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Discussion Starter #1
Merlin has been socialized with a variety of dogs from day one. He came from a big litter and the breeder allowed him to play with the older dogs to formulate some valuable manners.

Recently, when we have been going and playing with dogs for the most part 95%, he plays nice. He can get rough, but is told off by older dogs. Which he seems fine with.

Today I had a friend over with two shichons that are VERY friendly and are very laid back.
Merlin took immediately to the 1 year old and they played beautifully. The older male (who is quite large - about 20bs) wanted to get in on it and started barking at Merlin. Merlin was a tad frightened and snapped at him but continued to play nicely with the other dog.
Finally other guy really wanted in and barged in between the two and tried to play with Merlin.
Merlin did not have it. I have never seen him react like this - it was full on snarly, growly teeth and lunged at him. I went to separate (as they were not giving in) and the other dog was trying to pin him hard. Got them apart and removed the older dog from the situation.

Merlin seemed confused, but went back to the other pup and played very nicely. No growling etc.

I feel like I am getting an aggressive dog on my hands.. (this is where I feel like I am overreacting)
This is the second time he has snapped at other dog who pushed him too far.

I just don't want an aggressive dog. The other owner got my back up by saying " those schnauzer breeds are so aggressive" I almost fainted. That is my MOST WORST fear.

I talked to over with the other half and we sort of came to the conclusion that for now one dog at a time for him. I think it was overwhelming for him and he panics.

Thoughts?
 

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That's not aggression to me. That's a dog with excellent dog manners who doesn't suffer rude dogs well. The other dog was being pushy and rude and Merlin did what dogs do in that situation. (it's not like they can have a conversation over coffee about it.)

In the future, if you see a dog being rude or if Merlin responds poorly to another dog, remove Merlin from the situation immediately. Don't let it escalate.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Amaryllis,

He is defn not a fan of a dog coming at him hard and without warning. He has NEVER intentionally gone after another dog or even show his teeth. He seems like he knows how far he wants to go and for how long. When enough is enough - he lets the other dog know.

He was fine with the other dog after - they just ignored each other with the occasional butt sniff. He LOVED the other dog. They took turns pinning and jumping on each other lol.. It was hilarious to watch.
 

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It sounds like Merlin just doesnt suffer fools (in my completely inexpert opinion). Unfortunately just like in human life they are bound to crop up. Maybe just remove him or monitor very closely if a pushy dog comes along... its probably good you have this knowledge, you can develop a sense of when enough is enough for him.
 

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Yep I don't think Merlin was 'at fault' in this either from your description. It's pretty common for dogs to not enjoy a third wheel trying to push into their play with a great new playmate. He was having a blast with this new dog and this other dog kept shoving his was in breaking up his fun. It's quite possible if the third dog is also a good match playwise they could do just fine if introduced again one on one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks :) We hope they meet again - One on One to see his reaction.

I just know he is not a fan of barking dogs (in his face) or dogs who don't introduce themselves and go straight for his face (paws on it)

:)
 

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The other dog was being a jerk, Merlin tried to tell him with a quick air snap and when the other dog didn't take the hint, Merlin told him more bluntly.
I agree with Amaryllis,
That's not aggression to me. That's a dog with excellent dog manners who doesn't suffer rude dogs well. The other dog was being pushy and rude and Merlin did what dogs do in that situation. (it's not like they can have a conversation over coffee about it.)

In the future, if you see a dog being rude or if Merlin responds poorly to another dog, remove Merlin from the situation immediately. Don't let it escalate.
Not all dogs get along with every other dog, particularly the really rude and pushy ones. I bet that dog ticks off almost every dog he meets and has gotten snapped or snarled at (or even bitten) more than once. I do NOT see Merlin as being aggressive here, but agree that is shouldn't have been allowed to get to that point. When the other dog started to get pushy, that would be the best time to remove him, but definitely after Merlin snipped at him (that was a big "Leave me alone!" shout)

I just don't want an aggressive dog. The other owner got my back up by saying " those schnauzer breeds are so aggressive" I almost fainted. That is my MOST WORST fear.
If the other owner saying that is the one who let her dog act so pushy when it obviously wasn't wanted by the two dogs playing, I would be taking everything she says about dogs with a major huge grain of salt.

Your dog is young, he has to learn his dog manners and how to deal with dogs that don't have good manners and I think your plan of one-on-one play dates is a good plan. I'm not really a fan of groups of dogs playing unless they all know each other well, have good manners and have attentive owners (which is but one reason I don't do dog parks). Like the dynamics change on a playground of elementary kids when you go from 2 friends playing to 3 kids playing or a large group. You get bullying, little spats, tussles and such.

I just know he is not a fan of barking dogs (in his face) or dogs who don't introduce themselves and go straight for his face (paws on it
Would you be a fan of someone who walked up and shouted in your face? Or walked up and grabbed your face with both hands? I doubt it and most dogs don't like it either.

