The dog musing/vent thread

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Are these dogs actually biting your dog? Because an air snap isn't "overcorrecting" IMO, and if your dog is likely to escalate that into a fight then I think that's a bigger problem than dogs who perceive your dog as threatening (even if you don't feel your dog is threatening).


ETA: I mean, Maisy is a dog who escalates if another dog she doesn't know very well snarks at her, too. She just can't meet other dogs casually, ever. Ever. Knowing that about her, I consider it my fault if she gets in a dog's face, they snark, and she brings it.
 
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Are these dogs actually biting your dog? Because an air snap isn't "overcorrecting" IMO, and if your dog is likely to escalate that into a fight then I think that's a bigger problem than dogs who perceive your dog as threatening (even if you don't feel your dog is threatening).
Again, commentary on an attitude I observe that is not especially relevant to my experiences. None of the dogs of owners who I see being blase about dogs that actually nip (not air snap) to correct other dogs behaving in pretty minorly offensive, non-threatening ways have ever bitten my dog.

Where the example I have with my dog comes in is, before you start assuming your dog's physical correction will be effective and teach the other dog manners and regard it with any kind of approval or amusement, you should know the dog being corrected. It might very well just make things worse.

(At the same time, know that my dog has never actually been in a serious fight, in large part because it takes a lot to make him feel threatened and also because I don't allow him unrestricted access to other dogs. However he does not "accept" corrections appropriately and will just keep on being annoying. What I do know is that he's not the only dog on the planet that acts silly but has no "back off" button, and many of those dogs probably do not have owners as conscious of their social stupidity, so joking about how your dog is going to "teach manners" to unspecified other dog you barely know if it acts dumb in too close a proximity is seriously risky thinking if you want to protect your dog.)

Also, I'm not talking about rude on the level of jumping on another dog or getting right up in their face. More like, rude on the level of being loud and bouncy within about a 4 foot radius or more, rude dog on leash.
 
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Again, commentary on an attitude I observe that is not especially relevant to my experiences. None of the dogs of owners who I see being blase about dogs that actually nip (not air snap) to correct other dogs behaving in pretty minorly offensive, non-threatening ways have ever bitten my dog.
I'm not sure what the distinction is? To me a nip IS a bite. Are they making contact with your dog? I think it is relevant because your assertion is that these dogs are "overcorrecting" your dog for behavior that you consider nonthreatening (obviously the dogs don't consider it nonthreatening).

Where the example I have with my dog comes in is, before you start assuming your dog's physical correction will be effective and teach the other dog manners and regard it with any kind of approval or amusement, you should know the dog being corrected. It might very well just make things worse.
Yea, I added an edit above. My dog Maisy will escalate if a dog she doesn't know ever snarks at her. Knowing that about her, I consider it my responsibility to prevent her from ever casually meeting a dog she doesn't know, period. It's not another dog or owner's fault if she escalates, if I allow her to be in that position.
 
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I'm not sure what the distinction is? To me a nip IS a bite. Are they making contact with your dog? I think it is relevant because your assertion is that these dogs are "overcorrecting" your dog for behavior that you consider nonthreatening (obviously the dogs don't consider it nonthreatening).



Yea, I added an edit above. My dog Maisy will escalate if a dog she doesn't know ever snarks at her. Knowing that about her, I consider it my responsibility to prevent her from ever casually meeting a dog she doesn't know, period. It's not another dog or owner's fault if she escalates, if I allow her to be in that position.
Again, this has never happened to my dog. What I am referring to is:

Dog A is rude, annoying but not intentionally threatening.

Dog B almost immediately nips (or indeed bites, but I never tried to make that distinction, just used the word "nip") dog A, or makes a real attempt to. (Little growling or snapping for warning - and yes, I will consider this an overcorrection.)

Dog B's owner makes no attempt to curtail the interaction, and then or later, says things about how their dog just has manners and expects other dogs to have manners and haha good thing x didn't happen or my dog would have taught that dog manners haha you're so lucky.

