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Discussion Starter #1
This is a somewhat indelicate question, sorry if I offend.

When my dog meets another dog, she has no qualms about sniffing their butts and boy/girl parts; however, she's not too eager to be the sniffee. I'm sure this must be considered rude in the dog world (sort of like Monk not wanting to shake hands). Is this something we can / should address? If so, how?
 

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The proper way for dogs to meet is by sniffing butts:) My older female will allow it to a point, but then walks away. Mine is fixed, but males still try to hump her, she politely growls at them and sits down.
 

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Thanks. Katie tends to jump away when another dog starts to sniff; I'm sure she must come off as the doggy equivalent of a snob. Is that something I should worry about?
 

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Many things in this world to worry about, doggy butt sniffing is not that high on priority list. I myself am not into the popular hugging craze that some people enjoy, just as people some dogs have different greeting patterns.
 

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WHAT? I don't need to invent things to worry about?!?! :doh: If only I had known 40 years ago I'd be a much happier person.

Thanks for the reassurance. I don't want her haughty behavior to cause a tiff. She's not aloof or reserved - she'll happily greet another dog, play bow, entice them to run. She just doesn't like to be sniffed.
 

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Kimma is the same way, yet she has helped me with clients who were certain that their dogs could NEVER get along with (let alone play with) another dog. So go figure :p
 

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Snowball is also "Rude" when greeting. And by "rude" I mean terrifying. He gets so excited by seeing other dogs that when he is off-leash he tears at them full-tilt, which must be terrifying for the other dog who then becomes defensive and a fight breaks out. This has happened twice so far: the first time the other dog wasn't particularly friendly to start with so I brushed it off as the other dog starting the fight, after all, Snowball recalled after I called his name twice. The second time the other dogs were so far away I didn't notice the smaller dogs and he tore after them from behind and clearly startled them... I don't intend to let it happen again!

I also noticed it tonight when I was out in a fenced-in soccer field by my house - any time a dog walked past, didn't matter how far away Snowball was off like a ball of lightening and the only way for me to get his attention was to physically grab his harness and pull him away from the fence. Even then, he's clearly not being aggressive - he mostly runs up and down the fence going in and out of play stance, his tail wagging wildly trying to get the other dog to play. So... my question is how do I teach him that running up to other dogs as fast as he possibly can is not polite? Or is it just a matter of working on his recall until it is rock solid? I've considered asking one of my neighbors, who has a well-socialized labradoodle to help, but Snowball's excitement decreases as soon as he's met the other dog. I.e. if he runs into a dog he's met previously, he is not nearly as enthusiastic.

I'm not expecting an easy or quick fix... I just want to know if there is one. :(
 

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Snowball is also "Rude" when greeting. And by "rude" I mean terrifying. He gets so excited by seeing other dogs that when he is off-leash he tears at them full-tilt, which must be terrifying for the other dog who then becomes defensive and a fight breaks out. This has happened twice so far: the first time the other dog wasn't particularly friendly to start with so I brushed it off as the other dog starting the fight, after all, Snowball recalled after I called his name twice. The second time the other dogs were so far away I didn't notice the smaller dogs and he tore after them from behind and clearly startled them... I don't intend to let it happen again!

I also noticed it tonight when I was out in a fenced-in soccer field by my house - any time a dog walked past, didn't matter how far away Snowball was off like a ball of lightening and the only way for me to get his attention was to physically grab his harness and pull him away from the fence. Even then, he's clearly not being aggressive - he mostly runs up and down the fence going in and out of play stance, his tail wagging wildly trying to get the other dog to play. So... my question is how do I teach him that running up to other dogs as fast as he possibly can is not polite? Or is it just a matter of working on his recall until it is rock solid? I've considered asking one of my neighbors, who has a well-socialized labradoodle to help, but Snowball's excitement decreases as soon as he's met the other dog. I.e. if he runs into a dog he's met previously, he is not nearly as enthusiastic.

I'm not expecting an easy or quick fix... I just want to know if there is one. :(
I hope you get some answers. Katie is becoming a dog park pest. She goads other dogs into chasing her even when it's obvious (to me) that they are done running. She gets plenty of time outs and early departures, but other than that, I'm not sure what to do with her. The other night, I suggested to my husband that make cards to hand out: "My name is Katie and I like to run. If you like to run too, please contact my people for a play date." She had a blast with a three-year-old rottie and a five-month-old dane / mastiff mix (although I was a little worried that the rottie wasn't playing).

