Megan Wilson: Correcting a dog that growls at other dogs?
My mixed breed (Golden Retriever/ German Shepherd/ Basenji) puppy is about 10 months old. She really does not like it when another dog gets in her face if they did not properly greet first. She will growl at them if they get in her face. I see this mostly when we are in a semi- unfamiliar place or a completely unfamiliar place, usually at a dog park and sometimes at Petsmart. The dog is almost always smaller than her or very energetic. She's not being aggressive, she's just giving the dog a warning but I know that it scares uninformed owners when my dog growls at theirs.
How do I handle this situation? Removing her from the situation will only encourage her to growl when she feels any level of discomfort since she doesn't want to be near the dog anyway. She doesn't do this at our regular dog park, which, ail bate, is a bit smaller than others we visited and much less overwhelming.
I just don't know what kind of correction would be best. When she does this I will pull her away from the other dog and walk away but I know that can be a bad idea, especially since it stresses her out more.
jtexas, maybe I should have been more specific. This happens the most at other dog parks (that she isn't that familiar with) when the other dog enters the park. I will put my puppy in a sit- stay away from the gate so the other owner has enough room to get inside with their dog and so my girl doesn't accidentally escape. The dogs will enter the park full of energy and instantly run to my puppy and get right in her face and she will almost immediately growl at them.
Thank you everyone for your help. We went to the dog park last night and when she growled at another dog, I did not step in and instead let her work it out and everything worked out very well. The other dogs immediately stopped what they were doing and calmed down. I think I was much more concerned about how my dog and myself would be perceived by others which I'm learning does not matter. Again, thank you. She loves playing with her new friends at the dog park and I would've hated to have to remove her and not go back if her reaction had, in fact, not been acceptable.
Answers and Views:
Answer by Anonymous
Be on the lookout for other dogs. If you can avoid them, do so. One thing you can do is to treat her every time she doesn't growl at the other dog. If she see's another dog, pet her and give her treats from a distance. Point to your eyes and tell her "watch me". When you have her attention give her another treat. The best thing to do would be to keep her focused on you and not the other dog. This should give you time to socialize her in a way that is comfortable for her.
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