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I mentioned by older dog, Rufus, in another thread. We rescued him from the pound in June, and as been nothing but pleasant. However, I fear he was never socialized properly wherever he came from.

It seems that he doesn't exactly know how to interact with other dogs. It may be just because he's older, but I'm not sure. I've never once seen him play with or show any (positive) interest in another dog other than a few sniffs every now and then. Even at the dog park, he'll run around happily, play some fetch and go swimming, but could care less about any other dogs.

Now this isn't bad in and of itself. However, the only time he seems to pay any attention, it is negative. He has snapped a few times when some dogs tried mounting him (believe, I completely understand this). He also snapped at our puppy on day 1 when the dog got close to his food. I also understand this, but the weird thing was that once I pulled him back, he went back after the pup. Have only had one other incident where he snapped at the dog, and I didn't break that one up and it didn't escalate.

Am I over thinking this? Is he just a guy that likes to do his own thing? The only thing that worries me is the fact that I haven't seem any positive type interaction with any other dogs, only negative. It hasn't been frequent by any means, and most of the time he simply ignores the other dogs. When our pup tries to play, he just kind of stands there, but I'm always a little tense because I think he is going to react negatively.

I'm just looking for some insight, and whether or not you think this is something we should work on. We thought the puppy would bring some of the playfulness out of him, and I still think it might. We've only had Bernie for under two weeks.

Thanks.
 

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I didn't read the other thread, so I don't know anything about Rufus. But I suggest that you socialize him with conservative, predictable, non-reactive, socialized dogs, then try more playful dogs. You want dogs that won't react badly to his reactions, and you don't want dogs that won't back down... Older Retrievers, Boxers, and some terriers may be a good start, if you can find will owners. He may never play, but he'll react less...
 

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I don't think Rufus is necessarily under socialized... some dogs just aren't much for playing. I don't think I ever saw my first dog Tucker playing. He was a Shar-Pei and they are known for being quite a stoic and serious breed. It also sounds like Rufus is reacting appropriately to situations.

I would skip the dog park and opt for a longer off leash hike if possible. I would reevaluate again in 6 months when Rufus is fully adjusted to being at home. If puppy and him still don't play, there are certainly things you can do, but they need to build the foundation of a relationship/respect/trust with each other first.
 

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My dog meatball never was much for playing with other dogs. He could care less too. He does however like our new 5 month old pup and will play with her a bit. At the dog park he would not give other dogs the time of day unless they go for his toy. Then he will bark to make them back off.

Your dog sounds normal to me. He is just making sure the new dog knows he is the top dog. Sounds like he is just making sure the pup gives him respect. It is a little off that he never shows any good interest in dogs. With time this could change he is still new to the family and now you have another dog in family. That's a lot for a dog to deal with.

Some dogs take extra time to warm up to new friends. In time he should except the new pup and might even play.
 

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Some dogs just don't have any interest in other dogs. I socialized my Golden when he was a pup, but he ignores other dogs in favor of people. He's not seriously aggressive with other dogs (though he's not inclined to back down from an overt threat) but he doesn't appreciate being crowded by them.

He is 100% a people lover and there just doesn't seem to be much room in his heart for dogs. It doesn't seem to be a problem for him, so it's not one for me.
 

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I mentioned by older dog, Rufus, in another thread. We rescued him from the pound in June, and as been nothing but pleasant. However, I fear he was never socialized properly wherever he came from.

It seems that he doesn't exactly know how to interact with other dogs. It may be just because he's older, but I'm not sure. I've never once seen him play with or show any (positive) interest in another dog other than a few sniffs every now and then. Even at the dog park, he'll run around happily, play some fetch and go swimming, but could care less about any other dogs.

Now this isn't bad in and of itself. However, the only time he seems to pay any attention, it is negative. He has snapped a few times when some dogs tried mounting him (believe, I completely understand this). He also snapped at our puppy on day 1 when the dog got close to his food. I also understand this, but the weird thing was that once I pulled him back, he went back after the pup. Have only had one other incident where he snapped at the dog, and I didn't break that one up and it didn't escalate.