Dog A's owner's behavior is somewhat irrelevant to the complaint. Maybe their dog was on a leash, maybe it wasn't. Maybe they were reasonably controlling it, or trying to, maybe they weren't. The complaint is not about either dog's behavior, or about whose behavior is worse, but about Dog owner B's attitude toward their dog's intolerance of minor rude behavior in other dogs. That is, regarding it as so incredibly fine that it is possible for them to make light of the possibility of injury to the other dog, while failing to recognize that the more teeth get brought into it the more likely their own dog, even, is to get hurt - whether or whether not they see their dog as justified in trying to defend themselves at that level.
 
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And I guess I'm still not sure exactly what about it bugs you, especially as I never claimed that the owners of dogs that don't initiate dog-dog contact calmly were somehow not responsible for keeping their dogs calm and out of other dogs' faces, or that in many circumstances they would bear primary responsibility for a fight breaking out. Maybe I'm misinterpreting but it sounded like your issue was that I was implying the owner of the dog that bites first in these hypothetical situations is ultimately at fault. I never intended to imply that, though. I think there are situations where that might be true depending on the exact unfolding of events (particularly if the dog that likes making corrections is really so undersocialized that they interpret pretty benign behaviors as threatening), but it's more often not.

The lesser of two bad things can still be a bad thing, and just because you're not primarily at fault doesn't mean you couldn't have done more to prevent a poor outcome. I don't think it's good to lose sight of that in a rush to blame other people entirely. There are gradients of responsibility involved and if your dog's tolerance is super far below average it's probably worth a PSA and a watchful eye, and definitely not something to laugh about or borderline condone in the interest of teaching other dogs lessons (which is not your responsibility, let alone your dog's, and could in fact end with your dog getting hurt. The other dog, too, but that dog is again not your responsibility).
 
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Seriously, my own dog has never been in a situation with a persnickety dog whose owner didn't care if it bit willy-nilly. I am already aware that his body language is interpreted as confrontational by many dogs (regardless the fact that he really is usually trying to get to the playing part) and make sure to give them wide berths. I give especially wide berths to dogs the owners of which make light of their dog's tendency to bite or seem strangely excited by the prospect of "rude" dogs being bitten, because I know where it could lead.

Additionally, counterproductive behavior is counterproductive behavior, regardless how tired you are of something.
 
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Moth

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You do realize that it is extremely rare for a dog to respond immediately with a nip/bite. Even if you did not see it there is usually a vast amount of communication that happens between Dog A and Dog B.

Also like people different dogs have different space needs. Some dogs like to have a larger personal bubble than others.

You would not want someone just stepping inside your personal space and do whatever...why should a dog have to allow their personal bubble to be invaded if they did not invite the other dog into it? Trust me they let other dogs know very clearly where the boundaries of their space is and whether or not it is okay to approach beyond.
 
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You do realize that it is extremely rare for a dog to respond immediately with a nip/bite. Even if you did not see it there is usually a vast amount of communication that happens between Dog A and Dog B.

Also like people different dogs have different space needs. Some dogs like to have a larger personal bubble than others.

You would not want someone just stepping inside your personal space and do whatever...why should a dog have to allow their personal bubble to be invaded if they did not invite the other dog into it? Trust me they let other dogs know very clearly where the boundaries of their space is and whether or not it is okay to approach beyond.
Indeed I do realize that dogs usually give warnings. But I am referring quite specifically to a minority of owners that present as though they believe that response involving teeth is laudable or laughable behavior if the dog's personal space is encroached on even pretty innocuously regardless whether the dog has been giving warnings or not. In other words, if they growl, fine to let the whole thing escalate naturally haha that dog will learn. If they don't growl or give minimal obvious warning, not growling, etc. is not concerning.

Some dogs do not give warnings as overt as others, either. In some it can be quite subtle.

