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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My hands are still shaking enough that I can hardly type and I have no idea what just happened.

Charlie is the neighbor's dog that they allow to run loose, and he comes to our fence and races up and down it with our dogs. I HATE it, and all the neighbors think it's a game. I don't know. Maybe it is. I'd introduce them but I'm not about to do so without both dogs under control. It's gotten to the point where both our dogs will sit at the corner of the fence- the corner facing the direction that Charlie comes from. Of course Jake and Buck both easily recall when he's not there, and Jake will recall when Charlie is across the street.

When they race the fence there's no hackles or anything. I do my best to prevent it and bring them in when I hear them/see them.

It's not too difficult until the neighbor boy comes to play with my little bro and the dog follows him and sits right outside our gate. THAT I hate. Well anyways one of the kids was idiotic enough to open the gate- when I've told them time and time again not to- when Jake was RIGHT there and Charlie was RIGHT there.

Jake got out, and I wouldn't really call it a fight. No one was hurt, the dogs were easily split up when I moved in, and Jake didn't struggle to get back towards Charlie or anything when I directed him inside. What I saw- it's kind of a blur- was basically Jake nipping at Charlie's butt. Similar to the way he does to Buck when he wants to play. I don't know. At that point Charlie would turn around and nip at him. It was almost like Jake was trying to run him off our driveway, not hurt him.

I stepped in at that point and Jake ran to the other side of the truck. Charlie had gone to see where he was and I caught Jake and easily propelled him indoors. End story, he didn't even seem to remember and was wagging his tail and being 'happy happy pet me pet me'.

I was the only one bothered, apparently, as the little boy was standing right there and just went back to talking with his friends. My parents- both dog lovers- didn't seem too concerned.

To detail some of Jake's other meetings with dogs... his typical response is to sniff a moment, then step back and bark at them. He once slipped his collar, ran over to a black lab(male), sniffed, then stepped back and barked, tail wagging. I then grabbed him and put him back on collar and leash.

I've introduced him to all three of Chels_Girl's dogs. With Kali they went face to face he'd step back and bark- almost like he was afraid- but on the second try they sniffed butts and were fine. He seemed to get the hang of it after that, and was introduced just fine to Sydney and Mylee. We had no fights or issues whatsoever during the time he was around them.

Same about the step back and bark thing with Dozah, the dog who lives across the street, and my cousin's black lab/malamute pup, as well as another puppy across the street.

We were walking to the beach once and there was a loose BC. He did fine until the dog started to approach us, then he looked at it and seemed alert. Another situation where I just wasn't going to see what would happen.

If it matters, I've been working on focus games when Charlie is outside and Jake's 'zone' for alertness when Charlie is involved has been shrinking. Um, he got loose on Charlie once before and chased him home. Charlie is the only dog he has a problem with on our walks... which suffer because Charlie is ALWAYS loose.

Sorry this is kind of blabbering on and probably doesn't make of lot of sense, but as I said I'm kind of shook up and not sure what to think. Also sorry if this is the wrong forum, I'm trying to calm down now.
 

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It's hard to know what your dog is doing unless we witness it, of course, but there is something called "barrier aggression" that occurs when dogs are allowed to challenge each other with a fence (window, whatever) between them. Running up and down the fence could be play or it could be a means of looking for a weakness in the barrier to get at each other and settle their differences dog to dog. If it were me, I'd find a way to discourage it by making it impossible (or less possible) for them to see each other through the fence.
 

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If your dog is sniffing then stepping back and barking it could be a sign that he wants to play. If he bows down when barking at a dog then that is a definitely a sign that he wants to play.

What I suggest you do is read up on dog body language so that you can get a better understanding on whether it is play or a fight and that way you can take no action if it is play or the right action if it is a fight. One website that you might want to check out is http://www.wagntrain.com/BodyLanguage.htm while there are others you can google dog body language for others.

Also be aware that some dogs play bite. By this they might nip at each other a bit bit not hard. Also some dogs play growl. You could tell the difference between play growl and a fighting growl. A fighting growl the dog would be baring it's teeth and an intense stare at the other dog.

One example of play growl is Lola will pick up a stuffed toy in her teeth shaking her head back and forth she growls. She is not being aggressive she is play growling.
 

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It sounds to me like you have some major anxiety which is triggered by the fear of your dogs getting into a fight. Which of course, I can easily relate to. I have had to break up a couple fights, and I have also had to watch some dissipate on their own, for fear of my own safety. It is super scary and as humans we don't always know when play turns into aggression.

I can't say from just reading, but it doesn't really sound like your boy has much of a problem around other dogs. It sounds like you have a worse problem than he does.
Like Lolasdad said, read up on body language and I think you will be much more at ease if the situation ever does arise again. Work on staying cool, calm, and collected.
 

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I think your ok, out neighbor has a black lab and we share a common fence, my 2 Beagle/labs like to meet him at the fence and run back and forth too, they also bark at him.