My dog likes dogs and knows proper introductions well enough that we have used him to test for dog aggression and dog manners with new-to-rescue dogs. He has backed away and play bowed from a snarling DA dog (on leash, it was a controlled test to see that dog's reaction), he will turn his butt towards a dog that doesn't know he's supposed to sniff there first etc. But he won't tolerate a dog that runs up and jumps at his face either- he will tell that dog off loudly and carefully, making his point and never leaving a mark.
 

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My puppy met another little chihuahua at the vet. The chihuahua kept barking at her and Bonnie ignored her..but when it got too much she just let out one big bark like a "just shut up!" and that dog went quiet.
 

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Actually now that I think about it Pete is the same way. He is quite friendly and mellow and has never had a problem with another dog... except if the dog is being VERY excitable and pushy. He either runs and sits on my feet (at which point I walk him away) or a quick snark and they back off. Callie our other dog is one of those bouncy, pushy, excitable types. When we first got Pete, Callie was all up in his business wanting to play and chase. We supervised closely and now Pete just seems to roll his eyes at Callie's antics and let her know when enough is enough. I think its been good for both of them to have the other around and learn some better manners.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Actually now that I think about it Pete is the same way. He is quite friendly and mellow and has never had a problem with another dog... except if the dog is being VERY excitable and pushy. He either runs and sits on my feet (at which point I walk him away) or a quick snark and they back off. Callie our other dog is one of those bouncy, pushy, excitable types. When we first got Pete, Callie was all up in his business wanting to play and chase. We supervised closely and now Pete just seems to roll his eyes at Callie's antics and let her know when enough is enough. I think its been good for both of them to have the other around and learn some better manners.

Haha my parent's Kally tells off Merlin when he wants to play and she doesn't haha It is quite funny. He knows to leave her alone.

I am glad he isn't the type of dog who isn't sure how to tell off and snaps because he cannot get away from the situation. I have seen this and it can be scary!
 

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I agree with everyone, I think Merlin has good dog manners and doesn't tolerate other dogs that don't. My Sammie is like that, she's polite to other dogs and has good manners but she does not want to a) play with a dog who has not introduced itself...if they don't back off after a warning look or lip curl she will snap at them or b) have a dog pick on her or refuse to leave her alone. Other people might view her as aggressive since she is pretty clear about what she will or will not tolerate, though. Especially those people with the big goofy dogs who just let their dog galumph up and cram their feet and face into mine, then get mad because mine growls or snaps.
 

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Yeah, I kindof have one of each! I'm trying to expand Pete's comfort zone a little where excitable dogs are concerned. I think his reaction is normal and usually warranted (one dog tried to mount him) but mostly I want him to just remove himself from the situation if feeling uncomfortable with jumpy dogs instead of snarking, he's too small to risk any confrontation.
 

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I think that Merlin did a normal snark, a quick snarl, snap, and bark meant to emphasize an ignored growl, but not meant to make contact. It sounds like you've seen Merlin get snarked plenty of times by other dogs. I consider a snark to be a good thing, standing up for himself, and showing some social skills. Hey, I just snarked someone in the grocery store when they weren't watching and almost ran over me with a large shopping cart :)

If a dog bites or chases another dog more than a few steps, then I'm concerned about contact and injury. But, it sounds like Merlin had contact and chose not to bite, just say, "Buddy, I think you're crowding me."
 

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It sounds like the larger/older shih-tzu was getting protective over the one your Merlin was playing with. The barking and pushing in between them was him telling Merlin to leave the other dog alone. He probably wasn't trying to "play" with Merlin, more like trying to make him back off with rough "play". Merlin was probably frightened by this behavior and lashed out, out of fear.

All the snarling and growling they were doing was all just noise, no bites punctures right? It was most likely a dominant scuffle between the two. They were testing each other! ;) Is Merlin still a puppy or younger than the 20lb shichon?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It sounds like the larger/older shih-tzu was getting protective over the one your Merlin was playing with. The barking and pushing in between them was him telling Merlin to leave the other dog alone. He probably wasn't trying to "play" with Merlin, more like trying to make him back off with rough "play". Merlin was probably frightened by this behavior and lashed out, out of fear.

All the snarling and growling they were doing was all just noise, no bites punctures right? It was most likely a dominant scuffle between the two. They were testing each other! ;) Is Merlin still a puppy or younger than the 20lb shichon?
My fiancee said the same thing ! He was protecting his "brother"

No bites or punctures.

Merlin is only 3 1/2 months older and about 10 lbs :)
 

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Some dogs just don't take hints. Sounds like Merlin couldn't be subtle with him! Hamilton recently went after a puppy in playgroup - it was a 12 w/o yellow lab who had him pinned and bit his butt really hard!! Hamilton let out a yip, and the puppy backed off, but only for a brief second then bit at him again and Hamilton bared his teeth and snarled and took a few running steps forward air biting at him until he ran off. The person supervising the group said he did the right thing -- lab puppy has to learn when to stop!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I love your little Hammie.

I am glad that everyone has had similar experiences :) It makes me feel better!
 
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