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Discussion Starter #1
First a bit of history, then the question (thanks for reading this). There are rarely any dogs that Luke doesn't like, I can only think of three in the complex. One is a Boxer who intently stares at him and challenges my dog and stupidly my dog answers, which I have to redirect his attention on me ("watch me" command). Normally when I see them I: cross the street, refocus Luke's attention on me before he even sees the Boxer, run a bit with him, try to find a squirrel (sorry squirrel and rabbit) or rabbit for him to see, whatever really.

But this woman that normally walks him is really starting to annoy me. I'm always moving for her, she never moves out of the way for us. She has to know our dogs do not like each other. I get that she may not be up with dog signals, heck I'm still learning, but this should be obvious.

Today was the last straw to get me angry. Now just real quickly, if anyone is unsure of a complex structure, it's basically a circle. You can cut corners, but that's about it. So we were in the complex, and at the very last leg of the walk saw the woman. So I got Luke to sit and couldn't cross the road yet as a van was coming. I was really hoping he would let us go, so we wouldn't have to look at them. But nope.

You would think the woman would stop because clearly my dog gets reactive with her dog, but she keeps on walking...slowly too!! Finally the van passed, I walk across with Luke, but she's directly behind us, I know this by the way Luke was trying to get to her dog; he was on two legs as we crossed the street. Finally I got him into a "watch me" state and we were good.

But here's the question. Should I just tell her to stop? Say something like, "Clearly our dogs do not like each other, can you just stay right there while I cross the street to redirect my dog's focus?" Or something along those lines; I mean it was really nerve wracking, she just kept walking her dog while mine was getting riled up. Are people that stupid!? :mad:

I don't know how many lengths I go to to get my dog away from a dog that's reacting to mine, but she takes her sweet old time? I am really miffed now, if this happens again, how do I handle the situation with her?
 

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Been there, done that. You'd think people would leap to get out of the way of the 90 lb GSD mix clearly trying to kill their dog, but no, apparently my dog was invisible to some people. :der:

I would try "Hang on, I need to get out of your way!", but to be honest, someone that isn't noticing the lunging and barking and snarling isn't too moved by a polite request.

I, on the other hand, will do anything to get Kabota away from dogs acting like that. a) I want to protect my dog, and b) I want to stop stressing out the other dog. I certainly don't want to be half of an incident that results in a dog's death.

People, honestly.
 

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You could try to ask her (mention that the dogs don't seem to get along, are challenging each other, etc, and you don't want to risk an incident happening), as it probably couldn't hurt anything.

I know I would comply with that and would stay back myself if I start noticing Wally's gait change and he has that "something is interesting" look (ears all the way out, tail curling, gait changing/speeding up, focus in only one direction). Perhaps she just isn't aware, or doesn't realize it's not just "barking banter" but a real dislike/rivalry between them.
 

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We have a neighbor who has a small poodle-ish dog who constantly thrashes and pulls at the end of his flexi-leash and growls/barks/lunges whenever he sees Colby, Ace or any other dog for that matter. I have to do the same thing with redirecting their attention since they both get extremely reactive whenever they see him and it's a constant challenge. Our neighbor insists on using the retractable leash which gives him absolutely no control of the dog. I've even seen him (I guess absentmindedly) walk behind the dog as he pulls toward us. I usually say nothing, but just work on keeping my dogs' attention, which can be tough when I have both of them! It's really frustrating... people can be so dense. I'm glad I'm not the only one!
 

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Hey... be nice to me... I was that person. When we go to the park, my dog is off leash and he will run up to other dogs. If they bark or give him the evil eye, then he will back off. In addition, if people are walking on leash on the other side of the fence, many times their dog will want to play with mine (mine won't fence fight), and the people get annoyed at their dog .. and perhaps us, but they never say anything. Most people see us every single day and know what to expect.

However, if someone is new and they specifically warn us to stay away, then I'll call my dog off... but in my case, most dogs are happy to see a dog that is safe.

