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I guess I was rude, but I don't care. ;)

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The only other thing I'm going to say here is that it's a rare dog who becomes bomb-proof without ever being taken out. Most dogs have SOMETHING at some points in their lives that causes them a bit of concern. In fact, keeping dogs at home is a good way to make sure they become the opposite of bomb-proof.

 

I don't mean you take an out of control dog out, or a dog who is a real bite or fight risk, but you don't NOT take dogs in public just because they aren't totally bomb proof, unless you want to take a dog who has some minor issue and blow it up into a major issue.


Besides, 99% of dogs HAVE to leave their home/property sooner or later, if only to go to the vet and many, many more would have lives who would be greatly enriched by learning how to cope with some things that aren't present in their house and they might worry about.

Again: Not saying you take a dangerous dog out, but keeping any dog who's not bomb proof home for not being bomb proof and making sure it will never be anywhere close to bomb proof is just silliness. It's also giving up on your dog and limiting both your dog's life and your own for the sake of - what, exactly (remember - we're not talking out of control and truly dangerous dogs)? Public opinion? Not being embarrassed? More silliness.

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I don't take my dogs out and I don't necessarily think that's a good thing. But there isn't any place safe for them to go. Zeke and Tommy are good if strangers come in the house but Joey isn't. He has a fit. Part of that is that he's the most reactive of the dogs and the rest is that he isn't socialized which is my fault.

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It didn't sound like a pit bull thing? I mean, mostly I've had big mixed-breed dogs doing that to my dogs, and it irritates me no end when the owners don't bother to keep some kind of control or stop their dogs walking with their heads under my dog's arse. Even if the dog doesn't mind, or doesn't appear to mind, the other dog is still being rude. Unless my dog is ecstatic to see that dog and wants to hang out with them, I feel it's my job to protect my dogs from rude dogs. They shouldn't HAVE to show obvious signs of getting annoyed.

 

Do you have any concern that by intervening to "protect" your dog from behavior that you consider rude but that your dog doesn't appear to mind, you are conveying to your dog that it SHOULD mind, and perhaps increasing your dog's stress levels over encounters with other dogs?

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Eileen, not only is it possible to do this, it is highly desirable for a fearful/reactive dog. It builds trust that you will handle any situation, which means they don't need to use aggression to defend themselves. My own dog now sits quietly while I deal with unwanted advances. This is in contrast to years ago when he would bark, lunge, scream, blow his anal glands, urinate on himself and go into a blind panic when he saw a dog that was still hundreds of yards away.

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Eileen, not only is it possible to do this, it is highly desirable for a fearful/reactive dog. It builds trust that you will handle any situation, which means they don't need to use aggression to defend themselves. My own dog now sits quietly while I deal with unwanted advances. This is in contrast to years ago when he would bark, lunge, scream, blow his anal glands, urinate on himself and go into a blind panic when he saw a dog that was still hundreds of yards away. [Emphasis added]

 

Liz, I don't really understand your post. We seem to be talking about two very different things. I was responding to simba's post about a dog who shows no concern that another dog has advanced to the point of having its "head under my dog's arse." The question is whether "protecting" one's dog from that, simply because the other dog and its owner is "being rude," and not because one's dog seems to mind the other dog's behavior, might not have the effect of creating anxiety or stress about interaction with other dogs in the dog being "protected." Do you disagree that it could have such an effect?

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Liz, I don't really understand your post. We seem to be talking about two very different things. I was responding to simba's post about a dog who shows no concern that another dog has advanced to the point of having its "head under my dog's arse." The question is whether "protecting" one's dog from that, simply because the other dog and its owner is "being rude," and not because one's dog seems to mind the other dog's behavior, might not have the effect of creating anxiety or stress about interaction with other dogs in the dog being "protected." Do you disagree that it could have such an effect?

 

I think it would depend on how this is accomplished. If one were to get wound up, clamp down on the leash and shriek, then yeah, its likely your dog would become sensitized to other dogs. If however, when a dog is behaving rudely and you intervene in a generally calm manner and then you move on your way then no, I don't think so. Your dog would just assume that you would handle this stuff.

