View Full Version : Has anyone had this experience?

27th March 2007, 11:16 PM
We usually go walking in our local park and we meet a lot of dogs, the majority are off their leads. We tend to keep Odie on his lead because he likes to say hello to all of the dogs !

But we have started to notice that when we do stop to say hello the other dogs, male or female, they become agressive towards Odie by either growling or maybe a little snap. Odie turned one on the 16th March and is still very submissive to these dogs that he meets.

This evening when I was out walking we met a dog that we have seen before, it was the usual story Odie lying on his back wagging his tail. The owners of the other dog were beside me and we were just smiling at each other thinking the dogs were just saying hello. I started to try to walk away, but the other dog was standing over Odie. As I tried to move the other dog stayed over Odie. Then we started to hear growling. They were saying 'Is that our dog?' and I replied YES ! The other dog started to get more agressive so I swung Odie up into my arms by his harness as I did not want to put my hand near the other dog. The dog kinda jumped after Odie but did not touch him and the owner hit his dog with the lead to stop him. They apologised and off we went.

This was the worst instance so far. Just wondering if anyone experienced this before, whereby your dog seems to aggitate other dogs !? He has even been snapped at by another Cav!


27th March 2007, 11:32 PM
If this is happening regularly, you might want to talk to someone who can analyse your dog when around other dogs. If you haven't done a class yet with Odie, this would be a really good time as Dog Training Ireland are about to start a new cycle of classes and I know Tara and Lisa would help you with this and could evaluate him as he'd be ain a class full of other dogs. They are certified behaviourists/trainers, run DTI, and are board members here. Tara helps me with Irish Cavalier Rescue as well and is very familiar with cavaliers.

It would be odd for lots of dogs to be this aggressive unless something is triggering the reaction on one side or the other.

DTI: www.dogtrainingireland.ie

27th March 2007, 11:39 PM
I am agreeing with Karlin. Sometimes dogs that have not been around other dogs much, make the wrong type of eye contact - ie staring into the other dogs face and this can be mistaken by the more dominant dog as a challenge. It could be something as simple as a gesture.

I must say though that I would not like other people letting their dog stand over mine when they meet socially. I think that is bad manners. If I have my big dogs out on walks I never allow them to stand over a little dog that has come up to say hello.

27th March 2007, 11:45 PM
Thanks Karlin

We did do a beginners class at DTI last Nov/Dec and I found Lisa and Tara to be very helpful. I discovered it's really me who needs to be trained !! When we were at the class Odie was squealing to get over to the other dogs but by the end of the course we could notice a difference where he was starting to get used to being around the dogs.

Wow I've just remembered there was one evening when a lab that was there ran over growling at Odie and the owner was unable to restrain his dog, but thankfully nothing happened and I remember Tara having a chat with the owner. Maybe that's just a coincidence and not related to what's happening now.

It might be an idea to do another class and I'll mentioned the problem to the girls and see if they have any suggestions.

Thanks again.

27th March 2007, 11:52 PM
It's always we who need to be trained -- so that we know how to communicate with our dogs effectively! :) I'd give Tara a ring or you can PM her here (she is TKC) or maybe she will see this.

28th March 2007, 12:04 AM
I'm no expert, but I have studied dog behavior recently. Here's my theory:

When a dog lies on its back when meeting another dog, it displays passive submission--the most submissive message a dog can give another dog. As an owner, its a comfort to know that the dog is not going to be a risk for attacking other dogs. It feels comfortable being at the bottom of the pack.

Unfortunately, dogs understand this pecking order, as well. To a confident dog, meeting a submissive dog is a non-challenging, ego-reassuring experience. They go up, sniff the submissive dog, and then ignore it. Such a lowly dog is of little consequence.

The problem probably arises when the low-man meets another low-man or a dog that lacks confidence. The unstable dog gains rank by dominating the submissive dog, who passively welcomes being outranked. Standing over a belly-up submissive dog is a sign of dominance. When the submissive dog is called away/removed before the dominating dog approves, the dominating dog feels its authority is challenged, resulting in sudden aggression.

I'd definitely talk with your trainer and continue socializing your dog. In my opinion, your dog is doing everything fine, but you want to be sure that your dog remains confident even if it stays submissive (which it probably will). You dont want your dog to become fearful with negative dog-on-dog interactions.

If you find yourself in another situation when you see another dog asserting status over your dog --such as standing over it-- before moving on, ask the other dog owner to call their dog away first. This way, the dominant dog will "release" your dog, and you will hopefully reduce the other dog feeling challenged.

28th March 2007, 02:20 PM
When Harvey was younger he was very submissive to all dogs. I also found that this seemed to make the other dog more agressive as if to say look at me Ive made this dog submit. Then Harvey got bigger and if he saw another dog coming that looked agressive he would run the other way, being off lead seemed so make him feel less threatened. Now he is 18 months old and if another dog comes over he will sniff then decide whether to submit or not. I think as he has aged he feels a lot less threatened. The whole thing scares the life out of me and i make my husband come with me on all walks now as Alfie is so small and goes over to every dog we meet so I am always scared he will get bitten.

