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WateryTart 12-15-2013 01:54 PM

Can other dogs be a bad influence?
I know that sounds like such a parent thing to say!

But I was wondering - is that a possibility? Do they learn bad behaviors from older dogs? Or do you find in puppy classes there are some pups you just kind of steer yours away from? (And hope your puppy isn't that one pup for other owners? ;) )

We don't know many people with dogs, but I'm hoping to avoid "play dates" with one dog in particular. He's a nice dog but exhibits some key "bad" behaviors I specifically plan to either try to avoid (train puppy that the RIGHT thing to do is the exact opposite) or would be curbing fast if she picked them up. I don't plan to even let them meet until she's older and I've laid a good foundation with training.

Or am I thinking about this but it's actually nothing?

Wild Wolf 12-15-2013 01:58 PM

Honestly, the base temperament is the base temperament. My male was exposed to reactive dogs and aggressive dogs growing up, and was not affected whatsoever.

I personally think avoiding badly behaved dogs is a good idea, and I think in terms of "learning bad behaviours" from other dogs can occur in terms of puppies learning how to play with other dogs, social skills, and some manners in the home can be learned from other dogs. Exposing your dog to a "bad dog" occasionally shouldn't affect them. But yes, generally speaking, they can "learn" bad behaviours or ill manners from other dogs... I think it depends entirely on the behaviour along with the dog's base genetic temperament.

Jax08 12-15-2013 01:58 PM

They Absolutely Do! Keep your puppy around stable dogs that can teach him body language. Do Not have him around reactive dogs or high anxiety dogs.

Zeeva 12-15-2013 01:59 PM

I'll take a stab at it although I'm honestly not that experienced...

Yes, I do think other dogs can be a bad influence. For example, when I take both my dogs out at the same time for a walk, and they see another dog, if one of my dogs bark the other will start to bark as well. I guess it's known as 'pack mentality'. They sort of feed off of each others energy and become more bold as a team. When I take them out individually I am more able to control their behavior...

Helps a bit...?

Merciel 12-15-2013 02:45 PM

I do think dogs are capable of a lot more imitative learning than we sometimes give them credit for.

My last foster dog started teaching herself to go up the stairs backwards after watching Crookytail do it (and get cookies for it). By the third or fourth time she saw him doing it, she was orienting herself on the stairs in the start position. By the sixth or seventh exposure she was capable of imitating half-steps backwards and was occasionally doing complete steps, although I don't think she had the hind-end coordination or core muscle strength to finish the behavior (her previous owner gave the dogs no exercise at all, so this foster dog came to me with basically zero strength or stamina and she just wasn't capable of hoisting her back legs up consistently).

Anyway, if a dog can learn that level of strange and artificial behavior via imitation, I am dead certain they can learn things like barking at squirrels through windows or jumping on their owners for attention, so yes, I'm sure there are dogs who can be "bad influences" on others.

On the flipside, though, maybe your dog can be a good influence on someone else's. ;)

edit: here's a video of the foster dog teaching herself the stairs thing. Without having seen the full context of her behavior developing over time, I don't know if it's as remarkable as it appears/-ed to me, but hopefully it's enough to see what I'm talking about. The main thing is that I never tried to teach her any of this; it is purely self-directed learning that I then gave her cookies for because it made me laugh.

Harry and Lola 12-15-2013 03:52 PM

I think you are on the right track. I like my dogs around stable dogs as opposed to fearful or highly anxious dogs - I too tend to avoid them. Dogs in general don't like instability and will either avoid them or worse pick on them/attack them. Look at dogs in the wild, if there is a weak or unstable dog - it is eliminated from the pack.

Also I think if your dog has a little bit of fear or anxiety, whether born from a bad experience or medical issue, then being around highly fearful/anxious dogs may bring it out even more in your dog. Much better to socialise with stable dogs - they are the best.

On another note, if you have an anxious/fearful dog, the best thing for them is to be around stable dogs.

WateryTart 12-15-2013 10:03 PM


Originally Posted by Jax08 (Post 4674826)
They Absolutely Do! Keep your puppy around stable dogs that can teach him body language. Do Not have him around reactive dogs or high anxiety dogs.

I don't know that this dog is reactive? But he urinates when he's too excited. And he has never been trained to greet people quietly as opposed to jumping all over them. In fact, this dog is the reason I had a hard time selling a GSD to my husband; he was worried that larger dogs were generally too excitable for him.

The other issue is that I'm not sure what the owners are doing for training. The last time I saw him and he jumped up, I brought my knee up to meet his chest. He backed right off and waited for me to greet him. The owner said, "Oh...that's a good idea!" *facepalm*

onyx'girl 12-15-2013 10:09 PM

I have two females that aren't the greatest in temperament(reactive and dog aggressive). I brought home a male puppy and their behaviors did not rub off on him at all. He's very neutral to other dogs, and doesn't show any nervy quirks like they have.
I think it depends on the dog, how the dog is raised and the genetics are the major factor.

I'm not a fan of kneeing a dog for jumping, especially when done by a guest in my home(not that my dogs jump on guests)
It could do major damage and there are other ways to train out/manage jumping up.

WateryTart 12-15-2013 10:19 PM


Originally Posted by onyx'girl (Post 4677394)
I'm not a fan of kneeing a dog for jumping, especially when done by a guest in my home(not that my dogs jump on guests)
It could do major damage and there are other ways to train out/manage jumping up.

I didn't know it could do damage. It was something I was taught when I was a child. I don't stick my knee out to jab him, just bring it upward so he hits my knee instead of knocking into my midsection. I also feel that if they aren't going to teach him what TO do, I am within my rights to discourage him.

Physically I am not big, so I would rather not have a large dog jumping on me. I wouldn't ever do this to a puppy. This dog is full grown so I don't feel bad about it.

Magwart 12-15-2013 10:27 PM

Instead of kneeing, how about training a different desirable behavior? In other words, replace the bad behavior with a good one (e.g., sit to greet you and get pet). Show up at the door with a few treats in your pocket, and when the dog runs toward you, ask it to sit, then give it a treat.

The kneeing technique is very old school. You can do much better by engaging the dog with a replacement behavior that gets the dog what it wants (your attention) without risk of hurting it, or yourself. Another short term fix that works wonders is to simply turn, let the dog hit your side, then side step and claim the ground its back feet are standing on. It will jump off and scamper away and come at you from another angle to jump again, and again you just calmly, quietly take a small step and claim the ground. It's all just little steps without any noise, very calmly simply occupying each space from which the dog jumps. Each time the dog has to give up the ground to you, which isn't fun. Most dogs give up this game very quickly, as it's not rewarding -- esp. if you offer them a better game that is (e.g., sit for a treat).

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