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I wanted to ask how everyone handles chance encounters with big dogs when out walking. Yesterday we introduced Alfie to my Mum's Collie/Spitz cross Dennis on a walk, and after some initial barking, growling and excitement they settled down to walk together and were then mostly ok, although Alfie was still jumpy.

Alfie is quite scared of other dogs. He was with a small group of other young Chi's at the breeder's home and was fine with them, but seems very nervous when meeting dogs outside the home. I knew we were probably ok with Dennis because he loves other dogs and is not at all aggressive, but obviously when just bumping into strange dogs on walks you have no idea how that dog will behave. I'm used to having big dogs, and it's not quite as nerve wracking when you meet a strange dog, but having such a tiny dog makes me really nervous.

Today on a walk a massive chocolate lab who was off the lead came charging straight up to us and lunged towards Alfie. Now, he could have just been being playful but am I going to take that risk and let him get to Alfie? No, because I don't know if big dogs react differently towards Chi's and see them as possible prey. And if a big dog like that was going to snap at him he could do real damage.

I ended up grabbing the labs collar and holding on to him with one hand, while Alfie was snarling and freaking out on the end of the lead in the other hand. I had to stay like that until the owner arrived.

How do you all handle this kind of thing? Am I being over-protetctive and nervous about this?
 

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In a word: No.

The thing is you really can never know what someone else's dog is going to do, however you need to get Alfie used to dogs of all sizes or you will have a problem.

It does annoy me when a dog is off the lead and comes racing over but you'll need to learn to read the signs. Is the dogs tail and ears held high and stiff? Does the dog look relaxed or very alert?

What I've been practising is getting Gambit (he's similar to Alfie with the growling and barking) to sit and wait while a dog walks past. I rustle the treat bag and if he doesnt make a noise then he gets a treat. Its probably going to take a long time. He's only just letting Chaos get close to him and he's been home for just over a week now.

If a dog is coming up to us, I'll just tell the owner that he is a very nervous dog and can they hold their dog back and see if Gambit would like to sniff. Usually, Gambit wont even want to and will back away.
Its very important to stay calm, whatever the situation, as Alfie will feel your nervousness and feed off of it.

I've had dogs that did not look happy AT ALL racing over to us and although its supposed to be a bad thing, I had to pick my dogs up. I wouldn't risk it either.
I usually find though, that bigs dogs do just want to have a sniff and a play and if my lot don't act interested they will just trundle on.
 

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Thanks for the reply. You are totally right about the handler being nervous, I really try not to be, but the trouble is on 2 seperate occasions when I was younger 2 of my Mum's Saluki's were attacked by loose dogs when out on walks, that was bad enough with a larger dog like a Saluki (one dog ended up with her side ripped open), but a Chi wouldn't stand a chance of survival. I think those experiences have coloured my expectations of strange dogs on the loose, and coupling that with now being responsible for such a tiny dog makes me even more scared.

Alfie does react badly too, he is very threatened so snarls and freaks out, whilst trying to back away from the other dog. He might be ok given time, he did relax more with my Mum's dog Dennis after a while, but with a strange dog I don't want to risk it as I guess even friendly, boisterous play from a larger dog could do him some damage.

I'm thinking about taking him to dog classes to help acclimatise him to being around other dog breeds.
 

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You have to be very careful, a few years ago my sister was walking her 2 standard poodles and her chinese crested when 2 large chow mixes came rushing up in the time it took her to reach down and pick up her boy Neichien they had grabbed him and shook him, he didn't make it, they had punctured his lungs, but the dogs came out of no where, the male standard poodle Dante did attack one of them. Whenever I do walk Zoey if I see a big dog, I pick her up, I don't like taking chances and you never know what another dog is going to do, and it only takes a second.

I do agree you might want to take him to dog classes and acclimate him to other dog breeds, As if he is super reactive that can entice a big dog or another dog to attack.
 

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Aww, this is a hard one. I socialized Rocco from an early age with big and small dogs, mostly labs and poms. He loves to romp and play with the two labs he's familiar with, the neighbor lab and the local groom shops lab.

At agility, all the dogs are big however, and not all of them are polite. Rocco is never aggressive towards other dogs, but you just can't say the same for another persons dog. I let Rocco work out his own relationships with dogs I trust, and with anyone strange, I pick him up. I'd just rather not risk him getting bit.