I know not everyone agrees with her methods, but Sophia Yin has a few recent blog posts about dog park behavior. Here's a link to one: Dog Park Etiquette: Rules to Help Dogs Get Along. The first item on the list is "don't allow your dog to run up to other dogs." Unfortunately, information about how to address that behavior is somewhat buried and not especially clear. It's a starting point, though.

Here's my inexpert opinion: What I would do is teach a reliable recall (Train a “Come When Called” at the Dog Park) and stay so that Snowball isn't rushing the other dogs. Then allow greetings only when he's settled. I think you can start to teach this even with dogs he knows and is more calm around. When he's super excited, chances are he's not really in the right state of mind to learn. The same way you wouldn't begin teaching sit or down while he's super distracted, you wouldn't teach polite greeting while he's distracted and thinking only about the other dog. Progress slowly and reinforce calm behavior. I've gotten Katie to the point that instead of barking and running towards "yard dogs" on our walks, she'll look at me as we approach the houses with dogs and if she does start to move towards the house, I can call her back to me.

Good luck and thanks for asking the question.
 

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My dog has been like Snowball ... for the past 11 years !!! When he was 3 - 5 yo, I worried about it... Now, I usually let him go (not a recommendation :) ) ... With socialization and experience, he has learned to avoid dogs that give him the evil eye or begin to bark at him. He still gets into trouble, but now it's funny, b/c he'll find a younger dog that is soooo happy to find someone to play with... And, an 11 yo dog can't easily play with an adolescent :)

My suggestion is to keep exposing Snowball to lots of dogs, but in a more appropriate situation (dog park, group training, play dates?). He may still scare other dogs, but at least he'll learn to recognize the situations better.

And he'll learn to sit/ playbow for some folks ... but to never try to hug a stegosaurus! Shaking hands is fine :)
 

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Thanks guys. I guess I'm just getting frustrated because Snowball's recall is getting VERY good - when there aren't any dogs around. And then when there are other dogs around it all goes to... poop. He'll even recall around hares now!

Thanks for the resources. I'll give them a read. I just kind of had a freak out last night (I do that sometimes) and was like, "What if we can't ever let him interact with other dogs at the dog park...! Poor guy, all he wants to do is play but the other dogs don't get that because he's too wound up!"

My suggestion is to keep exposing Snowball to lots of dogs, but in a more appropriate situation (dog park, group training, play dates?)
Unfortunately the most recent incident occurred at the dog park. I think he's probably just not quite ready (and me neither). The local Humane Society runs an extra socializing program for unsocialized dogs (essentially they pick the calmest, friendliest dogs in the shelter and your dog interacts with them in a large closed pen under the watchful eye of the owner and several behaviourist/trainers). We might start that soon.
 

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Thanks guys. I guess I'm just getting frustrated because Snowball's recall is getting VERY good - when there aren't any dogs around. And then when there are other dogs around it all goes to... poop. He'll even recall around hares now!

Thanks for the resources. I'll give them a read. I just kind of had a freak out last night (I do that sometimes) and was like, "What if we can't ever let him interact with other dogs at the dog park...! Poor guy, all he wants to do is play but the other dogs don't get that because he's too wound up!"
Recall when there a no or few distractions is like basic arithmetic; recall when other dogs are around is more like differential equations. You need to work through basic algebra, trig, and linear algebra first.

Not completely related to polite greetings, but possibly reassuring: I really thought that Katie and I would never be able to enjoy a peaceful walk together because of the way she barked and lunged at other dogs, deer, squirrels, crows, etc. I started working with her last spring and after about a month, her behavior was noticeably improved. After several months, I could actually relax a bit on our walks and not constantly watch for critters Katie might react to. Today we encountered four dogs (including one who ran right up to her), three deer, and numerous crows. With the exception of two woofs at the first two dogs (who were barking and running around like mad), she was perfectly well behaved. Don't get discouraged by my long timeline. If I were a better trainer, I'm sure the process would have been much quicker.
 

