Many Shetland Sheepdogs are sweet and reserved, and it’s natural that owners of dogs with this sort of temperament might think most dogs are similar. The truth is, however, that many dogs don’t care for other dogs, especially strange dogs, in the least. If these dogs have a savvy owner who works hard with them, it can be difficult to tell that the dog needs her space.
I’ve been taking obedience classes with my Sheltie, named Kayla, who is usually good with other dogs. A young miniature poodle in the class called Ajax tries to get other dogs to play with him by lunging at them. Last week, Ajax lunged at Kayla when she didn’t expect it, and she snapped at him. It was appropriate, Ajax’s owner agreed, but I’ve made a point to keep Kayla away from him to prevent any other unpleasant interactions.
Sadly, the owner, I’ll call her Mary, didn’t quite learn she needed to keep Ajax under better control, and Mary also didn’t pick up on the signs that another dog in the class does not tolerate other dogs at all. When our class was practicing the stay exercise, Mary left Ajax, who is clearly unable to do a stay for even a nanosecond, and walked away. Ajax went over to play with a non-tolerant dog, and a fight ensued.