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Is Your Dog Nervous? Um No, Your Dog Is Rude

Guest Amber

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*sigh* age old issue i know, but almost unbelievable another dog owner asked if my dog was nervous AFTER his lab made a rude añd unpleasant approach. They were both off leash, i saw the man coming round a bend, by the time i noticed his dog had gone into slow stalking mode, i turned round to put fey on lead, so i could try to keep the lab away, but she softened and turned her head when i called, so the lab took this as a signal to bolt up to her at full speed in a rude manner.


Fey ran away from it and this well meaning moron asks if my dog is nervous. Well if she is losing confidence it's because of rude people with even ruder dogs.


In anyone's book, how is a slow head-on stalk with a direct stare , followed by a headlong charge in a straight line a 'friendly' or nice approach? Are these owners really so clueless?


Yesterday we had a GSD who was politer and ran over wanting to play but fey found him too much and told him off. Then this unpleasant lab. Following the lab, a small GSD we met with impeccable manners, lovely dog but on a narrow path so fey froze. Normally she would happily greet and walk on.


makes me so annoyed! I think I will have to revert to zero tolerance to rude dogs and err on the side of caution and leash up and be prepared to fend off. Swatting with a chuckit stick if needs be.


My dog is well mannered and was pretty confident but following a period of lameness not been socialising as much and then with the fireworks, she got stressed.


I know the world is full of rude, annoying people and badly behaved dogs but it's such a shame when you have to not trust other dog owners to be sensible. If i owned that lab, he would not be allowed to behave like that and i would be working on social skills, not blaming the other dog for being 'nervous' !

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A lot of dogs are taken out of the environment of mom and siblings at 8-12 weeks old and grow up without really learning dog manners. Greyhounds are very different in this regard and just don't appreciate the clueless lack of respect for personal space that those dogs have. Their owners often just don't realize either.

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No they are clueless both owner and dog (and I'm afraid to say labs and goldens I've found to be the worst) . I just find it strange that someone can not see or feel the tension their dog is creating through its body language and behaviour, the owners always seem totally relaxed !

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My lab mix (my only non-grey now) came home from the shelter at 12 weeks and straight into my home with two other dogs. She has always seemed to be very polite when meeting other dogs and really puts them at ease. Both my greys like her :). But she is more an exception to a lot of labs.

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Nothing against labs, there are loads that are nice, chilled dogs. Some male black and choc labs tend to be the problematic and poorly trained ones. I think mostly it is the owners, they let them behave like this. Fey has a black lab boyfriend, lovely soft dog and they get on well BUT he is a total pest running up to every single dog in sight. But At least he is genuinely soft and friendly (if over friendly ), unlike the one today which had an edge.


We had a bad experience at night on the street with a daft woman who had a male black lab off lead, in the dark, next to the road. At first i thought it was fey's friend so didn't avoid it (also couldn't see it was unleashed in the dark) but he bombed up and really kind of body slammed her , v out of control. The woman did apologise saying she had not seen us, but honestly we are in a residential area full of dog owners, how on earth does she think she has the whole place to herself? ! I'm afraid i lost the plot with her, told her it was unacceptable. I did haul him off by the collar but he was incredibly strong. I think this is part of the problem - strong, not trained so they pull on the lead, therefore people think it easier to not put on a lead.


Fey was pretty scared after that one.

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Sounds like Fey is nervous, which is OK.


If you are out an about in an area with lots of dogs you should expect every type of encounter. A stable, confident greyhound will be able to deal with everything from agression to younger rambunctious dogs leaping at their face. Sounds like that lab just wanted to play. (They all do lol.)


Maybe you are underestimating Fey's ability to deal with different approaches. If she attacks the other dog, or runs off into danger, then you have an issue that would mean leash only. Other than that is something really terrible happening? Hard to tell from your post.


I have one of those dogs that other dogs just cannot resist. Nearly all that we greet stuff their noses right up his rear, many obsessively lick his penis, and a portion of the males will attempt to mount him. (The only breed that is polite and shows respect is Greyhounds!) I have never seen another dog inspire such interest from their fellow canines. Every walk is series of constant "rude" approaches.


I look at it as this is simply how some dogs behave, I am not troubled at all by this and I never intervene. I leave it to my dog to handle the situation. He has his limits and when a dog crosses the line he takes action (which he seems to enjoy after the fact). Always comes to me for a reward after he "savages" another dog.


If I had a dog I was worried about, I would accept all responsibility for its protection. Short of allowing a truly dangerous dog off leash, I never blame owners who just don't know enough or have different standards about what is acceptable.

Edited by KickReturn
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I tend to disagree that a dog, just because it is stable and non-reactive, should have to put up with all sorts of rude , bad behaviour from other dogs. Most behaviourists I think agree that positive, good interactions with other dogs are good, but too many negative encounters are to be avoided, even if your dog is totally confident (and most we meet ARE polite, nice dogs, just seem to be a smaller proportion that are badly behaved and not well controlled). A well balanced, confident dog will recover quicker from assaults and attacks but (in my opinion) that doesn't make assaults on your dog acceptable? I am sure I read one well known behaviourist (may have been Jean Donaldson) who advises only allowing your dog (no matter how well trained and confident) to meet up with an unknown dog, if all body language signs are good and the other dog is calm and friendly. Overall, I do try to follow this ... but without the strict leash laws that you have in the US, it is not easy.


I am not overly worried about Fey (after 3 walks this weekend with her pals, she is regaining confidence) but I DO expect other people to educate themselves on their own dog's behaviour and to ensure that their animal does not cause a nuisance to others. If they are ignorant of how rude / annoying their dog is, I am going to set them straight, if the behaviour of their dog upsets mine.


Yes I can expect all sorts of encounters but I'm not going to accept very rude or aggressive behaviour from someone's dog if it is off lead. If someone's dog is behaving badly, I do tell them that it is, as otherwise, how are they supposed to know? If we all just accept things and shrug it off, then these people will continue on their merry way, ignorant of all the upset and problems that they cause.


ETA there are of course degrees of rudeness. Excessive bum sniffing is one thing, a low down crouch, stiff body language, direct stare and a charge (as the lab did) is another. This can sometimes be 'playful' but not really when stiff body comes into it (more leaning to bullying than playing) and in any case, is a totally inappropriate way for a dog to approach one that it does not know. Years ago, a dog did this very same approach to my male greyhound Oscar and that dog came away with a hole in its side...although he could be reactive, that was the only time he ever bit another dog. He interpreted that approach as the prelude to an attack.

Edited by Amber
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Guest DarkHorse

I agree that no dog, no matter how stable, should be expected to be completely laid-back, no matter what the approach.


Dexter wouldn't react to a dog coming racing at him. He barely blinks at growls and barks. Direct stares are completely ignored. Even a bound into his face is met with turning away at most (we get this a lot with little dogs and puppies, who are fascinated with him).


The instant a dog puts a paw on his back, though? He tells them off quite sternly with a growl, snarl, and maybe a bark. The other weekend, my SiL's Dane was pawing at his face when he was lying on his bed (talk about rude, no matter what the species!), and he told the Dane to back off with the same snarl and bark.


To me, those are appropriate reactions. He's dealing with something painful and physically threatening, and he exhibits an appropriate level of "aggressive" behaviour to correct it. He's never so much as snapped, just the very loud bark-snarl of a stern "Back off, buddy" in dog language.

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