That's just me of course.
 

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It's difficult and I haven't found any big dog owners bar 2 who realise how daunting it is for a little dog and how dangerous it can be!! I had an incident last week with a springer and it's owner who went to pic lotus up!!! Some owners are ok when you ask them to hold their dog, some aren't if mine freak out I get told that it's my fault the big dog thinks they're prey really does my nut in

With Alfie it sounds like he wasn't socialised amongst bigger dogs honestly I think you need to treat it like he's 12 weeks old and socialise socialise when he doesn't snarl or growl treat him if he is scared shaking and hiding under your feet ignore him don't tell him it's ok coz yore telling him it's ok to shake and be scared!!

He will get there it's just a lot of hard work! Pet shops are a good place to socialise as the big dogs r on lead
 

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My crew will bark at new dogs but warm up quickly. On walks its a bit more difficult because we pass a few houses whos dogs run & bark up & down the road (on their lawn) like crazy things. So my crew gets on edge a bit when they see other dogs on walks because they don't really have a chance to become comfortable with the situation. I have begun to walk my crew individually which makes it so much easier to work on. Just today I was able to take Maribelle (my most vocal Chi) on a walk & with the exception of a huge crowd of people we saw when first coming out of my driveway, didn't bark. We even walked passed a barking/charging dog & someone who had stopped to comment on my little dog. haha I was very proud of her. I think our instance is a case of the power of numbers. ;)

If I had a dog rush up to us on a walk though I'd keep walking & ignore the dog. If it was too interested in the Chi & followed us (playful or not because even that can be deadly to a little dog) I'd pick up my pup & continue walking. It's important for us to remain calm because our energy travels right to the pups. So if we are anxious or nervous...our pups will be too. I try to keep my pack leader helmet on especially when encountering other dogs because I DO get very anxious but I try with all my might not to express it.

Anyway, if I was you I'd take some super special & stinky treats on walks with you. Every time your pup sees another dog try to keep his attention on you. Being in the presence of another dog calmly will be something you want to accomplish before working on him meeting other dogs at this rate. :)
 

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I would certainly pick my dogs up if a strange, off leash dog came toward us. Sorry if that means I'm sending the wrong message to my dogs, but I'm not taking that chance. I read somewhere recently that a good harness and leash come in handy in the event that you would have to quickly snatch your dog out of the jaws of danger. I mean if you didn't have time to bend over and pick him/her up, I'd def. pick them up by their leash if it meant getting them out of harm's way and it was my only option.
Bottom line, I don't think I socialized my kids very well (I didn't realize it had to be done by the time they are 4 months) so they don't really react well to strange dogs anyway. We do encourage them to play with the little Yorkie and ShiTzu (sp?) next door sometimes when we all happen to be out at the same time. Mia is kind of timid; Skylar (whom I think is very insecure) runs barking back into the garage and Bizkit just hangs out and doesn't have a whole lot to say...
 

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Picking up your dog is the worse thing you can do if a large dog comes near. As soon as you lift a small dog up that dog because really desirable to the other dog.. Think about the "keep away" game people play with toys.

Even a friendly, happy, playful dog will try and grab the dangling leg of your chihuahua not out of aggression but just because the dog coming over doesn't know its a dog yet!!!

The best thing to do if a strange dog comes charging is to crouch down and get yourself between your dog and the large dog. If you can, hold the collar of the large dog and your dog until someone comes to help.

If you cant or are too scared to grab the other dog then you have to play defense and push the dog away. Stay crouched with a very firm stance (think baseball catcher or even on your hands and knees) and always have one hand on your dog's collar and use your forearms to push the large dog away.. A forearm is a more defensive stance and is more powerful than just your hand.

Eventually someone will see the commotion and help..

I would say that MOST of the time, when a dog off leash comes running over its not to attack. MOST is curiosity and then they feed off of the tension and fear and might bite.. The super aggressive attacks are the ones that you hear about on TV, but if you think about how many people a day are outside walking their dogs and how many people actually have a real aggressive attack the numbers are in your favor. (this also depends on where you live as well)
 

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When a dog approaches my chi unleashed, I pick her right up...
Unfortunately, and as others have mentioned, I think this in many ways has only worsened her own fear aggression, as while she doesn't bite, she is often very snarly and vocal with other dogs when meeting them in public.
But I honestly think this is better than the alternative of her getting mauled.
So basically, I think caution when you are out but socializing when you are around friends' dogs, etc. that you know well may help the situation.

