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So, I have a 5lb maltese. He can be kinda in your face persistant to dogs he does not know, he wants to play with them all. I saw a comment in a recent thread about a large dog owner who stated people often pick up their little dogs and children when they see them walking down the same side of the street, and move to the other side.

I love big dogs, I dislike very few breeds, in fact there are only a few small breeds I try purposley to avoid. That being said, my little guy could be snapped like a twig by most anything out there. So is it bad for me to avoid a large dog? Honestly I would like him to be able to play with any breed, any dog he meets but that doesnt always seem smart.

I kinda like the approach of asking a fellow dog owner that I see on the same side of the street, if they think an introduction would be ok. There are times though, around here, people will let their dogs loose in a non dog park and I most certainly do try to avoid them or pick up my little twig of a pooch. Lets face it, one munch from many breeds and he would be history.

I am curious your thoughts, and experiences with these situations. What is the best approach for someone with an itty bitty dog and how do large dog owners feel about it?
 

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People move their dogs to the other side of the street all the time when I walk Dreizehn. But then... he's a doberman :D It's either due to his breed or perhaps their dog isn't dog friendly. When I'm at PetSmart people are a little more lenient about their dogs. He always play bows, regardless of the size of the dogs, and some people are fine with it while others hide their worry with a comment like, "He could eat you in one bite!" I'll be getting a smallish dog soon and I won't actively try to keep her from large dogs but if I"m walking and see another dog on the street I will cross simply because I know nothing about the other dog.
 

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I know some people are offended if I cross the street with my small dogs, but honestly, I don't care. Crystal is afraid of other dogs and will lash out at them, and Casper is rude and gets right in their faces. Both are asking for a bite and could be very badly hurt by even one snap from a big dog. I avoid bigger dogs because mine are not good with other dogs, not because I think bigger dogs are dangerous. :)
 

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Crantastic thank you for posting that, because I think that often the perception is that the small dog owners are moving away because the 'other' dog is the problem. Often we are well aware that our pooches might be sending off the wrong vibes and just want to avoid an event.

Mine are good with big dogs that they know. They are reserved, with reason, with big dogs they don't. If a big dog huffs at them or charges them (even playfully) all bets are off. I have two that can go rank with barking as they feel threatened (they have both been grabbed and tossed before - as has a third but so far he hasn't been phased).

Myself, when I see a new dog walker I'll usually politely say hi and offer a greeting but will inform that mine will only accept polite greetings. At that point I know many a new walker with large dogs has said that they'd be worried to let theirs too close, so we chat for a second from 10 feet away and off we go.

If a dog is running around loose and sniffing behinds mine are picked up. I'm too well aware that they can snip first if a large nose lifts their rear without warning.

On occasion when it is agreed a greeting is a good idea it is done slowly, in control and with caution.

SOB
 

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We don't walk Caeda in places where other people walk their dogs, but that is only because nobody else out here walks their dogs, they just let them roam. BUT if we did walk (or try to walk) Caeda somewhere that people were walking their dogs I admit, my first thought would be....they think my dog will hurt their dog (or their child) if I saw them pick it up, and be a teensy bit offended. My second thought would be WHEW!!! SO glad they picked up their dog/child, or moved to the other side of the street. (I'd probably even yell thank you lol) Caeda can be pretty reactive with other dogs and people...not aggressive, not fearful, just HYPER, very "in your face" (working on it!). She isn't huge, but at 60 lbs, she's big enough to hurt someone accidentally, and be difficult to handle. My third thought would be that perhaps their dog doesn't do so well with other dogs.

If a fellow dog owner could get close enough to talk to us without being lovingly mauled by Caeda and wanted to do introductions I'd be thrilled with it, of course on leash introductions seem to get rather tangled with this nuclear powered pup of ours! lol, if we ever get that dog park here I've been hearing about opportunities for introductions might happen :)
 

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When I walk my dogs, I'm not out to go meet everyone else's dogs. I don't want to meet your dogs, I just want to have fun walking my dogs. I avoid dogs of all sizes when we're walking. If there's an option to increase space between my two and the other dog, then I will. My two are fantastic walking past other dogs but they don't like strange dogs getting up to their faces. Where I walk a lot people let their dogs go off leash. If I see an off leash dog I turn and go the other way and pay extremely close attention to the other dog's body language. There was a ridgeback the other day that was WAY too interested acting in my two and he was about halfway across the open field. I turned around and started moving away and the idiot owner kept walking towards us. There's a huge open field and plenty of room for the dogs to avoid each other...

