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How to interpret my dog’s reaction or lack of reaction?

Me and our two year old Corso were walking down a street and a female bull terrier barked viciously from behind a fence.

Then suddenly she came running at full speed, while barking loudly, straight at my dog.

My dog backed away, stood sideways with a stiff tail in almost a horizontal position.

Then the dog turned to me, barking and trying to stare me down. The other dog’s owner just stood there and did nothing.

Maybe I’m naive but I thought our dog would protect me and stand in front of me to protect me if I was threatened?

He is very much loved and care for and he is often in guard mode if he sees something odd or if someone he doesn’t know approaches our yard.

But why did he let another dog threaten me today?
 

BattleDax

Well-Known Member
I think we as humans tend to see things too much in human terms. Just because your dog is well loved and cared for doesn't mean it will stand up against another dog and protect you from it. There are several factors in play here. Would you say that your Corso sees you as leader? If so, he might defer to you to handle a situation like this. Example: I have an extremely dog-reactive dog. If I do not very clearly take charge of the situation when he sees another dog on the street, he will take matters into his own hands. If I do take charge, and tell him to not bark, he will honor that.

Further, your Corso might be somewhat fearful of other dogs. Your Coros might be a less-than-dominant dog, or at least less dominant than that Bull Terrier. Dogs can assess each other very quickly, and it may have been the case that that Bull Terrier bitch was more dominant in that confrontation. In such an interaction, I don't think a dog will even be thinking about protecting its master from the more dominant dog.

It may also simply be that you have a dog that doesn't much care for confrontation with other dogs. Some dogs will just try to remove themselves from these situations. They just don't care to size themselves up to strange dogs, especially dominant ones.

A real test would be for you to arrange for a stranger (human) to pretend to attack you in your dog's presence; but don't be disappointed if he doesn't step up then either. More dogs than not will fail that test. Training is usually required to get the reaction we want.
 

Bolushi

Member
Me and our two year old Corso were walking down a street and a female bull terrier barked viciously from behind a fence.

Then suddenly she came running at full speed, while barking loudly, straight at my dog.

My dog backed away, stood sideways with a stiff tail in almost a horizontal position.

Then the dog turned to me, barking and trying to stare me down. The other dog’s owner just stood there and did nothing.

Maybe I’m naive but I thought our dog would protect me and stand in front of me to protect me if I was threatened?

He is very much loved and care for and he is often in guard mode if he sees something odd or if someone he doesn’t know approaches our yard.

But why did he let another dog threaten me today?
The dog might've been body blocking you, but also the fact that it's 2 years old might mean it's still not fully hardened.
I wouldn't get a Corso to act as a body guard, or most dogs. It's unreliable.
Maybe if the EBT was outside the fence and going after you, or especially in the territory of the Corso, the Cane Corso would attempt to make it back off... you don't want a Corso messing with an EBT. It will lose, trust me.
 
I think we as humans tend to see things too much in human terms. Just because your dog is well loved and cared for doesn't mean it will stand up against another dog and protect you from it. There are several factors in play here. Would you say that your Corso sees you as leader? If so, he might defer to you to handle a situation like this. Example: I have an extremely dog-reactive dog. If I do not very clearly take charge of the situation when he sees another dog on the street, he will take matters into his own hands. If I do take charge, and tell him to not bark, he will honor that.

Further, your Corso might be somewhat fearful of other dogs. Your Coros might be a less-than-dominant dog, or at least less dominant than that Bull Terrier. Dogs can assess each other very quickly, and it may have been the case that that Bull Terrier bitch was more dominant in that confrontation. In such an interaction, I don't think a dog will even be thinking about protecting its master from the more dominant dog.

It may also simply be that you have a dog that doesn't much care for confrontation with other dogs. Some dogs will just try to remove themselves from these situations. They just don't care to size themselves up to strange dogs, especially dominant ones.

A real test would be for you to arrange for a stranger (human) to pretend to attack you in your dog's presence; but don't be disappointed if he doesn't step up then either. More dogs than not will fail that test. Training is usually required to get the reaction we want.
The dog might've been body blocking you, but also the fact that it's 2 years old might mean it's still not fully hardened.
I wouldn't get a Corso to act as a body guard, or most dogs. It's unreliable.
Maybe if the EBT was outside the fence and going after you, or especially in the territory of the Corso, the Cane Corso would attempt to make it back off... you don't want a Corso messing with an EBT. It will lose, trust me.
Thank you both for your solid and knowledgable input. This is my third dog but my first CC, so I have a lot to learn.

The thing is, our dog is quite dominant, at least that is my interpretation. Often when we take walks and he meets a dog, he lowers his head and stare them down, which often causes other dogs to be jumpy and scared, while he acts all innocent.

In play areas for dogs, if another male dog tries to dominate him, he reacts accordingly and no other dog has so far accomplished to "put him in his place".

