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I am woefully new to multiple dog interactions & dog body language. Pepper is 6mo old and going thru some (so far) fairly mild fear period stuff. She occasionally does this slinky jungle cat thing when approaching other dogs on walks, which is weird as heck! She's also MUCH more alert, but beyond that is doing great.

Anyhoo we had a "bad experience" yesterday. On our leashed walk, a stray (with collar.. an 10+ year old German Shorthair) approached Pepper. We tried to walk away but the dog kept following and sniffing. I did my best to distract Pepper, but in a 1 dog household she is SO over eager to play with dogs she just doesn't get the "don't want to play" signal, and is over-persistent. I'm starting to regret those puppy playtime/kinder classes....ANYWAY. So my husband pulled the other dog away by the collar and called it's owner since it wouldn't shoo, but we were in the middle of a park, and initial sniffing went fine, and the GSH was very relaxed. So then Pepper tries to play and starts lunging towards him with paws up and such and he jumped at her, snarled, pinned her and "bit at her"--- I pulled him off by his back legs and separated them (she was whimpering) and there was NO actual bite or even slobber on her at all. She was 100% unharmed. We ended up successfully shooing (actually chasing) the other dog off and just running the other direction. :mad: I was so upset with myself for trying to help this other dog at the expense of my dog, but he was following us and in her business anyway, so --- what's done is done.


Anyway this happened one other time with my sister's adult mutt, who has played gently with Pepper since she was a puppy. But now's she huge, so about a month ago Pepper WOULD NOT STOP trying to jump and play, and my sister's dog did the same thing, growl/pin/snap/ with no injury but a lot of crying.

Both times it did not seem to affect her after, beyond the initial crying. Within seconds she was back to tail wagging and enjoying her walk. But we also have these weird approach/slinky things going on ...


So I'm in this pickle where I have heard people mention dogs and puppies being "put in their place" by older dogs, but I don't know where that begins and ends for her safety and also behavior. We are struggling with the lunging at other dogs to play once she's done with the slinky weirdness. We are in group obedience classes once per week.

On one hand I feel like her relentless NOT GETTING A CLUE trying-to-play is unacceptable, and if I were an adult dog I'd be telling her buzz off too. But on the other hand, the interactions I watched scared the holy crap out of me and seemed like "too much."

What is the difference between a dog putting another dog in their place vs going too far? We are trying to ignore all other dogs on walks, but that doesn't always work (as evidenced by the stray) and in Montana there are CONSTANTLY off-leash dogs in leash required areas.

Anyone that has any insight to add, I would very much appreciate it!
 

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The slinky thing I may have some insight for you.My husky mix female does that too,and it's meaning as far as I can tell is "Hi,I want to greet you in a nonthreatening manner.Maybe we can play together?"
If she had bad intentions her body would be rigid and she would stare at the other dog in a confrontational manner.
As for Pepper and your sister's dog if there's no bullying going on maybe the corrections will be helpful for her to learn to read other's signals.You may have to leash Pepper sometimes if she's being too rambunctious.
Other unleashed dogs, I don't know!
 
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i have never seen the "slinky" thing. when any dog i have ever owned wants to play, they usually "bow" with their front part of the body. almost souds like a hunting/stalking like a cat or shy behavior.
 

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The slinky thing can be her being excessively submissive, which will bother some other dogs, or stalking, which will bother some dogs. When loose dogs charge up to my dog, I don't let them make contact. I focus on my dogs obedience, and me being able to chase other dogs away. The huge majority of the time, my dog sitting and me yelling at the other dog has ended the problem. I don't try to keep walking because that usually leads to the other dog coming along from behind like what you had happen peppsmom. and the tension of it usually just escalates then.
 

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I would suggest you talk to your trainer about the "slinky" behavior. My female does this only on leash and only with some dogs. In our case it is "stalking". The first few times she did this it surprised me. When she stalks she is staring down the other dog. When the other leashed dog passed she growled, snarled/barked and lunged. This is NOT acceptable behavior.
When we are leash walking and I see my girl "stalking" (slinking) I redirect her attention. We might turn and walk in the same direction as the oncoming dog as to let them pass from behind. As they pass we turn back to our original direction. Or I might begin command drills like sit-down-sit to have her focus on me and not the other dog.

