GO!

Do big dogs really not see little dogs as "dogs?"

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Daisy

Use your nose!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 8:38am PST 
What I have personally experienced is tiffs between big and little dogs, and the little dog doesn't end up so well. This happened between two of my mom's dogs: There was a tiny Chihuahua and a larger possibly pit mix. The pit mix absolutely saw the Chihuahua as another dog and lived with her for years. This is something I have had to explain to my mother again and again, he attacked her dog to dog, not dog thinking the other was prey. I think they were both being possessive of my mother, the larger one bit at the little one, and cracked her skull. I don't think he intended to kill, but I also know that he was fearful, aggressive, and possessive (still is with certain people). There were strangers over and that probably made everything worse.

What I do think happens with big dogs and little dogs is that a lot of the little dogs posture like crazy. Sometimes it is just ridiculously subtle too, but other dogs see it and act on it. What would be a quick, harmless spat between two dogs of the same size turns deadly. Are there some larger dogs that see little dogs as prey? Sure. Is there more likely a lot more going on between a big dog and a little dog that most people don't see or notice or remember, especially after an attack? Absolutely.
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Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 9:09am PST 
Jewel and I have been in a couple different situations with larger (than her) dogs that scared both of us.

One was a beagle she was playing with and everything was fine until something just clicked in the beagle's mind. They were playing chase and Jewel was faster than the beagle then I saw it happen Jewel became "a furry" to that beagle and it started baying and REALLY trying to catch her. Luckly Jewel stayed out of reach and the owner realized her dog was not just playing anymore. When the beagle was caught it still tried to throw itself at Jewel who was coming to me for safety.

The one that really scared me was in the OB ring, she ended up doing her group stays next to a young golden that had apparently never seen a small dog before. He would smack his feet on the matts, lean over, lick his lips, stare at her and even one time broke his stay but the ring stewards had seen his interest in her and were on top of it. When the stewards grabbed him he had a fit and threw himself on the matts, Jewel made a run for me as soon as she could see me past all the people trying to control the golden. After that she refused to do any of the group stays. She would stay for about 20 seconds and then make a run for me to get away from that golden, the stewards always stopped her from coming to me so she started getting up and moving next to the dog on her other side to get away from him. It really upset me that they wouldn't move us and it's one of the reasons I want to switch to Rally-o, Jewel was the ONLY dog in that ring under 40lbs. My trainer actually had her Mini poodle attacked by a larger dog durring the group stays before so I don't know if I ever want to put Jewel out there again.

Phew sorry I guess I'm still pretty mad about it. meditate
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Savannah- Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 9:24am PST 
I guess!

The lip licking Golden reminds me of my other Lab, Dixie. We got a kitten and Dixie followed it around drooling on it, which was fairly alarming. In time, she "adopted" it and seemed to think it was her puppy. She loved the cat, who rewarded her by giving her ear mites.

That's a cat for you.
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 9:25am PST 
Sanka was never socialized with small dogs. He has intense prey drive. The first small dog he ever saw at the dog park was the tiniest black poodle I had ever seen. Not once did he ever think it prey.shrug

Kato was once chasing rabbits in the front yard. A couple walked by with their small dog. Kato started to run after it apparently mistaking the size for a rabbit. Within seconds, he stopped himself realizing that it was not a rabbit. And given that he immediately ignored it, it was quite obvious to me he knew it was a dog. He's run into other critters he's never seen before and will often investigate further if he's not sure what it is.

Eh, I still don't think big dogs see little dogs as prey. If a dog actually runs up, grabs the dog and shakes it...that's not a normal dog. And it seems the only relation to size was that the little one could fit in the mouth. Were it bigger, I'd suspect quite a brawl regardless.thinking
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y

dog-sitter in- charge.
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 9:26am PST 
Sure dogs recognized other dogs of any size. Doesn't mean they treat them well, or appropriately though.
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y

dog-sitter in- charge.
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 9:50am PST 
or rather, how we would like them to, only..
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Titus

Cave canis- vigilo omnis
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 10:15am PST 
I dunno Sanka... If two mis-matched (in size) dogs are fighting, I wouldn't consider it abnormal at all for the bigger dog to shake the smaller. Not that it's okay, but I don't think it's "abnormal". shrug
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Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 10:42am PST 
Sanka, your dogs are not Every Dog, and some big dogs do show predatory behavior toward small dogs. It's more likely to happen if they don't have prior experience of very small dogs who look very different from their common experience of "dogs."

I think small dogs who aren't adequately socialized sometimes also fail to recognize big dogs as dogs; it just isn't as dangerous for the big dogs when that happens.

But even when the dogs recognize each other as dogs, if they have a conflict, it can end badly for the small dog. Which is why owners of small dogs will often step in when it seems to the owner of the big dog that "the dogs will settle it fine themselves." If the size disparity is too great, the big dog doesn't have to have killer intent in order to do serious damage.
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 11:20am PST 
Titus, a fight is different though. If a dog just ran up to a small dog, grabbed them and shook them like prey, that is not normal for a dog. Something isn't right. And I wouldn't chalk it up to just not being socialized.

Addy, I know my dogs aren't every dog, but they do fit into the categories that people keep bringing up. They're big, have high prey drive and Sanka especially was not socialized. Yet, they are fine. So it seems more like to me that based on my observations of all the dogs I've seen in general, that it is not normal genetic behavior for a dog to be so non-discerning.

I'm not talking about scuffles or fights. I'm talking about straight up just going for a small dog with intent to kill/capture like true prey and following through on it even once the small dog is clearly not the same as other fluffy critters.

A brief mistake at a distance, sure. Heck, I often think Kato is a deer when he's romping around. But once closer, it's clear he isn't. Same with dogs. That small furry thing isn't what they thought it was when they started after it.
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Gunner

Gunna get \'em!
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 22, '12 11:37am PST 
I know of a rescue greyhound who has killed at least one small dog, and has been "triggered" more than once. In fact, the owners of the grey rescue test rescues around smaller dogs before allowing them to go to a new home. They are programmed to chase small things tht run. It is absolutely prey drive.

This may not be a norm, but it definitely alerts me to other dogs, especially if it's a tiny dog with bigger dogs. If I don't "know" a dog is safe, I don't assume it is safe. Ever.

Just a best practices thing.
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