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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My baby girl is almost 9 months now and she loves all dogs, big, small, fluffy... you get my point. She has always been super sweet and submissive when she meets other dogs, she approaching them slowly wagging her tail in a lowered position and they do their usual sniffing, if she likes them a lot she tries to get them to play with her.

the ‘issue’ now is that before when other dogs displayed aggressive actions towards her she would run and hide behind me. Recently, she has started to stand her ground. She has yet to growl or bark at them, however she stares and if they continue to bark when I’m trying to pull her away she will turn around and look at them.

Tonight a frenchie tried to charge at her and although I had her a bit of a distance away, she charged back.

Should I be worried? I used to be worried she never defended herself and was always scared. Is this behaviour acceptable? How does your dog react to aggressive dogs?
 

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She's well into adolescence, so I'd expect her confidence level to be higher than it was as a pup. That sounds normal to me. When she was a puppy, you were her whole world. Now she's more likely to put herself out there in response to a perceived threat.

I do wonder, though: What makes you think these were aggressive dogs? Perhaps I've gotten lucky, but I've encountered very few truly aggressive dogs in my 30+ years of dog ownership.

That's not to say many don't have poor manners. Especially on-leash, dogs aren't always the best at saying hello. But is it possible Bella's just matching their excitement level? If so, even slight tension on the leash can tell her "I'm worried! I'm worried!" and make her feel it's her job to protect you. Or it can interfere with a proper greeting and create extreme frustration.

For that reason, I tend to avoid on-leash greetings as much as possible.

How does Bella react if you keep your distance from strange dogs and ask for her attention? Can she focus on you?

P.S. Hi Bella!!! Cutie girl.
 

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She's well into adolescence, so I'd expect her confidence level to be higher than it was as a pup. That sounds normal to me. When she was a puppy, you were her whole world. Now she's more likely to put herself out there in response to a perceived threat.

I do wonder, though: What makes you think these were aggressive dogs? Perhaps I've gotten lucky, but I've encountered very few truly aggressive dogs in my 30+ years of dog ownership.

That's not to say many don't have poor manners. Especially on-leash, dogs aren't always the best at saying hello. But is it possible Bella's just matching their excitement level? If so, even slight tension on the leash can tell her "I'm worried! I'm worried!" and make her feel it's her job to protect you. Or it can interfere with a proper greeting and create extreme frustration.

For that reason, I tend to avoid on-leash greetings as much as possible.

How does Bella react if you keep your distance from strange dogs and ask for her attention? Can she focus on you?

P.S. Hi Bella!!! Cutie girl.
I tend to trust her judgement, so I don’t really stop her if she chooses to greet a dog and the owner agrees, however several dogs in our apartment complex have VERY POOR manners and I think because of her size and still being a puppy, she’s an easy target.

Maybe I’m wrong with the other dogs behaviour however, once a dog sees her from a distance and starts growling or barking I usually think that dog is bad news.

They will see her from several feet away and start growling/barking off the top. I don’t want her to be a scaredy cat so ever when we do walk away I do not rush her, however when the dog lunges at her I do perceive that to be aggressive and she has almost been attacked by one of our neighbour dogs before. Teeth, growling and all. This was unexpected because the same dog (Bella’s size) has just greeted her standard poodle friend.

The standard actually slapped the other dog with her paw when he displayed aggressiveness towards Bella.

If other dogs are nearby and I ask for her attention she’ll pay attention but I can’t say sometimes their antics aren’t distracting. She’ll still glance at them but she won’t move from her position if I ask her to wait.
 

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I would liked to have seen that! :)
Her standard friend Elsa is quite protective over her, they’re best friends ?. She does not tolerate any dog trying to over step their boundaries with Bella. It’s quite fascinating to see.
I attached a photo of both of them together.
 

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If she's still friendly with non-aggressive dogs, then it sounds as though she's ready to defend herself and you.

I'd read up on aggressive displays and watch carefully to be sure that that's what the other dogs are doing. If they are being aggressive, just get her away with her dignity intact.
 

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My baby girl is almost 9 months now and she loves all dogs, big, small, fluffy... you get my point. She has always been super sweet and submissive when she meets other dogs, she approaching them slowly wagging her tail in a lowered position and they do their usual sniffing, if she likes them a lot she tries to get them to play with her.

the ‘issue’ now is that before when other dogs displayed aggressive actions towards her she would run and hide behind me. Recently, she has started to stand her ground. She has yet to growl or bark at them, however she stares and if they continue to bark when I’m trying to pull her away she will turn around and look at them.

Tonight a frenchie tried to charge at her and although I had her a bit of a distance away, she charged back.

Should I be worried?
It sounds pretty normal to me. She thinks she is a grown up dog now, and so she's losing some of the puppy deference.

Whether it is a problem... I can't really say without seeing the interactions. She's new at this adulting thing, so I'm sure she will make a few mistakes in judgement. Hopefully another good adult dog will deal with her appropriately.

