My eleven month old loves a good romp on the field with others, however something happened on the walk today which left me extremely upset and distressed to the point I'm exhausted purely from crying.
It started off well, he loves me throwing his red ball with those long tennis ball chucker things...? Get's a kick out of it, and I noticed that because he is distracted with the ball he has learnt better manners with other dogs. He doesn't instantly barge up to them frightening them half to death with his bossy hello's any more, he's much rather trot up, sniff and then go back to his ball. I've noticed his true temperament come through with other dogs and I couldn't be more than happy (till today). He'll allow others to take his ball without growling including a much younger female puppy. When he want's it back he'll simply walk up and nudge their muzzle to drop. However he does think he is invincible and other dogs haven't taken it to well and harmlessly argued over the ball with him if they want it and he rushes up. It's simply just loud, no contact with skin.
Any way, I meet up unexpectedly with a friend and he had his dogs that my boy knows very well. Like every time they meet, the male husky and my boy have a little boxing match and then simply walk together. I've noticed that this husky is more dominant than my dog, correct me if I'm wrong but asserting himself ritually on each greeting? Both very vocal boys, tails are up, my boy eventually walks away and continues to play with his ball. My friend also has a female collie who is sometimes a bit nervous but her and Bear share the ball together. It was perfect till my friend went home.
These two people(one I know well) were walking their collies. Now, this collie is very submissive to everything, and I mean to everything including puppies. Bear used to have a tendency to bully upon first greeting by pushing and shoving and lots of moaning and groaning. It sounds horrific especially seeing such a tender little collie under the massive body of a 70+ pound GSD. Bear will however, leave him alone if there is a lot of play going on around him such as throwing the ball (have to have more than one though). So basically if he is distracted. There has been no tooth to skin contact whatsoever, it's all talk.
Now, the other collie is the litter mate of the one he already knew, very much the same - very nervous, very scared. Bear has not seen this dog before and so he runs up to him completely catching me off guard. It's exactly the same ritual he does with the other collie, trampling, moaning, groaning. The man looked horrified and his dog screamed a couple of times in fright if Bear caught up to him. The woman that knows Bear screamed his name, as did I but she looked at me on good terms, she'd seen this domineering behaviour before and knew that he wouldn't use aggression. Now here comes the part that upset me most.
As I caught Bear, I put the leader on him but was pulling against his haltie to ensure he wouldn't break free as he was pulling towards the nervous duo of collies. I heard a growl from him and the woman came up to Bear and put her hand out and he nipped her! I was in shock! Not once has he done that! The woman shouted at him and all I could do with repetitively apologise, ask if he broke the skin and whether or not she was hurt. At the time she was wearing gloves and there was a little line of saliva on the web that connects her thumb to her finger, he hadn't broken the leather though... but that's not the point. She said it was fine and gave him a stroke afterwards, she even proceeded to cup her hands around his cheeks and cuddle into to him and go 'I'm not scared of you.'
I am mortified he nipped her! I feel so guilty and irresponsible. She ended on good terms with him but I'm also a bit just, argh, every bad emotion possible.
The only dogs he reacts to and bullies are the submissive, nervous male dogs. Dominant males + females, fine. Submissive females, fine. Hyperactive/yappy/jumping dogs of both sexes, fine. He is fine with all dogs but the male ones that are nervous and submissive. I'd also like to re mention that these collies submit to every dog they meet, including pups not much younger than them. Please recommend on how I deal with this, I'm extremely upset - please try to insult me quietly if there is something I need a good back hand about.
Bear is due to get neutered very soon, this week. It was recommended we leave him till a year old till we do by the breeder. I think it will help...