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Middle aged Sheltie appears fearful/aggressive with puppies

Discussion in 'Behavior' started by VallejoSheltie, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. VallejoSheltie

    VallejoSheltie Forums Enthusiast

    Oct 12, 2011
    Hi All,

    Boots is about 6 now, and I'm trying to figure out what is causing one of his few issues.

    Basically, he seems to be fear/aggressive with mostly puppies and adolescent dogs that are too friendy. He was socialized like crazy for the first several years of life, with 1-3 hrs a day at the local dog park, with no issues. Never saw any negative interaction with puppies which would could have been pinpointed as a cause/trigger.

    Both my sisters have recently gotten second dogs.
    Sister1 has a 4 y.o. St. Bernard, and Boots has no problem with her, nor usually with large dogs.
    She recently got a 6 m.o. French BD male that is quite the boy-man rocket racer type. From the get go I could see Boots wasn't real happy to be in the same area with him, and he actually avoided coming into the same room with the BD and us.

    Sister2 has a 5 y.o. Border Coller/Lab/Ausi mix, who both would wrestle all day if we allowed them.
    She also recently got a GSD/Border Collie/Lab female mix who is also loving puppy rocket.
    Boots is also not happy with her, however if I hold the puppy, he will come up and sniff her behind.
    Same behavior though, actively avoids the puppy.

    I know I failed by not addressing this years ago, however spilt milk and all that.
    Any suggestions on either DIY training, or specific Behaviorist type of trainer I should look into?

    I'm not sure, however I think it is important to note that he is not being typically dog aggressive as in approaching another dog and asserting himself or being dominating.
    He is one of those rare dogs who never really got into running to the gate at the park to see who the new dog was, unless it was one of his friends.
    Really loves friends, and never had complaint one from the local doggy daycare.
    Have had some people say its possible jealousy, however pretty sure if I left him with Sisters1 or 2, it would be the same.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  2. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    My Beckon (aka Colonel Underpants) has fear aggression. We simply warn others that he doesn't like over-enthusiastic dogs. He'd never bite -- he just fear-bluffs.
  3. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 4, 2012
    Shelby also is not impressed with dogs that are overly enthusiastic. She does not like loud, in your face types of dogs. I also don’t think she would bite, but she lets them know she doesn’t like it. Even when she was in day care, if dogs bark at her she will just go off somewhere by herself to get away.

    She put my SIL’s crazy chocolate lab in his place a few times (he is a wild child) and now they get along just fine, they love to tease each other and play. They instigate each other to see which one gets in trouble 1st. Shelby likes to sniff his mouth and butt when he is sleeping. They are like little kids.

    But with dogs that have a temperament similar to hers she just loves. Like her Sheltie boyfriend Fin, they just run around in circles like a bunch of crazy dogs.

    My trainer says that Shelby has such good manners and she just does not like “rude” dogs.
  4. atjl

    atjl Forums Novice

    Apr 7, 2018
    I have a puppy now and 99% of the adult dogs we meet can’t be bothered with her overly playful personality! I think it’s normal. They either ignore her, growl at her to get her to back off (she initiates play by jumping and lunging at them but rarely makes contact), or sniff her butt/face. Some passivelt allow her to run circles around them, with me harriedly following behind making sure the leashes don’t get tangled. Sometimes she gets overexcited and nips at tails or tries to wrestle so I can see why the adult dogs get annoyed!
  5. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 11, 2015
    Spirit is not a fan of puppies. But she's not aggressive or fearful - she just doesn't seem thrilled with them. I am very careful to only let her be around puppies whose handlers have them under control, and she is learning that puppies aren't so bad after all. As long as they don't get in her face. I think she is more like Shelby in that respect.
  6. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 13, 2014
    Minnie also dislike the intrusive dogs, whether they are adults or puppies.

    She does not like BD at all, she does not like the sound when they play,
    she thinks they are grumpy

    But, she loves to play with dogs who have the same play pattern as Shelties

    Support Boots and let her be her own :yes: and help her to keep away from other dogs if she wants

    We others are definitely not interested in all people we meet :no:
    Piper's mom likes this.
  7. mimiretz

    mimiretz Forums Enthusiast

    Oct 14, 2014
    Whenever we leave town we leave Oberon in the hands of a woman who's a certified dog trainer and also runs a home petcare center -- maximum of 6 dogs allowed, including her's. Her dog, Aspen, gave birth about 8 weeks before Oberon's last stay there. He had the greatest time ever herding all of the puppies, and didn't even seem to mind when they played with his tail! He also seems to recognize that human babies are special and is always very, very gentle with babies and toddlers. Now, he's only 3.5 years old so all this might change when he gets older -- but so far he seems to love babies of all species.
  8. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    Some puppies can be downright pushy and rude in their behaviour and some dogs just don't tolerate that rudeness. Some puppies even grow up and if they were never corrected (either by another dog or their owner) they continue to display this rude behavior and people wrongly think it's their dog that has aggression issues. In reality it's the dog (or puppy) that gets in their personal space or runs up to them etc. Just this evening Finnie got scared big time because he got in Riley's face when he was eating a piece of broccoli (I thought Finnie was in another room)...Riley let him know that it wasn't good manners and that's probably what your dog is trying to tell them.
  9. VallejoSheltie

    VallejoSheltie Forums Enthusiast

    Oct 12, 2011
    Thanks for the replies.

    However, this behavior manifests even with puppies that are not bouncing off the walls.
    Weirdly though, he does go to a local doggie daycare and they say they've never had a problem. Although next time I take him I am going to ask if I can observe for a while and see if he acts differently when he thinks I'm not around.
    Maybe I'll take some video and throw it up on youtube with some examples.

    Also, Cornell's Animal Behavior Clinic is in nearby Ithaca, and I may just spring for a consultation in the near future.
  10. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    Unless you are seeing true aggression (not just warnings), then this could just be normal.

    My dogs all dislike puppies, especially my girl Lexi. She’s not like this with any other dogs, but doesn’t like puppies in her space. She didn’t like our dog Enzo until he was about 7 months old. Before then, she would raise her lips at him and even snap at him if he got too close. Of course I tried to manage the situation (puppy stay out of Lexi’s face), but there’s some degree of learning that happens there as well. Now Lexi and Enzo are best friends, and hate our new puppy.

    I don’t like when Lexi snaps at Elise (puppy), but to some degree Elise has to learn that she shouldn’t mess with her.

    I wouldn’t categorize it as aggression because Lexi does not seek the puppy out (actually quite the opposite in that she tries to stay away and avoid), and I know she will get over it as the puppy matures.
    Hanne likes this.

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