Why Is My Dog Friendly With Some Dogs and Crabby With Others?

The other dog’s energy level may also be a factor. An exuberant dog who jumps in the air, stands on his hind feet and pulls forward or is just generally more excitable in his movements than your dog is more likely to incite a negative reaction. On the other hand, if the approaching dog moves stiffly or looks puffed up, his tension may be noticed by your dog.

What You Can Do to Help

Your dog notices when you are nervous with certain types of dogs or people; your discomfort may cause you to unconsciously exhibit signals, like a change in your pace and breathing or increased tension on the leash, that tell your dog something is wrong. In turn, your dog may be more reactive as she senses your anxiety rising.

Your dog’s behavior may also be situational. Proximity to the other dog may affect your dog’s reaction — the farther away the other dog is, the less likely a reaction will occur. Approaching a dog in a small space, such as directly on a narrow sidewalk, is more likely to cause a reaction than an approach that occurs in an open area, like the park. To minimize reactions, plan walks and outings in spaces where your dog won’t be startled by the sudden appearance of another dog without warning or in close proximity to her.

You may need help identifying and addressing your dog’s triggers. There are various professionals who can assist you to boost your dog’s confidence and teach her to relax on walks. Talk to your veterinarian, who may be able to help or refer you to a veterinary behaviorist or a veterinarian working in conjunction with a certified professional dog trainer to help you manage your dog’s training needs.

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