If anyone has any experience or advice, please help.


Rufus use to be the most submissive puppy ever. He's only almost turning 3. I take him to the park for walks at least 4 times a week with dog pack. It's been more than 2 years now. He loves his pack, but the past 3-4 months or so, he's just becoming a grumpy old man(. A side he's only showed to some dogs that have an energy he didn't like). But now he's becoming grumpy all the time to every dog he comes across. He goes after dogs that sniff his face and I'm worried I won't be able to let him meet new dogs ever if he continues to get worse.


Not sure if anyone else experienced a very social pup get moodier as they got older.

Please help.

THanks! Krystina and Rufus


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I think he has matured into adulthood at this point and likes his personal space. My Izzy is that way, she is ok as long as other dogs just sniff once and leave her alone. If they don't she will start to curl her lip and get snarly. My Sparty always seemed to like other dogs as long as no food was involved and would either initiate play or just ignore a pushy dog. I would guess that a less confident dog becomes a little fearful. I just realize that Izzy doesn't care much for crowded dog parks and I do not push her past her limits with other dogs.

Yes, He's definetely aggresive around food (with other dogs) not people...but yeah that's what I think is he just skipped the happy calm adult age and went straight to grumpy old man... He loves his friends but that's about it. As long as a new dog doesn't sniff his face for more than 1/2 a second he's totally fine and will roll over. but if it passes the one second mark of staring/sniffing, he growls and goes after them. sigh


Al is like this.  I thought I had a perfectly-behaved dog until he was...over 1yo, nearing 2yo?  about that age.  He started snapping & attacking other dogs.  An unexpected surprise.  He'll curl a lip, then lunge snarling, looking quite ferocious.  I have to keep him leashed around other dogs.  He behaves better when I have him on a very short leash and pay close attention, pre-empting his attack.  The incidents have always been when I was distracted, inattentive, sometimes with a ball invvolved but often not.  ALways with a dog his size or larger.  The little SOB.  I do not understand the behavior, so don't know what to do.

Its's like he doesn't know how to say "Back Off!" effectively.  He doesn't know how to growl/snarl first.  He does lift a lip, but after that, it's an unprovoked attack without warning.

I suspect this is fear-based, that he's insecure or something.

He's fine with Gwynnie, but he has gone after our cat.  And he will press the atack.

Yes! that's how he is. I keep him on a short leash now. If a dog's staring at him, I don't even let him approach them.  He's super sensative around dogs that stare. He's met a few new dogs, usually if 1) the pack all okays them, and 2) if the new dogs is submissive already, sniffs him and walks away...but unfotunately it's so few and far between. I really don't know what to do to reverse this behavior. I try laying him down on his side immediately when he just keeps wanting to go after another dog, but he really doesn't care after the next dog comes around.

Have you ruled out possible health issues?  I'm not saying you should take him to the vet for a full workup, but sometimes changes in behavior can be related to health.  For example, if a dog is sore or achy then they are more likely to be snippy with others.  Yuki became more grouchy when he started in with his thyroid issues because he didn't feel well.  Of course, he had other symptoms and not just the grumpy old man attitude.

Have you consulted with a trainer or behaviorist (over the phone, via email, etc?)  You might be able to find some sort of cause or at least work with him to get him to greet other dogs better.

I never thought of it. I should take him for his check-up. He does have elbow dysplasia I found out when he turned 1, but with his vitamins (Flavocin), his limp has almost completely dissappeared in the last year....So strange

Oh, what a picture! Poor Rufus! He looks as if he doesn't understand why he's grumpy either!

I agree! And you would have never known looking as his pictures. So deceiving :)

I keep checking this thread in the hopes that someone here has some brilliant advice/ideas for this...  Chewey has also definitely gotten grumpier with other dogs as he's matured.  Not exactly sure how old he is now, maybe 3 - 3 1/2 but it seems like it's gradually gotten worse in the past year or so.    It seems to be a combination of a size and/or energy thing - if a bigger dog shows a too much interest in sniffing at him he just snarks and gets in the dogs face.    It also seems fairly specific to certain breeds - he's definitely not fond of boxers for example so I try to give them a wide berth. Labs, on the other hand, he almost always likes - at  least if they approach him in a clearly playful manner. As long as he doesn't have anything remotely resembling food near him... then all bets are off.

I've sort of become resigned to it and just work around it as best I can (e.g. keep a close eye on him and avoid certain situations).  I still take him to places where there are other dogs, but I make sure to not do it if it's too chaotic (too many dogs in too small an area).   He doesn't actively attack dogs, but he will harass them and if he does it to the wrong dog there is definitely a risk that the dog could react back, which has definitely happened.  So it is a risk that so far I'm still willing to take because he's young enough that he really needs a lot more exercise than I can give him just going on walks, and the only time he's interested in chasing a ball is if another dog is chasing it...

The one thing that has come in incredibly handy was learning/teach him the really reliable recall (that other people on the site here have talked about).  We took a class last winter where the instructor taught that and it has been  invaluable - even if I don't use his special recall word it's improved his general recall significantly, so I can almost always get his attention and get him back if it looks like there might be trouble.

Maybe with any luck it'll just be a phase....

I think you have just described Rufus perfectly. He absolutely does not like boxers now. (not sure if it's because they have that staring face mixed with their energy). I actually stopped going to petsmart because for some reason, there are a lot of boxers that go to my store. *Sigh* He's good with puppies and kids. But he's getting worse with some breeds as well. I definetely need to find a way to reverse this grumy maturity thing with him. At least I know I'm not alone. Thanks :) I'll look at the recall as well and see what I can do!

Interesting...   in Chewey's case I just attributed it to the fact that he has been jumped by a couple difference boxers now (fortunately not seriously).   But I think you are right that it has something to do with the vibe/energy the dog puts out, not to mention size and gender.

Search for "really reliable recall" on this site - I know people have posted here about it and where you can find info, etc.   That has definitely been a life saver for keeping him away from situations that I'm concerned could turn into a problem.   Boxers, unfixed males, etc.  Good luck!    If you figure anything else out let me know.   I'm always looking for insights and other ideas on this as well.

Thats sounds exactly like Buddy when he meets new dogs. He is fine with small dogs, but only wants to smell and not play. I still have issues with meeting larger dogs, but mostly the breeds with pointy ears. My sister owns a border collie mix and their first meeting was awful. My sister's dog is trained very well so we were able to keep him calm while Buddy slowly walked towards him. Once Buddy was able to smell him the tension was gone. It seems to have helped him out a lot when dealing with larger dogs, but still needs work. I think spending a weekend with a much larger dog allowed him to get use to the size and help with his patience. 


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