I feel it's better to be proactive than reactive. If I offend anyone then they're offended. I don't care, and I think it's very silly to be offended by that. My dogs are less stressed when they don't have to worry about every big dog getting in their personal space. I would much rather only let them interact with dogs we know and have introduced properly. I don't think dogs need to make doggy friends with every dog they meet.
 

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We personally don't go way out of our way to avoid other dogs but generally avoid direct greetings unless I've had a chance to speak with the owner ahead of time.

I do find when we are walking Misty (42 pound husky) alone more people will avoid us. When we are walking them together - people avoid us less. Sierra (24 pound mini american shepherd) being present seems to "lower" the "threat level" people perceive. When it is Sierra alone - no one seems to move away.
 

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Pepper is all of about 8lbs, and is a Maltese mix. He loves to meet other dogs of all sizes, but until he's used to them he's a barking maniac. Until he came to me, he had never seen a big dog. And this neighborhood is chock full of BIG dogs.

Not long after I got him, I was walking him down the block and a new neighbor and her Bull Mastiff were walking towards us. Pepper went totally bananas. Fear or not, he was barking like crazy and shaking like a leaf. It took a month of almost daily meetings, a little closer each time, treating him as he got closer and closer without freaking out.

Well, he and this big moose of a dog (his head is the same size as Pepper's whole body) are now the best of friends. When I visit my neighbor, the dogs usually end up asleep on the Mastiff's big bed.

When we see a dog we don't know, I always ask if the dog is friendly. Then I shorten Pepper's leash, and get down to both dogs levels so that I have him under control, and I allow him to get closer. If he feels comfortable, and the other dog feel comfortable, we let them do their sniffing routine. Eventually, Pepper is just happy to see them, says hello and then he goes his own way.

But its all about being careful.
 

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When I walk my dogs, I'm not out to go meet everyone else's dogs. I don't want to meet your dogs, I just want to have fun walking my dogs. I avoid dogs of all sizes when we're walking. If there's an option to increase space between my two and the other dog, then I will.
Yes, this too. I should have clarified in my first post that I avoid pretty much all dogs. Like I said, Casper is rude, and he'll get right in any dog's face. Crystal is afraid of big ones but tries to run smaller ones off. It's so much easier for me if we can just walk far enough away from the other dogs that mine don't mind their presence and I can praise/treat them for being calm. I prefer slowly introducing them to friends' or relatives' dogs so I can have more control over the situation. If we can do parallel walking or something like that, mine are great! It's just initial meetings that stress them out/excite them, and I don't feel the need or have the patience to have 10 initial meetings with strangers on the street every day.
 

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Around here I feel like it's just normal etiquette to move to the other side of the road when you see someone else walking a dog in your direction. Or that's what I do. A walk isn't a doggie meet-up or anything, lol. Seems like everyone just tries to stay out of everyone else's way.
 

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My dogs aren't small by any means and I still cross the street if I see someone walking the same direction with a dog. My dogs are not on walks to make friends, they are on walks to well walk. *shrugs* If I see a loose dog I turn and go back the way I came, unfortunately an all too common occurrence.
 

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I feel it's better to be proactive than reactive. If I offend anyone then they're offended. I don't care, and I think it's very silly to be offended by that. My dogs are less stressed when they don't have to worry about every big dog getting in their personal space. I would much rather only let them interact with dogs we know and have introduced properly. I don't think dogs need to make doggy friends with every dog they meet.
Totally agree.
 

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I usually avoid small dogs as a rule with Saint. She isn't too fond of other dogs and around this area a lot of smaller dogs aren't very well socialized or trained. The last thing I would want is a small JRT or Pom getting snappy with Saint. The outcome wouldn't be so good for the smaller dog. So, I find it best not to let Saint stop and "greet" any small dogs. Actually, we avoid any dogs if at all possible. What we usually do is step off the sidewalk/trail and let the other owner and dog pass by.