Is there a chance that the boxer is friendly... or is he snarling?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thank you for answering everyone! Yes, I think next time we see each other (and if I can't get away fast enough), I'll say something polite to her. Polite, but firm and yes, KBLover--I think that's it. That the owner just doesn't realize it, but I don't know how she can't as my dog starts to bark and growl. It's quite annoying actually because Luke isn't aggressive, but with some dogs he just reacts.

Melundie--no, you're not the only one! It is frustrating! I have Luke on a retractable leash, but sometimes I see the dog first, I'll reel him in and get him focused on me and the treats are out lickety-split! By the time he notices the dog we are well away from them. And even if Luke spots the dog first, I have a good hold on him. So yes, not the best leash, but I like it.

hanksimon--thankfully our dogs are on leashes! The Boxer looks very mellow and friendly. But what he does is that he stares intently at my dog without blinking. I've relearned (from here actually) that that is a sign of a challenge. And my dog, thinking he's the king of the complex, takes him up on it. Oh yeah just wanted to say also that Luke waits for the other dog to come to him (any dog), but then when he recognizes it's a dog he doesn't like, he starts to act up.
 

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Agreed... for most dogs that is a challenge... but Boxers and Labs can be kinda rude... and will sometimes stare when they want to play... It is an experience thing, so don't assume that he is friendly... until you're sure.
 

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Just let your dog go, maybe she will understand then. Seriously, I would just ask her to wait. Explain you are trying to train yours, and ask if she will help. She probably has no clue.
 

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This woman is probably saying to other people "I met the meanest little dog on our walk, clearly unsocialized.... some owners!" Whats sort of funny is I think you both would have a good point (not to say you aren't socialising your dog, clearly you are) but it sounds like your dog is the "aggressor" here or at least the one showing the most overt signs of hostility. I think its a good idea to ask the other woman to avoid your dog and she should comply easily but of course if its your dogs issue the onus is mostly on you. Its totally reasonable to ask for a little help but its not really fair to blame her for the situation, after all she's just walking her dog too and she probably thinks she's doing the right thing since her dog is calm.
 

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This woman is probably saying to other people "I met the meanest little dog on our walk, clearly unsocialized.... some owners!" Whats sort of funny is I think you both would have a good point (not to say you aren't socialising your dog, clearly you are) but it sounds like your dog is the "aggressor" here or at least the one showing the most overt signs of hostility. I think its a good idea to ask the other woman to avoid your dog and she should comply easily but of course if its your dogs issue the onus is mostly on you. Its totally reasonable to ask for a little help but its not really fair to blame her for the situation, after all she's just walking her dog too and she probably thinks she's doing the right thing since her dog is calm.
I have to agree with this. Although I do think she is dense not to put some distance between you lickety-split. Or maybe she's just arrogant and thinks why should she be the one to move off. Lots of people seem to be stubborn like that beyond common sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Just to clarify, but my dog is not dog-aggressive. He's perfectly fine when walking around other dogs in or out of the complex. There are only three dogs he doesn't like out of many who live here. If a dog is staring at him, challenging him, only then will he goes on the offense. See, this is what I don't like because people automatically think Luke is aggressive and he isn't.

The only reason I'm blaming her is because she should've stopped walking her dog while mine was acting up. I see many dogs trying to lunge at mine, who is calm by the way, and I stop my dog or move away. This woman did nothing but walk slowly.

As for hanksmon and juliemule--thanks for the replies. I forgot that even the calmest of dogs can still be aggressive when approached, thanks for the reminder.
 

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He might not be "dog-aggressive" (sounds like definitely not) but in this particular scenario he is the one having the most extreme reaction. Managing that reaction is really your responsibility as a good owner. He sounds like a lovely dog who can just be selective, not bad but also not other people's fault. As far as the woman is concerned it doesnt matter if hes fine with other dogs (she would have no way of knowing this anyways), hes not okay with hers. Common sense on her part would suggest creating some distance between the two of you but its not fair to be upset with someone for simply walking her quiet dog. If you're friendly with her she will probably be willing to help you out for both your dogs' sake, if not THAT would be pretty rude.
 

