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Unsociable behaviour with other friendly dogs

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Hi all,

I've a 15 month old pup. Female and de-sexed.

Very good nature and pretty laid back.


However I've noticed some unwanted behaviour at the dog park, beach etc..


Generally when a dog comes up to her off leash, (ie a dog park), she gets a little nervous. When a friendly dog ends up getting too close or in her face, no matter how friendly or relaxed the other dog is, she'll start air snapping and growling.


I don't think it's aggression in the sense that it seems to be more nervousness, or fear and she resorts to this mode of "defending" herself against friendly dogs.


It doesn't happen 100% of the time and we've been down to the dog park before where she plays with other dogs.

She could probably be more socialised which I'm trying to do.


Does anyone have any advice on how to reinforce other dogs are friendly and want to play in public places such as beaches, dog parks etc...?

Want to get onto this before an established behaviour occurs.


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I may get disagreement on this, but if my dog were starting to air snap when other dogs approach, I would consider that useful information. To be clear, I most certainly would not encourage it, but I probably wouldn’t correct it either, depending on the dog/circumstances. I would calmly redirect my dog and leave the park, particularly if I were unsure of how the approaching dog would respond to an air snap. Is there some way you can get a play group together with dogs that have similar play styles to yours? Your dog may be telling you she is not comfortable at a dog park with unfamiliar dogs that are rude and invade her space. I don’t really have enough information to determine that this is the case, but you might be doing your dog a favor to consider it.  

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I am of a similar mind as terrecar.

If a dog is invading her space, she has a right to tell him/her to back off. Even if the other dog seems friendly to us (as humans) s/he may have been rude and inappropriate with the dog-dog interactions. It sounds like your dog may not be super confident.

I also recommend reducing the amount of time at dog parks, and if you do bring her to dog-dense play areas, definitely try to monitor the situation and not let her fend for herself.

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Dogs have different play styles and needs. Some dogs aren't that interested in playing with other dogs. Some dogs LOVE it and all levels in between. Dogs communicate with each other in ways that most humans can't see/define.

If your dog doesn't want to play with another dog, don't insist on it. Simply walk away. If your dog has dogs she loves playing with, that's great. Just like human children, and adults for that matter, have humans they like to socialize with and those they don't like to socialize with, dogs have 'friends' and 'get away from me right now' feelings about other dogs.

Ruth & Gibbs, who seems to love puppies but not adult dogs 

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I have experienced a similar thing with my BC. She's great with 99% of dogs but there is often that 1 random dog she doesn't get on with. I am always conscious to observe her body language, if I see her tail going low and tucking, ears folded all the way back and any lip licking the dog is communicating anxiety. I pull back and do not approach or allow the approach of the other dog. Likewise for the other dog. If she has a raised happy tail, relaxed ears and shows no signs of anxiety through licking I will allow her to approach and greet the other dog. 

From what I've read, BCs can be a bit picky with which dogs they get on with because of things like play styles etc. Mine tends to love most dogs except for the odd intimidating bigger dog (German Shepherd for example). My dog gets on great with higher energy breeds like BCs, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles etc but doesn't get on too well with dogs that are around twice her size. 

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I agree with the above saying that this is not an issue you should try to change. Some dogs, especially border collies (in my experience) are just not friendly with all other dogs. My Jester had literally no interest in any other dog unless it was a border collie. He would ignore and give signals to other dogs to back off, and if they didn't listen to him he would snap, although I always got him away from the other dog if I could before it got to that point. With other border collies he was a bit more friendly but really he was a human-focused dog.

Don't take your dog to dog parks at all. Personally, I hate dog parks and have never felt comfortable there. To me it's like if someone put me into a big cocktail party with a bunch of people I don't know, some of whom are drunk, some of whom are superduper overly friendly to me. I would want out of there fast. If your dog doesn't like socializing with other dogs, don't expect it of her. Let her be who she is.

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I totally agree with the above advice, I currently have one overly friendly border collie, who thinks the world is his best friend, and another who really only plays with his brother, he ignores other dogs and just wants their human to throw something. I have also found border collies to be breed snobs especially with breeds that have a more physical play style like labs and bullys. 
I am also not a fan of dog parks, I like D’elle’s description. 

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