Walking dogs together that are not that keen on eachother

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    Just a bit of your collective wisdom needed  🙂

    I walk Loki every morning before work in a local park – we always meet the same people and walk around togther.  All dogs get on fine together. Before Christmas, one dog was sadly PTS (Boxer, aged 9 – Cushings disease), the owner has got a new rescue from Battersea – another Boxer Dog – this one is 7 yrs old and male but castrated.

    We met for the first time this morning – everything was ok – but then Loki & new dog had a bit of a scrap – much growling and standing on back legs – we separated them (as it went on a bit) and they both calmed down very quickly. So we walked on – Loki had clearly lost and spent the rest of the walk showing appeasing behaviour (head down – turning away from other dog) but wasn’t terrified. However he gave him a wide berth. The Boxer spent the walk essentially stalking Loki and sort of ‘seeing him off’ just by standing and eyeballing him – but no more growling.

    So – my question is – how would you manage the situation when we next see them – should I carry on walking with them? Loki seems a bit miserable about it – I feel like I need to support him – without reinfocing… I don’t want him to feel like I am abandoning him and not reading his body language right? is it best to just ignore and carry on?  Or should I avoid? Or meet and walk away? Just want to make it ok for future basically  :-\

    Just for extra info – there was only one other dog there (small, male very submissive who took no interest) when they met. But another joined us later – again – that one was male and all was fine.

    Sorry – have rambled – is not a massive issue – I just want to handle it right  🙂



    as you say, you need to be really careful not to “humanise” Loki’s response and think he needs fussing over as you will be re-inforcing him to worry about other dogs coming near him and the boxer that its acceptable to “boss”

    it sounds like the owner of new dogs is just carrying on with this dog where they left off with the last one.  it shouldnt be off-leash if it is attacking other dogs FULL STOP and by letting it off and not managing it the owner is re-inforcing its acceptable to fight and this’ll only be the beginning of it.  whether you walk with them in the future would depend (for me) on the owner keeping the dog on a leash until they have basic management and control over their dog which they clearly dont at the moment.


    p.s. sorry it sounds a bit negative – i’m not getting at you, i have issues with people who just dont “get it” that a new dog needs time and training and they cant just carry on like nothing happened.  common with people who adopt “too soon” after losing the last dog (not in time – in state of mind).  some ppl are ready in days, some never are – this person is still grieving i would think and perhaps some training and pulling up on their dogs behaviour would give them something positive to work to but obviously somehow magically say it in a nicer way than i can because the last thing they probably want to hear is their new dog isnt very friendly 🙁


    Same view as Claire widget ignore Loki and his wimpy way, the boxer should not be off the lead until he finds some manners


    Sometimes Dogs have a noisy “squabble”…which shouldn’t be confused with fighting, & then tolerate each other.
    On a recent group walk (about 10 GSD’s), my boy & a friends entire Male, did just the same…on back legs, noisily posturing. We walked away & very quickly they both trotted off to join us.
    It didn’t read to me like the other Dog was attacking in any way…maybe I read it wrong.
    I’m not a fan of suppressing natural behaviour, sometimes we just have to let a Dog be a Dog.


    Thanks all – I wasn’t meaning to sound like I was humanising Loki (although I expect I do!) – what I meant was – you know when Bev says stuff about them looking to you to manage the situation and if you don’t, then they take control of the situation? And defend you?

    Loki is a wimp – there is no doubting that!

    Owners response was to tell the dog off and remove him from the situation – but the bit that worries me is that he isn’t watching him all the time – and my (maybe wrong  :-\ ) interpretation of the body language was that the other dog was eyeballing him and sort of ‘guarding’ the humans – although there was no growling – just alot of eye contact.

    woofums – I read it that they were establishing a kind of pecking order – obviously Loki at the bottom – as ever  ::) – but i don’t want to get into a situation where the dogs are not getting on at all I can’t walk there in the mornings – cos that could be a nightmare  :-\


    If you are out on a walk there shouldnt be a pecking order.  Owner telling dog off is now establishing Loki as a negative experience. 

    Don’t wait until it escalates – when you see the eyeballing as you call it then it is starting.  I have never been in situation with dogs being on back legs – maybe cos I have never let it get to that.  The other owner needs to get control of her dog – if you not happy at all – you need to move your dog on. 

    I don’t have a sociable dog – he doesn’t cause hassle but maybe that is because I keep his focus on me.  That’s why to me there shouldn’t be a pecking order.  Nacho knows what is acceptable to me if I tell him to play nice then he should.  If he doesn’t then he doesn’t get to play.  I would say Nacho is a wimp however he will tolerate and appease for so long then he has none of it.  He has allowed other weims of 10 months to stalk him – with their head on his neck etc – he then gave warnings – pupster never took warning – Nacho being vocal was enough but with other dogs it could have been different. – owner didnt have a clue.  I told her she would need to teach him manners because there will be other dogs who have no tolerance and pupster will get hurt.


    If you are out on a walk there shouldnt be a pecking order

    Really?  Why is that?  Surely a pecking order exists in any group in any context?

    Please explain.


    Aren’t they a pack when out on a walk together every day? Wouldn’t there be a pecking order?  ???

    Loki allows puppies and young dogs to be annoying (he was humped by a 9 month old yellow lab and just stood there!) but he’ll make a speedy exit from anything older and more pushy – he very rarely ends up on back legs with another dog… I think 3 times in the two years I’ve had him  :-\


    There is always a pecking order in dogs whether it’s with your own pack or a group in a park.
    Always used to amazed me how a new dog at my club within five mins knew it’s slot in the pack and that could be among as many as 25ish dogs.


    I mean in a bullying context which is surely what is happening here  ???