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Common sense on her part would suggest creating some distance between the two of you but its not fair to be upset with someone for simply walking her quiet dog.
And asking for that little bit of common sense to be observed does not sound unreasonable, especially if asked in a non-confrontational manner.

If another dog has issues with Wally, I'll create distance on my own, even if it's just fence dog barking their heads off at us. Yeah, I could just stand there and say 'it's not fair for you to be mad about me just standing here waiting for my dog to poop and your dogs just have an issue with it', but why not just move on. It won't kill him to wait a little longer and why cause the other dogs stress and frustration?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
alw--I do manage my own dog. I get him in a sit position and for him to watch me, or we move away. And he's been actually very good when we're on the other side of the sidewalk (no barking or growling). This particular incident we couldn't move fast enough because a van was coming and I couldn't cross the road or we'd be hit. I've seen this person before and yes, my dog is the reactive one here. If anyone watches us, they can tell Luke doesn't like this Boxer...so if anyone could tell, why can't she? Okay fine, I'll blame her for 40% of it, but all I wish she would do is just stop her dog and wait till I was across the street before resuming her walk. It would create less stress. And I will say it again: ANY time another dog is reactive towards Luke, I stop my dog, cross the street, do whatever it takes for both parties to remain calm. I don't want Luke hurt and I don't want the other dog hurt. But she did neither, would it be so hard just to stop or move away?

KBLover--thank you for defending us. Yes, this woman lacks common sense.
 

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alw--I do manage my own dog. I get him in a sit position and for him to watch me, or we move away. And he's been actually very good when we're on the other side of the sidewalk (no barking or growling). This particular incident we couldn't move fast enough because a van was coming and I couldn't cross the road or we'd be hit. I've seen this person before and yes, my dog is the reactive one here. If anyone watches us, they can tell Luke doesn't like this Boxer...so if anyone could tell, why can't she? Okay fine, I'll blame her for 40% of it, but all I wish she would do is just stop her dog and wait till I was across the street before resuming her walk. It would create less stress. And I will say it again: ANY time another dog is reactive towards Luke, I stop my dog, cross the street, do whatever it takes for both parties to remain calm. I don't want Luke hurt and I don't want the other dog hurt. But she did neither, would it be so hard just to stop or move away?
@Spirit_of_Cotons Don't get mad at me, okay? I've gotta put in my two cents: try not to get defensive about what others are saying. It doesn't sound to me like anyone is trying to attack you or say you're a bad dog owner/trainer, just simply pointing out that Luke seems to be the more aggressive of the two dogs in this particular instance and as his owner it's your responsibility to control him. Boxers (and labs) tend to be very "rude" to most dogs. They're bouncy and in-your-face and the ones I've met have a very particular way of playing that lots of dogs (mine including) are not fond of. I can fully admit that the blame for Colby and Ace's reactions to strange dogs lies fully on my hands. It sounds like you're working on refocusing Luke's energy, so that's a good thing. Practice makes perfect, right? There is no doubt about it--this lady would drive me nuts, but ultimately I always take it upon myself to keep my dogs from entering into a potentially hazardous situation. Was there nowhere else for you to go besides across the street? Believe me, I've walked across fields or gone back the way I came to avoid certain dogs or situations. If there was really absolutely no other escape, you prob should have just said something non-confrontational to her or blamed it on your dog. I've done this with poodles on more than one occasion. I usually tell the owners that their dogs look "too much like sheep" for my dogs to not herd. Almost everyone laughs at that, but they still stand back. Just a thought :)
 

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Re: Yes, this woman lacks common sense.
I agree, but have pity on those of us who have energetic dogs that are 'juvenile' for the majority of their lives :) Her dog may be like mine, thinking that everyone wants to play ... although I wouldn't bet my dog on it :)

And, someone that deals with a boxer that can be fearless, in a friendly way, may indeed be clueless that not every dog wants to play. She may think that Luke is training to come play with her dog. So, you may need to be blunt with her, and explain that Luke is "scared" of her large dog... could she help you out ...
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
melundie--I'm sorry if I ever overreact, it really just gets to me when people think Luke is the aggressor. As I heard here, yes, he's just selective in dogs he doesn't like. Yes, I'm trying to refocus on his behavior and on how I react when I see a dog that Luke doesn't like. I used to get nervous, now I'm calm. I have blamed it on Luke thousands of times and the people always smile and say, "It's okay." But it leaves me totally embarrassed. I just wish people could see him the way I do or as some of my neighbors do; we call one his "aunt" and he has his own fan club. Most of the dogs within the complex that we meet, he's good with.