I do not believe that dogs necessarily communicate perfectly with one another 100% of the time or that misunderstandings never occur, especially if one dog (often the rude dog) is overstimulated to begin with and not thinking well, or only half paying attention.

I also don't think dogs are entitled to an infinite supply of personal space as determined by the dog without some human mediation. If the amount of personal space your dog requires is abnormally large, it is partially up to you to make sure they get it in a safe way - in cooperation with the people around you, we can certainly hope. (Which, yes, means that people should not let their happy-go-lucky pouncers stick their nose up a touchy dog's hiney.)

And personally, I allow people to cross my personal bubble quite often - I mean, I used to ride public transportation regularly. ;)

But still, this isn't about the dogs. The few times my dog has gotten himself bitten, he fully invited it. I'm really not on a tirade over someone else's dog biting mine.
 
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Seriously, my own dog has never been in a situation with a persnickety dog whose owner didn't care if it bit willy-nilly. I am already aware that his body language is interpreted as confrontational by many dogs (regardless the fact that he really is usually trying to get to the playing part) and make sure to give them wide berths. I give especially wide berths to dogs the owners of which make light of their dog's tendency to bite or seem strangely excited by the prospect of "rude" dogs being bitten, because I know where it could lead.

Additionally, counterproductive behavior is counterproductive behavior, regardless how tired you are of something.
If you are giving them wide berths and are aware that your dog appears confrontational, then why is this even happening enough to be annoyed by it? :confused:
 

pinkspore

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I have a persnickety dog that bites rude dogs that get into his space. I can guarantee you that he was throwing '**** off' signals loud and clear while the rude dog was ten yards away. If the dog had any kind of social skills it would never have gotten within biting range. He has a bad back, and bouncy dogs that get into his space can hurt him, so yes he does find them threatening even if you don't think he should. I do my best to keep such dogs out of his space, and I may well laugh about him teaching a dog manners if they ignore all the warning signs and keep coming.

Think of it like this: It's totally reasonable and normal to walk up to someone, say hello, and shake their hand. Some people are very boisterous and get get a little loud when happy to see someone.

Some people have social anxiety and just want to be left alone to go about their business. When a socially anxious person is approached by a boisterous greeter, they will avoid eye contact and maybe walk the other way. If the greeter still doesn't get the hint, they may ask politely to be left alone.

If the boisterous greeter doesn't take the hint or the polite request, the anxious target may firmly tell them to go away. If that doesn't work, they know something is off with this crazy guy. Finally the target screams "WHAT THE **** ARE YOU DOING!!?? GET AWAY FROM ME YOU CREEP!!!" The boisterous greeter is the one who has been escalating this encounter from the very beginning. If they take offense and scream back that they were just trying to be nice, there's no way to defend that and say the target started the screaming first. They tried asking nicely, it didn't work.
 

Laurelin

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Hank can be both the over enthusiastic dog and the grump. He is hypocritical. Lmao

But yeah both my paps despise rude dogs and since they're small tend to get snappy faster (because they're scared). The only time they come face to face with other dogs is if other people don't have their dogs under control. It isn't a minor deal to me because they're so small. So if they snap (they will) an the other dog goes off because of it then my dogs are probably dead.

So...leashes?
 
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If you are giving them wide berths and are aware that your dog appears confrontational, then why is this even happening enough to be annoyed by it? :confused:
I feel like I've tried to say this a million ways and failed, but this complaint was formulated in response to events and anecdotes involving third parties, not me personally. Also, just for me personally... I don't have to see something happen too often to find it annoying, although I have seen this attitude in some people often enough to take notice.

I don't know that I stated this outright, but I also think that there is often some denial of neuroticism and reactivity in the heavy-correcting dog going on with these people who are overly supportive of their dogs' tendencies to mete out "corrections." Rude approaches in dogs are so well written about in the dog world at this point that it has made it very easy to pretend that dogs that are highly intolerant are only reacting to another dog's lack of manners, when frequently they are somewhat maladjusted in their own right. The middle of a rudeness attack from another dog isn't the place to work on it, but not working on it at all is far from ideal and I have strong doubts that that's being done in some cases I know of.