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I would like to add, that just because a dog seems to not mind, that may not stay the case forever based on age, fear periods, life experiences, etc. After what I've been through with rude dogs and clueless owners, I feel it's better to be proactive and prevent problems before they even start.

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Eileen- I agree that it can depend on the situation, and on what you consider 'rude'. I have seen someone break up a play session between my own dog and a puppy, much to my dog's disappointment, because they perceived the pup as 'bothering' the dog... who was enthusiastically engaging in the play session.

 

If another dog is humping my dog repeatedly, overly insistently inviting my dog to play and not accepting their lack of interest (for example barking insistently in their face), or sniffing my dog's genitals so intensely that my dog is being pushed up into the air as it walks along, or just walking along in my dog's personal space being 'intense' while my dog ignores them, then I think I should intervene. Because my dog is tolerating that and I want to reward that toleration by ending an encounter that they don't mind, but are not enjoying, before the point where they do mind just because it has gone on that bit too long and they are tired.

 

I think with a reasonably well-behaved dog there are lots of situations where the dog doesn't particularly mind, but isn't enjoying the encounter. Not all of those situations should be stopped, it depends on the situation. Now, if my dog is obviously happy to engage with the other dog, enjoying the interaction etc. that is different.

 

I guess I also think that when the out-of-control dog has advanced to the point where there is prolonged physical contact and they are not interested in the normal polite greeting, I would be worried about other potential behaviours they might display. It may make a difference that in the situations where I encounter this I am walking dogs on-lead (in an on-lead area) and being approached by completely unfamiliar off-lead dogs.

 

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I do get your point, I just think there are situations like I described where it's acceptable to stop a rude dog even if your dog is tolerating it. The dog I am thinking of is the opposite of stressed in encounters with other dogs. But she does seem to benefit from being removed from the interaction and then given the opportunity to re-engage with the other dog if she wants to- from knowing that she has that option, if that makes sense.

 

Well said, Liz P.

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We expect our dogs who are very friendly with humans to learn to sit quietly for petting, or to refrain from interacting with certain people at all. This is a matter of teaching self-control. It should not transform a confident dog (with humans) into a fearful one.

 

I would say the same for interaction with other dogs. There are many times when I do not want my dogs freely interacting with other dogs who happen to be around, and may be interested in them. Conveying to my dog, "that dog is not available to you right now" should, in no way, create fear in the dog - in fact, I would go so far as to say that it should instill a great deal of confidence. It's just a matter of self-control.

 

If choosing not to allow a dog to interact with another dog creates fear, there is either an underlying temperament issue, or the manner in which the handler conveyed that information to the dog is highly problematic.

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While I think it is possible to create a problem where none existed by over reacting or being tense about protecting your dog from another dog's behavior, I also think it's vital that my dog knows I have his back and will intervene when appropriate.

 

Jester has always had great dog-to-dog communication skills, and always starts with a slightly lifted lip if he is unhappy with another dog's pushiness. He then proceeds through four to five more stages of reaction, gradually building, before he will snarl or snap. If I see another dog ignoring all of these, I will intervene before it gets too close to the snap phase. This seems only appropriate.

 

Digger is so good natured that he will tolerate almost anything but that doesn't mean he likes everything. If, for example, a dog who weighs three times what he does starts trying to hump him, he gets a very unhappy look on his face, but he doesn't snarl or snap because he is too sensible; he knows that he could not possibly come out on top if it came to a fight. It is then my responsibility to protect him and get the other dog off him right away. On the other hand, if he were to start humping another dog who looked unhappy, I would be just as quick to pull him off. (Not that this happens, but if it did.)

 

I don't freak out - I just calmly intervene. We don't go to dog parks because none of us like them, so I am talking about dog events we go to or just being out in public. If both dogs are enjoying the interactions, I leave it alone. But I pretty much never take my eyes off my dog. If one looks put-upon, frightened, or about to get angry, I calmly and politely intervene. This seems sensible to me. If the other dog's person is offended I don't give a damn.

