How do your dog encounters turn out?

Most dog owners walk their dog regularly. Some owners love it and look forward to the joyous reaction of their dogs on meeting canine friends in the park. Other dog owners dread it, wondering if their dog will get into yet another fight! When you are the latter group, you may wonder why your dog is so antisocial and if you are doing something wrong.
A new research study has looked at dog reactions (1870 of them) when out walking and come up with many interesting results…

  • All dogs sniff others more often when off leash (not surprising really as the leash restricts their movements) but male dogs tend to sniff females more often than other combinations (male-male, female-female, female sniffing male).
  • Male dogs mark more than females, especially when other males are present.
  • Dogs of opposite genders play together more often as do dogs of the same size.
  • Dogs on a lead are more likely to show threatening behaviour. Same sex encounters are 3 times more likely to result in a threat. Actual bites are 5 times more likely between the same sex than between different genders.
  • Owner gender has an effect too… when both owners are men, dogs show threats more often and are 4 times more likely to bite another dog.

Something to consider before you set out on your next dog walk!


Original article abstract

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  1. Perfect timing for this article for me as just back from walkies on the beach with Miss Perfect who meets and greets so well, and Mr Challenge who is the opposite. They are both recently adopted chihuahua seniors, with the male, Paco, having been abused in the past. He behaves quite aggressively toward other dogs we pass on the beach and I would love to find a way to help him change his ways so we can enjoy our walks more. I have wondered about trying him off the leash, but am not confident enough to give it a go yet! Perhaps when we have had more time with him.

  2. My Jack Russell boy is perfect off leash, but when he is on leash he is a terror!! aggressive, barks, tries to bite other dogs, and doesnt listen to me all all. BUT when he is off leash he is happy, friendly, and listens to my commands. Its amazing. Its like he thinks when he is on leash and has his mama for back up he is extra cocky and confident and thinks he can take on every dog that walks by no matter what the size!!

  3. I always tell my clients that when dogs are alert (and especially when stressed), they are experiencing the fight or flight reaction, caused by adrenalin. When they are on a leash there is no flight option, therefore they only have the fight one. Some dogs, however, should always be on leash!

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