Pup growled at a little boy/excitement with other dogs on leash - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 01-13-2013, 11:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Pup growled at a little boy/excitement with other dogs on leash

Today we took Ollie and one of our small dogs on a 4 mile walk at a popular trail nearby where we live... We've been here loads of times with Ollie and one of the reasons I like coming here is because of how many people and dogs there are, great for socialization.

We were halfway through the walk when out of nowhere this little boy came running up behind us, he couldn't have been no more then three. It startled both of our dogs and Ollie turned around, growled a little and did a "woof"... I popped his lead, told him no and continued walking on even though he kept trying to turn back and look at the kid, he did not growl or bark again.

I didn't want to get two far ahead of the kid because he appeared to be by himself though I finally spotted what I thought were his parents some 25-30 feet back seeming completely unconcerned that their kid was running out of sight to strangers with dogs. We sat down at a bench waiting for his parents but they let him run off out of sight again... I wanted to give them an earful but I am just not good at being confrontational.

Normally Ollie is superb with people, he's all over them like a Golden Retriever(though I know this may change as he matures), he's had lots of little kids all over him and he's always been very gentle with them. Do you think this was just a freak thing because he was spooked and the child was following super close behind us shuffling his feet very loudly? Did I react alright, anything I could change... I suppose I could have stopped and had him greet the little boy, I was just so stunned that he was alone that it just didn't cross my mind.

He's also becoming a bit more reactive to other dogs when he's on a leash... Not aggressive, just that bouncy puppy WANNA PLAY type thing but to someone with a little yorkie, it sure looks like he wants to eat them! He is really good with dogs off leash small and large... Until his next class is there anything I can do to help keep him in line? Possibly have treats and distract him as we're going past dogs and not letting him stop and sniff/greet dogs on walks anymore?

Sorry this got long winded but thank you for reading and for any thoughts you may have!
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Were you also startled by the little boy? That might play into Ollie's reaction. I think you handled it fine and it's something I would just keep an eye on if it's never been an issue before.

Does Ollie get to meet other dogs on leash often? My experience is that dogs that are allowed to pull to meet other dogs or spend a lot of time playing off leash with other dogs generally have that reaction when they see other dogs. I never allow my dogs to meet others if they or the other dog is too excited and not behaving. Same for people. The only way you get to meet someone is if you are calm, controlled and behaved.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You're right, I did tense up because I thought the little boy was running at us to fling himself at my dogs, the smaller one is FA and does not like being petted by strangers...

And yeah, we got stopped A LOT when he was a little younger(he is a LC puppy after all) especially by people with other dogs... It was hard for me to say no because they were so enthralled by him and wanting to ask questions. We're still working on his impulse control and the biggest thing I'm working on right now with him is focus and getting him to look at me(he's 4 1/2 months old, I should have mentioned). When he's in that state of wanting to see the other dog it's hard for me to get his attention.

Should I stop letting him play with other dogs while I work on that issue?
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