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Thread: Air snapping

  1. #1

    Default Air snapping

    Hi,

    I have a two year old greyhound x (I think). She's from the pound so not sure what her history is prior, but she had a few behavioural issues to start with but all have been ironed out except one. The vet and other dog park owners describe her as having "a wonderful temperament." She plays well with dogs she knows (she can get a bit high energy with them, but easily distracted and called away).

    However, when it comes to dogs her size and larger that she doesn't know, she often stares intently for a second or two and then snaps in their face. She never makes contact and it is over very quickly, however I am very concerned that one day she'll do this to the wrong dog. She was an anxious dog when I got her, however through keeping up a strict routine, she is now quite calm.

    Usually the air snapping thing happens when I take her to the dog park outside of the usual times. The obvious answer would be to stick with what we usually do, however I am at a point where this is not always possible. For example, I want to take her and my other dog camping and to the wetlands, and to put them in a kennel when I go away (haven't had a long holiday in years because I own dogs). In these unfamiliar environments, she will undoubtedly air snap when encountering larger dogs.

    Also, sometimes a new dog will come to the park at our usual time, and with this behaviour it is very unfair on the new dog. What is the best way to discourage this behaviour in her?

    She has been very socialised as far as I can tell. Her puppyhood was in the kennels and with me she has socialised with other dogs on a daily basis (except for a six week period when waiting for her puppy vacs to finish).

    Thank you

    Ash
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 11-30-2014 at 12:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    Air snapping is pretty common among sight hounds eg grey hounds, whippets, saluki etc.

    It usually signals excitement - "I'm very very excited about this new dog".

    If you don't like your dog doing it when she greets new dogs - try the three second introduction on lead... eg let her approach on loose lead (and other dog on loose lead), sniff for a couple of seconds and then turn and walk away. Praise and pat if there is no air snapping, if you get air snapping turn away sooner before the sniff - greeting .

    Then you can wait 30 seconds or so to see if your dog calms down a bit and if she is calm again - you can try the greeting again.

    I'm not sure taking a "sight hound" camping is a good idea. Not unless you have amazing recall - eg you can call your dog away from a speeding rabbit or possum or kangaroo or sheep... Or you can go camping but keep the dog with the poor recall on lead all the time.

    Pay attention to how your dog "gets to know" new dogs - ie some at the park that are familiar now must have been new once and some new dogs now must become regulars - pay attention to how your dog gets to know these other dogs - and try to do that on purpose - eg have you dog on lead and follow along behind the new dog at a safe distance so your dog can get used to the smell of the new dog.

    Beware of labs - they will get in your dog's face as soon as they see her, unless they have very savvy owners. They just love greeting everybody. But they won't be bothered by air snaps either. The only problem with that is that your dog keeps doing the air snaps and you'd rather she didn't. So try to protect her from the dogs that charge up to say hello. Step between so she's got a chance to sniff before she gets so excited she starts snapping.

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi Hyacinth. Thank you for your reply. I have started on the suggestions you have to minimise the behaviour. You may be right that it is excitement because it doesn't mesh with her confident and friendly nature. We can hear the snapping of her teeth from quite a few metres away. There seems to be two ways she does it; less intense to initiate play and when she is standing very rigid and (seemingly) alarmed at a new dog. She responds well to training, so with your suggestions I hope to address the more intense air snapping. Thank you very much for the tips as they make a lot of sense.

    We have some camping grounds around here that have fully fenced areas for dogs and the wetlands are partially fenced down to the water. These places I've heard are packed with dogs, hence the original issue. She has 95% success rate with recall and an apparent indifference to wildlife (must be the breed she is crossed with, whatever that is). Having said that though, I know what greyhounds are like and I wouldn't let her off the lead in an unfenced area. The other dog is a beagle, so it's a double no to running wild and free.

  4. #4
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    Hope it works out and let us know how it goes.

    I'm trying to think of a dog that is indifferent to wildlife and failing. Pekinese maybe?

    all the terriers and all the sight hounds and all the herding dogs would be really interested unless trained from young - to ignore.

  5. #5
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    Bernie, Pohm and Brian are all indifferent to wildlife. Show them a cat though......

  6. #6
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    My mother recently adopted a whippet. She is quite a friendly playful whippet but ever since a large rude dog charged at her in a dog park she now also air snaps if a dog gets in her face. She does it because she feels that she doesnt want another dog thrusting its face in hers for any length of time especially a big dog which makes her anxious. So yes it is a quick sniff and then it gets broken off. The whippet then doesnt feel under pressure..

  7. #7
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    Maggie does that if a dog gets in her face. Had a rude kelpie rush at her air snapping yesterday, she turned quickly and gave it back. His expression was hilarious, for him it has become a power game that she topped. Backed off very quick. It is a defensive tactic that works so is self rewarding I think. Its not a good thing as I also wonder if it could be construed wrongly by a larger aggressive dog.
    Last edited by farrview; 12-31-2014 at 09:46 AM.

  8. #8
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    Most dog problems are solved by bluff. But bigger dogs do not need to bluff if a smaller dog fails to back off.

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