Help! Growling at approaching dogs on walk

Discussion in 'Obedience' started by fly fish, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. fly fish

    fly fish Registered Users

    Jun 22, 2019
    Appreciate any suggestions. Just brought a 1 1/2 year old English male lab home four days ago. He had been hanging out at a breeder with his mother, sister and a Boston Terrier running around the yard, coming in and out of the house. He is crate, car and leash trained and house broken. He weighs, 110 lbs. He is very laid back except when we walk and he sees an approaching dog. When the dog, on lead and owner get to 20 yards away, Bromley, his name, growls and snarls. I check him on his lead and have been told to put my hand around his muzzle and say, "No!"

    Then I read where that is not a good idea and I should avoid other dogs and let him observe them from a distance. I'm confused. He is a big sweet boy and we want him to be welcome by out family and neighbors who have dogs. Can anyone please give me some thoughts.

    Kind regards,

    Fly Fish
  2. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

    Aug 25, 2018
    Jersey, Channel Islands
    The problem with buying a 1.5yo dog is that you've no idea what socialisation that dog has received - unless you check that out for yourself before purchasing. Just because the dog is ok with the specific dogs at the breeder's, is no indication the dog is going to be happy with other novel/new dogs.

    You need to work with a force-free behaviourist on this issue to try to help him become more comfortable around other dogs.
  3. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

    Mar 22, 2014
    The reason that putting your hand around your dog's muzzle and saying ,'no' is not a good idea is because your dog's growling is an emotional response and simply preventing him from outwardly showing that emotional reaction will not stop him from feeling it inside.

    Stay at a distance from other dogs where your dog is relaxed (not growling, barking or lunging) and as your dog looks at the other dog feed a high value treat. Repeat lots of times. Soon your dog will see the other dog and look to you for a treat. You need to set these up as training sessions rather than just relying on happening to meet another dog at the right distance. What you are doing is changing your dog's emotional response - building a new link in his mind between a strange dog and food - the strange dog becomes associated mentally with something good.
    Over a period of time (probably several weeks) you get closer to the 'trigger' (strange dog).
    This process is known as LAT - Look At That

    In the meantime if you are just out on a walk and see a dog, I would do an about-turn or cross the road to avoid them.

    There is a brief article here about LAT:
  4. Bungie

    Bungie Registered Users

    Dec 28, 2019
    Can you take the dog to a park or other place where there are other dogs on leashes?

    Social walking is really important and quite easy to teach.

    As soon as your dog reacts or starts to walk towards another dog turn and walk another direction.

    Keep the leash loose, don’t shorten it at all.

    As soon as he comes with you into the turn praise him, use a marker like yessssss within 3 seconds and give him a little treat.

    As Joy said teaching Look at That aka watch is a good idea too. It puts the focus on you and away from everything else.

    If you are not sure you can do it on your own find a local obedience club.

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