Is this acceptable behaviour?

(12 Posts)
Stackers382 Sun 21-Jun-20 17:48:31

Just for some background information. Our dog is 10 months old, we had some issues last month with him growling and snapping the air at DS after an incident where DS accidentally scared him (he woke him up by making a loud noise close to his face). We spoke to a behaviourist whose advise we followed and we’ve had no further incidents.

There’s a girl who lives in our street, she has autism. When she sees pup she often screams and runs away (she’s scared of dogs, pup hasn’t done anything to make her scared of him). We’ve told here keep her distance as she’s scaring the dog (he would lock his legs and refuse to walk into the street if he could see her playing out). Today, we were all in the car ready to leave and she came up to the window and banged on it. Pup reacted by barking and growling loudly. I signalled for her to move away from the car and we drove off.

When we got back off our walk our next door neighbour had a friend visiting, she went up to our dog, crouched down, and ruffled his face, putting her face really close to his. He started barking and growled at her.

I feel like these are reasonable reactions from our dog, warning signals that he’s not happy and both times it got him out of a situation that was making him uncomfortable.

I’m just sensitive to his behaviour and wonder if it’s ok that he did this? Do I need to speak to the behaviourist again or is this acceptable from him?

OP’s posts: |
Whoknowswhocares Sun 21-Jun-20 17:55:34

The problem I’m afraid is that you are allowing your pup to be scared and ambushed by strangers. I appreciate it is awkward but you are teaching him that you will not step up and protect him from inappropriate human interactions and that he must take matters into his own paws to keep himself safe.
Do not let strangers approach him, he does not want their attention. He is scared and needs your protection. Without it he will growl and if that does not work he will feel forced to escalate his aggression to make his point.
I would suggest that you do talk to your behaviourist again. Not so much because he is doing something wrong, but that you might need some help handling these situations

Stackers382 Sun 21-Jun-20 17:59:22

Yeh I appreciate that. He loves people and he’s never reacted to someone stroking him before but no ones gone up in his face like that before either. I know now.

OP’s posts: |
picklemewalnuts Sun 21-Jun-20 18:51:23

You need to get into the habit of saying- 'he's a little nervy around strangers, please don't fuss him' at the first sign of anyone paying attention to him.

Try not to get anxious as that will make him more anxious.

And try some positive distractions, have treats at the ready as you go through the front door, catch his attention and reward him when people are around.

Itsjustabitofbanter Sun 21-Jun-20 18:56:06

The girl screaming and banging on the window I agree with (though it wouldnt bother any of my dogs) The neighbours friend making a fuss I don’t. Most people will crouch down, ruffle and put their face close to a dogs that they’ve met. If your dog is reacting aggressively towards that then you need to keep your dog away. The law will not be on your side if your dog attacks someone in circumstances such as this.

LJC1234 Sun 21-Jun-20 18:57:43

But him a yellow lead that says nervous ! We got them off amazon for our rescue ! He's nervous but tiny so people think as he's a small dog he must want cuddles. My job is to keep him safe and away from people but the lead massively helps

PollyPolson Sun 21-Jun-20 19:26:37

His reactions are totally normal and a sensible person would understand that but unfortunately in todays climates dog have to be perfect. To prevent him getting in to trouble you will have to protect him from these situations.

It is easier for us to communicate to humans in an acceptable way than it is to leave it to the dog. Prevent close interactions with people he does not know, do not let people bet or stroke him. You may find ways he is happy to meet people eg if they throw a ball for him , of stroke his chest not his head.

However you need to be his advocate and prevent him being put in a situation that he has to react.

I am so glad that you have worked things out with your son - that is fab.


frostedviolets Sun 21-Jun-20 19:38:04

No, this is not ‘acceptable’ behaviour at all.

This is behaviour that will get more intense and dangerous over time if you don’t start working immediately to keep people he doesn’t know far away from him.

The more he is put in situations that unnerve him the more stressed he is going to get and the more opportunity he gets to practise this behaviour the worse it will get

MrsBobDylan Sun 21-Jun-20 19:48:42

Do he just back at people who frighten him or get very close to his face when he's never met them before? Or is he growling and baring teeth?

I was taught not to pet dogs but to slightly bring the back of your hand to nose level and let them sniff you. My kids do that and it givens the dog the chance to choose what sort of attention suits.

Two of my dogs love attention but I also has a nervous rescue who gets bouncy and woofs because he is scared. We have had him a year and he has only just let my eldest son stroke him!!!!

Shambolical1 Sun 21-Jun-20 20:00:19

Many, many dogs do not like having people's faces shoved in theirs.

To them it's at the least rude and at the worst very frightening. Your dog's reactions have been completely understandable. In today's climate with today's laws, though, he needs to be protected from situations where he could feel he needs to bite.

Never be afraid to tell people not to touch your dog, to keep away from your dog and to just plain go away if necessary. Coloured leads and harnesses can help but your voice is the best thing. People will call you rude and/or tell you you shouldn't be walking 'a dog like that', tough, if they want a dog to fuss and kiss they can get one of their own.

Stackers382 Sun 21-Jun-20 20:34:56

Many thanks everyone. I’ll follow all the advise. Today he barked and growled at the stranger next door. People are so stupid though, I’d never get up into a dogs face like that and use a high pitched voice. I feel like we’re still getting to know him and his personality but we obviously need to be a step ahead and find our voice to protect him from these encounters.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Sun 21-Jun-20 20:49:52

Please, please protect your dog. If he's growling at people you really need to step up and say "sorry, he doesn't like strangers, please don't touch him". People would't go up and touch your child, but too many think it's acceptable to go and fuss your dog.

Unfortunately, the Dangerous Dogs Act now states that a dog doesn't need to bite to be deemed "out of control". If your dog frightens someone (snarls/lunges) or knocks them over, you could be in a situation where you need keep him muzzled and on lead for the rest of his life.

Now, I appreciate that's worst case scenario but you really, really need to be your dogs advocate here. He can't speak up for himself and you need to do that for him for his own sake. Keep him on a short lead and don't let people fuss him.

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