Need Some Help For Friends,x


Honored Member
Hmm, you make some great points, Tx. NOw i understand what you mean when you say "bully" vs. "dog aggressive". I'm not sure if that what is eveyrone means when they say 'bully', but, your description does make sense.

Aggressive dogs can indeed have pals, though. NOt sure why everyone on every board seems to think of dog-aggressive dogs as loners, or having no friends.

Buddy has some dogs he just loooooooves, loves, loves. Most are female, but his favorite dog in the entire world is a male. And Buddy, too, doesn't need a leash outside of the car either, he follows me. He can even heel off leash now.
Buddy IS well trained, too, still he IS dog-aggressive.
That is another dog-aggressive myth, is 'the dog is not well trained' or well controlled. sigh. It's the human's fault if a dog is aggressive. They've done 'something' wrong, like allowing their dog to run free. I'm so glad the "inborn personality" of their other dog was NOT damaged by the trauma of walking around off leash. whew!!

I do not sing to stay calm. If i were truly freaked out, i might still be able to convey i'm freaked out while singing "happy birthday"
i could probably continue to FEEL afraid while singing "happy birhtday",
but hey, if that works to calm her, it works.

she might do better to yawn.
Yawning releases relaxing hormones into your bloodstream, like a shot of valium. Try it, right now, as you read this, fake yawns until you muster up a bonafide yawn....a reeeeal yawn. Feel that?
A slight feeling of relaxation? If you were already relaxed, it will be less obvious, but if you try it when you are worried, you WILL feel that slight relaxation thing. Buddy taught me that, and i now yawn, like before job interviews, or if i'm running late to appts, etc, to self calm my own self down, ha ha!!

And that song *could*, inadvertantly, become a cue to the dog "an oncoming dog is arriving soon." Dogs are very quick to make associations. who knows.

When i see oncoming dogs,
I DO talk to the other human, though, almost every time. But, i'm very outgoing, this is very easy for me to do.
Whether Buddy is liking or not liking the other dog, i will call over to their human,
in happy, approving, but not excited voice, (similar to the slow, calm voice i use when i tell Buddy how handsome he is) "Oh, what a cute dog, how old is it?" kinda thing, or, "Isn't this weather great?" etc etc. So Buddy can hear i am not afraid of that dog.

Actually, i'm reeeally calm during Buddy's reactions. I occasionally will feel sorry for my own dog, that he is 'not right'. I USED TO feel bummed out, as well, if i could not prevent a reaction,
back when
i thought truly dog-aggressive dogs could be cured, (not controlled, but 100% cured).

But, since i now accept i'm going for control, like diabetes, not a cure, i no longer feel bummed out/failure if i can't prevent a reaction, the way i once did.

and I grow weary of the "It's YOU freaking out that sets off the dog, or makes the dog worse" thing. Cuz, at least in my case, it's not true. But, i will agree, *if* the human is freaking out, that will bother the dog!

I do use dog language to help Buddy stay calm. This has to be done PRIOR to a reaction.
I have a solid "look at me", which you can NOT do "ONLY" when oncoming dog is coming, or, dog will start glancing around for dogs
when you say "look at me". (same as the song might do).

YOu must practice that "Look at Me" cue at all times, so dog does NOT associate "Mom says LookAtMe, must be a dog around here." kinda thing. I learned that the hard way, ha ha.
Buddy quickly associated "look at me" with oncoming dogs, but, not in a good way. He began to tense up when i said "look at me" and look all around for a dog. I had to fix that mistake. The 'birthday song' could have same effect on that boxer, not sure.
After making that mistake, of only using "look at me" for oncoming dogs, NOW Buddy never knows if i am making him look at me cuz of an oncoming dog,
cuz of no reason at all. NOw he looks at me, without glancing all around for dogs.

ONce Buddy looks at me, i give him SLOW BLINKS, and a noise-y yawn.
I learned that from Tx, and it's also in a book, "On Talking Terms with Dogs/Calming signals" by Turid Rugass, and from Kikopup on youtube.