Pinkspore: Maybe your dog gives off strong warning signs. Some dogs' warning signs aren't as overt as others. And some dogs don't interpret warning signs as easily or are too birdbrained to pay much attention. Their owners should manage that and try to correct their understanding of social interactions, which I don't believe I've ever denied. If your dog is incredibly touchy, I do hope you let other owners know that 4-5 feet is too close on a leash.

The fact that you'd actually get up and work to keep dogs out of your dog's space if necessary to save him potential injury instead of immediately breaking out the "manners teaching" popcorn pretty much excludes you from the demographic I'm referring to, though.
 

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I understand what you're getting at. I will try and intervene before my DINOS takes matters into her own hands, and I'm not happy to let her mete out corrections with other dogs. She's learned to hold her **** together for a couple of seconds so I have a chance to redirect before things get messy when dogs approach her rudely. Keep in mind that adult dogs approaching other adult dogs is pretty anomalous, and the approach in and of itself is considered rude by many dogs. Hopefully you'll be able to rein your dude in as he ages. Also, leashes are cool.
 

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There is definitely a school of people who believe that letting the dogs work it out is for the best. I used to work for one of those trainers; she's a published author on the subject, and taught classes and privates and seminars on dog-to-dog communication. And it is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. The situations in which I will 'let my dogs work it out' are very few and almost exclusively occur between my own two dogs. I can't think of a single situation where I'd let my dogs "work it out" with any dog we didn't know exceptionally well.

It's just that for me, I'm pretty much always on the other side. I actually can't think off the top of my head (besides an actual attack, which is a whole 'nother ball of wax) of a situation I've seen in which I thought the correcting dog over did things in the last few years. Complaining about that side of it - while perhaps a valid complaint - just feels like complaining about the rain ruining your plans for the day in southern California right now. Sure it sucks, but the other side of the coin (epic droughts, or people with out of control dogs approaching under control dogs) is just so much more of the big picture.

So while I do see now what your point was, I'm also not shocked or bothered by anyone's reactions. Because seriously, many of us have been the person with the "over-reactive" dog. I was that person yesterday when I was hiking and a dog ran up to us with the owners still way out of sight on the trail. It's frustrating and it can put your training back, and you feel like a horrible person when you are trying to scare off the dog before it makes contact with yours, and when I see this:

2) The bite would be enough to make him feel threatened, and he would fight back.

And he is bigger and often physically harder than many nippy herding breed dogs. So there is a strong chance that, while it would be bad for my dog, it could be worse for yours.
it just plain scares the crap out of me. Because if I have my 11 year old dog under control, and I call her back and put her on leash but your dog still approaches rudely - she's going to snark. And if your dog (generic 'you' since I know you clarified that your dog doesn't get put in these situations, which is great) over-reacts to what you see as my dog's over-reaction...while, you are right. Your big, hard, young dog could quickly injure or kill my 11 year old 33 lb. dog. And if mine is on leash and I'm not actually in a dog park (spoiler - I will never be in a dog park), it is going to be 100% the fault of the person whose dog ran up. And it is not going to be a nice day for anyone.

If everyone would just keep their dogs under their own control, it would be a grand world. The angry dogs could have their space, and the dogs who need polite approaches could get them, and the dogs who want to body slam each other joyfully into next week could do that all day long once their owners had both okay'd it.

And bones would rain from the sky, and brownies would have no calories, and we could all ride unicorns all day long.
 
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pinkspore

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I think what everyone is hearing is "I don't like the way other people respond to rudeness". Letting your rude dog get up in anyone's business is rude. Letting a rude dog get within snarping distance of anyone's dog is rude, no matter how birdbrained or dense he may be. Like Sekah pointed out, approaching a stranger who is minding their own business is already pushing the social boundary a little.