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In reading posts on the Boards, I notice a huge correlation between owners who are preoccupied with defining and denouncing rudeness in other dogs and dog owners, and owners who have dogs that are afraid or uneasy about interactions with other dogs. It's not surprising that there should be such a correlation, since the dogs' fear or uneasiness about other dogs could easily cause owners to become super alert to any possible danger presented by the approach of another dog. I just can't help wondering if there could be some degree of cause-and-effect running in the other direction as well -- if the owners' concern to show that they are their dogs' protector could be transmitting an unintended message to their dogs. Just something to think about. Regardless of how matter-of-fact we may think we are being, dogs exceed humans in the subtlety of the cues they can pick up. And I think even *I* could pick up the negative vibes some of you are experiencing when another dog approaches in a way that you consider "rude."

 

I agree that a dog with a rock-solid temperament would almost certainly not be affected by this, but there are plenty of dogs with "underlying temperament issues" which none of us would want to aggravate.

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Dogs with underlying temperament issues actually need to learn resilience in those times when their person gets upset, unnerved, bothered, etc. That's part of life. No person is going to be emotionless (not saying you implied that) at all times, so all dogs need to learn to sort out what they read in their handlers, especially those with less than stellar temperaments.

 

My own dogs know that when I look at one of them and say, "you're OK", that whatever just transpired had nothing to do with them, and life goes on.

 

Having been, and still being, the owner/handler of dogs with temperament challenges, I have learned that I can't turn my emotions off and there is no use in trying. If a 5 year old child starts running toward Tessa's crate at a competition, I am going to be agitated by it. That just is what it is. I will need to deal with the child and with the child's parents, and it will be clear to Tessa that I am not happy at that moment. But I can, based on a long time rapport and understanding of trust between us, assure Tessa that she is fine and it had nothing to do with her. I have never seen an ongoing ill-effect for taking up for my dog, even if I was upset when something like that happened.

 

I find it's a give and take. On one hand, I do try to remain as neutral as is reasonably possible. But, on the other hand, I know that I'm human, I have emotions that my dog will read, and I prepare all of my dogs - regardless of temperament - to take those times in stride and bounce back.

 

I have worked with three dogs with very serious fears that were very different from one dog to another. I have yet to see a new fear created because I got upset at some point (even obviously), and I have (and had) managed to help all of them learn to deal with their respective fears over their lifetimes.

 

If I had a dog who was so sensitive that my response to something was going to affect his or her response to a given life situation, I'd be working on building resilience in the dog. It can definitely be done.

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Having been, and still being, the owner/handler of dogs with temperament challenges, I have learned that I can't turn my emotions off and there is no use in trying.

 

Okay, but with reflection and self-examination one might re-evaluate ( a ) one's reaction of fear or anxiety and/or ( b ) one's conviction that one must demonstrate to one's dog that one will protect it, in situations where neither is justified (other dog runs up to one's dog and sniffs its butt, one's dog is unconcerned). We expect changes in attitude/behavior like that from our dogs, why not from ourselves? I think my dogs just assume that I will protect them and have their back when necessary, because of the nature of our relationship. I don't think I need to look for opportunities to convince them of that. I am just questioning whether the usual line of responses to "Rude Dog Encounter!" threads might tend to reinforce norms of behavior (in us!) that may be counterproductive.

 

 

If I had a dog who was so sensitive that my response to something was going to affect his or her response to a given life situation, I'd be working on building resilience in the dog. It can definitely be done.

 

It's definitely possible to build resilience in a dog -- no argument there. But my response to things affects my dogs' response to given life situations every single day. They're border collies.

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I wasn't overly protective about my dogs until 2 incidents happened that ruined the life of one of my dogs. 1) While walking early in the morning with my dogs, a pit bull ran across several hundred yards of field to attack my dogs. It came in silent, running full speed. I could see what was coming and did the best I could to defend my dogs, but failed. I could not pick up 5 Border Collies, so I tried to block the attacking dog. It darted around my leg after I kicked it back once and grabbed Sage by the chest. He was just a pup at the time and right in the middle of a fear period. With training and counter conditioning, he got to the point that he would play with friendly pit bulls.

