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Hello Dog forum!
I have a hopefully simple question for you all today. Our brand new rescued dog "Noggin" is settling is great so far. We've been together for one week, and he's 90% grat with loose leash, sits, backs, and comes with acceptable reliability for the time we've had him.
My question is really about dog to dog manners. We live in New York City, and there are thousands of dogs, of course. Noggin is a 30 pound, 1.5 year old whippet/boxer mix, and he has 2 tendencies I think are rude and would like advice on how to modify these behaviors.
First, when Noggin sees a dog, he goes into a stalking pose. I do not think he is actually in a predator mind-set, but it does look a little intimidating to humans. He is not an aggressive dog, nor observably over-dominant (I may be wrong.)
Secondly, he tends to "box" with his front paws when they begin playing. This could escalate to mounting, but I stop it so can't be sure. We've only begun to allow him to interact with other dogs, and it's sometimes unavoidable in a city this dense. Also, his hackles do fluff up a bit on some of these chance encounters, but always, the dogs give play bows and get along.
So the stalking look is a rude thing for humans, and it looks like he's hunting. This especially can upset owners of small dogs.
The front paw Boxing is less a problem with larger dogs, but certainly can be dangerous with small dogs. It may actually be a dominant behavior.
Perhaps I am jumping the gun, and Noggin needs to continue to adapt to his new home and neighborhood, and continue gradually meeting and socializing with neighborhood dogs.
We have a few play dates set up and will see how it goes.
Any advice or info is appreciated.
 

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Hackles going up are just a sign of arousal/excitement and it's probably too soon for you to read anything specific into it with your new rescue other than arousal/excitement. Some dogs only do so as/prior to being aggressive and others it has nothing to do with aggression at all, very dog dependent. For my dog it has nothing to do with aggression but very high arousal that MIGHT lead to some rude behavior from him or just sniffing so I watch very closely and am ready to interrupt if needed.

As for the "boxing," well he is a boxer mix and that is very often part of their play. Though I agree it's probably something to discourage with small dogs I don't think it has anything to do with a dominant behavior. I've heard a number of people say boxers seem to have an exceptional ability to inadvertently annoy other dogs with their idea of play and some other dogs just love it.
 

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Going to agree with above on all! Just keep socializing all seems like normal play! The more socializing better dogs will get at body language and play.....if I was walking my small dog and came up to a big dog that went down you will we a smile on my face :) I rather see a stalk or bow than a hard state or any stiffness or freeze!


Socialize socialize dog will be fine! Also on leash greetings are very hard because dogs can not do there natural doggie greeting with leash on ! So try and socialize off leash with dogs you know and of course in a safe place...keep on leash greetings short few sniffs play bows, stalk then a good time to teach your "let's go" with a high distraction - dog follow reward. I guess I'll add don't greet everydog so you teach we don't greet every dog sometime we walk by without any interactions keeps frustration in long run o we must greet every dog :)


Good luck sounds like a great dog
 

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I agree with both above. Boxers tend to get very excited when they play - boxing, mounting, and jumping around are common behaviors. The stalking may be a submissive behavior, where the dog is lowering himself as he approaches tentatively ??? Younger adults sometimes do this, especially with older dogs. Tell the owners that he's a little nervous, if that explanation sounds correct.

As far as the boxing etc., if it is a problem, then you might stop the playing when his excitement level gets higher, ask him to sit, give him a few moments to stop wiggling, then let him go back to play... and try to cue him to sit when he boxes.

Be alert about correcting the boxing, b/c I think boxers strongly associate it with play, and he may think that you're correcting his play.... You want to encourage his play, but in a way that is appropriate with the playmate....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. At this point, the dog is way too excited meeting new dogs, and is difficult to control as well. He's come pretty far along with regular loose leash, but when he sees another dog, he gets a bit fixated and will not listen to my voice so no chance to clicker him for anything.

The Cesar Millan type technique of putting myself in front of him is the closest I can get to any intervention of his excitement. I am hoping socializing will help temper the excitement, but as we are still in our first 10 days, we have been avoiding the dog parks.

Any tips for a dog that is excited and determined upon seeing another dog? This kind of encounter is unavoidable in this city. He's fine once the ice is broken and playing ensues quickly. The intense approach is beyond my experience level. He's about 32 pounds.

Thanks for your replies!
 

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Everything you described fits the boxer personality! You can't train the boxing out of him, nor the super attentive stance, with the piercing stare. It's what they do. They play REALLY rough, which makes it difficult when they play with other breeds of dogs. Many boxers get in trouble at dog parks, as a result. They need to play with their own kind to really be able to have fun, lol! That's why a lot of boxer people have more than one. When I had a boxer (RIP Duke!), my minipoo learned to box in self defense - yes, you read that right! The doggie daycare in my area has several boxers that are regular customers, and they're put outside together to wear each other out.
 

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Ok there are a few tools for the box you can work with !
With all training these things take time!

First no greets unless dog sits quiet if not turn and walk away! Always reward good behaviors....
Dog must sit and be calm on all greets if not walk away!

Another tool is get your dog to focuse on you during walks so you are more important than anything in environment. We do this by dog looks at you reward. Every time dog looks at you reward put it to a cue "watch me" dog looks treat.....then you can go a step further and heel " walkin and dog looks at you" goal is to get dog to always focuse on you no matter what is going on.

Another one you can try dog comes into picture you treat treat treat until dog leaves .... This is what we use on leash reactive dogs ..... We treat before dog sees other dog during and after it leaves ... This associates good things with other dogs "open bar closed bar" this in time associates when a dog comes into picture your dog will turn to you and look at you ....reward

There is a few any questions please ask be consistent you will see a change.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies. I did find some resources on the interwebs just as you described.

I would love the dog to play with real boxers, but he's mostly whippet and could break like a toothpick! We'll take it slow, and ramp up the socializing a bit at a time. We have a play date this weekend and will work closely and slowly on bringing them close. This is my first "big" dog, and even at 32 pounds, he's much bigger than the terriers I grew up with! And smaller than all the "New Yorkies" in the hood. ("New Yorkie" is what some call American Pit Bull terriers!)
 

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Awesome socializing and training is life long :)

Have patience be consistent you will see changes in your dog :)
Remember reward behaviors you want and dog will want to repeat them!
 
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