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SincereArtisan

Should I correct this?

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Idolon has been coming along, and is doing better all the time with other dogs, greeting people, getting used to kids, etc.

 

But I'm kinda confused about one of her behaviors...

 

When a larger dog, or more rambunctious puppy comes over and DEMANDS she play, or tries to get rough and tumbly with her on the spot, she turns and snaps at them, growling. This will continue until said puppy or dog leaves her be. Lately I've been just picking her up until the other dog goes away...but she's growing, and I wont be able to do that all the time.

 

She does not do this when another dog tries to come greet her politely, sniffs, and walks off. She actually will get to playing with other strange dogs if given a chance to warm up to them, but for the most part she just follows Rune everywhere and joins in on whatever fun she's having.

 

My question is, when she is trying to snap the 'rude' dog's nose off, should I correct her, or let her puppy teeth do the talking? I'm just worried that the other dog is going to take offence one day, and snap back, and well...Idolon is still little, and I think she's going to stay pretty little. She's 5 months now, and not even 20lbs.

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Read THIS for some good insight about this kind of situation.

 

One thing I'd add is not to make a big deal of it yourself when it happens. The more you're "worried" or "apprehensive", the more Idolon will be "worried" or "apprehensive". And be careful not to be too protective or hovering - that can send uneasy vibes to your dog too.

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I probably wouldn't if all she's doing is air snapping. If you correct the inhibited bite then it could easily turn into her actually making contact as a first resort.

 

I might, however, get her around more laid back, polite dogs so she doesn't start generalizing this behavior to all dogs; that will also prevent her from getting injured by a bigger dog while she's in her snappy phase.

 

What's her body language like? It sounds like this could be fear based, in which case I'd avoid group settings unless you know all the dogs and their play styles - she may just be overwhelmed by new dogs right now.

 

Dogs do go through a second fear period between 4 and 10months I believe; how old is Ido?

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I wouldn't correct it, either.

 

Violet has a "Hound of the Baskervilles" growl that she uses when "we are not amused" by other dogs. :rolleyes: She's never done anything other than growl, though - and it works for her. Amourous males and cheeky puppies alike have been frozen in their tracks. :D

 

Like Maggie says, if I were to stop her growling then she might feel she has to resort to more physical means to enforce her personal boundaries.

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Hi Sarah,

 

I would flat out NOT expose her to the kind of dogs that aggravate her. I'm glad somebody recommended Clothier's great article (see link above), because that article promotes protecting your dog from these kinds of rambunctious "friendly but in your face" dogs. Puppies and dogs that growl when dogs run up at them are 100% within their rights--they are growling because they are rightfully afraid. However, it is up to you to not allow things to get to that point...

 

Up until 8 years ago, I used to take my dogs to dog parks and doggy daycare daily. My 14 lb. JRT was subjected to as many as 110 bigger dogs a day body slamming him, getting in his face, pawing at him, etc. Back then, I was a follower of the popular idea that dogs like Labs, Goldens, Boxers, Dobes and other dogs with a body-slamming play style were just being "friendly" and that any dog that didn't play the same way was "boring," "unsocialized" or even "unfriendly."

 

I refused to bail out my dog, and in fact he did not get into any fights. However, he was stressed, showing lots of calming signals (like head turning, wandering far from the group), and was NOT happy around this kind of environment. By the time he was 4.5 years old, he would growl/snap/bite at any dog that got within a couple feet of him. My fault entirely for not protecting him better.

 

With my two BCs, they have NEVER been exposed even for an instant to dogs with these play styles. I hand picked every dog they met for the first year. These were non-confrontational, non-physical, older, mellow and boring dogs that just tottered around sniffing the ground and ignoring my dogs... or well behaved BCs at herding trials.

 

After 1 yr of age, I exposed them on a limited basis to "unscreened" dogs. However, we play non-stop ball games, and they are so focused on the ball that none of the park dogs have a chance to try to bully them. I have a hard and fast rule that I do not let my dogs play in any group with a Lab, Golden, Boxer, Doberman (unless they are atypically gentle or elderly), or any dog with a rough, in-your-face play style. This has worked great, and my dogs are even tolerant of totally strange intact males coming into their house and spending the weekend (as happened this past weekend).

 

Columbia, MO

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One thing I found interesting w/ Maggie - she changed from hating these rude dogs to loving select ones. The main reason being that she found she could bristle and grumble and they didn't take offense.

 

This worked well for me since Maggie used to be dog reactive - she now has some rough and tumble buddies that are teaching her how to play and read body language a bit better and in exchange she's teaching them not to be obnoxious. It's a great trade imo.

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I've never corrected Oreo for snarling and air-snapping at rude dogs, which she does frequently because she really doesn't have the patience for rude dogs. At the dog park they very quickly learn to leave her alone and go bug someone else, and she merrily goes on her way.

 

But I do second the idea of keeping the dogs away from her if you can.... even just stepping in between and not letting them get close. I have to do that with Zoe sometimes, because her attitude is SO nervous that she doesn't know how to tell them to back off. Especially young, they do need us to keep them "safe".