So it could very well be that he sees me as the leader and that I should solve the situation, especially since we weren't within our courtyard or house as well as that he didn't want to step against the dominant dog (he is much more submissive to female dogs). On one occasion when he was a puppy around 4-5 months, a German Shepherd came running at us/him from some 50 yards and at that time, he stepped in front of us even if though he was shaking.

Thanks again and I wish you both a great weekend!
 
I think we as humans tend to see things too much in human terms. Just because your dog is well loved and cared for doesn't mean it will stand up against another dog and protect you from it. There are several factors in play here. Would you say that your Corso sees you as leader? If so, he might defer to you to handle a situation like this. Example: I have an extremely dog-reactive dog. If I do not very clearly take charge of the situation when he sees another dog on the street, he will take matters into his own hands. If I do take charge, and tell him to not bark, he will honor that.

Further, your Corso might be somewhat fearful of other dogs. Your Coros might be a less-than-dominant dog, or at least less dominant than that Bull Terrier. Dogs can assess each other very quickly, and it may have been the case that that Bull Terrier bitch was more dominant in that confrontation. In such an interaction, I don't think a dog will even be thinking about protecting its master from the more dominant dog.

It may also simply be that you have a dog that doesn't much care for confrontation with other dogs. Some dogs will just try to remove themselves from these situations. They just don't care to size themselves up to strange dogs, especially dominant ones.

A real test would be for you to arrange for a stranger (human) to pretend to attack you in your dog's presence; but don't be disappointed if he doesn't step up then either. More dogs than not will fail that test. Training is usually required to get the reaction we want.
The dog might've been body blocking you, but also the fact that it's 2 years old might mean it's still not fully hardened.
I wouldn't get a Corso to act as a body guard, or most dogs. It's unreliable.
Maybe if the EBT was outside the fence and going after you, or especially in the territory of the Corso, the Cane Corso would attempt to make it back off... you don't want a Corso messing with an EBT. It will lose, trust me.
Thank you both for your solid and knowledgable input. This is my third dog but my first CC, so I have a lot to learn.

The thing is, our dog is quite dominant, at least that is my interpretation. Often when we take walks and he meets a dog, he lowers his head and stare them down, which often causes other dogs to be jumpy and scared, while he acts all innocent.

In play areas for dogs, if another male dog tries to dominate him, he reacts accordingly and no other dog has so far accomplished to "put him in his place".

So it could very well be that he sees me as the leader and that I should solve the situation, especially since we weren't within our courtyard or house as well as that he didn't want to step against the dominant dog (he is much more submissive to female dogs). On one occasion when he was a puppy around 4-5 months, a German Shepherd came running at us/him from some 50 yards and at that time, he stepped in front of us even if though he was shaking.

Thanks again and I wish you both a great weekend!
 
I think we as humans tend to see things too much in human terms. Just because your dog is well loved and cared for doesn't mean it will stand up against another dog and protect you from it. There are several factors in play here. Would you say that your Corso sees you as leader? If so, he might defer to you to handle a situation like this. Example: I have an extremely dog-reactive dog. If I do not very clearly take charge of the situation when he sees another dog on the street, he will take matters into his own hands. If I do take charge, and tell him to not bark, he will honor that.

Further, your Corso might be somewhat fearful of other dogs. Your Coros might be a less-than-dominant dog, or at least less dominant than that Bull Terrier. Dogs can assess each other very quickly, and it may have been the case that that Bull Terrier bitch was more dominant in that confrontation. In such an interaction, I don't think a dog will even be thinking about protecting its master from the more dominant dog.

It may also simply be that you have a dog that doesn't much care for confrontation with other dogs. Some dogs will just try to remove themselves from these situations. They just don't care to size themselves up to strange dogs, especially dominant ones.

A real test would be for you to arrange for a stranger (human) to pretend to attack you in your dog's presence; but don't be disappointed if he doesn't step up then either. More dogs than not will fail that test. Training is usually required to get the reaction we want.
The dog might've been body blocking you, but also the fact that it's 2 years old might mean it's still not fully hardened.
I wouldn't get a Corso to act as a body guard, or most dogs. It's unreliable.
Maybe if the EBT was outside the fence and going after you, or especially in the territory of the Corso, the Cane Corso would attempt to make it back off... you don't want a Corso messing with an EBT. It will lose, trust me.
Thank you both for your solid and knowledgable input. This is my third dog but my first CC, so I have a lot to learn.

The thing is, our dog is quite dominant, at least that is my interpretation. Often when we take walks and he meets a dog, he lowers his head and stare them down, which often causes other dogs to be jumpy and scared, while he acts all innocent.

In play areas for dogs, if another male dog tries to dominate him, he reacts accordingly and no other dog has so far accomplished to "put him in his place".

So it could very well be that he sees me as the leader and that I should solve the situation, especially since we weren't within our courtyard or house as well as that he didn't want to step against the dominant dog (he is much more submissive to female dogs). On one occasion when he was a puppy around 4-5 months, a German Shepherd came running at us/him from some 50 yards and at that time, he stepped in front of us even if though he was shaking.

Thanks again and I wish you both a great weekend!