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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I adopted a I believe 2-3 month old puppy back in January and his name is jasper. He is a super mutt and is so absolutely sweet. We got him because I wanted my older dog willow to have a brother and they get along so well which I’m so happy about, but willow seems to be the only dog that jasper gets along with. Any time he meets a new dog he snaps and snarls and growls at them, he doesn’t lunge or actually try to start a fight but I’m so scared that one day he will. I don’t think it’s a dominance thing I rather think it’s that he may be scared. I will also note that I’ve read that sometimes puppy’s have a scary experience and then it’s pretty much trauma after that? I had introduced him to my friends dog who is so sweet but crazy hyper and just wanted to meet jasper but this resulted in jasper snarling and growling at him which I had never seen him do ( he was 3 months) he now still does the same thing to her dog so we keep them apart. I would also like to add that a part to why I think willow and jasper get along so well is that I introduced them on a walk while my mom had willow on a leash and I had jasper and then we walked home together. When he met my friends dog I had let him off the leash in her front yard that is gated and that is when her dog proceeded to run up to jasper. Could this have triggered that fear response? I’m sorry this was so long I just wanted to be thorough. Can anyone help?
 

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It's relatively normal for sensitive puppies to be easily overwhelmed by overenthusiastic attention by older and/or larger dogs. Especially in a situation where the two are meeting in the older dog's territory (so older dog is familiar and comfortable and puppy is not) and the puppy is the only new shiny exciting thing around, so the older dog is going to be especially fixated on puppy. You absolutely did the right thing with introducing Jasper and Willow on a short walk, because this gives them space to get used to each other without being fixated on one another because there's another activity going on.

But it does sound like Jasper is sensitive and a little fearful around other dogs. It may be that he had a bad experience, but it may just be his temperament as well. Now that you know, it's important to set up any socialization with other dogs/puppies very carefully, and stick to low-key adults who are very gentle with puppies or set up things like short parallel walks (in areas that are safe for not-fully-vaccinated puppies of course) or parallel play/training sessions (Jasper and the other dog are both on leash or have a fence between them and they each have a person playing with/training them). If/when you want to do an in-person puppy class with him, look for a trainer that does very controlled, small play sessions or none at all. Avoid puppy 'socialization' sessions that are just releasing a bunch of puppies into a penned area and letting them do whatever - these are often very chaotic and stressful for sensitive dogs who already have some anxiety around dog-dog interactions.

This is a pup I would NEVER allow to have on-leash meetings with other dogs, once he's old enough and vaccinated enough to be going on longer walks. I'd also assume right now he will never be a good dog park or daycare dog - which is fine! Many dogs aren't (my own oldest among them). Focus on teaching him to ignore other dogs when you're on leash. It's okay if his circle of doggy friends is very small and carefully curated, and it's more important that he has a small number of really good, positive interactions than lots of stressful or scary ones!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thankyou so much for you reply it was very informative!!! Also I’m sorry if this wasn’t clear but he’s actually 6 months now and fully vaccinated! I’ve actually taken him to the dog park several times and he seems to be fine he just doesn’t really interact with the other dogs. I did rescue him at 2 months and I do believe he was a street pup and may have had some bad experiences as well. He also does ignore other dogs when we are on a walk, he’s quite calm when it comes to that it’s just when he’s face to face with another dog that’s when he is doing the growling and snarling.
 

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Thankyou so much for you reply it was very informative!!! Also I’m sorry if this wasn’t clear but he’s actually 6 months now and fully vaccinated! I’ve actually taken him to the dog park several times and he seems to be fine he just doesn’t really interact with the other dogs. I did rescue him at 2 months and I do believe he was a street pup and may have had some bad experiences as well. He also does ignore other dogs when we are on a walk, he’s quite calm when it comes to that it’s just when he’s face to face with another dog that’s when he is doing the growling and snarling.
Hi, Can I say that from what you have said here I can suggest a few things. I would always give another dog and stranger a wide berth. Dogs in general do not like to meet face to face, it's offensive. A dog with manners would curl their body around and approach each others rear for a sniff. The smell gives them all the information they need. Confidant dogs can become quite upright body posture can be boisterous and seen as a challenge or threat to a more submissive personality. Dogs also can't be expected to like other dogs. Just as we don't like other people, some dogs just won't get along. Anyway what needs to happen is some more desensitization from other dogs. When you see a dog approaching, get your dog's attentions and give your dog a treat and fuss. If your dog becomes starts to become agitated then just walk away and get your dog away from the situation. The more positive experiences your dog has with other dogs the better. Dogs like other animals go through a flight, freeze, fight instinct. To explain, a dog is on a lead, he or she becomes aware of something scary, option 1, run away, well they can't because they on a lead. Second option, freeze, well if the target continues to come closer being still won't work so may bark, tuck tail, give whale eye etc. last option coming up. Another dog is now in your dogs face, the dog cant run and freezing didn't work. Confidence building is key here if you want a happier dog. I'm sorry to interupt your conversation and wish you the best of luck.
 

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I agree with Day Sleepers 100%! But also realize that your pup my never play well with other dogs, and it will be something that you'll just have to manage.
Back in 2017, we brought our pup (4 months old) to the dog park so she can be socialized. Two very sweet dogs slowly came up to her happily, but our pup wasn't having it. She will be 4 years old in October and is dog aggressive with strange dogs. (it can be her breeds trait) We have slowly introduced her to a few pups, and she does warm up..it takes about 6 to 7 months for this process.

So, just be aware, and learn her behavior and body language as she grows.
 

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Ah, I missed the part where you said the month you adopted him, my bad!

I'd still urge caution with thunderdome-style dog parks (a fenced, bare field maybe the size of a large backyard), because things can go very wrong, very quickly in these locations, especially with a sensitive dog. They're designed in a way where the dogs easily fixate on each other and it's difficult for a dog who doesn't want to interact to remove themselves, so it only takes one or two amped-up dog with an owner not paying enough attention to create a stressful - even potentially dangerous - situation. I wish I'd stopped taking my sensitive dog to dog parks much sooner. He'd occasionally meet a dog he did really well with, but in retrospect I realize he mostly spent his time there stressed and overstimulated. He didn't do much about it as a puppy, but as he matured (2-3 years and on) he grew more and more likely to be snarky, nasty, and/or otherwise rude because he just couldn't handle the environment or other dogs.

Park-style dog parks with literal trails, wooded spaces, and different areas where you can distance yourself from others and more easily focus on walking/playing/training with your dog are usually better for everyone, but still have risks as any place where off-leash dogs are common does.

Some dogs just aren't that good with other dogs - this is sometimes called being 'dog selective' because they're not actively aggressive, and there may be a few dogs who they mesh well with, but in many/most cases they just don't want to interact with other dogs. I still stand by focusing on things like parallel walks if you have friends' or family's dogs you want to introduce him to and try to build a relationship where he at least tolerates them, but be really on top of backing up his boundaries (eg. don't let him and the other dog 'work things out' if he clearly doesn't want to interact and the other dog is being really pushy) to keep his confidence and comfort up so he hopefully feels less like he needs to go off on the other dog to get some space.
 

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Hi buddy, Fear-based aggression is the most common reason why puppies under 6 months of age are aggressive to other dogs and puppies. In addition, some puppies learn to be aggressive to others to protect resources and get what they want from other dogs and puppies they live with, especially if there is a shortage of resources.

Regards,
Roel Hackett Showbox tutuapp
 
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