I don't like it when people yell obscenities at other people for shoving past them on the sidewalk. I don't like when people honk at other drivers for cutting them off. I don't like when people shout really loud at other people for talking in the movie theater. All of these situations could be handled better, but all were instigated by the rude person and it seems weird to focus on the person reacting to that rudeness.

I definitely keep my dog safe from maurading "friendly" dogs as much as possible, but I am sick to death of them and their owners and not above having a laugh at their expense. It's better than screaming at the owner, right? 'Cause it's going to be one or the other.
 

pinkspore

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"2) The bite would be enough to make him feel threatened, and he would fight back.

And he is bigger and often physically harder than many nippy herding breed dogs. So there is a strong chance that, while it would be bad for my dog, it could be worse for yours."

Also this. If a large and powerful dog does not take corrections well, that dog should NEVER EVER EVER EVER be in a position to approach strange dogs. Period.

My other dog also hates being approached by strange dogs. He weighs 6lbs. If a dog has ignored the equivalent of him shrieking "I KILL YOU!!!" (please imagine that in a very high pitch with a thick Mexican accent. I do.) I have no reason to believe that dog isn't going to eat him him it finally gets close enough for him to bite.

So what I'm hearing is "I wish owners of small, vulnerable dogs would understand that my dog is bigger and stronger and also ill-mannered. They need to teach their dogs not to freak out when some big dense lunkhead starts looming over them threateningly, because if they accidentally provoke him in their terror is would be very bad for them."
 
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"2) The bite would be enough to make him feel threatened, and he would fight back.

And he is bigger and often physically harder than many nippy herding breed dogs. So there is a strong chance that, while it would be bad for my dog, it could be worse for yours."

Also this. If a large and powerful dog does not take corrections well, that dog should NEVER EVER EVER EVER be in a position to approach strange dogs. Period.

My other dog also hates being approached by strange dogs. He weighs 6lbs. If a dog has ignored the equivalent of him shrieking "I KILL YOU!!!" (please imagine that in a very high pitch with a thick Mexican accent. I do.) I have no reason to believe that dog isn't going to eat him him it finally gets close enough for him to bite.

So what I'm hearing is "I wish owners of small, vulnerable dogs would understand that my dog is bigger and stronger and also ill-mannered. They need to teach their dogs not to freak out when some big dense lunkhead starts looming over them threateningly, because if they accidentally provoke him in their terror is would be very bad for them."
Well, not what I mean... in the sense that I am not putting all onus on other people or on their dogs. And believe it or not, this is not even primarily about my dog. I work hard to keep mine away from dogs that I believe would respond poorly to him, and not only that, but it takes a lot to get him to bite (he's dense about socializing AND about pain :rolleyes:). However I am sure that if a dog toothed him in the right spot and caused enough pain or latched onto him or otherwise seriously scared him, he would fight back.

As for NEVER EVER EVER EVERs.... you can bet on those if you want, but I don't believe in them. I agree that allowing dogs with poor social skills that might meet bite for bite to socialize very freely is bad, but I'm a "plan for the worst" kind of person. In any case, you could about as easily say that dogs that might try to nip if another dog bumps into them by accident should NEVER EVER EVER EVER be allowed in spaces where many dogs are likely to be in close proximity (aka a ton of training spaces). I'm not fully on board with either idea because I think management of either thing can prevent accidents.

Now, what I am saying is that if your dog is very intolerant of other dogs, bossy and nippy, then yes - it's in your dog's interest for you to try and defuse situations yourself before throwing your hands up and letting your dog physically correct another dog, and you definitely should not look on with some amusement complacent in the assumption that your dog's biting will scare the other dog into submission (perhaps especially when that dog is bigger than yours).