IMO If Pepper is beginning to show this behavior I would stop it now with the help of your trainer. If not addressed it could lead to full on leash reactivity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for your advice! This far, if I had to describe her general demeanor, I would describe her as submissive. It LOOKS like cat stalking when she does it though. It is definitely only some dogs, doesn't seem to matter the size or gender. And she doesn't do it in her group obedience classes at all.

She is terribly difficult to redirect when she's like that, even with steak bites! We may have to change directions.

I will definitely talk to the trainer about it.. I certainly don't want it to turn into something worse.
 

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Thank you all for your advice! This far, if I had to describe her general demeanor, I would describe her as submissive. It LOOKS like cat stalking when she does it though. It is definitely only some dogs, doesn't seem to matter the size or gender. And she doesn't do it in her group obedience classes at all.

She is terribly difficult to redirect when she's like that, even with steak bites! We may have to change directions.

I will definitely talk to the trainer about it.. I certainly don't want it to turn into something worse.
Check out Tom Davis , America's Canine Educator videos. I have learned so much from him. My GS for example now is most of the time calmer and has stopped growling and lunging at other dogs on walks 85% of the time. Redirecting by turning away and walking another direction or continuing to walk forward while giving the command." Leave it".... has worked wonders for my 2 1/2 rescue. I have had her 2 months. I also has stopped her pyll7ng and swerving on the leash by using a prong collar and keeping a second " backup" slip leash on her as well to prevent any mishaps. She is 70 lbs. And I am 64 but fit. Our walks are calmer and much more successful. I want my girl to feel good about herself. I highly recommend this trainer, He loves dogs so much and is passionate in his training of dog owners to improve their skills with their dogs. ! His slogan is No Bad Dogs.
 

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I know this is an old post but the slinking is a herding thing, just watch Border Collies herding shep.
Thanks for posting this - I relate to this topic & am enjoying the posts.
Maggie Mae (my young rescue GSD, I've had her a year) does the slinky thing toward almost all approaching dogs on walks. One time she even did a full lie-down before the dog reached us.
It does look like a border collie, but to strangers I guess it can look like more like a cougar. I don't believe she has ever shown aggression to another dog (the possible exception being several times when one of the dogs growled & I couldn't tell if it was her or the other dog).
She is interested to sniff the dog & sometimes acts playful, but mostly isn't interested for very long. 80% of dog owners who aren't nervous nellies, say she looks friendly (it's harder for me to assess from the back).

We're making consistent progress. I started by saying "leave it" which she understands, but if there's too long of a time approaching the other dog, she will re-direct attention to the approaching dog.
I can change direction & have her sit to successfully hold her attention ~95% of the time. I want to get to 100%, and no more lunges ever again. My joints can't take it.
Just 2 days ago, I bought a squeaky toy which fits in my pocket, with the aim of 100% success. So far, it's worked & she even anticipates sometimes when approaching another dog. Such a good girl.
 

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I can't discuss how to handle dog interactions on leashes (in public) with total confidence, but I think at times that can make things more difficult and to answer, I would be more protective of my dog, not knowing the other dog involved.

At my house, from my experience, when introducing dogs, I leave them on leash for a moment or two to get a "feel." Then, if I'm confident that we're all good, I just let them do their thing - off leash. It may get a little nuts at time, but in the end the dogs figure it out. Now, to the naysayers, when I say nuts, I mean running around,mouthing,l ight barking/growling, running in circles, getting on all fours, etc.
Now if things get nuts - I think you can tell when when it's true aggression and not some issue of one dog trying to set his dominance - I'll get in in there and break it up before any issues arise.
I would say, in my estimation out of 20-30 dog "introductions," I had to break up one or two. I think you can usually tell, by much of the verbal/non-verbal, how it's going to go with some certainty.

I'm no expert, just a guy who has had GS, along with other breeds, his whole life and all of them have been well trained and obedient. My two cents.
 
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