be honest.
Strange dogs shouldn’t be racing up to other dogs, on leash or off and they definitely shouldn’t be tormenting them to play.
By which I am assuming you mean they ignore all polite requests from the victim dog to calm the fuck down eventually forcing the other dog to either shut down and take it or retaliate.

Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 18:57:02

@EnglishRain would a UK vet prescribe that for him? It might be worth a try.

And because you asked! This is my fourteen year old Jimmy and my other flatcoat Drummer.

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Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 19:06:00

@frostedviolets Oh for goodness sake! I wish I’d never posted now! I only did because I was so upset when I got in.

Have you never seen a dog bowing down to another dog in an attempt to get them to play chase? Dogs do that all the time. It’s normal, social behaviour and that’s what Blake usually does.

I regularly have young dogs running up to us. Sometimes they jump up at my old goldie- we’ve always said he’s a puppy magnet.

I don’t get all arsey because I realise that they’re young and exuberant and my old boy takes it in his stride.

I think I need to study a thesaurus before I write anything. When I said ‘tormenting’ I simply met Blake bows down to another dog. He does a come and play ‘dance’ in front of the other dog and USUALLY if they don’t respond he runs back to me. Today was UNUSUAL!

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WhoWants2Know Tue 10-Mar-20 19:08:50

Are you sure he was actually being aggressive as opposed to rough play?

When my ex's dogs play, it can look and sound like a vicious attack. There's growling, teeth, rolling around, etc. At times I've been startled and gone to intervene, thinking it was a fight, but invariably they're actually having a great time.

Re: castration-- I know opinions are divided, but I have read that intact male dogs are more likely to attract aggression from other intact males, especially if there's a female in season in the area.

frostedviolets Tue 10-Mar-20 19:17:21

Oh for goodness sake! I wish I’d never posted now! I only did because I was so upset when I got in

Have you never seen a dog bowing down to another dog in an attempt to get them to play chase? Dogs do that all the time. It’s normal, social behaviour and that’s what Blake usually does

I regularly have young dogs running up to us. Sometimes they jump up at my old goldie- we’ve always said he’s a puppy magnet

I don’t get all arsey because I realise that they’re young and exuberant and my old boy takes it in his stride

I think I need to study a thesaurus before I write anything. When I said ‘tormenting’ I simply met Blake bows down to another dog. He does a come and play ‘dance’ in front of the other dog and USUALLY if they don’t respond he runs back to me. Today was UNUSUAL!

I think you need to calm down and stop taking what I wrote quite so aggressively and personally.

I can quite imagine how upset you were, because I have a dog that can be pretty aggressive with other dogs.

I can’t tell you how many walks I’ve returned from in tears so yes, I absolutely sympathise with how shocked and upset you were/are.

The play bow.
I have come across very very many large, young dogs who fly at my dog and persistently play bow at her, jump on her, chase her and when she turns away and ignore them they carry on, when she freezes they carry on, when she growls at them they carry on.
You get the picture.

When a dog walker says ‘my dog torments others to play’ I think most will assume you mean the above scenario which is really distressing.

The owner of the ‘playful’ dog doesn’t realise, but it really is.

The fact of the matter as far as I am concerned is racing up to another dog is rude and bad mannered, asking that dog to play and then ignoring when they say no and continuing to bounce about and play bow and ‘dance’ is also rude and had mannered and you shouldn’t allow it because some dogs find it frightening and some will react aggressively.

EnglishRain Tue 10-Mar-20 19:27:16

Oh Jimmy! swoons

Drummer you're rather cute too, for a non-golden

@Lincolnfield they should do, just looked on viovet and it does need a prescription. Not cheap cheap but I think I would try it with my next dog prior to neutering.

MaidenMotherCrone Tue 10-Mar-20 19:30:01

Then, as we walked along the path, a couple were coming towards us with a labrador on a harness

and then

Sorry if I didn’t make it clear. BOTH dogs were off lead and they started heading towards each other, meeting in the middle

hmm

Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 20:07:30

@MaidenMotherCrone the lab was wearing a harness but no lead. I should have said wearing a harness not ‘on’ a harness. Blake was also wearing his harness but no lead - as were both my other dogs.

The harness is independent of the lead. I’m sure the other owners had done what I do. Unclog the lead and leave the harness on the dog.

@frostedviolets I’m sorry if I sounded aggressive but as you rightly said, I was so upset - and more so when so many here assumed the other dog was on the lead. Blakie seriously does usually take no for an answer from other dogs which is why today’s incident has left me shaken. He’s a big wimp and if a dog just does the Elvis lip at him he runs back to me.

@EnglishRain - thank you! I’m going to have a chat with my vet who is very good and sensible and discuss the chemical castration option.

The other problem, of course, is that as a flatcoat at 16 months, his growth plates are probably not quite closed. He’s already very tall and leggy and castration before 18 months might set him up for physical problems. They’re a lovely breed. I’ve had them for forty years but they are prone to some health problems and joint problems are on the list.

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Lincolnfield Tue 10-Mar-20 20:08:13

* unclip!

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