doesnt like smooshed nose dogs, can he ever get over this

Posted by Paula-D
Oct 11, 2011
Hi, its been a bit since I've been on. My 2 yr old lab has been so good and all your tips and the training he went through has helped so much. I have a very odd problem though. He does not like smooshed nose dogs. (Boxers, bulldogs, boston terriers) the worst is the boxers. He got bit when he was one yr old by an american bulldog at my condo who had also previously bullied him and I don't know if this is the cause. He started a few months after barking aggressively every time he saw a boxer and then one time a boxer went to take a stick from his mouth and he aggressively barked and the boxer reacted and they had a loud scary fight but thankfully neither bit. I then took him to a trainer who is awesome and she said she could socialize him with these type of dogs and try to desensitize him. Its helped alot but he still cannot get past when they come near his face he barks aggressively towards them to back them off. The trainer says that is ok. When he is off leash if I see a boxer I can call him over and he will not go to the dog so I can manage it. My question is, is there any way he can ever get over this? Should I ask the trainer if we can try more sessions focusing on this issue or do you think I should just accept it and be happy that I can manage it and just try to avoid him being near these dogs? He has never tried to bite but it is sometimes scary to other people when he does this and its embarrassing for me. He is just completely uncomfortable with these dogs. He is completely fine with all other dogs and loves to play and run with them. He now goes to daycare where he was trained and they still try to work with him. Its definitely helped but its still a problem for me. What are your thoughts?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Oct 11, 2011
Hi Paula D,

I am glad to hear that your lab is doing great.

As for the question about his aggression to the short nose dogs, I totally understand it since Noah, one of my dogs, has a similar problem. He hates Huskies and Boxers. I think he doesn't like the way they trot and it intimidates him. Our neighbors have 2 boxers and they literally play boxing on the fence and keep knocking out a plank or two periodically.

Those short nosed dogs also snort and some dogs don't like the sound and the breath. I believe there is such thing as chemistry among dogs as well as breed like and dislike. My dogs are herding breed and they usually do well with herding breed since they have similar mentality. I am personally fine with that.

It is totally your choice whether you want to further disensitize your dog with those breeds or just accept him as he is

I think sometimes it is stressful for dogs to be all mighty. I take Noah's weak point as a part of his personality
Posted by KOPCaroline
Oct 14, 2011
Hey Paula D,

I think too, that its totally up to you if you try more training or just leave it.

One the one hand, if he's no longer actively aggressive, and will respond to you around these short-nosed dogs, then it shouldn't be too much of a worry. You can function daily with him, and do really well. The only thing thats bothersome is his "sounding" aggressive if they get too close - but then again, its totally ok for dogs to give off signals of "please leave me alone" when they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

If you want to try training a bit more, you could ask your previous trainer to get those dogs back and specifically work on them approaching your dog. You can work on it while he has things in his mouth, or while he's just standing. It sounds like your trainer went really well last time, so I'm sure she could sort out a good way to train with this. It may be a good idea for your dog to wear a muzzle to begin with - just as a safety precaution

I'm sure it will go well, whichever way you decide to settle, good luck! And congrats on all the previous accomplishments, sounds like youre doing a good job!
Posted by Paula-D
Oct 18, 2011
Thanks! Louie goes once a week now to daycare where he was trained and they still work on his issues a little bit and keep him with the dogs. I will wait it out and maybe talk to the trainer and see what she thinks. I go back and forth. He had a great weekend. I take him to an offleash park that is all open with like 6 miles of trails and this past weekend he walked the the whole time with a big stick in his mouth and we saw over 10 boxers and he never barked once. 2 got really close and one actually chased him with another lab with the stick. I was nervous but he never even barked once. So times like this boost my confidence a little but sometimes there will be another time he will react. Sometimes when they get close I talk to him in a happy voice and say over here, come on and it seems to distract him and he will just walk with me. Seems to be getting better so I guess I just have to keep working at trying to keep desensitizing. I just get nervous and hope another dog does not react when he does have a bad moment. I will talk with his trainer.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Oct 19, 2011
Hey Paula,

Thats great that he will respond to your happy voice - definitely encourage that reaction on walks!

Another tip - try to control your own nervousness. Your dog can definitely read your emotions and will feed off them - so if he senses you're nervous he'll be more likely to respond in a defensive way to approaching dogs.

If you can identify any other triggers on your walks - maybe a sound, or the way the other dogs approach yours - leaping around, barking, etc - it could help to better judge situations where your dog might behave aggressively.

Hope your trainer can help a bit, and I hope you can work to get those good days up in numbers! Let us know if we can help more