I had Pogo at a basic obedience class when he was 2 1/2 years old. (This was his second time through, because Pogo was an energetic handful, and I thought he'd benefit from more work in stimulating environments.) We were practicing down stays on a blanket, and the adolescent dog next to us bumbled over too close to our blanket. Pogo sat up & gave a deep growl and hard stare at the youngster. It was very much a "punk kid, get off my lawn" moment. Twenty-five pairs of human and canine eyes turned to look at us. I was mortified. However, Pogo stayed on his mat and did not escalate further after this initial warning.
The instructor intervened at that point and advised the youngster's owner that Pogo's reaction was not unusual from an older dog. He told the owner, moreover, that the youngster shouldn't be permitted to get into another dog's space like that.
 

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I've found all it takes is a few negative encounters for them to start being more on guard. That's why, through Peggy's adolescence, I'm doing my best to keep interactions as positive as humanly possible.

While it sounds like that's tricky where you live, Bella seems to be doing a good job of not escalating things. I just hope she doesn't start barking hysterically when she sees other dogs, like my Gracie started doing. It's exhausting. She'd only do it on leash, and it started after meeting a particularly nasty miniature schnauzer.
 

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Thank you all. This is good advice.

It’s hard to imagine this tiny little thing thinking she’s an adult now but I can definitely see where that might be true ?. I do want her to blossom into a lovely and well socialized adult dog so I will continue to monitor her interactions and not inhibit her behaviors unless I see them being harmful.


I’ll definitely read up on aggressive displays, I think that will be very beneficial. She’s an all around social butterfly, full of energy and always wanting to play so on the plus side I don’t think these experiences will dampen her spirits towards other dogs. It hasn’t thus far so hoping for the best.

Oh dear. Poor Gracie. I would be absolutely mortified if Bella started barking at every dog she saw. So far she’s never actually barked at another dog unless it was during play time. Even the dog that almost attacked her she just ignores whenever we encounter him.
Hoping for the best as I continue to support her through this phase.
 

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Can I first say that she is absolutely gorgeous!

I agree with Peggy, try to limit as much as possible exposure to dogs that have bad manners, She is learning how to be a big dog now and don’t give her opportunities to rehearse unacceptable behavior,

I found what works well if we approach a dog I’m not sure about, is to say “she’s in training so we’re not going to say hi now.” This worked really well in training my reactive dog, Lily. She is little and adorable and owners would assume she was friendly,,,.you have to manage the owners!

It’s much better to teach her to stay calm passing by other dogs than to assume she can run and greet every dog. She doesn’t have to be every dog’s BFF. A trainer I worked with paralleled it to human behavior to help me understand. We don't assume we can go up to every random person on the street and have an exuberant greeting, that would be strange, and we would react like our dogs and tell them to back off. We do assume we can walk by and be civil though. Same with dogs. That analogy helped me.
 

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Your dogs are beautiful!! I am not an experienced dog owner, but I like that my mini Jessie is confident (but not overly so) when situations like this arise. I'd personally prefer standing her ground over hiding behind me. It seems that a sense of calm assurance coming from your dog in a situation like that would be a greater motivator for the other dog to behave better. I'm also confident that she's able to identify a real threat and would get out of the way if needed. But like PTP, I thankfully haven't encountered many really aggressive dogs even despite living in a few deep south "pitbull chained in the yard" type places. Just a lot of owners who aren't sending their dogs the right signals.
 

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Can I first say that she is absolutely gorgeous!

I agree with Peggy, try to limit as much as possible exposure to dogs that have bad manners, She is learning how to be a big dog now and don’t give her opportunities to rehearse unacceptable behavior,

I found what works well if we approach a dog I’m not sure about, is to say “she’s in training so we’re not going to say hi now.” This worked really well in training my reactive dog, Lily. She is little and adorable and owners would assume she was friendly,,,.you have to manage the owners!

It’s much better to teach her to stay calm passing by other dogs than to assume she can run and greet every dog. She doesn’t have to be every dog’s BFF. A trainer I worked with paralleled it to human behavior to help me understand. We don't assume we can go up to every random person on the street and have an exuberant greeting, that would be strange, and we would react like our dogs and tell them to back off. We do assume we can walk by and be civil though. Same with dogs. That analogy helped me.
I really do wish she understood English because I repeat this to her every time she wants to tell another dog hi ?. I tell her everyone doesn’t want to be her best friend and everyone isn’t as nice as she is. She is just such a love bug and a playful little thing she whines when I tell her no but she she still stays by my side. As always, time and patience.

She’ll get it eventually.
Thank you, I think she’s so beautiful too
 

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Discussion Starter #14
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Your dogs are beautiful!! I am not an experienced dog owner, but I like that my mini Jessie is confident (but not overly so) when situations like this arise. I'd personally prefer standing her ground over hiding behind me. It seems that a sense of calm assurance coming from your dog in a situation like that would be a greater motivator for the other dog to behave better. I'm also confident that she's able to identify a real threat and would get out of the way if needed. But like PTP, I thankfully haven't encountered many really aggressive dogs even despite living in a few deep south "pitbull chained in the yard" type places. Just a lot of owners who aren't sending their dogs the right signals.

Thank you! I am a bit happy and proud that she has now started to just stare at these dogs instead of running away. I was a bit bothered that she lunged back at the dog but I guess that just shows her confidence is going up. I’ll just have to watch her a bit more and not allow these dogs to get closer to her so she doesn’t feel the need to defend herself that way.
 
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