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Recent change in behaviour worrying me

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by lizzylocket, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. lizzylocket

    lizzylocket New Member Registered

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    Hi, I have a 2 year old cavapoo who had his op age 6 months. He has always been super friendly to all owners and dogs we meet on our walks. Until a few weeks ago and a dog he had peviously met came up to say hello and my dog snarled and snapped at him, I was shocked. All ok for a week or so and we bumped into a lady walking her new puppy, my dog innitially went to say hello but when the puppy came up to him he snarled and snapped. This has happened more often last couple of weeks. It seems to be Pugs, Frenchies and staffies he doesn't like and any small puppy. Nothing bad happened yet but it scares me and I don't want him to pick up on my fear. I have no idea how to approach this and would welcomd any advice. with the majority of dogs he meets he is lovely and plays quite happily.
     

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  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I recognise this. My dog is similar and someone cleverly observed that these dogs are all very broad chested/ fronted. To understand this, you need to be aware that face to face, head on, direct eye contact is intimidating body language for dogs. While these dogs might be the sweetest and kindest animals ever, their basic shape may just create anxiety in your dog because of their conformation.

    My strategy is to break the head to head approach so the dogs' approach (if they have to do it at all) is at an angle.

    My dog also doesn't really like puppies as they are boisterous, or dogs that rush in too fast.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
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  3. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hi, do you know if something has happened when on walks? You could use the three second rule: Make the dog sit a few paces back from the other dog reward your dog, then let the other dog meet your dog for 3 seconds, reward for coming away from the dog. It could be a good idea for you to get an appointment with your vet to rule out any health problems. Was he neutered at 6 months?
    A good step for this behaviour would be to not encourage him to charge up to people especially with dogs.
    If you see a dog/puppy walking towards you try and avoid the dog even if it means going up someone's driveway or teach your dog the watch me command:
    Hope this helps - Violet
     
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    No. This is for neutral engagements, not for when one of the dogs is anxious or uncomfortable, as the OP describes.
     
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  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Have you noticed whether the dogs your dog doesn't like are entire males? This can be a common factor too.

    My dog was great with other dogs until around a similar age, then he started reacting to some. As this is a recent change in yours, I would err on the side of safety by being careful with all encounters. The more he does this, the more he's likely to generalise to other breeds/types. When my lad was at his worst I'd put him on his lead when I saw almost any dog to be on the safe side, then we could either walk calmly by (at a distance if it was the sort of dog he didn't like) or allow the dogs to greet carefully.

    I also gave my dog a treat whenever we passed any dog, even if it was one I knew he wouldn't react to and even if we were at a 'safe' distance. Then (eventually) when he did see a dog, it would have positive associations but he'd also turn to me rather than focus on the dog.

    Puppies can be annoying pestering little brats who need to be told how to behave and don't always pay attention to gentle reminders - but some dogs' reminders aren't so gentle. If a puppy approaches your dog I'd get in between them and divert the puppy, asking the owner if they could call it back, so it doesn't get a chance to say hello to your dog.

    Finally, if you think there's been a change in his general demeanour or he seems to be getting worse, it would make sense to speak to his vet to be on the safe side.
     
  6. lizzylocket

    lizzylocket New Member Registered

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    Thank you all, there are some good tips I'm taking on board. Walked him on his flexi lead today, pocket full of treats. He was actually really good today. Thinking about it, from what I recall, it is when other dogs come towards him face on, he will happily let them sniff his rear end and then come to the front of him. Talking to some other dog walkers on the beach today there were a couple of people who said their dogs would tell puppies off if they ran up to them. He is very food motivated and training him when he was a puppy was very easy so hoping I can get past this problem with some training and treats.
     

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