Yawn/slow blinks ---That means "calm down" in his own language. Often, Buddy will yawn or slow-blink back. THIS really helps my dog. a lot. OF ALL THE THINGS I HAVE TRIED, that works the best for *my* particular dog.
I've even got a handful of miracles to report using those calming signals.
I told a pal to try this, and she did, but, she did it from behind her dog, and her dog had no idea she'd slow blinked or yawned, and i busted out laffin when she told me.
So it won't help, if your dog doesn't see you slow blink/yawn, thus, you need a solid, "look at me".

If you ever do this, and your dog then stands and starts to fake-sniff the ground, with his side towards 'enemy dog'----------- leave your dog alone, wait silently, he IS doing the right thing. Do not interrupt the fake sniff. Just wait.
YOu will know it is a fake sniff,
~they do it when they see an oncoming dog
~they don't inhale deeply,
~they don't blow out their noses to re-sniff
~and they don't move about to follow the sniff, not even one step.
They look like dog statues, with their noses in the grass, not moving, not breathing deep, = a fake sniff.

I *only* do that yawn/blink thing for oncoming dogs, though, not just for no reason. But, i do make him stop, and 'look at me' all the time, for no reason.

I also make him sit, then lie down, if he does NOT do the fake-sniff after i yawn at him.
If he does do the fake sniff, i stand back, and smile, cuz Buddy is now telling the oncoming dog, "i'm no threat, i'm just over here minding my own business" kinda thing. Always, when the other dog sees Buddy's msg, the other dog stays cool too. I've seen Buddy calm down OTHER reactive dogs with his fake-sniff after i yawn at Buddy.

If Buddy doesn't do the fake-sniff, well, then, i make Buddy lie down.

I made that "lie down" one up myself, it goes against common sense, so it might not work for any dog except Buddy. But, it works for Buddy. He rarely reacts then, which IS *my* goal. Occasionally, he will stand up and THEN react, and if so, we leave, "Let's go".

Buddy, however, has a habit of self-calming his own self by lying down ANYWAY, so, for him, it works. HE gets more yawns and some massage, and treats while he lies there, watching enemy dog go by. I have no goal of integrating the two dogs at all, though. {if i want to try that, it takes a lot more sessions of this tactic, moving ever closer, over many weeks.}
This is just what i do if encountering a dog that Buddy does not like while on a walk, just to prevent reactions.

Buddy can not escalate while lying down, but, some dogs can. No idea why, but, Buddy HAS TO stand up to react.
I think that might just be Buddy, but, if he is made to lie down, he can't muster up a full blown reaction. He can't even seem to bark unless he stands up. ha ha
He then gets treats for calmly watching enemy dog go by.

I hope this boxer's "inborn personality"
*is* within the 'normal' range of inborn dog personalities,
and not the inborn dog-aggressive dog. I hope not!

And i hope the "let them have at it" all works out okay. GOOD LUCK!!


Honored Member
But how will he learn how to greet nicely off leash when he wont get the oppurtunity to learn ))?(( or do you think he will calm down with time if they continue to do this?
Just reading back through this thread and comparing Binky (LOL) with Zac.

Zac plays rough and I often find it simplest to describe him as a bully, though not by tx definition as he uses growls and snaps as warnings and he's never actually fought. Keeping him on lead and preventing him interacting with certain dogs that I know he will frighten has meant that now I CAN sometimes leave him off leash with these dogs as he has learnt to ignore them. They can even come up and pester him and he'll sniff the ground (maybe this is the fake sniff?) and walk away. With most victims Zac has only a veneer of good manners, if I say "go on" he zooms into chase mode and they flee yelping to their owners :oops:. On reflection Zac plays in EXACTLY the same way with his best friends, it isn't that he wants to hurt the other dogs it is just he doesn't understand that every dog does not like him running alongside, barging into them and play growling at top volume! The owners rarely understand either and I don't really blame them.

There is another tactic that I am using a little more now that his recall is improving. With the owners agreement I can let Zac greet a dog, play briefly, and call him away before the play escalates into something scary for the other dog. I think this helps Zac to understand what is acceptable and I HOPE that one day he will learn to moderate his play to the character of the other dog.