Because while I work to keep my dog-that-might-bite-yours-if-yours-bites-first dog out of situations where he could annoy other dogs into biting, not everyone does. So yeah. You can rest comfortably in the outraged knowledge that the fight wasn't your fault because that big dumb labrawhatever was being rude, or you can prevent the fight by intervening on behalf of your dog before they attempt a correction that could cause the confrontation to escalate and/or by working with your dog to increase its comfort level with other dogs to whatever extent is possible.

Neither of those things actually undermines necessary attempts to train overly exuberant dogs to be calmer and train their owners not to let them run amok.

Do what thou wilt, etc.

So while I do see now what your point was, I'm also not shocked or bothered by anyone's reactions. Because seriously, many of us have been the person with the "over-reactive" dog. I was that person yesterday when I was hiking and a dog ran up to us with the owners still way out of sight on the trail. It's frustrating and it can put your training back, and you feel like a horrible person when you are trying to scare off the dog before it makes contact with yours, and when I see this:



it just plain scares the crap out of me. Because if I have my 11 year old dog under control, and I call her back and put her on leash but your dog still approaches rudely - she's going to snark. And if your dog (generic 'you' since I know you clarified that your dog doesn't get put in these situations, which is great) over-reacts to what you see as my dog's over-reaction...while, you are right. Your big, hard, young dog could quickly injure or kill my 11 year old 33 lb. dog. And if mine is on leash and I'm not actually in a dog park (spoiler - I will never be in a dog park), it is going to be 100% the fault of the person whose dog ran up. And it is not going to be a nice day for anyone.
I get that. My dog used to get so vocally emotional when other dogs came into view that he became very difficult to control even on leash, and on more than one occasion I had to ask people whose dogs were off leash in areas with leash laws to please put their dogs back on leash so we could get by. And I've had them ignore me and had it make my life harder. I'm well aware of how well-intentioned out of control dogs can cause problems.

And yeah, the idea of my dog somehow getting out of my control, going up to a space-sensitive, nippy or bossy dog, getting bitten in a way that sets him off and a fight happening? That scares the crap out of me too. But that's part of why the persistent assumption by some people I have run into that their dog that is quick to correct will surely teach the other dog to behave and should be allowed to correct without any critical eye being put to it bothers me. It's not an immediate question of fault (although usually the owner of the dog trying to approach is at fault), it's a question of preventing a potential fight vs letting it potentially happen.

But, it's hard to try and communicate that worry without almost sounding like I'm trying to threaten people with my dog, when of course in reality it's not even my dog I see this most likely happening with.
 
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BostonBanker

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But, it's hard to try and communicate that worry without almost sounding like I'm trying to threaten people with my dog, when of course in reality it's not even my dog I see this most likely happening with.
Eh, screw them ;). I used to try to be polite about it, or too worried to speak up at all. I learned the more I stand up to dogs (and their owners) who approach us uninvited, the less reactive Meg becomes. And because I've never tolerated it with Gusto, he has fabulous dog skills. Meg's willing to wait before reacting because she knows that most of the time, I will keep the dog from touching her.

I try to be polite ("Hi, can you call your dog?" "She's not going to be nice if he comes over here."). Once in a while, it even works, and the people get their dog under control, and I smile genuinely at them and thank them and wish them a good day. Usually it doesn't, and I progress to various levels like throwing my foot up between my dogs and the other dog ("I can promise you buddy, she doesn't want to play!"), stomping my foot, kicking dirt/snow, and/or throwing a handful of treats at the dog's face ("GIT!"), or, when it really comes down to it - kicking ("Sorry dude, but I'm being way nicer than she is going to be!").

My commitment is to my dogs. If it means being a jerk to people who don't have their dog under control, so be it. If it means grabbing my dog and getting them away from a dog who is spurning their own advances (mostly a non-issue, but once in a while with a friend's older dog, they will decide they are done), I will do that as well. If I let an encounter get to the point where my dog is either giving or getting a correction from another dog, it is my failure. Definitely not a laughing matter, as you said.
 

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