I'm not going on to show you how good he is, just my thinking of the situation: He's extremely good when we're out of the complex. The only thing I can think of that is is that he's out of his "territory" (yes, the complex is his). But in it, he might be on high alert the whole time. I just want him to be calm in his territory too just like he is out of it. And quite frankly, I'm not sure if he is. I think he feels the need to protect me, my parents, and his territory.

He was growly as a puppy (this was before we brought him home) and it was because he was protecting his litter mates. Sometimes I feel he forgets he can bark and goes straight to a growl. Not to harm, just to say, "I'm here. What are you doing?" He will stop and wait for the other dog to come to him.

But back to the situation: As I think about it now, we probably could've gone backwards and behind some trees (we still would've seen her as she had to cross the street too), but my mind was: Get across the street, do the watch me command, and hurry up cause she isn't stopping!! But even though my mind was racing, I remember being calm as I finally crossed the street. Luke was good with the watch me command, but it just irked me that day. I always move, why can't she? That's why I was upset and it felt like the last straw, you know? I do know that next time we go that way, we're going to cross the street to the other side of the sidewalk (like crossing to the right hand side and not the left).

hanksimon--yes, I feel that Luke will never grow up! I know he does want to be friends with everyone. He whines when he sees a dog in a window that he can't get to and be friends with.
 

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I'm assuming that he's a Coton, and I'm assuming he is very much like a Bichon, in personality. I don't have as much experience with Bichons ... and of course much less with Cotons, but the few dogs that I know, strike me as being the economy-sized equivalent of a Lab, intelligent, easy to train, and want to be friends ... with everybody!!!

If that's the case, then if Luke is fearful of dogs, who are not aggressive...then it can be more effective to slowly expose him and counter-condition him with other dogs, as well as to give him treats while he walks nicely with these dogs... if the owner will help you out. Unfortunately, fear either grows or diminishes... it won't stay the same... and if his fear is based on a past experience but has no current validity... then it's better to try to help him understand and generalize that most dogs are friendly... even if they are a little rude :)
 

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Thats a good point, this could be a really good training opportunity. Maybe ask the woman if her dog is friendly (I always start there even with the happy-waggy ones and this guy is staring) and ask if she would be willing to stand with her dog while you walk by and treat for good behaviour at a safe distance. Who knows, eventually both owner and dogs may have a new friend!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
hanksimon--yes, you nailed Luke's breed and personality. The only thing different personality trait of a Bichon is that he's less hyper than they are.

Don't you mean he's fearful of dogs who are aggressive? The non-aggressive ones, he's fine with...unless they challenge him. It never occurred to me that Luke could be afraid of dogs. The only past experiences I can think of are my neighbor's dog, Dusty, a Brussel Griffon mix, growled and bared his teeth at Luke with their first encounter. The owner claimed he was tired, but I know an aggressive manner when I see one. The other incident was where Luke was playing (he was younger, maybe 1yr old or almost turned one) with a full grown GSD and Pit Mix. Both got too rowdy and Luke had to finally defend himself.

I thought that would deter him from bigger dogs, but he's gotten better as his best friend is a Lab. I just thought of something though, Luke is good with big or small dogs (doesn't matter the breed) when he's out of his territory. So if he is afraid of dogs, wouldn't that apply to everywhere, not just inside the complex?

alw--Say though that the Boxer owner doesn't help at all, how then do I train Luke that some bigger dogs (who don't like him) are A-OK? How do I train myself? I know I'm fearful of some breeds even if the owner is a nice person.

Thank you for your advice and for answering my multiple questions!! And don't worry, every time we walk treats are in my pocket anyway! :)
 
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