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Not completely related to polite greetings, but possibly reassuring: I really thought that Katie and I would never be able to enjoy a peaceful walk together because of the way she barked and lunged at other dogs, deer, squirrels, crows, etc. I started working with her last spring and after about a month, her behavior was noticeably improved. After several months, I could actually relax a bit on our walks and not constantly watch for critters Katie might react to. Today we encountered four dogs (including one who ran right up to her), three deer, and numerous crows. With the exception of two woofs at the first two dogs (who were barking and running around like mad), she was perfectly well behaved. Don't get discouraged by my long timeline. If I were a better trainer, I'm sure the process would have been much quicker.
Thank you! That IS reassuring!

With the recall, I guess I just don't know what to do for distractions. We practise off-leash recall in a (chain-link) fenced soccer field that butts up against a walking path. As I said previously, he'll recall if there are hares in the field (which he has previously shown very high interest in), if there's people walking by, cyclists, runners, gulls flocking, whatever etc. The only thing that seems to completely distracts him when he's off leash, from any distance, is when other dogs walk by and I don't know how to increase the level of distraction without going beyond his threshold, as his off-leash threshold for dogs seems to be yes (i.e. the distance doesn't matter). But I see from your previous post that the obvious solution is to find a dog he's already met and use that dog as an increased distraction? :doh:

We have pretty good on-leash walks together. He is still reactive but his threshold is getting noticeably smaller (or is it larger? Closer?). On a good day he can stay calm and pay attention within 20ft of another dog. On a bad day, or right after he's reacted, its about 40ft. Not great, but much better than he used to be - when we first got him he was reacting to dogs at the opposite end of the block! At least we can now cross the street to keep the other dogs beyond his threshold.
 

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Snowball is also "Rude" when greeting. And by "rude" I mean terrifying. He gets so excited by seeing other dogs that when he is off-leash he tears at them full-tilt, which must be terrifying for the other dog who then becomes defensive and a fight breaks out. This has happened twice so far: the first time the other dog wasn't particularly friendly to start with so I brushed it off as the other dog starting the fight, after all, Snowball recalled after I called his name twice. The second time the other dogs were so far away I didn't notice the smaller dogs and he tore after them from behind and clearly startled them... I don't intend to let it happen again!

I also noticed it tonight when I was out in a fenced-in soccer field by my house - any time a dog walked past, didn't matter how far away Snowball was off like a ball of lightening and the only way for me to get his attention was to physically grab his harness and pull him away from the fence. Even then, he's clearly not being aggressive - he mostly runs up and down the fence going in and out of play stance, his tail wagging wildly trying to get the other dog to play. So... my question is how do I teach him that running up to other dogs as fast as he possibly can is not polite? Or is it just a matter of working on his recall until it is rock solid? I've considered asking one of my neighbors, who has a well-socialized labradoodle to help, but Snowball's excitement decreases as soon as he's met the other dog. I.e. if he runs into a dog he's met previously, he is not nearly as enthusiastic.

I'm not expecting an easy or quick fix... I just want to know if there is one. :(
Sooo glad molly is not the only one who does this, she can look frightening running full pelt, she's very fast, and the further she has ran the more excited she gets and jumps all over the owner and the dog. If the dog is small and reacts negativley its quite bad because she either thinks its playing or is purposly trying to wind them up, or they try to play but the small dog gets knocked flying, she sniffs and leaves older dogs and will play with same sized and bigger dogs well. I like cookieface's idea of giving cards out, we've met a young boxer around the same age who had great fun with molly and theres a huge great dane Molly loves (although she recently has taken to trying to grab his jowles, which staffies were taught to do with bulls :( tho the dane doesnt seem to mind, but I walk away when this begins to happen and she follows)
I've been working on recall (which has worked with runners and cyclists very well) and stay/wait commands and carrying a bag of treats I am able to get her to wait once she's started to approach another dog till I get to her and do this in several stages, sometimes come back and again she'll trot off and return so approach to other dogs is slowed and then she can play...Its worked most of the time but if she's started full speed she wont stop
 

