Dominating someone else's dog

Hello, all, this is a weird bit of etiquette I don’t fully understand. Sometimes, I’ll go to a friend’s house to find that their dog is poorly trained. It jumps on me, leans on me (I’ve read this is a dominance thing), barks, etc, and the owner just gleefully ignores it as one of their dog’s quirks. Sparky sure does have a lot of energy, ha ha ha!

If a dog barks at me or growls I stare it down, square my shoulders, point straight at its nose and give it a firm NO. I try my best to let that dog know that, while mommy or daddy might be the alpha, I still come ahead of it, and dominant behavior from that dog is unacceptable.

Of course, this sometimes leads the owner to claim that I’m being “mean” to the dog (:rolleyes:), but these same people with are always amazed at how well behaved mine is.

So, what is the correct thing to do here? Put up with an unruly mutt for my friend’s convenience? On the one hand, it’s his or her dog, and I don’t want to upset my friend. But on the other, the dog understands perfectly well what I’m doing. Thoughts, anyone?

If the owner starts getting up in your grill you need to stare it down, square your shoulders, point straight at its nose and give it a firm NO.

Yup. You tell the owner that the dog is showing some dominance issues/behavior, and you’re just communicating to Sparky in a language it understands. If they still think you’re being “mean”, you could show some other affection to Sparky after you stare him down.

This happens a lot to me, both what you describe, as well, to a lesser degree, the situation where people call my dog, tell it what to do etc.

I and my large dog will be out walking, and owners of very small dogs will delight in standing there with their pooches frantically lunging and yapping as I and my large dog try to make our way past. We were in a 4th of July Pooch Parade, and a small white fluffy dog insistently squeaked at our heels until we retreated to another place in line. So far, as a person with large mellow dogs in a community dominated by smaller uptight dogs (I always picture Gary Larson’s nervous wiener dog preparing espresso), retreat has always been my strategy.
In my own home, there have been dogs of friends that have jumped on me and/or the furniture, but their owners always correct them for me.

What does (I have to admit) drive me nuts is when we’re out walking and other people call my dog or even grab for his leash and try to school him. There are a few self-described dog whisperers around here (often people who once had pets, but now don’t.)
I try to diplomatically nip that in the bud by putting my dog into a sit-stay.

Now if my dog got loose and was misbehaving, that’s a different story.
I am a fairly stern task master with my canines–if a dog is out of my control and bothering someone, that someone has a right to protect himself.

I had thought that, at least in a social situation, leaning was showing affection.
I have seen and experienced leaning dogs, but never had one. A dog just leaned on my yesterday. He went from person to person, greeting and leaning–including his owner. Then he went and lay down in the grass.
It seemed more affectionate than dominating, but a dog his size (not much under 200lbs) is a lot of leaning dog.

The leaning’s not really that big a deal, and I think it’s definitely one of those situations where you have to read each individual dog. It’s when the dog continues to lean after I’ve shooed it that it really becomes an issue. Dogs are very much aware of personal space, and refusing to leave mine is definitely a dominance thing.

And I would definitely say something if that happened to me.

I do NOT hesitate to school my daughter’s dogs…they are not fully trained yet, and they are out of control at times. I do NOT apologize either…but…daughter also doesn’t complain when I do this, because she knows how bad her dogs are as a group.

Her Rottwieler does the leaning thing with me, but I’ve taken it as a protective thing…she will position herself between me and the other dogs and block them from getting to me, but her leaning sometimes knocks me over a bit.

My personal rule for myself is to use the minimum force to get the dog to leave me alone, and if it doesn’t touch me, I don’t touch it.

For a barking/growling dog that’s not approaching me, I don’t do anything. The dog’s not a threat, shutting him up is the owner’s problem, and if the barking is bothering me, I’ll ask the owner to do something about it. I wouldn’t want someone chasing down my Sheltie for barking (he stops when my husband and I tell him to and I don’t want to extinguish the behavior entirely because he’s an excellent watchdog).

For a dog that’s jumping up or touching me, I’ll usually just shove it off or knee its chest; I certainly wouldn’t begrudge my guests doing that if one of my dogs were to, for some reason, jump up on them without me intervening. (Unlikely; I’m the first person to grab our Australian Shepherd if she seems like she’s getting excited and jumping and usually she’s pretty well behaved anyway.)

Unless the dog is directly touching me (or I think it’s likely to come after me or directly bother me in some way, like taking food), I don’t consider it my business to discipline it unless I ask the owner to help out and they fail to do anything.

It’s always been my experience if you ignore the dog they will get bored rather quickly and leave you alone. If however; you give it attention, good or bad…

That’s weird. We live across the street from an elementary school, and its field is kind of a dog part, but none of the people running their dogs there try to school anyone else’s dog.
I have a Golden, guide dog trained, and I have observed that little dogs just yip at bigger ones, even when they are under control. Bigger dogs just treat the runts with disdain. I think the little ones are just trying to act bigger.

Anyone who says this seriously needs to attend some obedience classes with the dog. As for you, you are doing the right thing of course. Why wouldn’t you establish dominance?

I own a dog and two cats, have no children, but love both animals and kids.

I think my rights with other people’s pets are the same as my rights with their children.

–If I’m at your home and your child is somehow bothering me, such as poking me or reaching into my dinner plate, I believe I have a right to politely but firmly ask him to stop said behavior. But I won’t tell your child that what he is doing is wrong or bad—that’s up to you, the parent—I’ll simply state that I don’t like it and want him to stop.

–On the other hand, if the child is reaching into your plate or that of another dinner guest, I don’t believe I have the right to stop or correct his behavior.

–If I see your child doing something imminently dangerous, like putting a fork in an electrical outlet or playing in traffic, I’ll intervene without asking your permission, simply because it’s a matter of life and death. As soon as the immediate threat has passed, I’ll turn your child back over to you to decide what to do…I don’t believe I have the right to decide what form of punishment or scolding is appropriate.

–If it’s your dog instead of your child, I would do the exact same three things listed above.

Why did I get a really dirty image in my mind when I saw the thread title?

I tend to take this approach, too. The issue isn’t really dog psychology, it’s how the dog’s owner will react to someone else correcting the dog’s behaviour.

A lot of dog owners tolerate, or even enjoy, their dogs behaving in ways that I find unacceptable. I often see people complain about their dog’s behaviour, but at the same time actively encourage it, sometimes knowingly. Unsolicited advice can be taken badly.

I tend to ignore badly behaved dogs as much as possible, unless they’re invading my space. It seems pointless to try to teach them anything unless the owner is going to follow it up. I usually just grin and bear it. However, if I’m pet sitting or walking someone else’s dog, MY rules apply.

I love dogs, but I don’t like dogs with bad manners. Or kids, for that matter. If someone is jumping on me, clawing me, licking me, punching me, etc, I will put a stop to it (usually as you mentioned by maintaining a physical boundary and being stern about it). A lot of people have issues with disciplining their dogs, and their kids, that’s for sure. I don’t.

I don’t think I would be friends for long with someone who accused me of being ‘mean’ when I told their dog to stop leaping on me (or Junior to stop pummeling me).

I don’t think of it in terms of strict ‘dominance’ - there are lots of reasons for a dog to be obnoxious and get physical with you, and it’s not because they are trying to be your ‘alpha’ - it’s because this behavior has gotten them petting, treats, attention in the past and not been discouraged sufficiently.