I also usually walk my Chi alongside my pitbull....and if another dog tried to get between them to get at my Chi....well, let's say I'd feel bad for the other dog ;-)
 

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I try and avoid picking mine up but sometimes you just have to. Heidi is my worst for meeting other dogs. She really doesnt like them and would be happy if they just ignored her! She is better off the lead so she can approach in her own time but if one is really pushy she will start yelping and run (not helpful!, but at least she will run to me). If we are just walking in the same direction with a calm dog she will happily walk alongside.
The 2 instances Ive picked my dogs up include a Lab puppy (who 'was only playing' according to the idiot owner) and who left as soon as I picked Heidi up and effectively took his chase toy away.
Also I had to pick Adam up once when a large mongrel was humping him into the ground! I got no help from the elderly (poss demented) owner coz it was apparently my fault for not having 'her' spayed!:banghead:
I would say that 95% of the time you shouldnt pick them up but be prepared for the 5% too!:D
 

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I feel the need to address a few situations.

It is only ok to pick up your dog if the dog who is on the offensive is shorter than you are. If the dog, standing up on its hind legs, can still reach you, then your dog will most likely be grabbed by the foot/leg. A lot of the reported dog on dog attacks typically escalate after the owner picks up the dog - these are based on police reported incidences.

Also, picking up your dog every time you come near another dog is just feeding into the behavior that you want to avoid! When you pick up your dog you are positively awarding this bad behavior by picking up your dog and telling her/him it is OK.. it is NOT ok when your dog is barking and squealing, so you need to work on that behavior.

catz4m8z My Bug does the same thing yours does. He is entirely fine off leash with even the largest dogs. As soon as you put him on a leash he freaks out. We have made HUGE strides in fixing this behavior. He now only yaps if the other dog owner tries to approach bug, but walking along side, or crossing paths is perfectly calm.

The first thing to do is understand what is causing this behavior. A dog on a leash always feels that it does not have the upper hand, and is always going to be submissive. MOST dogs, especially Chihuahus do NOT like to be submissive. They bark, yap, squeal, and snip in order to balance their feelings of being on a leash / submission. If you think about it, it makes sense. They already have the lower hand because of their size, if on a leash they feel really vulnerable and need to compensate.

So the question becomes, how to you make them feel safe on a leash?

The answer is a long one. YOU need to be the leader all of the time. Dogs are pack dogs, those of you with multiple dogs can see that clearly, those of you with one dog might not see that. You don't see it as clearly because you don't think of yourself (or the other humans in the house) as part of the pack.. But you are!

You need to basically walk your dog on a leash and exude confidence. Leashed walks need to be controlled fun, not just flat out exercise. We typically walk with a retracta-leash. We let the dogs run on the leash as far as they want when we are at the begining of the walk and there are no dogs or other stimulus around (like kids/bikes/skateboards)

This will get the dog tired and give them a sense of freedom while still under your control.

When a stimulus comes near (kids/bikes/skateboards/dogs) you need to reel your dog in and get him on a 3ft long lead and keep him directly by your side. Do not do this frantically, just either ask your dog to stay and walk up to him and call him to you. Whatever you have to do to remain calm but get him near you.

Then the important part is to continue walking. Just walk strong and stiff, wave to the person if they want to say hi, and all the while telling your dog GOOD BOY/GIRL if they are walking quietly.

If they are snapping, you need to be firm and calm. This could put a temporary kink in your walk, but if they start freaking out, give them a "punishment" command. I use "SHHHHT" and "ATAT!" Whatever loud, quick noise that you can use to break their attention. The dogs will always associate this sound with bad behavior and it becomes a good warning tone/ punishment tone without you actually punishing (because we all know there's no need to truly punish a dog)

So while your dog is yapping and freaking, you give him your command and firmly walk in the opposite direction. That means if the other dog is coming at you head on cut a right or left and walk away . This is basically letting your dog that you will remove him from a situation he doesn't like but still let him know his behavior is unacceptable.

