Immediately off-putting

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#1
I'd been told this before by Bouvier owners, and am experiencing it first hand.

My Bouv is 16 months, intact, awesome boy. He can be a bit pushy / rude when soliciting play, especially with dogs he is bigger than. But nothing over the top.

HOWEVER, several times when he is completely focused on me, not even paying attention to other dogs, fully mature adult dogs have had "a go" at him. Or would have, had they been unleashed.

Then today I was walking him in some wooded trails, and he was dragging a lead. The brush was quite thick, and we came around a corner to meet another walker and her German Shepherd head on, on the trail. Louis was about 6 feet ahead of me, and I could sort of see him stop, and stand there looking.

What I noticed was that he stopped briefly, had ears forward and looked interested, but wasn't stiff or overly still. Then I heard the other owner yelling at her dog "NO!" NO!". By this time I had also rounded the corner, and saw her dog approaching with hackles up, very stiff. The dogs ended up doing a butt sniff, and we kept walking, but I was like " WHY do so many dogs seem to hate Louis on sight?"

Think it's being intact? He's a confident boy, no question, but there have been too many instances where he's not paying the least attention to another dog and they start barking and lunging.

I'm curious about others thoughts. My own perception is that it's a combination of:
a) big black shaggy dog
b) no tail to help communicate
c) hairy face and it's hard to see his eyes
d) intact adolescent male
 

Maxy24

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#2
If it's happening from a distance my guess would be his size and coat (big and shaggy) and how he holds himself. Being intact could certainly make other males have an issue with him but I'd think they'd need to get a sniff in before they figure out he's intact.
 
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#3
I was at a tracking seminar with him a month ago, and a lady with her chocolate lab "service dog in training" was sitting next to us. Within a couple seconds of us sitting down, her dog went bananas on Louis. Now, I didn't notice if Louis had stared at him, or what, as I briefly looked down at my lap when it broke out.

I got up and walked 15 feet away with Louis, and he was completely happy and focused on me. The lab kept snarling and jumping and lunging. I have a lot to say about a Service Dog that acts this way (the woman claimed he was finished and ready to go to his person), but I was really, really surprised by the incident.

It's possible that Louis gave some subtle sign that set the other dog off, like a direct stare or something, but if it happened I certainly missed it. I do know the lab was a 2 year old neutered male.
 
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#4
I don't know the answer to this, obviously, but I sort of assume dogs can smell whether other dogs are intact from a bit of a distance.
 

Torch

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#5
I know you said he has shaggy fur and his eyes are not super visible, but I'd be willing to bet that even when he looks relaxed to you, he is giving a hard eye to other dogs.

My intact, 2 year old male Amstaff is quite DA. I have managed a lot of his aggressive body language but cannot get him to give me eye contact once he is approaching his threshold. He is notorious for giving a hard eye, riling another dog up, and then trying to go bonkers himself. It's a very self rewarding cycle that is hard to break.

Even if Louis doesn't go bonkers after he gets another dog riled up, he still could be deriving some satisfaction from making the other dog 'jump first' or winning a staring contest, especially if you remove him or make him focus on you once the other dog gets going. The hard eye may be the only reactive behavior he is practicing and he may enjoy it.
 
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#6
i'd say it's the norm for other dogs to react when out and about. pretty much everywhere we've been that's been the case. Whether I'm out with males, females, intact, spayed, city, rural there's been a constant. Most dogs are lunging, pulling, barking. the exception is when we are actually around other people that train their dogs regularly.
 

milos_mommy

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#8
If guess it was his look or mannerisms before him being intact. Even pretty well socialized dogs probably don't encounter too many bouvs before yours. I've never really noticed much of a predisposition to react to intact males (except maybe from other intact males but even then I don't see a ton of issues) but often when working with a very distinct looking dog (giant, awkwardly moving, or very often brachy breeds especially excited/snorting ones) I notice other dogs react much worse than they do to more common, typical looking breeds. I think sometimes dogs that are used to seeing very standard looking dogs see a Newfie or a pug or a Bassett and it takes a bit to even realize it's a dog.

Also, with the GSD, it sounds like the owner was anticipating her reaction, so she probably reacts to every dog like that.
 
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#9
Ya, based on the GSD owners immediate reaction, I'm guessing it reacts like that to every dog.

I think it must be his general looks and bearing that set dogs off. There are virtually no Bouviers around here, and really nothing that looks much like him.
 

Kat09Tails

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#10
I think you are probably on to something with his fall blocking other dogs reading him but it also could be him not reading other dogs very well simply because he can't see them well.

Back when I groomed I ran into this once with a soft coated wheaton who I had to shave his face in front of his eyes once I sent him out looking great and the owner came back and told me that he was an entirely different dog behavior wise both with other dogs and people. We kept giving is vision a clear path and eventually even trimmed up his brows.
 