    Forgot how abrupt you can be Sweetypye

    Anyhow widget sure someone will be able to give you advice to help you rather than going off thread.



    no doubt i’ll be shot down by some but –

    Mudgie – sorry, you’re looking at it all wrong love.  Nacho does have a pack out on walks and he does have a pack order – the fact he obeys your cues is down to your management restricting his behaviour and your status as human pack manager.

    more than 1 dog is a pack and there will always be pack order – anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

    it is INSTANT (i would say sooner than 5min for all but the most determined dogs) – regardless of how well (or not) the dogs know each other.

    Loki – dogs are not “wimps”, they are problem solvers – Loki uses a mix of flight and appeasement because that is what has been successful in the past and therefor re-inforced. 

    woofums – sorry, you are also incorrect.  “playing” “squabbling” “tusstling” “rough play” are ALL forms of fighting as they are about establishing pack order – fights have winners and losers and that is what establishes pack order in dogs who are re-inforced to greet other dogs in this way or who are not properly socialised.  dogs dont “play” they practice testing to see where they “fit” – most notably seen with puppies and commonly re-inforced resulting in puppy biting / jumping up problems.  In your example I would say that likely to be about resources (owners) as when you walked off the situation cooled but they were definately likely finding pack order.  Incidentally, if you ever meet a proper “top bitch” she’ll do everything in her power to avoid fights – probably seeming like a “wimp” but clever dogs dont want to risk injury in a fight 😀

    It is irresponsible and illegal to “just let a dog be a dog” when you do not have it under proper control in a public place.  I used to be like this and thankfully have seen the error of my ways.  🙂




    joining in the “abrupt” crew 🙂

    dogs dont “do” bullying – they have a reason to attack and dont simply do it “for a good crack” there will be a reason and it will be valid to the dog or they wouldnt risk the behaviour 🙂

    i couldnt say without seeing but possibly resource aggression, poor socialisation and poor management skills are the main factors.  either way it doesnt look good for the owner unless they get some help and fast 🙁  the best you can do with Loki is to manage him to “leaveit” the other dog and walk the other way – it isnt his “fault”. 

    i did get to the stage where i could re-inforce william’s challenges to misty to escalate his status but i had both dogs in my home under my control and knew their language (and they were both mine so if i fucked it up i could sort it out aswell !! 🙂 so would talk to Bev before attempting that one – i wouldnt be confident it was right for all situations.

    claire x


    Mudgie – am interested in the comment you made here:

    I have never been in situation with dogs being on back legs – maybe cos I have never let it get to that.

    Now am worried – should I have intervened earlier? Because the standing on back legs thing (this time no growling) happens when he plays or meets boxers alot – the owner I mention from this morning always says it is because boxers have a pugilistic style of playing – his previous boxer and Loki would stand on back legs together – then run around madly together – to me it always appear as play (this could be becasue am novice on dog body language).

    Now – back to new boxer this morning – they spent a good 5 mins together – running around – initial few mins much fast tail wagging and play bowing – small amount of ‘boxing’  then more running. Then they came together again after some time apart sniffing and started the standing on back legs thing – this time it escalated into growling and then a bit of a scrap   :-\

    At what point should I have intervened – is the ‘boxing’ thing actually an early sign?  :-[ ???

    I ask – because all I ever want to do is the right thing and sometimes I don’t even react instinctively because am too busy thinking about whether it is the right thing to do  🙁

    Thanks for your help – answers all much appreciated   :-*


    I walk a lab+GSD together when i need to.  The lab would rather the GSD didn’t exist (their both entire) the GSD tends to follow the lab to mark every spot after him.  They don’t fight but have had scuffles over the ball, just noise.  The lab growls a low growl when the GSD is in his space, the hackles are up all the way along the back, he avoids looking at him,the GSD just wants to play but the lab obv doesn’t.  I always call the GSD away because he can’t take the hint from the lab, i don’t want the lab feeling hassled or thinking he’s being told off for doing what he’s allowed to do, tell the other dog to get out of his face. 

    As for being on back legs, i wouldn’t allow it with this pair, not that it would come to that, the lab just wouldn’t entertain it.  But with other dogs, yes.  Its about knowing your dog, watching, listening for any changes in noise etc.  Some dogs definitely do play like this more often than any other style, but Piglet is right in the out of control outdoors bit, if the dog is going too far, it should be stopped.



    “play” is practice for pack order and no i wouldnt let my dogs practice “playing” like this.  as for the owner saying they have a certain “style” of playing – if i told you that i couldnt be bothered to control my border collie biting at your dogs legs because ‘all collies have that behaviour when playing’ you wouldnt accept it and let Loki get on with it …. would you ??  ???  (common sense in me is hoping not)

    one good reason not to act on pure instinct !!  If you did you’d end up putting your hand on your dogs collar to drag them away from each other and one day sooner or later either Loki or the other dog will bite you by “accident” 😉  (i sincerely hope you didnt – tails are a much better option if you let it get to this stage, there are no sharp pointey bits near them 😀 😀 )

    this “incident” was building up from the moment you met the other dog – its what dogs “do” unless their owners have them under cue.  signs were there from the word go – again hard to know without seeing but my guess is that sniffing was the displacement as both feeling uneasy / surveying challenge? 

    i bet you could see from the initial greet and even more clearly from the play bows – this boxer has obviously had success at “managing” other dogs by scrapping with them and then keeping a close eye to re-inforce this.

    the best advice i can give you is to get the dogs owner to join and start work right away 🙂

    no wonder Loki ‘manages’ by appeasement and flight HE has had success at this behaviour making the “threat” go away.

    wouldnt let my dogs up on back legs at each other or anyone elses dog – whatever schpiel the owner came out with about “styles”


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