bad attitude in the new neighbourhood

Posted by Pippaemma
Oct 14, 2008
I have recently moved to a city centre that has a very high population of dogs. The area is very dog friendly and i want to be able to take my dog, Rozie out and about with me. The problem is that when another dog walks pasts us when she is on her lead walking she eight times out of ten times starts to growl at them. This problem increases when we are sat somewhere and another dog walks past or woe betide approaches us. Then she almost always leaps up and even snarls at them. The other day whilst out walking she somehow slipped her harness and then chased and attacked another dog. NOT the kind of impression you wish to make in a new neighbourhood.
I am booking her in to get spayed as soon as possible as i have heard that this may help but please does anyone have any suggestions as to how i address the issue now. Apart from this, Rozie is a welll behaved dog with no aggression towards me or other humans. She even has a couple of dog friends but they are owned by friends so not strangers to her.
Posted by Annie
Oct 16, 2008
HI there,
I´m not sure how long you have been in this new environment, but it may take your dog a little while to relax with so many changes. I also wonder if she is getting as much exercise as she was before. I understand that she is making dog walking abit unhappy, but it´s really important that she can burn off some energy. How is she at a dog park? or is it possible to drive out to a lake or river nearby?
It may also be that you are treating her slightly different in this new house, and she is feeling the need to 'protect' you. Are you also feeling unsure in your new life? Have a look at how she is around the house, and maybe you need to get a bit tougher with some Alpha techniques.

I understand that when a dog approaches now you are probably feeling nervous. Try really hard to focus on something postitive. Don´t change your grip on the line, keep breathing, lift your head high, don´t keep glancing over at your dog. Try to give her the feeling that meeting other dogs is so Ho-Hum and normal. Think of something silly like imagine a penguine marching down the street eating an icecream it sounds silly, but dogs are very very aware of our energy. Keep a sly eye on your dog, and watch for signs.

You could also work again on getting her to sit and stay whilst at home. When she is really strong with this you should have more control over her when outside. I´m guessing that these other dogs are on leash? You need to ask your dog to sit and wait, and give treats if she can do this. As the other dog approaches, she should be rewarded when she can stay calm in her position. If she has a little fit, try to hold her firmly, but not to encourage this behaviour. Don´t continually reprimand her as this may turn into an exciting circus. If you speak to the other owner, have a sweet line ready. Don´t appologise for your dog ( we are all frustrated at times) but say something fun. Your dog can also sense when you laugh and relax. Don´t let the dogs play, sniff or spin on their leashes. You are trying, at first, to have your dog relax with new dogs around, and she must not make best friends with every dog.

Don´t forget to compliment your dog when she relaxes, but when she is having a little fit, don´t drag her away either. Stay there a little longer to show her that her behaviour doesn´t work, talk to the other owner, have a laugh about crazy dogs, and try to ignore the bossy princess at your feet.

There may be situations where you need to reprimand her. I use a growl/shout. I give the line a jerk, make my body large over the dog, and strongly ask her to back down from her actions.Don´t use this too much, but make it really clear when she is relaxed only good things happen. You are trying to get past the point of this being a game and where she can relax and observe. Her behaviour will not last long once she realises that good behaviour is less stressful and more fun.

Get a harness that she can´t escape from....
carry treats with you, but only for good behaviour, not to get her attention away from barking and growling.
good luck,