I am pretty sure that they just want to play, i have introduced both of my dogs to the neigbors lab without issue, one of my dogs will roll over onto her back as a sign of submission and then after a minute gets back to her feet, sniffs and licks the Lab, the other one just wants to hang out with the neigbors black lab and sniff around, almost like she sees him as an older brother.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's hard to know what your dog is doing unless we witness it, of course, but there is something called "barrier aggression" that occurs when dogs are allowed to challenge each other with a fence (window, whatever) between them. Running up and down the fence could be play or it could be a means of looking for a weakness in the barrier to get at each other and settle their differences dog to dog. If it were me, I'd find a way to discourage it by making it impossible (or less possible) for them to see each other through the fence.
I know about barrier aggression... that's half the reason their fence running makes me so uneasy. Blocking their view is an idea... but it's a huge fence, unfortunately, and I'd have to get my parents to OK it. They might, my dad has mentioned putting wooden slats in that corner at least. Thanks.

If your dog is sniffing then stepping back and barking it could be a sign that he wants to play. If he bows down when barking at a dog then that is a definitely a sign that he wants to play.
That sounds reasonable. There was no play bow, but Jake hardly ever does that. Now that I've calmed down I can compare, and it is an awful lot like how he does with our other dog, Buck, right before he swings his butt back into him. The posture/tail/bark isn't much different.

What I suggest you do is read up on dog body language so that you can get a better understanding on whether it is play or a fight and that way you can take no action if it is play or the right action if it is a fight. One website that you might want to check out is http://www.wagntrain.com/BodyLanguage.htm while there are others you can google dog body language for others.
I've been trying to educate myself on body language for a while. The problem is that I haven't been able to find anything about the barking on websites. Thanks for the site link. I think I'll also be buying Canine Body Language, A Photographic Guide by Brenda Aloff.

Also be aware that some dogs play bite. By this they might nip at each other a bit bit not hard. Also some dogs play growl. You could tell the difference between play growl and a fighting growl. A fighting growl the dog would be baring it's teeth and an intense stare at the other dog.

One example of play growl is Lola will pick up a stuffed toy in her teeth shaking her head back and forth she growls. She is not being aggressive she is play growling.
I'll remind myself of the play biting in the future. I should have known, Buck and Jake hang onto eachother's faces when they play all the time. I also am pretty sure that I didn't hear any growling from Jake or Charlie. Thanks for your input and advice :)

It sounds to me like you have some major anxiety which is triggered by the fear of your dogs getting into a fight. Which of course, I can easily relate to. I have had to break up a couple fights, and I have also had to watch some dissipate on their own, for fear of my own safety. It is super scary and as humans we don't always know when play turns into aggression.

I can't say from just reading, but it doesn't really sound like your boy has much of a problem around other dogs. It sounds like you have a worse problem than he does.
Like Lolasdad said, read up on body language and I think you will be much more at ease if the situation ever does arise again. Work on staying cool, calm, and collected.
Thank you so much. You're probably right. It's been pointed out to me before that I get rather tense when I walk past a house that's known to have loose dogs... and that I need to stay more relaxed. It's very scary because I don't know if the dog is out, where it is, if it's nice, how Jake will react...

I'm definitely glad to hear that's it's more that I have a problem rather than Jake.

I think your ok, out neighbor has a black lab and we share a common fence, my 2 Beagle/labs like to meet him at the fence and run back and forth too, they also bark at him.

I am pretty sure that they just want to play, i have introduced both of my dogs to the neigbors lab without issue, one of my dogs will roll over onto her back as a sign of submission and then after a minute gets back to her feet, sniffs and licks the Lab, the other one just wants to hang out with the neigbors black lab and sniff around, almost like she sees him as an older brother.
Glad to hear from someone with a similar experience. I would love to introduce Jake to Charlie- I really wish I could- but I NEVER see the dog under real control.

Thanks again everyone. What I'm thinking would be a good idea for Jake and I would be to possibly sign up for our local Obedience classes, so I can get used to him being around other dogs in a controlled environment? I've wanted to do this for a while. What I think really shook me up about this encounter was that Jake's method was very different from Buck, who does the typical 'sniff noses sniff butts okay we're good' deal.

Thanks all for your input :)
 

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Gee Shadowsky thanks for telling me you wrote this ><

After having Jake at our house once, and having Sydney at Shadow's before I do totally believe that Jake's only real intent is to play, but I don't think he knows how.
At my house a couple months ago when Jake was here we let them out in our small potty yard with Kali and my dogs. Kali got excited and did laps around the fence really fast. Jake sort of freaked out and chased her, he'd grab ahold of her and nip at her a little. I'm pretty sure he just didn't understand that she wanted to play. Even when I tried to prompt him to play he didn't seem to know how, he got aroused, but didn't play.
Personally, and I'm not trying to be rude or anything, I do think that Shadowsky's tension, and reactions to some situations is a little rough, and may even...enable his behavior a bit. I've had my moments with it too, loose dogs are scary when you don't know your dog's reactions, or the other dog's.
To me, Jake just sounds like a dog who really wants to play with other dogs, but doesn't quite understand how, and the barking may even be frustration on his part, though Jake does bark an aweful lot sometimes :eek:. But that may be my imagination, as I have very quiet dogs on most fronts.
 
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