My dog hates other dogs

(10 Posts)
rawlikesushi Sat 09-May-20 05:07:43

I have a lovely dog, 10yo and an absolute pleasure around the house and with people.

Until two years ago, I took him for long daily walks with friends and he loved playing with their dogs and any others we met on our walks.

Two years ago my circumstances changed and I now work full time. He now gets short walks before walk and when I come home at lunchtime, and longer walks in the evening and on weekends.

All of this means that I no longer walk with friends, and we rarely see other dogs.

Since lockdown, ive been taking him for longer walks and noticed that he has lost all socialisation. He sees dogs approaching in the distance and starts growling. I put him on the lead as soon as I see them, but it is so upsetting to see him lunging and growling when they pass us.

I know this is my fault and I am so upset that I didn't see this happening, but what can I do to help now?

Two days ago a puppy bounded over to us, even though my dog was on the lead and I shouted from a distance not to let their dog approach. But the puppy got to us and leapt all over my dog, as I tried to move him away. The puppy's owner spoke to me as if I had a dangerous, vicious dog. I should add, that my dog had plenty of opportunity to bite but didn't - just growling.

Yesterday, after getting advice from a friend, I didn't put my dog on his lead when we saw another dog. My friend thought the lead might be the problem. They ran towards each other playfully, stopped, looked at each other...and then my dog started growling and the other dog (and owner) looked terrified.

Please give me some advice. And if I've done something wrong that is glaringly obvious, please be kind because it wasn't intentional and all I want to do now is put it right, if that's possible.

OP’s posts: |
justilou1 Sat 09-May-20 05:30:08

Not all dogs like other dogs. This isn’t entirely your fault. ALL dogs should be on leads, tbh... Vets tend to think that off-leash dog parks are asking for trouble because you simply can’t control what happens in there. (I have heard a couple of horrible stories!) I have a giant breed dog who is terrified of other dogs since being attacked by two pit-bulls with an idiot owner. (Mine was on a lead, hers were not - it is very lucky that my son was not attacked as well. These two dogs later tore up a small breed dog in front of it’s owner.) Sometimes you can mitigate your dog’s fear with treats, but you have to be careful that the dog doesn’t think you are rewarding aggression. (Fine line.)

vanillandhoney Sat 09-May-20 07:07:23

It could be age - lots of dogs become less tolerant towards others as they get older.

But equally socialisation is important in dogs and it's a reason why a lot of new dog owners will struggle once lockdown is over. Mine isn't brilliant with other dogs and if he goes too long without interaction he does start to slip and becomes increasingly reactive. Luckily we meet quite a lot of dogs and their owners on walks so he's not been too bad smile

Can you get up early before walk and take him for a nice long walk somewhere with other dogs and try and build up the time he spends around them again?

DogInATent Sat 09-May-20 07:49:49

Two years ago my circumstances changed and I now work full time. He now gets short walks before walk and when I come home at lunchtime, and longer walks in the evening and on weekends.

For eight years he had your full attention. For the last two years he's left alone all day five days a week, with brief company at lunchtime.

I think lockdown has revealed a problem that started two years ago. Speak to a behaviorist if you want to try and correct this.

rawlikesushi Sat 09-May-20 08:50:40

"I think lockdown has revealed a problem that started two years ago."

Yes, I absolutely agree with this. I just wasn't aware of it. His behaviour in the house and with us is the same as it's always been.

Thank you for the advice everyone. I'm going to try building up his tolerance again as you suggest vanilla, and use treats to reinforce positive behaviour justilou.

Failing that, I'll consider a behaviourist. I really don't want to chalk it up to age, because it's such an extreme change. He used to love playing with anyone and everyone.

I'm just taking him out now actually.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Sat 09-May-20 08:59:08

Good luck OP!

Mine has been reactive ever since he got bitten when was in his adolescence. He was doing really well until lockdown and then suddenly he couldn't have his off-lead runs with his friends and suddenly he became wary again - being stuck on lead all the time didn't help!

Then we found a secure field and other dogs were there too. His confidence is slowly going back up and the other day he came face-to-face with another dog, both on the lead, and his reaction was perfect.

You should be able to get it back again, but it needs to happen regularly and often - if he starts going long periods without doggy interaction I suspect he'll start to go downhill again.

Spidey66 Sat 09-May-20 12:07:07

I disagree all dogs should be on the lead all the time. My dog is a border collie so is naturally full of energy. She needs time off lead to run off that excess energy. She loves it, nothing better as far as shes concerned. She loves, loves, loves playing with other dogs and is a social butterfly where other dogs are concerned. She does has excellent recall, and even when she is playing with another dog will come back when called.


rawlikesushi Sat 09-May-20 14:30:24

We're lucky enough to have a choice of countryside and coastal walks right from the doorstep.

My dog is off the lead unless I see another dog coming, which is when I put him on now (never used to have to).

I do think that owners should put their dog on the lead, or keep them close, if they see another dog coming that has been put on the lead. Surely the fact that I see you, recall my dog and put him on a lead suggests that my dog doesn't want to play?

When my dog was friendly and happy to play, I never let him approach dogs who were on a lead, unless their owner said it was ok.

OP’s posts: |
Veterinari Sat 09-May-20 14:36:08


If your dog is 10 I'd want him to be checked for pain and/or cognitive decline. Its much more likely that he's anxious about other dogs because he associates interacting with them with pain or anxiety.

rawlikesushi Sat 09-May-20 16:01:49

Oh ok, thank you. I hadn't considered that. He doesn't seem to be in pain - still runs around, chases toys and leaps like a puppy - but worth checking out I guess.

He's definitely anxious when he sees other dogs though, and he's never had a bad experience. I always walk him, so he's never had an encounter with a dog without me there.

OP’s posts: |

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