Am I over thinking this? Is he just a guy that likes to do his own thing? The only thing that worries me is the fact that I haven't seem any positive type interaction with any other dogs, only negative. It hasn't been frequent by any means, and most of the time he simply ignores the other dogs. When our pup tries to play, he just kind of stands there, but I'm always a little tense because I think he is going to react negatively.

I'm just looking for some insight, and whether or not you think this is something we should work on. We thought the puppy would bring some of the playfulness out of him, and I still think it might. We've only had Bernie for under two weeks.

Thanks.
First bolded statement:
Some dogs may react this way or escalate when physically restrained. In the future, feed them separately and supervise with bones/toys. It sounds like he knows how to give an appropriate reprimand, he snaps not overreacting/injuring the other dog.

As for mounting, consider yourself lucky that he only snaps. If any dog mounts or thinks about mounting Kaki, it might just be the last thing they do.

Second bolded statement:
If I were you, I would redirect the pup when he tries to play. Your older dog may be more forgiving with him because of a bond that they might have but he still has a threshold. I don't know what other people call this but I lovingly refer to it as the bullsh*t threshold at work. There's only so much a dog will put up with from other dogs. Some will tolerate hours of abuse. Others(like my dog Kaki) will fly off the handle for almost nothing.


He may eventually come around to the joys of canine companionship. It took Kaki years of repeated exposure to the dogs I work with. Even now, there's only one dog at work that she will play with. She'd still rather focus on me; what am I doing? Do I want to play? Am I getting ready to leave work? Are my ankles in the perfect position to bite? And on and on.

ETA: I'd much rather have this kind of dog than the one that's off in no man's land at the dog park. The one that doesn't know or care where their owners are.
 

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Older dog, younger dogs, puppy, sounds like my world recently. If the older dog growls & snaps, stopping at that for adult dogs with poor behavior or a pup who is learning good behavior I'd lean towards reasonably decent bite inhibition while communicating where that behavior should end.

My 11 year old Aussie terrier does the same thing with my son's 6 month old Aussie terrier. She did the same thing with my now 3 year old Aussie terrier when we got her nearly 2 years ago, and still does when he gets out of line. My 4 year old did it with the 3 year old when he was a pup, the two of them will square each other away when one or the other does something out of line, all will put the 6 month old in his place when needed.

Dog communication is not people communication, they are animals, and do things a bit more roughly at times. The closest thing I can relate it to would be the old cowboy movies from the 30's & 40's.

Cowboy #1 tells cowboy #2 that his horse looks lame. Cowboy #2 punches cowboy #1 in the face, knocks him flat in the dirt. Cowboy #3 picks up cowboy #1, they all walk into the saloon for a drink, no worse for the wear. That would be totally unacceptable in today's society, dog's don't understand politically correct.
 

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In my opinion, there is really no need for a dog to socialize with other dogs not a part of their pack. You and your family are his "pack" and in nature, packs don't integrate and "play" with other packs. I believe that the idea of dog parks came from someone who humanized their dog and believed that a dog should be with other dogs because it will fulfil their deep desire to be with others of their kind. That is a human trait. A dog can live with his human family and play with another dog in its life, other than with littermates and mother, and have just as happy of a life as, if not happier than, a dog who had the added stress of being with others not in their pack. I say that from experience.

If your dog is one who "just likes to do his own thing," you shouldn't force the idea of being with other dogs on him. It probably makes him uncomfortable in some ways, so he snaps. He could also be lacking in socialization. Also, I really advise against dog parks or allowing your dog loose around other dogs, because there is no way for you to know the behavior of the other dogs there, whether they're UTD on vaccinations, aggressive, or regular biters, or if their owners can verbally control them if they turn on your dog for some reason.
 
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