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Old 02-20-2013, 04:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Did I do the right thing?

Okay, working on making my 6.5 month old male confident in me being his protector.

Went to the doggy store today to look for a tennis ball on a rope. He's always been pretty calm around other dogs and I've been limiting his exposure to only dogs we know. When we are out and about I correct (a small pop pop on his collar) for steering towards other dogs, and try to keep his focus neutral or on me.

So, back to the store. We are by the leashes and there is a HUGE chow by the register to my left, SUPER fluffy. Nox has never seen this kind of dog before, puts his head down and lets out a bark. I make him do a down/stay on my right, he does, doesn't bark again, and just lays there (with an eye on the chow, but no more barking).

I continue shopping and the chow owner asks if her chow can say "hi." I say, "no, sorry, when he barks he doesn't get to say Hi." (I didn't want to say, "no, I think he'sa little scared and I'm showing him that I will protect him.") She started going on about how pretty he is and how her dog is really nice, blah blah, but I just ignored her and kept shopping.

Should I have let them say, "Hi" since he was calm at that point? Or did I do the right thing? I don't want him to think he CAN'T say hi, but also didn't want to act like I was throwing him into something and he had to fend for himself.

Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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After he calmed down you could have let him. Dogs associate things within 3 seconds. So you put him in a down and he was calm. His reward could have been that he got to meet the dog. I would wonder if by not letting him have any contact that it might eventually increase his frustration and make it worse?
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Without these kinds of quick interactions your dog might start associating that meeting other dogs is a bad thing. He won't be associating that YOU are protecting him, but that YOU are worried about the other dog and that its HIS job to protect you. At this age...I strongly suggest that you allow him to meet nice, calm, friendly dogs at the store...even if for a quick sniff and hello. He should naturally become aloof and not want to meet every dog out there (mines 2.5 and I'm still waiting for that to happen) but its better if your dog thinks that dogs are friendly rather than something to be worried about.

If you want him to ignore dogs early on and don't want him to meet dogs...don't just put him in a down stay. He's going to want to meet them even more. You need to take his mind off the dog and onto something else. So if you're in a store, a dog is coming, you should be heeling away from it or practicing a variety of commands. It should not be a down stay while you get to interact with either the other dog or its owner.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I should add, it was a very small doggy store (downtown). He was in a down stay, but was still VERY watchful of the chow, didn't seem scared, but I don't trust my doggy-language skills enough to deduce that (especially a potentially fearful situation). I told him "break," we went over to another area of the store and he lost interest. A few moments later I was looking at some "tugs" at the front of the store and the Chow walked around the corner, they did a quick little sniff sniff (no hackles, no fear, just sniffing for literally 3/4 seconds) and then the Chow was off.

My question was more about in the moment of the down/stay. Is it okay to let another dog walk up to him when he is in the down/stay? Should I have tried a "release/break" and see if he still barked? I also don't want to create this frustration you spoke of....ugh, sometimes I feel like one wrong move and I am going to create a fear-aggressive-crazy pooch! It's hard to trust yourself to read the body language, and do the right thing.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think (to me) it would all depend on how I felt the Chow would react. If the Chow remained quiet and non-reactive while my pup barked at him and continued to give the chow the stink eye, then that Chow would be a great candidate for a meet and greet.

But if the Chow was reactive and bouncing around and acting silly (doesn't have to just be aggresssive) then I'd make any excuse I wanted to and not allow my pup to greet.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I wouldn't leave him in a down/stay as the dog walks up to him. First, down is submissive position. Second, I think you've left him vulnerable if the dog has bad intentions. I would have moved him behind me and had him sit so I was at least between him and the strange dog or walked away as the dog approached.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martemchik View Post
Without these kinds of quick interactions your dog might start associating that meeting other dogs is a bad thing. He won't be associating that YOU are protecting him, but that YOU are worried about the other dog and that its HIS job to protect you. At this age...I strongly suggest that you allow him to meet nice, calm, friendly dogs at the store...even if for a quick sniff and hello. He should naturally become aloof and not want to meet every dog out there (mines 2.5 and I'm still waiting for that to happen) but its better if your dog thinks that dogs are friendly rather than something to be worried about.

If you want him to ignore dogs early on and don't want him to meet dogs...don't just put him in a down stay. He's going to want to meet them even more. You need to take his mind off the dog and onto something else. So if you're in a store, a dog is coming, you should be heeling away from it or practicing a variety of commands. It should not be a down stay while you get to interact with either the other dog or its owner.
Thanks, I hadn't thought of it that way. I think he was just startled by this Chow, it looked like a fluffy bear lol. And I may have been a little too concerned, but I also don't want him barking at other dogs (the Chow did nothing to instigate a bark, from what I could tell). Any advice on getting him to not bark? I didn't interacte with the other dog when Nox was in a down/stay, I kept shopping (for a minute before we moved on).

I'll def keep this in mind though, I don't want him to think he CAN'T say, "Hi" when I let him. But, I also don't want him barking at other dogs, not sure exactly how to keep that from happening....
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaniFani View Post
Thanks, I hadn't thought of it that way. I think he was just startled by this Chow, it looked like a fluffy bear lol. And I may have been a little too concerned, but I also don't want him barking at other dogs (the Chow did nothing to instigate a bark, from what I could tell). Any advice on getting him to not bark? I didn't interacte with the other dog when Nox was in a down/stay, I kept shopping (for a minute before we moved on).

I'll def keep this in mind though, I don't want him to think he CAN'T say, "Hi" when I let him. But, I also don't want him barking at other dogs, not sure exactly how to keep that from happening....
A bark isn't necessarily a bad thing. Hackles aren't necessarily a bad thing. It can mean either fear or excitement. My dog loves to put his hackles up when he's excited, and does it a lot when he meets other dogs. If just the hair on his butt is up, I know its more a fear reaction.

I've never had an issue with barking, even as a youngster he was pretty quiet. If you can just tell your dog "no bark" and he stops...reward him with meeting the dog. If he keeps barking...he doesn't meet the dog. Simple as that.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
I wouldn't leave him in a down/stay as the dog walks up to him. First, down is submissive position. Second, I think you've left him vulnerable if the dog has bad intentions. I would have moved him behind me and had him sit so I was at least between him and the strange dog or walked away as the dog approached.
Thanks, that's what my gut was telling me about the "down/stay" being submissive. I was between him and the dog. But, they did get a teensy successful meet/greet before we left...so mission-semi-accomplished ;-)
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by martemchik View Post
I've never had an issue with barking, even as a youngster he was pretty quiet. If you can just tell your dog "no bark" and he stops...reward him with meeting the dog. If he keeps barking...he doesn't meet the dog. Simple as that.
Thanks
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