Doesn't play well with others...

brenda taulbee

New Member
Hello all,
Recently a friend of mine asked me to start walking her dog. She works long days and doesn't have time to do so herself. Crosby is a two year-old pitbull cross. My friend adopted him out of a bad situation about eight months ago. Crosby is a gem towards people and dogs his own age. However, when he gets around dogs that are younger than him he acts very aggressively, barking and snapping at them until they submit and bare their bellies. He'll then hover for a bit, and walk away, but as soon as they get up he's back on them again. He never seems to actually harm the other dog, but his behavior is still unacceptable for group settings.

This is a problem because the other two dogs I'm providing daycare for are both younger than him.

Any advice on why he might be acting this way, and how I might curb the behavior?
Thank you


New Member
I'm not sure if what you are describing is aggressive (without seeing it, of course). Puppies need to be put in their place and should not engage in 'rude' behaviour - e.g. jumping on other dogs, getting in their face, not leaving them alone when asked, etc.

Does Crosby perform this behaviour whenever sees them or does he ignore them until they pay attention to him?

brenda taulbee

New Member
He tends to initially ignore them until they pay attention to him. However, after the first encounter he will initiate the dominant behavior periodically throughout the remainder of the walk. This only occurs off-leash, and I feel like it tends to occur when I am calling the dogs back to me for a check-in.


New Member
When you call the dogs back in, do they all run close together and fast?

Have you seen the "Calming Signals" DVD? Or read the book? (I gather it's in the book too - though I haven't seen it.)
When dogs play close together, other dogs can see this as a potential for a conflict to break out and will come in to 'break up' the behaviour. If you call your dogs in, they all start running towards you, they become close to one another - perhaps Crosby is worried that a conflict will occur and is attempting to break up the behaviour.
I would suggest you try to see the DVD, if you can, and then you can see for yourself whether the behaviour is what I'm trying to describe! I know when I saw the DVD I was so excited because it showed my dog was actually trying to prevent conflict and not behaving aggressively!

Just an idea to throw out there.

Do the puppies seem worried/scared of Crosby?

brenda taulbee

New Member
Yes, for the most part they run fairly close together. I haven't seen the video, but it sounds like something I may have to look in to.

For the most part the younger dogs seem more confused than actually frightened.
Thank you for your advice


Experienced Member
Whichever way you tackle this, I suspect that you're going to be talking *at least* weeks to see improvement. In that time, the adult problem dog could so easily ruin the younger dogs, possibly for life, if they have regular contact. It certainly wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility for this behaviour to teach the younger dogs to act overly submissive.

I'm afraid that I'd have to let majority rule and advise you to tell your friend that you couldn't care for her dog because you are responsible for the younger dogs too, and they are just incompatible.

Sorry I can't be of more help with the actual problem, but I strongly suspect that it needs to be seen first-hand by a qualified behaviourist, in order to identify the real root cause.

Good luck.


New Member
Hmmm...I think you should really call in a behaviorist because sometimes rough dog play can look and sound like aggression. Play is after all, often mock-fighting and dominance posturing can come into it as well. So, your dog could be playing rough, or could really be aggressive. It's hard to say unless an experienced and qualified person observes it and the contexts that it happens in. Sorry to not be of more help, good luck with this.