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My dog is a magnet for nasty little dogs

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  • My dog is a magnet for nasty little dogs

    I should probably start by saying that I don't think all little dogs are nasty And this is really just a vent/whine and can I have some cheese with my whine?

    I already posted several months ago about my pit rescue being attacked by a small schnauzer that BROKE its collar to attack my dog. Luckily no harm done other than a few scratches and now some mental baggage that we are STILL dealing with.

    Well, earlier this week we were out on our nightly walk through the neighborhood. I live in a small townhome community that is very dog friendly and everyone is on a leash and we all mostly know each other. As we are walking around I notice someone's front door has been left open. Out comes a snarling growling TINY Chihuahua. He was so itty bitty that it was pretty comical He comes charging right up to my girl who freezes and gets what I'll call "the look". "The Look" is essentially the mental baggage left over from her scrap with the Schnauzer. She basically freezes, hackles come up, and she is on the defense.

    Luckily Tiny Chihuahua (TC) remembers good doggy manners and my girl doesn't eat him for her evening snack. All the while the owner is calling for her little guy from inside, while I'm yelling back for her to come snatch up TC. Everything is good with the pups until the owner walks out carrying a broom. My girl is super skittish, and jumps backwards landing on TC causing snarling/growling to start all over.

    I swear, my poor girl is a magnet for these smaller aggressive dogs. I'm so thankful that she hasn't chomped down on any of them with her massive jaws and that she is naturally incredibly submissive. It may be time to start carrying a stick while out walking, just for her protection.

    Anyone else have a dog that is just a magnet for trouble?

  • #2
    are you sure your dog isn't giving off body language that is inviting these attacks?
    I know someone with a spaniel that gets attacked by practically every dog they ever meet, and if you watch carefully you can see the spaniel acts very strangely when he sees dogs- kind of goes stiff and blank, hard to describe without a video. The dogs that don't attack act very frightened of this spaniel, apparently whatever he's doing is very abnormal.
    I've also met several people who would complain about their dog regularly being attacked by other dogs "without provocation", and if you watched, you could see their dog was really rude and was deliberately provoking the other dogs. Not a victim, but a troublemaker.


    • #3
      Me too! My girl has a super soft temperment and all the little ones with 'Napoleon Complex' target her. I carried a can of spray air (the stuff for blowing dust off computer keyboards) with me to keep the peace. Last time she was attact it was a chihuahua, on a leash, with laughing owner in tow!
      The only thing you can do is really learn the body language of dogs and don't let any dog approach unless you are certain it is well mannered, and be prepared for any sudden dust ups. Your pit will be blamed (unfairly) by most people for any fight so you must be extra careful.


      • Original Poster

        I don't *think my dog is giving off any odd body language. However, as this is my first dog, I've had to get an education on dog language and it is quite possible that she is the problem. As she is on a leash and all of our issues have occured with off leash/loose dogs I am much less concerned about her body language and much more concerned about these loose dogs.

        She gets along fine with big dogs, on and off leash. I think my main issue is stupid owners and of course the fact that all of these not so nice dogs are little guys that seem insecure. My girl is not allowed to approach other dogs while on leash as I know she tends to want to charge in and be a little rude. I really think our problems are a series of coincidences and I'm thankful that we generally don't have loose dogs running around.


        • #5
          sheesh, why didn't the owner just scoop the little dog up?! Broom was definitely overkill, sorry that happened to you!

          My dog lunges (not all the time, it is very dependent on situation/distance/dog/etc), and I spoke to a trainer/animal behaviorist about it. She gave some useful tips about "distracting" Belle when we arrive at a situation that might cause the behavior. This might work for you when you meet little dogs - start running backwards, really excitedly say "dog name" (only ONCE) then make encouraging noises, and offer a treat when she redirects her attention. I use an abbreviated version of this when there's not enough space or whatever for the running backwards scenario. I just say 'Belle' once, she turns her head, I treat. I taught her to turn her head by starting with no distractions, then few distractions, then introducing for other dogs etc.

          Good luck
          "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
          "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


          • #6
            I don't feel like we're "magnets" per se, but I do think that a lot of the wee dogs have a bit of a Napoleon complex.

            My dogs are big. 90+ lbs and tall. We are in an area where everyone pretty much has to walk their dogs as no one has yards so we run into a lot of other dogs.