Try to not let it get to yapping. usually your dog will see a coming dog before you. You will notice the body language change right before barking persues. The dogs ears will perk up, tail will go up, and their whole body will tense.

You want to NOT allow even that behavior. You need to give him a quick loud "SHHT" and "ATAT" and turn around at that point. Not allowing a situation to escalate makes it easier for you to train away this behavior - we all know when they are in this state of yapping its hard to get through their heads. Nip it in the bud.

Also, always walk with treats. If you dog is a treat addict (and when walking use your dogs FAVS like boiled chicken or small pieces of bacon) this whole thing becomes easier as well.

If you use the "SHHT" or "ATAT" right when they tense up, if your dog breaks their stare at the other dog instantly reward that good behavior. Give them the treat and continue. Repeat this as many times as possible.

If/when you pass the dog without barking and only a few snags between, reward with treats, GOOD BOY/GIRLS, and love..

Its a LONG road, especially with Chihuahuas.. It will be a 5 month process most likely with a few steps forward and a few steps back, but i PROMISE your dog will be better for it.

Also, if you have a dog that doesn't yap and put out a dominant vibe to other dogs, chances of your dog getting attacked are a LOT LOT less.. So basically what I am saying is, do this type of training for the safety of your dog.

Also, catz4m8z - your dog was likely humped by another dog as a sign of dominance from the other dog. They smell that pheramone (male/male, female/female, OR female/male) that is not always the procreate humping. if your dog has less dominant tendencies and YOU become the dominant one, less dogs will see yours as a target.
 

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This is one reason i'm not big on walking leila. This summer some friends of mine in the neighborhood were walking their new king charles cavalier and a dog jumped a fence and attacked their dog. My friend kicked , punched, did everything he could to get that dog off his dog. His dog suffered quite a bit of damage and had to get surgery. It scares me.
When we are walking we stay on the opposite of the road as any oncoming dogs (that is leashed dog walking with owner) and i keep walking and leila doesn't seem bothered. We just keep on going. But if i sensed the dog was headed our way, then i would be scooping her up!
 

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I think its really sad that people are scared to take their chihuahua's on walks. The reason being, these dogs are SO intelligent and could really enjoy outside life!

I understand the fear of a dog attack when someone in your family has experienced the same thing. I have to say that if YOU are fearful of walking, it's best not to walk your dog. YOUR fear could unintentionally get your own dog riled up. They know that you are fearful so they instantly go into protect mode. Their protect mode can provoke an otherwise friendly dog into coming over to see what the problem is.. If your dog nips at the curious larger dog, that dog can snap.. A snap from a small dog is never looked at by the small dog owners as provokation, but it is.. If your small dog is barking barking barking, growling, and snapping, your dog is provoking dogs around it to come over and snap back.

You have to think about it this way:

If you were walking down the street and saw a rottie, Doberman, or PitBull barking, pulling on the leash, and growling the way your small dog does, you would think that the owner is a bad owner, irresponsible, and you would instantly have thoughts about that dog being a vicious dog.

Truth is, your little dog making those same sounds and stance to a larger dog FEELS like its another doberman to that large dog. Dogs don't see size, they feel tensions, dominence and threat.. Your little yapping dog might as well be a giant doberman.

I can guarantee you that your dog will be 75% safer on walks (from other dogs) if your dog is quiet, calm, and well behaved.

Cherper, you didn't say what breed the other dog was..
 

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Large dog? small dog?

I guess my point is that when a dog attacks another, its not always the large dog running at a small dog and an "attack" that ends in injury is not always a vicious attack but instead the result of the over zealous dog being off leash, an unwitting owner of the off leash dog, and the owner of the small dog not knowing the proper way to react.

There's a lot that goes into these things, so when i hear about a dog attack, i never judge until you hear the whole story/
 

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I think a med. sized dog. Apparently the people had gotten it from the shelter or a rescue or something like that, and it did not like other dogs. It was in the back yard, i'm assuming that's where they kept it and it jumped the fence, attacking my friends' puppy. It took another neighbor man in addition to my friend , to get this dog off the pup. He hit it with a stick, after the kicking and punching didn't work. I dont' know if they have continued taking their pup out for walks or not, but i'm sure the pup is gonna remember that, unfortunately. If that was my pup that got attacked, i would be ready to deck somebody!!!!
 
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