Scouty girl
28th March 2007, 02:30 PM
I agree with Caraline. I also think it's bad manners for the other people to allow their dogs to 'stand over top of Odie'. I have a Newfoundland and would never allow this. She is very large for a female and other dogs are usually scared of her. She is not aggressive or dominant in the least. She just wants to say hi. She doesn't care who's in-charge, just as long as it's not her. LOL

Also I agree with the possibility that Odie might be giving a 'look' that will definetly start aggressive posture from the other dog. You don't even notice it, but they do.

30th March 2007, 10:50 PM
Gosh, that would be so frightening. I would tell the owners of the other dogs to please have some common sense and keep their dogs a respectable distance away from your dog. I never ever let my dogs approach another dog, you never know if that other dog is social or not, and anyway, it's just bad manners.

31st March 2007, 12:03 AM
I talked to Tara about this over lunch and she says she'll be happy to talk about it with you if you are taking another class -- just let her know who you are and remind her of the issue. Her opinion is this has little to do with dominance issues between dogs -- she says dogs don't make instant decisions on rank and polite larger dogs don't get overly in-the-face of a smaller dog anyway (I sure have rarely experienced this with other people's dogs unless they were large breed puppies who themselves are not to clear on manners :lol: Jst FYI Jaspar is actually a quite submissive dog but will let annoying dogs know exactly where to get off if they are being rudeso it is very difficult to make generalisations about what submissive actually means in meetings. For some dogs he will roll on his back. If Odie is still under a year it would be the norm for him to roll on his back -- that is what puppies do when meeting many adult dogs. It has nothing to do with adult social rankings).

She suggests that Odie himself may well be too in the face and annoying to the larger dogs if he is still under age one. it is very typical for younger immature dogs to not mind their manners and the older he gets the more strict adult dogs are likely to be in letting him know they don't want him right there (growling for him to lay off and mind his distance).

Dominance/submission is extremely complex, Tara says. It is not a simple matter of dogs meeting, saying Ok you rank here, and heading on their way. Indeed in a household group, the same dogs may have different roles in different situations (hence there is often not a single 'alpha' within a pack of dogs in the house -- often there are at least TWO alphas, probably male and female, and it is likely that a dog that is the submissive one in some cases may be the leader in others. So really, she believes it is more helpful in training to try not to analyze dominance/submission when viewing your dog, as probably more incorrect training responses (and potentially dangerous ones) can come from doing so than from trying to keep things as natural as possible. Tara notes (after two years of APDT (http://www.apdt.com/) formal training) that there is a lot of totally changed thinking regarding what used to be widely accepted theories on dominance and submission and it is worth seeking out more recent work on this by behaviourists (not dog trainers, who tend to rely on existing schools of thought).

Keeping things natural means:

* dogs do best when they are well socialised and meet lots of different dogs and people. Make time to do this with lots of walks and if possible, outings with friends with dogs
* puppies should have exposure to older dogs when possible, especially if your puppy is an only dog. Adults will teach puppies proper limits to annoying behaviour. Adults often growl or snap at an annoying youngster. In dog language, this is a polite bit of discipline and rarely something to worry about.
* try to remain relaxed yourself when meeting people with dogs. Your dog will look to you first for how to respond to the strange people/dog. If you show anxiety, your dog will pick up on that
* if you always march your dog away from oncoming dogs, your dog will learn to fear and avoid other dogs
* on the other hand, if you are not sure of the size and behaviour of a dog, calmly and cheerfully head in another direction, or pick up your dog
* in an uncertain situation, I would immediately pick up my dogs out of reach of an aggressive looking dog.

31st March 2007, 11:16 AM
Hi Karlin

Thank you for the information. Odie has just turned one, so I suppose he is still a puppy and is probably just annoying the older mature dogs, tut tut no manners !!

I wonder if it also anything to do with size, as Odie is quite a small Cavalier and he wouldn't lie on his back so much when he meets say a Yorkshire Terrier.

I am going to arrange to do another class with DTI and have a chat with Tara. I'm sure it would also benefit Odie being in close proximity with other dogs as he really only meets other dogs when we go for walks.

Jason's Mam does have a dog but he becomes very agressive when any dog comes into his house, so that is definitely a no no for Odie to meet him. Also Jason's Dad has a tiny little crossbreed so Odie just chases her around, I suppose annoying her.

Thanks again :flwr:

31st March 2007, 01:53 PM
Is Odie neutered? That yummy unneutered smell makes other dogs act differently toward your dog than if he were fixed.

1st April 2007, 11:17 AM
No Odie is not neutered, but we are considering it. He likes to try and hump our arms, especially after we've had a shower for some strange reason :?