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I read the article linked above, then Googled the author because I really couldn't believe what I read in the article. I bet that lady is a barrel of fun. A vital part of functioning in the world we live in today is learning to put up with the unpleasant behavior of others. It's one of the risks we face when we leave our homes. This goes for people and dogs. Just as people draw a line, for example, putting up with crying babies on airplanes because that's just the way babies are--but maybe speaking up when that baby is next to us at a nice restaurant--dogs kind of have to learn to do that, too--if you take your dog where other people have their dogs. Fact: you cannot control the actions of other people, and their dogs. You can choose to scold those people--and leave with your dog (presumably in a huff) or you and your dog can learn to put up with the occasional killer golden retriever. That goes with the territory of venturing out of your own back yard.

 

So, Sarah, in answer to your original question, "should I correct this?" My suggestion is, if your dog is not being aggressive but is simply scolding the other dog and maybe asking for a little personal space, the way the author of the article feels free to scold dog owners (she's snapping, isn't she) this may, in fact, be a confidence-building situation for your dog--teaching your pup that she has a little bit of control over the situation.

 

Anyway, that's another opinion. It worked for me.

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As long as she isn't going out of her way to be aggressive, or isn't scared by the other dog, I would let her deal with it, unless the other dog refused to get the message. In that case, I would just redirect the other dogs attention.

 

The only situations I would avoid is a rambunctious overboard pushy dog, or one big enough to physically hurt your dog. Or an owner who would get miffed if my dog responded to the situation like a dog.

 

It's alot like kids playing. You're better off letting them work out minor disputes, but you'd step in and do something if one was being an obvious bully.

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Concerning this article, I agree with GeorgiaBC 100%! What an attitude towards the rest of the world.

 

I don't correct Kessie either when she tells another dog to eff off. I wish she wasn't quite so choosy when it comes to playmates, because it obviously gets in the way of playing, but she's entitled to her own opinion, and she can read their body language better than I can.

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My dog is the same way. She does not like dogs that are in her face and rude. However, she doesn't always just air snap anymore, sometimes she bites because I have corrected her for snapping in the past. Now what I do is put myself between the other dog and her to protect her so she doesn't have to make the choice to act herself.

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GeorgiaBC, I agree with you whole heartedly. I WORK at a doggy daycare, I travel with my dogs a lot, to parks, festivals, etc...They enjoy being able to go everywhere with me, and part of having them there is being able to count on their ability to put up with a lot of rude behavior in an apropriate way.

 

When Ido 'air snaps'at a dog who comes up and overwhelms her with their demands for attention, her tail drops, one ear tips back, and as she will stand perfectly still. If the dog persists, she will jump and air snap, usually in front of their nose, sometimes she clips their shoulder fur but she never hangs on. If I say her name she will look at me, her stance will relax, and she'll start towards me. If the dog leaves her be, she trots over and sits for a treat. If the dog persists, she will continue to stop, wait, and air snap when necessary.

 

I do not allow HUGE dogs to overpower her, body slam her, etc. her best friend at work is a Jack Russel, and she has a thing for older male dogs--she worships them! To the point where many of them hae to correct her puppy behavior (the nosing/licking at the corners of the mouth) which I allow, because her puppy license has run out. She will play fine with any dog her size given the chance to warm up to them, that is if the dog greets her politely and invites her to play politely.

 

Oddly enough, at the park when she's trying to get a rambunctious pup or dog to leave her be, Rune will step in and distract the dog and get it to play with her instead. Most of the time I only have to call Rune, and point, she she knows just what to do.

 

Rune plays hard. Once she came out of her shell, she went from playing with little puppies to big puppies, and she roughs around comfortably with everything from jrts, yorkies, to danes to dobermans. Of course, all play is constantly supervised.

 

After further thought, and reading your responses, I don't think its a behavior I need to correct, since its only coming out in situations where something on her part needed to be communicated in the dog way. If anything, she'll be teaching these crazy puppies a manner or two. I'll continue to monitor who she plays with and how rough the play gets. Thank you all, for your responses.

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I remember asking the same question a few years ago. Jazzy did the same and I was concerned that one day she'd get in trouble by a bigger dog that wouldn't back off. I read the same article that was suggested by someone here. That made me feel much better.

 

I stopped correcting her and I watched her and other dogs like a hawk so that I can step in and redirect their attention if a dog is getting in her face. After a while, I noticed that she'd only give a warning to a dog that would submit. If a more dominant dog gets in her face, she would submit instead of snapping or growling. So I relaxed a little and let the dogs handle it.

 

Another thing I noticed was that it would happen more if the dogs are on leash (like at dog events) and there isn't enough room. So in natural setting, they were able to figure out on their own.

 

At dog events, I have to be very careful. Most people who'd come watch us don't have a clue what the 'dog manners' are. So if they see a dog growling at another dog for getting in its face, they'd think the dog is agressive! If I are to explain about the doggie manners, they'd think I am making an excuse. So it was up to me to monitor what was going around my dog. Some people would just let a retractable leash go out all the way (hate that thing!) and let their dogs sniff my dog. I learned to tell the owner to give some room.

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