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When he’s hot but his dog is not

Updated: November 6, 2012 9:56AM

Q. When I moved last summer, I was really pleased to discover there are a lot of people with dogs. Fritz, my Schnauzer, and I have fit right in. I also met guy in the local park who also is a dog owner and has a Doberman pinscher. I kinda like this man and want him to like me even though his dog is a horror and has nearly attacked Fritz (not his real name) a few times. When we’re together, I have to carry my dog or leave him at home. Is there any future?

A. Besides being “hot,” is this guy any fun? Or reasonable? Or enlightened about training his dog not to attack other people’s dogs? Just asking. And just betting your answers are “no,” “no” and “no.”

Dogs tend to reflect their owners. If the Doberman is aching for a fight, it should lead you to wonder about the human holding tight (you hope) to the other end of the leash. Separate hot from hot mess. Look for another guy with a nicer dog.

Q. When we are out walking our otherwise wonderful 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, she has begun to lunge and bark at dogs she doesn’t know. She is cordial as ever with her neighborhood friends, but seems aggressive toward many dogs she’s not met, especially if they are not in the Labrador/retriever family. How can we help her to be more sociable on our walks?

A. Consider such behavior normal within the wide spectrum of “dog normal.” There are many variables including whether your dog meets others on a level playing field. If one dog is leashed and the other is off the leash, various power plays can disrupt behavior. Also, we think that dogs are the friendliest creatures on Earth but each critter has quirks, likes and dislikes.

Your dog is entitled to bristle around strange dogs that, for whatever reason, give her the creeps. As long as she does not snarl at every dog while you have “occasional success” in distracting her, rest assured she’s trainable with your persistence and patience.

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