            My dogs are pretty happy go lucky, no previous issues with dog fights or anything, etc. And YET...they really do seem a bit cowed by some of these little dogs! It's so funny because My dogs outweigh these little ones by 85-90 lbs and yet they are practically hiding behind me on the sidewalk trying to get by without incident! LOL

            I'm sorry to hear about your challenges.
            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

            Might be a reason, never an excuse...


            • #7
              I truly believe that it is somewhat in the nature of many little dog breeds to be on the offensive as a means of self preservation. I don't excuse the behavior or put my own little dogs in any situations (dog parks, etc) where they feel they need to act in such a manner, but I do think it is an important reality for both large and, even more so, small dig owners to recognize. I think far too many owners expect tiny dogs to feel perfectly comfortable with large dogs and if they aren't, they end up laughing it off because their little dog is not likely to inflict fatal damage on a large breed. Unfortunately, far too many tiny dogs pay with their life or health. All dogs are not created equal and some require seriously intense socialization, training and good management for their well being and the well being of others around them.
              Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
              friendship without envy or beauty without vanity?
              Ode to the Horse. ~ Ronald Duncan


              • #8
                Regardless of whether or not your dog is doing something to trigger a problem, these little dogs should be on leashes or under their the control of their owners. When I am walking my dog on a leash, it drives me crazy when off leash dogs are allowed to approach us. If people want to let their dogs run around off leash, they should do that in their own yard or at an off-leash dog park.
                I do think that some little dogs are genuinely afraid of bigger dogs and dogs do have different needs. Little dogs do need to be socialized, but they also need to be protected and kept safe. Letting them run up to unfamiliar dogs is a recipe for disaster, whether the little dog is being friendly or aggressive.


                • #9
                  My dog is the same way. He's been attacked by a Chihuahua, a Boston Terrier, a couple Jack Russell Terriers and a couple small mutts to boot. I dunno what it is about him, he's a kind gentle old soul that wouldn't hurt a fly. At over 200lbs my English Mastiff could easily clobber the smaller dogs but he usually just sits there are takes it until the offending ankle biter is hauled off. Worst he's ever done is give a nipping snarling dog what I call the "Diesel Smackdown", where he takes one paw and bats them away, sending the little doggy rolling but uninjured.

                  Bigger dogs don't seem to take offense to him but the little ones just hate him!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MtyMax View Post
                    Anyone else have a dog that is just a magnet for trouble?
                    I used to, my first dog was a saint of a German Shepherd. She could read dogs better than I could easily. But if there was an unsocialized, stupid dog around ... it made a beeline for her. The first set of classes I signed up for (from an OTCH trainer too!) trainer let her Golden out of the car and he bound up to Karin who maintained her sit but snarked at him for being rude. Trainer was angry I did not discipline my dog. Well guess what....MY dog was being polite and only snarked at your Rude Dog so get over it.

                    but the answer, yes I have.


                    • Original Poster

                      I completely agree that the small guys have a bit of a Napoleon Complex. They are so small that they almost HAVE to be aggressive to be heard.

                      I felt bad for this one, as he quieted down and decided to be polite until my dog freaked at the owner approaching, jumping backwards onto the little guy. I can't really blame him. I think that the other issue we have is that living in a townhome, most people have small dogs. Usually multiple small dogs that are all walked together....tough to control your fearful aggressive little dog when you have 3 of them in one hand

                      Can't wait to own a house and have a yard, but I'm sure that I'll find something else to complain about!


                      • #12
                        sometimes I think small dogs are not well socialized dogs b/c owners tend to be overprotective of the dogs. Or they just don't think to socialize the dogs. So lot of small dogs just don't have good doggy social skills.

                        But never be too quick to judge other people's dogs, I agree with Wendy in that if your dog is a magnet then it never hurts to closely observe your dog (or have a competent trainer observe) and see if you see your dog throwing off signals. It could be that your dog is just a magnet for trouble, could be that your dog is tense and throwing off signs that make the other dogs react.

                        For example my female standard schnauzer (can be a bit terrier like) is friendly and outgoing with happy go lucky, back and tail loose and swinging happy type dogs. Or soft, timid puppies or older dogs. But a tense, hard stare, tight body stance from another dog sets her on edge and she gets reactive (hair bristles, may snarl, goes to pull on leash and etc) and I know to redirect her before she notices the other dogs body language...