New reactivity to small dogs who growl

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New reactivity to small dogs who growl

Post by Kiwidog » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:56 pm

Hi all
Our dog L, who we know has a border collie mum and looks like she might have some kelpie in her and maybe some whippet has just turned 1. She is on the small medium size.

Until recently she used to greet each dog she saw coming towards her by lying down. She gets on with most dogs and likes them to chase her because she always wins. So sometimes her play with other dogs (that we know already) has involved her going up to them and doing the play bow and then waiting till they chase her.

In the last 2 weeks we have had 3 instances where she has been off leash and had a negative reaction to another dog.

In the first instances she was happily playing with two other dogs she knows and a group of people came down to where we were with a small dog. The 3 dogs went up to greet the new small dog (which would have been quite intimidating) and it growled and snapped at them. The other dogs walked off but L reacted in kind and I had to run over and grab her and put her on the lead. The owners of the small dog said it doesn't like other dogs and didn't seem too bothered.

Yesterday I saw a friend who has a small terrier who also doesn't like other dogs - is quite fearful and always growls and bares her teeth when we see her so they have never played together (usually L is on the leash when we see this dog). They had a sniff of each other and seemed fine and then the terrier was minding it's own business, and L kept trying to go over to her and I called her back each time. I should have put her on the lead at this point buy my friend kept saying 'they'll be fine". Then as we were talking and I wasn't on the ball L went over to the terrier who growled and bared her teeth at L who reacted again by batting the terrier and lunging at her, barking etc. I had to pull her away and put her on her lead.

Then last night another friend popped round with her Jack Russell who L knows well. This friend has a lab as well and L and him get on really well. The JR and L have a funny relationship where if L is playing with the lab the JR growls and snaps at L. The JR is also very possessive about sticks and L sometimes tries to provoke a reaction by going over to her when she has a stick. Anyway last night I opened the door and the JR was on her lead and greeted L with a growl so L again reacted by barking back and lunging at her and I had to shut her inside.

I know I need to work on recall more in these situations and I am going to start using a 3 blast whistle as others have mentioned doing for emergency recall (I just tried it at home for the 1st time and she immediately came running, and got some yummy smelly blue vein cheese as a reward).

Sorry, long post. Just wondering if this new reactivity to small, growly dogs might be because L is at peak teenage? Is there anything else I should do apart from working on emergency recall techniques and general recall? i am doing a lot of work on recall when we are out on walks and she is off leash.


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Re: New reactivity to small dogs who growl

Post by Nettle » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:16 am

Instead of trying for a PhD response (recall to me no matter what the temptation) understand your pup is still in kindergarten and make the decisions for her, managing her interactions with other dogs so that she does not learn how exciting it is to drive other dogs (she is, after all, a herding mix) into antagonism.

When you see another dog in the distance, put her on lead REWARD get her on the opposite side of you to the approaching dog, when close enough ask the other dog owner if they can interact, if the answer is yes, let her offlead and if there is any raised lip, raised hackle, head turning, general discomfort with either of them, retrieve your dog, put her on-lead/opposite side REWARD and walk on. If the owner tells you one thing and the dog tells you another, believe the dog.

Never allow your dog into a multiple dog scenario, particularly a group charging at another dog or if a group of dogs is charging at her.

Teenagers are challenging but she will grow out of most of it if not allowed to practice it and find it exciting.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog


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Re: New reactivity to small dogs who growl

Post by Kiwidog » Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:05 pm

Thanks Nettle, I hadn't thought of rewarding her each time I put her on the lead (which I generally do when we see a dog in the distance). I will do that. The good thing is that when we see another dog on our walks and she is offleash she always stops, I call her back and she easily goes on her lead.

It also hadn't occurred to me that she is trying to herd them but now that I think about it one time we were on the beach with the aforementioned JR and as we were leaving the JR went over to another person with a dog and a stick and started barking at the person (because of course she wanted the stick). My friend was calling the JR back to no avail and L ran over too and started trying to round the JR up and "get her under control").

Thanks again!

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