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It's not a huge problem as we try not to see too many dogs while we're working on the lead but I'd like to understand what might be going on and what I can do about it.

Our boy is generally fine when loose. Some dogs he'll greet playfully and then play chase with, other dogs (generally older calm looking dogs) he'll have a quick sniff greeting with and then we'll be on our way, and yet other dogs he chooses not to approach or acknowledge at all. Generally we don't have problems and as he seems to respond differently to different dogs I thought his dog manners must be okay.

On the lead things go differently. He doesn't look to me like he's doing anything wrong but it seems like the other dog takes offence. The last two incidences went like this:

1) Neighbour had a visiting dog and wanted to introduce him to us on the leash. He looked calm and sensible and friendly and interested in our boy. Our boy was excited to see him and there was tail wagging on both sides with them inching towards each other. They sniffed noses and then our boy went for a good sniff at his undercarriage, after a few seconds the other dog stiffened and then snapped at him. Our boy went to retaliate, it was fairly mild but hackles were up. We both walked away in opposite directions and they've since seen each other through the fence with no aggro. Guessing our boy was being rude sniffing for too long and I should have ended the greeting sooner.

2) We were practicing our nice leash walking in a quiet area with lots of space. I saw an owner and a small loose dog, we were in a big space and not in their path so I asked our boy to sit. I am working on him being able to not react to dogs/people/cars walking past and he's doing so well. I thought the owner would see we were on the leash and sitting nicely and encourage her dog to go round us. Instead she walked past staring at us and her little dog came running up to our boy, he stood up and the little dog started snarling and snapping at him. Our boy started snapping back and the little dog turned and trotted away after its owner.

I don't really know why loose dogs come up to us and then start growling, but it has happened a few times. Obviously I try to avoid places where there might be loose dogs if I am not able to let our boy loose, that last example was in a car park. We've even had it when we've tried walking away from the other dog and then run after us trying to have a go. I understand that our boy is at a disadvantage if he is leashed so might get defensive, if we are in an appropriate place and I see a friendly looking loose dog approaching I'll let our boy loose so he can play, but I don't understand why loose dogs approach us and then get growly and snappy at him. It's such a shame and it's not possible to end greetings with loose dogs sooner as they just follow us if we walk away.

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Really the only answer here is that many people are rude inconsiderate idiots with their dogs. They let their loose dog rush your dog and then blame you and your dog when your dog growls. It doesn't sound to me from what you say that your dog has a problem. Maybe the other dogs don't either; their owners are the ones who are doing something wrong.

However, I strongly advise you never to allow your dog loose to go greet another dog who is loose. This situation is far too uncontrolled, and you don't know the other dog. Just because that dog  is "friendly looking" doesn't mean that it is friendly, or that there couldn't be a very bad incident. Dogs can turn from looking friendly to being deadly in less than a second and if you don't know the other dog you are taking a huge risk. Don't do it. Just the fact that you have seen another dog approach and then get growly and snappy should tell you this. You have been lucky that so far it has only been growly and snappy and not something worse. I have had experience with dogs who would approach with play posture and then attack.

 

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On 4/25/2019 at 12:02 AM, D'Elle said:

I have had experience with dogs who would approach with play posture and then attack.

 

My Tess does that. Or would if I let her. 

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