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I like this thread. I think there are a lot of dogs out there that share this behavior. Currently my young Australian Shepherd absolutely adores other dogs. She would rather play with another dog buddy than anything else in the world (no exaggeration). She has a lot of energy and it really shows when she is chasing and playing with other dogs. She goes to a whole new level. We live in a small farming community and most dogs in our area are working dogs. This means they are very focused and don't care to have a young energetic dog trying to play with them. It's most likely only time until she pesters the wrong dog. My solution has been to use a long line and treats. I love that she enjoys other dogs and want to keep it that way. I still let her meet and sniff other dogs, but after 5-10 seconds I say "lets go" and walk away. Most likely she is more interested in the dog than following me. At this point I give her a tug on the line and reel it in. She has no choice but to leave her dog friend and follow me. Once she is at my side I give her a treat. I'm constantly watching her to make sure I give the "lets go" command before she gets to that excited play state where nothing else matters especially me and my recall. Which means at times she only gets 1 second before we move on. If she is excited before we even approach the dog I have her come to my side and I make sure her lead is shortened and we walk calmly pass. Once past I treat. This in turn teaches her the appropriate way to greet a dog and also that she doesn't have to entice each dog to play with her or sniff for 30 seconds. Also it's reinforcing her recall while around other dogs. This method does take time. I've used this method on my Australian Shepherd for 6 months. I've been religious about it. Yes it's working but taking a lot of time as she has such a strong play instinct with other dogs. We can walk off leash on the trails and pass other dogs, she sniffs and moves on, but every now and then we pass another friendly dog and off they go. Like I said I love to see her play and she gets plenty of dog play. I just don't want to her to try to charm the wrong dog. Start with this method in parks and on trails. Places that you can pass a dog sniff and move on. Learn to read your dog and try to deter her from getting to that mindset with another dog until you say she can. When meeting a new dog and owner I like to say "My dog is super friendly but has a pushy play style. She tends to annoy older dogs, will your dog be ok playing with her?". Only then will I let her off leash. Everyone has different methods so find out what works best for you and your dog. I'm all about dogs being off leash and running and playing, but everyone needs a little bit of reinforcement at times. The best control you can have with your dog is a leash.
 

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Callie is like that as well. She is a big dog and although VERY good natured she plays really rough and has trouble reading subtle signals about stopping (read, pesters them until someone snarks). Pete our new dog is the opposite, he likes other dogs to sniff and will play with the little ones but gets nervous and sometimes defensive around big, bouncy ones. Although most people would say thats a bad combo in the house they've been GREAT for each other. Pete has learned to accept Callie's antics around him without feeling the need to defend and Callie has started to learn to self-handicap. We tried the timeouts and penalties for callie but in the end the best lesson in manners was another dog.
 

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Like I said I love to see her play and she gets plenty of dog play. I just don't want to her to try to charm the wrong dog. Start with this method in parks and on trails. Places that you can pass a dog sniff and move on. Learn to read your dog and try to deter her from getting to that mindset with another dog until you say she can. When meeting a new dog and owner I like to say "My dog is super friendly but has a pushy play style. She tends to annoy older dogs, will your dog be ok playing with her?". Only then will I let her off leash. Everyone has different methods so find out what works best for you and your dog. I'm all about dogs being off leash and running and playing, but everyone needs a little bit of reinforcement at times. The best control you can have with your dog is a leash.
Unfortunately with Snowball its not just playing with other dogs, even the thought of meeting another dog gets him all riled up. :( We did buy a long-lead last weekend, and we've started working on the "stop" command (something he's obviously learned before, but isn't super sharp on yet unless the leash is on) and I'm in the middle of setting up some play dates with friend's dogs so that at least Snowball can play with other dogs, even if he can't greet them nicely on his own yet.
 

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I've noticed that with my puppy. She is very friendly and will run up to any dog big and small but if they try and sniff her, she backs off a bit but then goes back to playing with them. I'm not really worrying about it. I don't understand it though cuz dogs sniff each other sooo.....
 

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Luke is weird like that, not rude, just...weird I guess. With some dogs he lets them sniff to kingdom come and he'll do the same to them. Then with other dogs, it's "enough already!" and he'll turn around quickly or walk away from them. If they don't listen, this is mainly with puppies--he'll give a warning growl. I guess some dogs are just more interesting to meet.

I think your dog is fine, cookieface. I've seen so many dogs with different responses when it comes to greeting other dogs. Some are fine, others hate it, and others play a "come here" thing then twirl and growl.
 
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