 

2) About a year later I was walking Sage, saw a large bully breed mix coming down the street with his head up, tail up and giving very bad signals. I turned to walk the other way, the owner released her dog from the leash and it immediately attacked Sage. It took multiple people choking that dog to get it off Sage's neck. This also happened during a fear period.

 

These were just attacks on Sage, who became very fearful after. He developed severe PTSD and generalized anxiety.

 

One time Sage's dam was attacked by a Bull Mastiff at the park. Through my quick actions, there was minimal damage to Freya's neck. The owner was a major ******* and said I should expect my dogs to get attacked if they act like prey and chase a ball. I left immediately but found out later that same dog nearly killed a Maltese soon after attacking Freya.

 

My neighbor's Akita came into my front yard while I was standing there with my dog, picked up Duncan, shook him and left holes in his shoulder. The neighbor tried to claim her dog was friendly and good with other dogs, yet it spent all it's time trying to attack them through the fence. She didn't have a clue about dog behavior.

 

Tweed was attacked last winter. A woman let her terrier off leash, knowing she didn't have control of him and that he didn't like other dogs. She said she let him run loose because it was early in the morning and she didn't think anyone else would be around. The dog saw Tweed and ran straight at him and attacked, repeatedly biting his legs and sides. I kicked it multiple times but it came back every time. It didn't stop until it was tackled. You bet I let that owner know in no uncertain terms that she should NEVER let her dog off leash in public again.

 

These are just some of many incidents I have experienced with my dogs over the years. So yes, I am sick and tired of irresponsible people who made really stupid choices with their dogs. I will defend my dogs from the idiots of the world.

 

I used to have an attitude more like yours, but life experiences have changed that.

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When I weigh the potential risks of allowing a strange dog handled by a child free access to one of my dogs (even if my dog does not seem to have an issue with the dog) vs. the potential of creating a fear because I request that someone keep his or her dog back away and under control, the risks with the strange dog are definitely the risks that I consider to have the most potential to do real damage if things go badly.

 

There are circumstances when I allow meet and greet. When I went up to GHF this summer for a several day long workshop, I went in knowing that there would be off leash time among most of the dogs present, and that was fine with me. A friend of mine wanted to let her puppy play with Bandit, and I was happy to let them play. They played very nicely.

 

But yes, on walks I expect people that we meet to pass politely, with their dogs under control, as I have mine under control, and if they don't, I will request that they do so. A trials I expect handlers to mind their dogs and keep them from interfering with mine, as I do not allow mine to interfere with theirs, and if they don't, I will speak up.

 

I have yet to see that create an aversion to other dogs (or people) in those contexts, or in general.

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Holy moley, Liz. That's why I don't take my dogs out. I'm not strong enough to protect them if we got attacked and my neighborhood is full of pits. I have been really hurt in dog fights so I just won'the risk it.

 

So my dogs aren't socialized and that's not a good thing. But they are safe in their own backyard.

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I am another person who owned a fearful and reactive dog and had NO emotional reaction or lead-in that might have caused uneasiness in the dog until after I'd seen a few (naively allowed) bad interactions that could have gotten extremely bad.

 

I blithely took my old boy Buddy out into the world expecting him to act normal. Upon the first visit to my sister's house, he nearly bit my brother-in-law. Upon the first visit to my father's house, he nearly bit my father. Upon meeting several dogs over the first weeks, he flew into reactive mode (reacting to a bounding young dog as if the dog had attacked him).

 

After that? Yes, I'll be happy to report that I grew uneasy when strangers with bouncy dogs approached us, and especially when they allowed their dogs to charge at mine.

 

But I will categorically deny that I caused my dog's reactivity. MY reactivity was a direct response to his behavior, which was well established when I brought him home from the shelter.

 

I learned over many months that I needed to train Buddy to look to ME to see how to respond in situations. So, I taught him to step off the road and do a 'lie down' or 'sit' in situations where previously he would have gone forward, defensively growling, as other dogs approached. I'm very proud that after a few years, people told me how good I'd been with Buddy - how much a changed dog he was, happy in the world and apparently normal to outsiders. The trainer who had worked with me early on met me at a park years later and told me that Buddy was one of those "miracle cases."