Kaida on the other hand tends to be impolite and can get pushy and rather in your face with other dogs. She isn't aggressive, just rude. Most dogs don't take too kindly to that so if we come across a smaller dog I gauge her reaction as we're walking by or pass it to see if she might possibly be polite. If she gets too excited she doesn't get to greet the dog. She seems to be more submissive towards bigger dogs and has a much different reaction towards them than her smaller counterparts. I wonder if the small dogs trigger her prey drive from a distance?
 

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My two small dogs are ok with Abbylynn. If I were walking them and another large dog was approaching I would cross because my two little dogs think they are invincible. I would be afraid that my two would send the wrong message and get themselves hurt. I also would cross the street with Abbylynn because she is too friendly ( unless you are in her territory) and she may not think a dog who is less friendly than her will be a threat. That could be a major disaster.
 

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My westie is fine with large dogs...because she is relaxed and calm and very social with other dogs, she is very knowledgeable with dog behavior.

My maltese on the other hand....he just yaps like crazy at any sign of another dog that he doesn't live with.

I walk them separately because if my maltese is with us on the walk he is just an annoyance/distraction and makes every other dog nervous.
 

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I would not be the least bit offended if you kept your small dog away from my dogs! I love encountering dog owners like you who are aware of what's going on around them and try to avoid situations that might be trouble. Asking before letting your dog "introduce" itself to others is exactly the right thing to do. My dogs aren't particularly large, about 45-50lbs. One of my dogs is elderly and arthritic and a big grump who doesn't particularly like other dogs. If they run up and jump on her, she gets very angry and I don't blame her, they might hurt her. The other dog likes other dogs and is friendly, but she's a bit timid and submissive if another dog (even a much smaller one) comes bounding up to her. I really, really, really appreciate it when other dog owners ask before approaching with their dogs. My dogs will be fine with a "polite" introduction to a dog who respects ACD's desire to just sniff and not play and BC mixes desire to be approached slowly before engaging in play. If you asked to approach us, I'd probalby say don't approach the ACD if your dog is an "in your face" type because it could be dangerous, but, yes, you can approach the BC mix, slowly so she doesn't get scared and run, because she loves to play with tiny dogs and is very gentle with them (her best buddy is a 6lb "Pomapoo" ;)).
 

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When I walk my dogs, I'm not out to go meet everyone else's dogs. I don't want to meet your dogs, I just want to have fun walking my dogs. I avoid dogs of all sizes when we're walking. If there's an option to increase space between my two and the other dog, then I will. My two are fantastic walking past other dogs but they don't like strange dogs getting up to their faces. Where I walk a lot people let their dogs go off leash. If I see an off leash dog I turn and go the other way and pay extremely close attention to the other dog's body language. There was a ridgeback the other day that was WAY too interested acting in my two and he was about halfway across the open field. I turned around and started moving away and the idiot owner kept walking towards us. There's a huge open field and plenty of room for the dogs to avoid each other...

I feel it's better to be proactive than reactive. If I offend anyone then they're offended. I don't care, and I think it's very silly to be offended by that. My dogs are less stressed when they don't have to worry about every big dog getting in their personal space. I would much rather only let them interact with dogs we know and have introduced properly. I don't think dogs need to make doggy friends with every dog they meet.
^This. I am not interested in meeting every single person I see, let alone having my dogs meet every single dog they meet. Plus, I'm not a huge fan of letting two leashed dogs meet. Add to that, if (general) you use walks as "social" time and insist your dog meets every single dog they meet, in 6 months don't go whining around about how NOW you cannot get your dogs's attention whenever there's another dog in sight.
 

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I dont own a small dog. I have 2 medium sized dogs (40lbs and 60lbs) And i avoid all dogs on our walks, be it a small 3lbs dog or a 200lbs dog.Both my boys are beyond friendly. But most dogs I have found are not. So I just avoid them. I dont care if anyone thinks its rude. Just what I do.
 

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I usually cross the street when I see other dogs coming too. This is especially true when the person is walking an ill mannered dog or they are on a flexi and obviously not in control of the dog. That said I usually give them a big "hello" and complement their dog in some way. There are a few exceptions to the rule but I am a talker (just look at my number of posts) I will talk to anyone about anything. I don't want to be rude but keeping the dogs safe is my priority so, yes we move away. Also, My dogs play very nice with other dogs including 4 pound little ones. The way a greeting happens though is not a chance encounter as we are out for a walk.
 
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