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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question newly adopted dog- growls at other dogs

I adopted a 2 yr old rescue dog (probably a treeing walker coon hound) two weeks ago. He'd been found, severely starved, six weeks before, by the side of the road. He's regained his weight and is a very sweet dog, very affectionate and attention seeking to people and kids.
He's begun calming down and has become attached to me in the past week. Over the weekend, on our dog walks, he's begun growling at other dogs- puppies, small dogs, and even big dogs and even barking at a few of them. I'm holding the leash loosely and I'm not sure why this is happening or what my response should be. We're still working on basic obedience skills- a reliable sit, down, wait, come, but outside he is too distracted to do even a sit most of the time.

Lately I've been walking him in such a way as to avoid him meeting other dogs. Any suggestions on what this means and what a good response should be? He's my first dog.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 02:54 PM
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Do you know his background? I know it might sound strange, but maybe he was used in dog fighting or something. He might just be an unsocial dog and just want human company. Maybe the dog has not been introduced to the world properly as a puppy and still needs to go through those puppy stages of being introduced to new things, I'm not sure, it could be a number of reasons.
Good luck!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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My guess is that he was a dog meant to be used for hunting (his breed is more often used as hunting dogs than companion dogs) and abandoned because he has NO prey instinct. He's scared of the cat and he reacts like other dogs I've seen who were puppies in houses with cats. He's played with my friend's dogs (one a puppy, one an adult), but we had to take many breaks and separate them because he'd get overexcited or the puppy would and he'd play too hard. Maybe it is just not enough socialization yet.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-23-2008, 09:31 AM
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Hmmm... It could be something to do with the size of the dogs or with a lot of dogs I see, they act differently towards other dogs when they are on or off the lead. I know some dogs (Like you were saying he was playing with them other dogs) will be fine with other dogs when they are off the lead, but when they are on the lead, they start growling. Sometimes thats the case with Indie and even dogs that meet Indie, but once they are off the lead playing, they are fine.
It could also just be like I said before and he hasn't had those puppy stages where he was socialised and introduced with/to different things, so you have to treat him like a puppy and when you go out and you see another dog coming, say to him in a good, higher pitched sort of playful voice 'Do you see the dog' and point at the dog and repeat it a few times, than he might learn that it's a good thing, some people use this method with dogs that are afraid of a certain gender.
Good luck!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-23-2008, 08:44 PM
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It sounds like he is an alpha. Dogs generally pack together. The dominant ones (alpha) control what all the others do. They are also territorial with other dogs, wanting them to back down and submit.

It does not mean he is a bad dog, it just means you have to be more careful. He is testing the other dogs if it is from alpha behavior.

To fix this: Let him know that you are the alpha to him by obedience training and leadership. You might observe what he himself does and treat him that way until he submits to you. Then on your walks he should take his cues from you. When I say treat him that way I am not saying be abusive, but if he growls and threatens, then make the effect back at him. You want him to take his cues from you, to be submissive to you, and react like you want. Obedience classes are good for that.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the ideas! He's definitely not an alpha dog with me. When i came home this afternoon, he was wagging his tail in his submissive way, he was licking my hand, following me around. He lets me go through doors, and down the stairs first. I'm thinking he might just not be socialized enough with small dogs. I took him to a big dog park and he was ok until the end, whereupon he became over excited and started chasing around a dog, barking and howling the whole time. After that, he growled at a small pug puppy. But all the larger dogs, he was ok with.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 07:15 PM
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I worked very hard to socialize Frank because I had two unsocialized cocker spaniels before and I wanted Frank to be able to play with others. He was doing so well until when he was about a year old he hurt his hip, badly. I stupidly brought him back to "school" too early and he got hurt playing with the other dogs. Turned out he was injured worse than we thought from the beginning. He had to have surgery and then there was a recovery period. After that winter came. By the time spring rolled around he was barking at other dogs. I stupidly did not work on the problem immediately. Eventually I took him back to his teachers and she worked with us and other dogs. With time he was not aggressive with those particular other dogs but that was pretty much because they ignored each other.
You should contact local dog schools to see if there is one that can work with him. I know that with time Frank would be able to be socialized again. With enough work dogs will realize what you expect of them. But it is work.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-13-2010, 02:41 PM
 
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If he was okay at the park, but not when walking with you, it sounds like he just may be protective over you. Dogs (especially males) get very protective over people, toys, bedding, everything that they associate as being THEIRS. I volunteer at a shelter, and I've seen dogs returned for this reason, but while in the shelter, they showed no aggression whatsoever. I'd try talking soothingly while in confrontation with another dog, like, "it's okay, it's okay." I often have to repeat it to my dog in a lot of situations, and it helps her a lot to calm down and realize everything going on is fine.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-14-2010, 09:36 PM
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Do you consider an obedience or behavior classes for him? Maybe needs more socialization and build his confidence.

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