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Nicky Hates Other Animals

June 4th, 2007, 07:07 AM
Hello friends,
Let's hope this is the last issue/hurdle that I have to get over with little Mr. Grumpy :frustrated: . I have come to the conclusion that Nicky(5-6 y/o Pom) hates other animals, both dogs and cats. If Minnie (the cat) starts to get near him, he tenses up and will eventually get up and move to the other side of the room. He doesn't want her near him. On walks when other dogs approach, he tenses up, puts his nose in the air and will eventually growl. It's embarrassing and I don't know what his problem is. Socializing him at doggy day care doesn't seem to be helping and neither does giving him a correction when he growls. Is there some kind of training that I can do with him or will he be crabby and antisocial for life? :shrug:

June 4th, 2007, 08:43 AM
Sorry, I don't have any advice:shrug:

Hope you can get some help though. Have you tried looking for a behvaiourist?

Good Luck:)

June 4th, 2007, 08:44 AM
How does he do with small friendly dogs his own size or smaller?

June 4th, 2007, 09:08 AM
I'm no expert but I do have a GSD that hated other animals...we are still working socialization but he has come a LONG way. Just yesterday another German sheppard was ahead of us barking and growling....we walked right past and my Bucky did nothing...didn't bark back, no fur standing up, no growling...this time last year we would have had a fight...and I possibly would have lost an arm ( Buck weighs 110lbs) . Here's what I've been doing...I'm sure you've maybe already tried these...
1. exposure...repeated exposure to other do:fingerscr gs while on leash...over and over
2. sharp quick correction at exactly the right time- when the staring, tension starts to build...when ever Buck tries to turn to look
3. we continue to walk past the other stopping, no looking
4. I stay relaxed, shoulders down, leash slack..
Anyway, i know you've proberly tried this already...if you can a animal behaviourist that can come to your house is well worth the money...good luck..

June 4th, 2007, 12:22 PM
Originally Posted by: Hazelrunpack
How does he do with small friendly dogs his own size or smaller?

Hey there Hazel! He does the same thing. It doesn't matter what type of animal it is, big or little. When the other dog/cat approaches and tries to sniff or play, Nicky stops dead in his tracks, puts his head up, squares off his shoulders and will not look the other dog/cat in the eyes, but he kind of looks at them from the side without moving his head. It's like he's trying to do some kind of dominant stance. When the other dog/cat persisits, then he growls. It's almost like he's trying to give them a warning to get away and when they don't get it, he starts to growl. :frustrated:

Originally Posted by: Hunter's_Owner
Have you tried looking for a behvaiourist?

I called one a few months ago in regards to Nicky's potty training issues but it's just too expensive for us. The most I've been able to do is doggy daycare once in awhile. When he goes to Doggy daycare, he keeps to himself off in a corner somewhere. :shrug:

2bigdogs - Thanks for the advice. Actually, I haven't had a chance to try the things you've suggested. Since I don't have him on leash in the house, and he doesn't really growl at Minnie, there's nothing I can do except watch him try and avoid her and get away from her. I hate it because all she wants to do is play with him. He actually puts up with a lot from the cat. Everytime he comes around the corner, she's crouched in the shadows waiting to pounce and then she does. It's kind of comical because she will practically be hanging on to his back while he's trying to prance as quickly as possible to get away from her. It's only when Minnie persists and continues to bat her paws at him and chase him playfully, that he'll give a warning growl. We have since started to squirt her with water because she does this when he comes inside from going potty - without fail! I don't want Nicky to get paranoid over coming inside the house.
A bad habbit we have to break is that when we take Nicky outside to potty, we don't have him on a leash because he stays right next to us. So, we had him in a common area where a big black dog was off leash as well. She saw Nicky and I and came prancing over to check us out. She was a baby doll..the sweetest thing. She just wanted to sniff and play with Nicky but he wasn't having it. He did "the stance" thing and when she didn't take his hint, he growled and snapped a little bit. I gave him a verbal correction and when he did it again, I had him sit, face me, and I put my hand on the back of his neck so that he couldn't bite. At tha point the big dog's owner called her and she ran off. It just bothers me that he's so antisocial and unfriendly. I've never had a dog like that before. And every time I notice a new problem with Nicky, I wonder what in the hell his previous owners did to him to make him this way! :mad:

June 4th, 2007, 02:25 PM
Dory used to be a lot like that too, it wasn't really her trying to be dominant, she just never really learned to talk dog properly, she wasn't really socialized, so that was how she talked (mannerless).

Then I realized that I was tensing up everytime we would see a dog, knowing that she was going to react badly to the other dog. So first I had to loosen up and not worry about it, because she was partly reacting to me.

basically, I let her have a quick sniff of the other dog, tell her she's good and we carry on. It took a lot for her to get to the point where she could do that, and I would Always warn the other person walking the other dog, that she sometimes growled, then if they understood that I was trying ot socialize her, I would let them greet, after a few times, she figured it out, and she does much better now, even plays with other dogs and enjoys it.

