Judgement from others how would you respond ? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Judgement from others how would you respond ?

I have a rescue GS mix w/ Ridgeback and Chow, 55 lbs. I have trained her not to bark and to sit and look at me when she sees other dogs and I give her a treat. But she still stares at them and the hair on her ridgeback rises and her tail wags hoping I'll let her sniff.

I am always sensitive to others walking and generally cross the street when passing other walkers.

This morning a woman I've never seen, walking a small dog says from across the street, "if your dog ever got away I would be scared for my dog. I can see the ridge on her back and it terrifies those of us who walk small dogs"

I pointed out that her tail was wagging indicating a friendly response and she replied "I know dogs and if yours ever got away from you, I would fear for my dog. I just want you to know that."

No response would have mollified this judgemental woman though I wanted to say you don't know MY dog. I generally say nothing and just keep my mouth shut and continue walking.

Perhaps I am being too sensitive but recently several people have been judgmental either with comments or stern looks and it's beginning to irritate me. Some don't even acknowledge their own dogs yapping as provocation!

Does this happen to others? And how do you respond ?
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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 12:41 PM
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I would respect what the woman was telling you. Even if you disagree with her. You don't have to change anything you are doing, necessarily. But she was simply telling you what her opinion was.


I will say that a wagging tail has nothing to do with a dog's intent. Some of the worst fights I have seen over my many years involved dogs that were wagging right before it happened. A low tail, wagging in a loose, easy manner is very different from a tail wagging in a tight, "snapping" fashion.

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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 12:44 PM
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yes, a wagging tail has absolutely nothing to do with being friendly. It's a sign of excitement. A dog with raised hackles and a wagging tail watching me/my dog would definitely be a cause for concern.
I would start training her to look at you vs watching the other dog. It will help break her focus and stop the excitement before it starts to build
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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 12:48 PM
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This is an emotional reaction some people have. It has little to do with the actual facts. That is when you talk to your dog although you are really indirectly talking to the other dog owner. "Just stay here by my side" etc.

Also, as Dianerra suggested, teach your dog to look at you away from the other dogs. Your dog might be quietly watching but it may get the dog across the street worked up. Sometimes it is better to keep moving and then turn around and glance back from a distance..the reward of walking with you past the little dog is rewarded by the glance back afterwards.
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 12:54 PM
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Many dogs wag their tails while fighting. Wagging tails aren't exclusive to a friendly dog. Wagging tails can be excitement or arousal or other things.

I am not sure when you say the woman spoke of the ridge on your dog's back whether you mean a ridge like in a Rhodesian Ridgeback or do you mean your dog's hair was raised?

Personally, I don't own a small breed dog. My dogs won't hurt it...deliberately, but stepping on one or tripping over one can have severe, negative consequences. The woman was rightfully concerned about her dog's health and welfare if your dog were to get loose.

I don't view the woman's comments as judgmental. I see them as being protective and concerned for her small breed dog in the face of potential danger. She doesn't need to know your dog. She just needs to know what a large breed dog is capable of doing to a small breed dog, intentional or not. She is entitled to assess the risk factor based on the negative experiences of others and little dogs do suffer much from the bad behavior of larger breed dogs. It is no accident that dog parks have separate areas for large breed dogs and small breed dogs. It was based on actual statistics of the dangers of small breed dogs running together with large breed dogs.

Perhaps the stern looks on the faces of people with little yapping, out of control dogs is all about their own dog's bad behavior and not the presence of your dog.
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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 01:01 PM
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Smile, say "thanks for letting me know, that's very interesting" and wave to her in a friendly way next time you see her.

If your dog has off-leash control, you could tell her that your dog is under verbal control on or off leash, so if your dog did "get away" she would still be voice controlled... or not. I'd just thank her for the communication- in as sincere a way as possible, and move on.

It's one of those battles you won't be able to win, and where fighting it will just stress you out.


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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 01:04 PM
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It's irritating for sure.I would either totally ignore them or give them a big smile and "No worries!Have a good one!"
depending on my mood at the time
The last time Samson and I were given the stink eye was at Tractor Supply waiting for rabies shots in line with a few small dog owners.The little guys were curious and were trying to move a little closer for a sniff,and the owners scooped them up or stood way back.One man said "Whoa Fluffy,that big dog will eat you!" I began a conversation with them about how Sammy was so good with small dogs that we would use him at my dog club to help desensitize the little ones who were leery of large dogs.As we talked they all relaxed more and Fluffy's owner let her get a little closer and sniff.Samson was great,he sat next to me and glanced at Fluffy then ignored her.
Since we were all stuck together I decided to try and make the best of it.So I guess it depends on the situation
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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 01:16 PM
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You don’t want my advice. I’ve dealt with too many people nosing into my business. I either straight out ignore them, or have a sarcastic comment coming out of my mouth before I even realize what I’m saying. I probably need much more training than any dog I’ve had to properly deal with intrusive humans. My dogs are much more well behaved than me.
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 01:33 PM
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Wagging tail...


I just tell people to have a nice day and move on, physically and mentally.
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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-06-2019, 01:40 PM
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Hello Carol.. I walk my little GSD puppy. He just turned 4 months, and I do get afraid when I see a bigger "bully" looking dog staring at my puppy. Matter of fact, I get more afraid when I see tail wagging because it could be sign of challenge. I usually don't say anything to people, but this one guy has a large pitbull looking dog. He has a very very big leash on him, and I told the owner to keep him away from my puppy because he looks dead serious at him with wagging tail.
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