 

I feel a strong implication here that people with dogs who are fearful are the CAUSE of the dog's fear, and while this may be very occasionally true, I don't think it's true for many of us on these boards. Those of us who are so annoyed by the rude behavior of others' dogs are annoyed because we are working SO VERY HARD to bring our fearful and reactive dogs to a better place in the world - and because our efforts can be so easily derailed by the ignorance of another dog owner.

 

With a fearful and reactive dog, generalizing that the world is safe takes a very long time. Dogs aren't good generalizers, from what I understand. So, for my dog to start to believe he was safe meeting other dogs - after coming to me believing otherwise - could take hundreds and hundreds of safe meetings. A single bad meeting could reset the reactivity button, retrigger the original fear. And one thing I learned so very well: it's one step forward, two steps back.

 

My trainer had owned challenging dogs. He told me once, "Until you've owned a dog like Buddy, you can't understand what it's like to own a dog like him." His point was that other people had no clue the difficult situation they put you in when they let their young lab charge at you.

 

I'm willing to give people the pass on the basis of ignorance. OK: if you've never been in my shoes, you can't understand how I feel. But here are numerous people with reactive dogs describing their remarkably similar experiences, and these experiences are valid, and I hope they are not being dismissed.

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Molly's reactivity started after she got trounced by an off leash cattle dog - in PetSmart of all places. Four, five months old, middle of a fear period. The fall out was immediate and extreme. So, yeah. I'm done with not running interference for my dogs and making sure their experiences are positive ones. Given that I have one dog who is at all reactive out of 5, I am pretty confident that I am not the issue.

And honestly? I do let my dogs do meet and greets and play sometimes, too. Just not ALL the time, with every dog or in every setting.


And not with every owner. That one matters to me, too. Sometimes that one matters to me more than the other dog or the setting.


The last couple of trials I've gone to with Kylie, there was a lady there who had a puppy who was being raised for a service dog. It's a puppy that's probably 3, maybe 4 times Kylie's size. It is a SWEET puppy. Wiggly and playful and really, really very good. But a puppy. Who is 4 times Kylie's size. First time they met, Kylie air snapped/corrected the puppy for being overly enthusiastic and in her face. Didn't lose her crap, didn't over do it, certainly didn't connect - she didn't even make contact. Second trial basically the same thing happened.


Did Kylie enjoy that interaction? No. But I wasn't freaking out with it and neither was the other owner because I knew:
A-) Kylie was not going to do more than say 'get out of my face, OMFG' and B-) I knew the owner wasn't going to be someone who lost her crap at the correction and mostly? C-) I knew the puppy wasn't going to whirl around and go after my little dog for saying 'I don't like this' - appropriately.

In those circumstance? Sure. Work it out. The dog can set her own boundaries.


Another setting, another person, another less known dog or owner?

NO. WAY. All it would take would be one dog of any size taking umbrage to the correction for being in her face and I've got a dead dog.


Not. Worth. It.

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Some dogs are just way more reactive than others. It's no one's fault. Joey and Tommy have the same father. They were raised the same way. Neither one was socialized much. Tommy is a pretty calm dog. Joey just reacts really fast to everything. He's completely different. They are both very herdy. They both would probably do well on sheep but their working styles would be totally different. It's just the way they are. I just deal with it.

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Oh and in response to mbc's last post:

"What they said."

I CAN make Molly's reactivity worse, yes. If I am constantly on edge, scanning for other dogs, tense and tight and twitchy/nervous, I feed into her emotional state, sure.


You know what *really* makes it worse? Eroding her trust in me. The trust that with me, she is safe. With me, she doesn't need to be on guard and worried about things. I'll handle it, the other dog isn't going to come after her and she can ignore them to because I've got this. The *second* I check out on that scenario and shrug my shoulders and just let things happen, she no longer has that trust in me. The second she no longer has that trust in me, she's handling it on her own.

And her handling method is loud, noisy, and unpleasant for everyone.

 

I'm not teaching her to be afraid. I'm teaching her that she doesn't NEED to be afraid because I'm not going to let that scary thing land on her head.

