On walks,when we see another dog we go ballistic, barking,pulling,standing up,hackles up. When we get close to the dog (owner allowing) they sniff seeming to wait for a reaction from the other dog to gang up on it. I controll them as to not let them get out of hand. They don't seem to bite but rather poke and nip?I have been to trainers and a behaviorists. None seen to think it's aggression but rather over excitement. No suggestions have really worked. Do I just have dogs that can't be around other dogs?
It's hard to tell from a few sentence description -- but there is a difference between excitement and aggression. Yours SOUNDS like excitement from your brief description. Aggression oftentimes is more subtle at first...the dogs may freeze solid, and coldly stare at each other...lips pulled back, baring their teeth, and perhaps a low growling. This is quite different from the jumping, barking, excited activity of dogs who are simply curious about each other.
One thing I have read is, owners pulling on a leash trying to restrain dogs from contacting each other often exacerbates this situation. First of all, if you fight the dog, the dog fights against you, which can be misinterpreted by the other dog -- PARTICULARLY, I have read, if you are lifting the dog's front feet off the ground through your pulling on the leash. This posture -- though forced by your pulling, is apparently interpreted by another dog as a challenging/aggressive posture (if a dog did this in the absence of a leash, it is apparently a display of dominance). So, you can mistakenly make it APPEAR that your dog is displaying a dominant posture toward the other dog -- when in fact, it is simply due to your pulling on the leash trying to restrain him.
If the dogs are sniffing each other, this is EXACTLY what they are supposed to do. That suggests interest and curiousity -- and it is how dogs introduce themselves to each other. The sniff and "read" each other.
I would suggest, if possible, to allow the dogs to do as much of their "natural" thing as you can. I understand that our exuberant labs can often be "too much" for other dogs, especially smaller/less active/more timid ones, but in my limited experience, and from what I've read, it is much better to let the dogs work that out for themselves, ESPECIALLY if neither dog is known to be aggressive toward other dogs. Often, our pulling and out-of-control attempts to "control" the situation is what actually causes the problem.
To steveandginger, this does seem to be what happens. They give that hard stare and strain to get to the other dog. There is some low growling by my Kae-c but I don't see any teeth baring. I am just afraid that any reaction from another dog would cause them to attack because it does seem that they hover over the dog just waiting for that . I would like to see just what they would do but the sight and sound of these 2 just sounds like they want to kill the dog and it probably scares the bejesus out of people.Some other notes I find strange: I have taken these 2 to LARGE scale DOG EVENTS. While looking for parking my Mae-c is going bonkers in the back of the suv seeing the other dogs.When we actually get to walking around among all the hundreds of dogs they totally ignored them all except for the obligatory but sniffing and quick sniff as the other dogs passed by. I was sooooo weird. Compleat angles to my surprise! Can I supply any more info? I probably have more if I think about it
the hard stare and the nose punching is worrisome to me.
What I would do is start walking them seperately, getting their obedience up to snuff (you want a loose leash and focussed attention - 'watch me' on you 100% of the time when another dog is near... I'd also use a 'sit-stay' as other dogs pass by, at a distance at first). When both dogs are perfect at that individually, then start working them together.
There are 2 of us walking them usually one ahead of the other. I have tried this technique of "watch me". I works 50,50 and only with Kae-C. Once Mae-C is off it's hard to get her back unless drag her away. I've done the halti thing. She spun like a swivel fishing hook but thats when I was using a flex lead. I think I will go back to the halti now that I use a regular leash.The behaviorist suggested and fit Mae-c with it before. She felt Mae-c showed no aggression.But Mae-c was on her best behavior. She actually sat down beside her dog and turned her head away to show submission She is like Jeckle and Hide. And any ideas why they are so good when they are among many dogs?
It is aggression. Yes, it is frightening to other dog owners and their dogs. Your dogs should never, EVER be allowed to approach another dog when they are behaving this way. Flexi leads are completely inappropriate for these dogs. Head collars and standard six foot leads for both of them.
As soon as you see another dog, turn and go the other way. Do not wait for your dogs to go ballistic. When you turn away and keep your dogs focused on you before they have a chance to act like numbskulls, you can reward them for their good behavior instead of fighting against their bad behavior when it's already too late anyway.
The hovering and poking as if they are waiting for an excuse to attack is just that. They are acting like bullies, and you should not be placing them and other dogs in this situation.
The reason that your dogs behave differently around large amounts of other dogs is that they know they are outnumbered. They cannot act like bullies and get away with it when they are surrounded by other dogs.
Makes total sense! In your opinion is this something that can be worked through because not walking them is out of the question and I don't want to totally isolate them from everything. They are fine as long as other dog don't get too close. At a distance, 10,20 feet, we can pass without too much of a problem. If the other dogs are under control their fine to. It's like they can sense that their owners don't have controll and it freaks them out. My Mae-c seems nervous almost scared when other dogs get too close and are yipping. I know owners should not let their dogs act this way but thats the way it goes.I do try to avoid other dog that. Did I say that they were mugged buy a pit bull. Seems to have made them worse.
I would be more concerned with Mae-c because fear aggression can be worse because the dog thinks its fighting for its life. Make them sit down until the other dog passes and you take deep cleansing breaths so the anxiety doesn't flow down the leash.