Good luck

June 5th, 2007, 02:04 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, PM. It happened again today. We went to the potty place, Delilah was there (the big black dog), I cooed and petted all over her and as soon as she tried to get close to Nicky he growled! I gave him a correction and he did it again! I corrected him once more and then I just had to keep Delilah away from him. All she wanted to do was say hi and I hate that he's so mean. He's not like this with humans, just animals.
He frustrates me to no end! :frustrated:

June 5th, 2007, 02:27 PM
I'd be reaaaally careful about the petting and cooing while the other dog is there. Chances are that your dog is already tensing up and showing signs of aggression at that point and you're unknowingly reinforcing the bad behaviour with the positive attention.
One of our dogs can be dog-aggressive, and we had to learn to watch very closely for the body language that indicated she was starting to get worked up. For Gracie, it's as subtle as a slight change in the way she holds her ears or tail, and you have to correct THEN, not when things get obvious (growling, "the stance" etc.). Have you tried working with him on-leash with a prong collar? (I'm sure I'm going to get in trouble for that, but I have found it to be an enormously effective tool for dealing with Gracie's aggression issues.) You can "set up" your dog with a friend's/neighbour's dog (also on-leash) and have your dog practice being nice, and you can practice the timing for the correction when those subtle cues become evident. You really have to nip it in the bud at the slightest indication it's starting.
Good luck!!!:thumbs up

June 5th, 2007, 04:29 PM
Mahealani,Bailey,the little Cocker I walk,does the same thing when she is on a leash,growls at people and other dogs and it is a bit embarassing:frustrated:
However I have seen her play with my sons JRT and also other visiting dogs in her own backyard with no problems,off her leash.

June 5th, 2007, 08:42 PM
That really stinks, it was really frustrating with Dory too. I understand your pain.

I'm thinking that maybe you should try socializing on a longish walk briefly greeting new dogs. That kind of socialization might help him change his mind about other dogs.

nicky might never like other animals though. All you can do is keep exposing him, not bringing him around other dogs might make it worse. You can work on it until everyone is more comfortable around other dogs.

I wouldn't even talk to the other dog, and I wouldn't talk to nicky much either, just a quick, be nice Nicky, good boy, or something like that. Let him get close for a second and move on, keep it short and sweet at first, once he gets more comfortable, make the time a little longer.

I don't think Nicky has to like other animals, my cats don't really like each other, they just live together, lol, it's like having a roommate, you don't always have to get along. I just keep trying my best, that's how I've been getting through my Dory issues. She doesn't like the puppy that lives next door, but she loved my neighbors older dog, and she likes the other dog who lives downstairs, so maybe it's a personality thing too, who knows.

Good luck, and I hope it gets easier soon.


June 6th, 2007, 07:00 AM
Thanks for your advice and encouragement everyone! So last night, we walked Nicky down to the potty place and Delilah was there again. I was glad because I wanted to practice "nipping it in the bud" with Nicky's aggression. So, Delilah came over to say hello to Nicky and I immediately gave him a correction with the leash before he could growl or do anything. I did see his ears perk up like he was getting ready to do the dominant thing so I gave him another correction about two more times, then I pulled him away from Delilah and let him go do his business. So, hopefully I can get a handle on this. I just wish I had the money to put Nicky in daycare EVERY day.

Originally posted by: bendyfoot
I'd be reaaaally careful about the petting and cooing while the other dog is there
Thanks for your advice, but I wasn't petting and cooing all over Nicky, I was petting Delilah. :D

Originally Posted by: Papillonmama
I'm thinking that maybe you should try socializing on a longish walk briefly greeting new dogs
Ya know it's strange, we never see other dogs on our walks! We walk past the maintenance man's apartment where he has his 2 pitbulls gated outside (the loves of my life :cloud9: ) and they would love to play with Nicky but he just walks on by and tries to avoid eye contact and anything else having to do with the dogs. So I can't really practice unless Gary has 'the girls' out on a walk instead of gated out front. And the Delilah thing has just been a fluke. We just happened to start taking Nicky to a new potty place and Delilah lives there and is allowed to be off leash in that grassy area. Soooo..we'll see how it goes! Thanks again everybody!

June 10th, 2007, 11:41 AM
Just want to make sure the meassages are clear to Nicky and clear in your head too.

1 - Nicky isn't neccessarily being dominant - may not even 'hate' other animals. Just might be insecure or unsure of other animals intentions. so he reacts to say 'stay away'. Its as though he has a personal bubble of space and any animal that starts to get near that bubble makes him nervous so he growls to keep them away.

2 - Timing is everything. Don't 'coo' at him when he is growling or even tense. And don't 'correct' him for something he hasn't even done yet.

3 - Catching his thoughts early does have value but try to be instructive rather than corrective. Teach him the direction - 'leave it', which tells him to bring his energy away from the thing he is looking at. Then you can REWARD his good manners and choices - that way he learns what you do want from him.

4 - Once he learns to calm down with other animals then you need to be proactive and start teaching him to relax and maybe even enjoy them. Through your leadership he can learn to trust other animals. Remember we can never MAKE anyone like anyone else, but we can help them have good manners and learn to trust that YOU will keep him safe.

June 14th, 2007, 10:30 AM
Hey there Tenderfoot! So glad you came to my aid :cloud9:

First thing, I don't "coo" over Nicky when he's being aggressive. I was petting and "cooing" over Delilah because I was so excited to see her.

Second, so you're saying that I should not pull on Nicky's leash a little bit when I see him starting to tense up? That's what I call a "correction".

Third, I've tried to teach Nicky "leave it" but he's so overly submissive when I try to teach him something that he just runs away or drops to the floor with his tail tucked between his legs. It's incredibly difficult to teach him anything because of this.

Fourth, so, how do you suggest I teach him "leave it"?

Fifth, what can I do in the meantime when Nicky sees Delilah approaching "his bubble" and he tenses up and begins to growl? Delilah has no manners and is pretty over-bearing and excited when she sees Nicky, so she's pretty much all over him. I end up having to grab her collar and hold her back. It definitely makes sense that Nicky probably doesn't hate other animals, he's probably afraid...which has been the basis for ALL of his issues.

One more thing...what do you suggest I do when the cat tries to play with him at home and he growls and runs away from her? She literally hides and waits for him to go running/walking by, and she'll jump on his back and hang on for dear life (no claws) It's comical but I've been spraying her with water to try and keep her from doing this. Nicky hates it and doesn't want anything to do with her trying to play with him.

Thanks Tenderfoot!!