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You know what *really* makes it worse? Eroding her trust in me. The trust that with me, she is safe. With me, she doesn't need to be on guard and worried about things. I'll handle it, the other dog isn't going to come after her and she can ignore them to because I've got this. The *second* I check out on that scenario and shrug my shoulders and just let things happen, she no longer has that trust in me. The second she no longer has that trust in me, she's handling it on her own.

 

I'm not teaching her to be afraid. I'm teaching her that she doesn't NEED to be afraid because I'm not going to let that scary thing land on her head.

 

Yes! This!! ^^

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

You know, on the whole, "if you react, the dog will learn fear" idea, here is something very interesting.

 

Like mbc (above, although with reactivity), I never had any expectation that Dean was going to be noise phobic. He was my fourth dog. None of my others were noise phobic, nor even sound sensitive. I never saw severe noise phobia coming. And, when I first started to discover it, I denied it vehemently to myself for several months and was clueless about a lot that was actually happening. See . . . Dean was going to be perfect - no fears! Well . . . it was what it was.

 

But here is the interesting thing. I did start to have an emotional response to the sounds that triggered Dean's noise phobia over time - I still do to this day even though he is now retired from in-person classes and live competitions. If a ring gate falls over or some instructor starts dropping things loudly on the ground, internally I'm going, "OH CRAP!!!" before I realize I have a different dog with me. Hearing gunshots in the distance while out hiking, or at trials, will just turn my stomach over before I realize that Dean is not even present!

 

So . . . one would expect that Bandit and Tessa would develop fear, or even just worry, about those sounds. Certainly they sense my sharp intake of breath and moment of concern.

 

Guess what? Neither of them could care less about those things.

 

Now, I'm not screaming, "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! THE RING GATE . . . . FELL OVER!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!" Of course, I never did that with Dean, either!! (I wish he had developed noise phobia due to something like that because if he had, it probably could have been remedied by training alone!!) But I have no doubt that Tessa and Bandit sense those "Dean Dog noise moments" that I have from time to time. (Actually, even Dean himself takes that in stride, but we can keep it simple and only consider Tessa and Bandit, who are my post-Dean dogs training-wise)

 

I don't buy the whole idea that dogs learn fear or reactivity just because of an emotional response on the part of the person. Sure, if the person is screaming or jerking on the leash or going into some kind of high level frightening panic, it could happen. But if I am out walking with my normal dog and I take a quick detour into the woods because I don't want the huge goldendoodle on a flexi held by a 12 year old getting up in my dog's butt . . . I have no concerns whatsoever that I am going to "create fear".

 

There is just a lot more to the causes of fear or reactivity or phobia than that.

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In reading posts on the Boards, I notice a huge correlation between owners who are preoccupied with defining and denouncing rudeness in other dogs and dog owners, and owners who have dogs that are afraid or uneasy about interactions with other dogs. It's not surprising that there should be such a correlation, since the dogs' fear or uneasiness about other dogs could easily cause owners to become super alert to any possible danger presented by the approach of another dog. I just can't help wondering if there could be some degree of cause-and-effect running in the other direction as well -- if the owners' concern to show that they are their dogs' protector could be transmitting an unintended message to their dogs. Just something to think about. Regardless of how matter-of-fact we may think we are being, dogs exceed humans in the subtlety of the cues they can pick up. And I think even *I* could pick up the negative vibes some of you are experiencing when another dog approaches in a way that you consider "rude."

 

I agree that a dog with a rock-solid temperament would almost certainly not be affected by this, but there are plenty of dogs with "underlying temperament issues" which none of us would want to aggravate.

 

 

 

I also wonder if it's an issue of (a) interest and ( B) a self-selected group.

 

I have noticed that owners of dogs with some reason not to allow other dogs to approach- haemophilia, arthritis, fear etc.- have this. Because they notice it more because they have to, and they talk about it more. When I went for a walk with my rock-solid dog and another dog was obnoxious, I was unlikely to remember it afterwards. No reason to post about it. Now that she has arthritis the equation is different, for the same dog with the same temperament, and I remember incidents more and am more likely to talk about it, because she is more likely to hurt her shoulder and thus give me a reason to remember. Walking another dog that might undo a couple weeks of training, that would make you remember and give you enough of an interest to talk about it.