MericoX

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#11
I think it doesn't help that terriers in general have a much stiffer appearance and most dogs that aren't used to that become a bit wary.
 

Sparrow

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#12
I've heard this happens more often with black dogs because it is harder for other dogs to read their faces. Could be a combination of things, but not having others of his breed around, so he becomes a strange new element to local dogs, can't help.
 
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#13
Maisy is like this. She elicits a lot of snark and almost uniformly the dog "has never done that before!" It's so consistent and the same thing does NOT happen with my other dogs with any kind of regularity, that I actually believe them generally speaking.

At a class once the instructor and I tried to figure out why. She wasn't doing anything obvious or overt, we decided she was probably was just giving a stare/stink eye that wasn't obvious to us. The instructor called it "ninja snark" heheh. She's fairly dog-dog socially inept so I'm sure it's her, not them.
 
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#14
I will say it is the hair and the unfamiliar shape of your dog.

We have a PWD in full European hair coat currently. (Long waves cascading down the dog vs a trimmed up wave to look like a curly with the lion cut) But my dogs are used to seeing different breeds in hair. But I find in public other dogs look at her oddly and seem to not really know what she is. And she is VERY submissive. So she confuses them.

As far as the eyes, with the hard glare, many people say that they can see thru the hair. But a Bouvier is trimmed differently than a wave waterdog. But ours has hair covering her eyes and she CANNOT see a dern thing. It drives me insane. That dog has ran into door frames, fences etc. We try to put it up and she promptly takes it down. She will not leave it up. Thankfully it is long enough now to part down her muzzle so she gets some vision. It still drives me crazy. I am always pushing her hair out of her eyes.

2 times we have shaved her down. Even with my own pack of dogs, when we put her on the table and shave her, then put her back down amongst her friends they all act like she is a new dog and even the Ibizan tries to hump her. So either they find her super attractive shaved down, or they think she is a new dog and we get brief pandemonium. She is so thrilled to be shaved that she zooms everywhere.
 
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#15
Another big black hairy dog

My sister's PWD was attacked by a dog who had to run the length of a beach to reach him. He has been jumped in class. Her vet pondered maybe it is the dark face and obscured eyes. Now they keep his eyes more clear but it is still a a big, black, furry face and more difficult to see his expression than, say, a Flatcoat. He is also a bit insecure (understandable -attack happened during a fear period) but relentless and doesn't read/respect the more subtle dog body language.
 
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#16
We had another similar encounter this morning while out for a walk.

I noticed a woman walking with two lab-type dogs about 100 yards up, so I got Louis into a heel, and was working him actively. Lots of commands, treating eye contact, etc. He was fully engaged with me. As we got closer to the dogs ahead, the owner calls out "Is your dog friendly?"

I looked at her dogs, and the black lab was going nutso. Snarling, lunging, full teeth showing, looked like Cujo.

I sort of paused, and replied "Well ..... yes." and she said "That didn't sound very sure!"

I said to her "I guess it depends on how friendly the other dog is!"

As she is struggling to control her out of control snarling lunging dog, she actually says "He's usually pretty good if I drop the leash."

HA! um, no thanks.
 

milos_mommy

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#17
As she is struggling to control her out of control snarling lunging dog, she actually says "He's usually pretty good if I drop the leash."

HA! um, no thanks.
This is really quite common, and she was probably telling the truth, I'd be willing to bet a lot if she dropped the leash or unleashed him he would probably switch from aggressive/defensive to comfortable and playful...still not a chance I'd want to take with my own dog, though!!

Honestly almost all these scenarios, except *maybe* the "service dog" sound like they have nothing to do with Louis. My guess is this lab probably goes nutso on leash every time he sees any other dog, but plays fine when not restrained. It's not like the woman was like "wow he never acts like this" or "he's usually friendly but I've never seen him growl so much at another dog"...she sounded like she totally expected the behavior from the lab.

A ton, if not most, average family pets are under socialized, poorly trained, and some level of reactivity towards other dogs, especially on leash, is the norm. Not that I don't think a dog's uncommon looks (large, shaggy black terrier) can startle other, typically unphased dogs, but mostly I think you're just seeing how most dogs behave towards one another on leash.
 
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#18
Oh I know, many dogs are leash reactive but quite normal when not restrained. But like you, no way am I taking a chance with my dog that her dog would just decide to settle down and act normally.

It was almost like she was asking my permission to drop the leash. When her dog was in that state? Hell no.
 
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#19
I suppose I am used to being out with my shih tzu, who generally doesn't elicit any reaction from other dogs. Of course, she's a seasoned veteran who no longer cares about other dogs, and will judiciously hand out a correction if some youngin' gets uppity. LOL!
 

pinkspore

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#20
I have a theory that shih tzus are the opposite of immediately off-putting. They seem to be unusually easy for dog-reactive dogs to get over, like they're thinking "OH MY GOD THERE'S A DOG over...there...actually it's kinda not doing anything so I guess it's cool."
 

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