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other dogs behaving aggressively towards mine.

Hi there, I have a 14month old irish red setter and have socialised him constantly from day one. He is not nervous around other dogs, has learnt not to bounce up to them, he stands still and lets them sniff him, he has very good manners. Yesterday after two dogs went for him, thankfully lots of noise and no injuries, I was informed by one of the owners a staffie, that my dog must be giving off something that is making them react that way. She asked me whether he was entire and when I replied yes she said I was going to get a lot of this from other dogs. Is this true, have any of you had the same problems. I know red setters are generally not neutered and I have no intention of neutering mine but Jamie is not aggressive, so is definately not giving off that vibe. Today came across a wire haired visla, who has met Jamie before and no problems in the past but today went for him. What is happening? The owner said oh but your dog is bigger now isn't he. (Is that a reason! Bizarre). Would love to make sense of this. Any feedback most welcome. I walk him in a very nice area, its hundreds of acres, loads of room, ponds, wooded areas, not a park or fields, so there is plenty of room for the dogs to avoid if need be, but I don't want to. Jamie has made loads of friends and I just want to not worry every time I come across a dog I don't know if its going to be a problem because he's entire.

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I am no behavioural expert, Alison. But in my opinion the two replies given to you are absolute nonsense. In my experience, once another dog has been aggressive toward or attacked your dog, it will likely do so again. On any occasion another dog has shown aggression towards my boy (which has been rarely), I tell the owner to get their dog on a lead, in no uncertain terms. My advice to you is to avoid any dogs that have been aggressive to your boy, and if it is unavoidable at short notice, then tell the owners to get their aggressive dogs on a lead. The last thing you want is to have him injured or have his confidence affected. Do not stand for the excuses that some of these dog owners come out with. Dangerous and/or aggressive dogs and their owners make my blood boil. Remember it is not your boy or his entirety that is the problem.

Dear James,

Thank you for your advice. One of the dogs that went for Jamie has gone for him before, twice actually and the owner has done nothing. I haven't said anything before because I just wanted to get Jamie away, but I will from now on. I read the reply from Gay and wondered whether there was something in that. Owning a dog, any dog is certainly an education! 

Dear Alison

I agree with James.

Staffies, whether male or female, desexed or not, are renowned for having behavioural problems towards other dogs. Responsible owners are aware of this. I remember many years ago I was entering a leash free dog park with Hammer, Rose and Hobson. A staffie x was quite some distance away, ran directly towards Hobson and attacked him. Fortunately Hobson was not harmed. The owner who was a woman laughed. I immediately put my English Setters on leads, left the park, and entered through another entrance down the road. The staffie x came again at us, this time trying to attack Hammer. I was prepared with a spare leash and swung this to keep him away. The owner then started screaming and swearing at me. I decided to leave this park and have not returned because it has gained a reputation for aggressive dogs and irresponsible owners. Hammer was desexed at the time and Hobson was not. This had nothing to do with the aggression of the other dog.

Your boy is not doing anything wrong and neither are you so keep enjoying yourselves in this beautiful area.

Even though Hobson is now 12yo and he has lost his confidence because of his neck and hind leg problems occasionally when he meets another dog the fur will stand up along his spine, and Hobson is the gentlest soul. I walk Hobson with a harness on the end of a leash even in large parks now because he feels more confident knowing I am close by and because I cannot afford for any dog to knock him over. When this happens I quietly walk Hobson away and never allow him to approach this dog again. Even though Hobson is not the one with the problem he still needs me to protect him.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I like you always feel I need to protect Jamie, not only because he's young but because I feel its my responsibility. I need to understand more, Gay's reply is something I am going to look into.

Dear Gay,

Very interesting, I looked at the link and Jamie does stand still but he does not give direct eye contact, so he can be sideways on which is looking away. He always allows the dogs he doesn't know to approach him after initial eye contact, hence the standing still. With the staff, he was sniffing the staff actually when it suddenly turned and went for him. I think I need to learn dog signals not only Jamie's but all dogs. The thing is when a ridgeback went for him, it stalked him first, other dogs have done that and then played, so I am at a loss at present. I do think some dogs bully him though because he is submissive, but perhaps thats also because he's young. I am going to study the link.

Hi Alison

I had to chuckle when I read Gay's response which I completely agree with. Yes, there are some dog owners who only take their dogs on walks purely to have a "good dust up". The owners are miserable and aggressive and their poor dogs end up the same way. Some dogs, male and female, will teach younger dogs but some dogs simply have not been taught manners and will try to take advantage of a younger dog or any dog.

I purchased several books of Turid Rugaas many years ago and I really like her approach. You will learn a lot from her books. There are loads of books written about learning "the language of dogs" but Turid is the only trainer I have been drawn to. As a comparison I purchased 'The Dog Listener' written by Jan Fennell many years ago and did not agree with her approach at all.  

I have become very disillusioned with human beings right across the board including animal communicators even though I have always telepathically communicated with animals. Another author you might like to read is Margrit Coates. I recently read her book 'Angel Pets: Incredible True Stories of Animal Miracles' which I borrowed from the library. What I like about her writing is the respect she has for animals and her belief that animals are far more intelligent than many human beings will accept. This is not a training book but you may enjoy reading it because you obviously love Jamie very much.

You are doing all the right things, Alison, and you have trained your boy, Jamie to have good manners. He has made loads of friends and you are protecting him to ensure he does not have a bad experience because he is a young dog. 

Best Wishes from Susan

I just wanted to clarify my last comment. I was not making light of the situation. Gay's comment reminded me of a recent incident with a very nasty woman and her "pint sized" aggressive dog. Right now I can see the funny side but if the dog had been large the situation would have been worse and like James, my blood can boil at times when my English Setters are subjected to the irresponsible behaviour of dog owners. 

Hi Guys, thanks again for all your advice, I came across the staffie owner again a few days ago and I called Jamie to me and walked him away by his collar, gently and calmly only to be shouted at by the staff owner that I was creating a problem in my dog by not letting him be around hers. What can you do with these people! Her dog attacked mine and its my right to take my dog away from any situation I'm not comfortable with. I wish I could say something to these people! I bought some books by Turid Regaas and all I'll say is there are quite a few dogs with very bad manners, just like their owners!

As far as I am concerned Alison, you did exactly the right thing. Jamie didn't get attacked. Save his socialising for other non aggressive dogs worthy of it. If you're not comfortable in confronting these types of people, then just ignore and avoid them as you did. Bloody cheek of that bitch to say that you were the one creating a problem. Don't get me started!!!

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