 

Self selected group. People who talk about 'reactivity', who recognize it, who try and train out of it, rather than just having a dog who 'doesn't like others' or 'should go say hello' or (worst of all) 'is really friendly he is just growling with play', are also more likely to talk about a dog being 'rude.' Cultural thing, to do with our mores and norms and use of language, you have people who are more likely to expect a dog to be able to learn to behave in certain ways. Because the person who thinks their dog is just an asshole for not interacting with every other dog who comes barreling up to them is going to not go bitch about the dogs they think were in the right. The person who doesn't know their dog is reactive also will often have different standards as to dog behaviour.

 

When my dogs were absolute little... to another dog, and that dog's owner apologized to me, acted as if my dogs were being normal, she's not all that likely to go on the internet and complain about rude dogs.

 

Edit Re- intervening when dogs are rude: I have two dogs for over a decade, one solid, the other not.

 

When I got them I had no policy of intervening, I was 'dogs will be dogs' and just didn't have the confidence to step in, ever. One dog got very dog reactive, the other remained fearless, though she sometimes became rude with strange dogs and I didn't intervene enough to stop that. So the reactive dog's reactivity predated my perception of 'rude dogs' etc.

 

Now the dog reactive dog is improving (I never did LAT etc. this is just keeping her out of situations where she is scared, reprimanding her for snapping, and intervening if she's uncomfortable) and the solid one is still fine, and is greeting dogs politely. In retrospect I wish I had been more of my dog's protector, because I can see how much more comfortable she is when I do that. My lack of social confidence, listening to the 'dogs will be dogs/they'll sort it out/let her socialize' people etc. probably contributed to her reactivity.

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I didn't even notice that post, but yes.


I care about and notice other dogs approaching mine because I have a dog with an issue. I would neither notice nor, perhaps even care, if I did not own that dog. However, I not only own her I am actively working to train, desensitize, counter condition, and manage her safely. That means having another dog pounce on her head is more than irritating to me. It terrifies my dog and damages her trust in me and her mental state. When I'm dealing with the fallout weeks or even a month down the line, yes, I am going to remember the event AND I'm going to seek to avoid another one.

 

I would still be a wee bit irritated if I had to be concerned about my little dog being eaten for being snippy (appropriate correction for rude behavior - dog takes no crap) with a larger dog who didn't take it well, and I am still not the most social, friendly person in the world but ultimately I notice because my dog has issues. My dog does not have issues because I notice.


I'm fairly confident in that, given I know which came first and how many dogs I own now, and have owned in the past that DO NOT have these reactivity issues.


The causation isn't in the owner creating the dog's emotional state - it's the other way around, I'd wager, in 99.999% of the time.

Edited by CptJack

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I care about and notice other dogs approaching mine because I have a dog with an issue. I would neither notice nor, perhaps even care, if I did not own that dog. However, I not only own her I am actively working to train, desensitize, counter condition, and manage her safely.

 

I would say that most of the time people are going to be more aware of a particular issue when one has personal experience with that issue.

 

There is a Border Collie who is usually scheduled to run just before Tessa and me at local Agility trials. The handler has to keep the dog way at the back until it is time for her turn so the dog doesn't get overstimulated by watching the dog ahead of him. And then, the next dog needs to wait until that dog is on leash before going into the ring.

 

Once I knew this was the deal, I had no trouble accommodating this handler in every way possible. I get it. Just because I am there with Tessa who is calm and settled and doesn't have issues remotely like that doesn't mean I can't relate. I have owned/handled/worked with a reactive/motion stimulated dog, so I know what it's like. I want to help her because I've been there. So, I wave at her to let her know I see she's there and I know she is ahead of me, and I make sure she has her dog leashed before Tessa and I step in.

 

Not everyone shares that same point of view, but I really get it because I've been down that road and I know what it's like.

 

Owning/handling/working with a dog with any issue - fear, reactivity, etc. is definitely going to heighten handler awareness of that particular issue. That has its downsides, but it can have good effects, too. Awareness is usually a good thing.

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