The other day my husband and I were out walking the dogs. It was gorgeous out; it had been raining and was just starting to clear with a brisk wind. The temperature was in the low 50s; my kind of weather. Because of the low temps and the looming threat of rain there were not many people out. But as we were walking down the path we passed a few folks out with their dogs. We stopped to say hi; at only a year and a half it is still great if Elsa can socialize with other friendly dogs. It helps to solidify her "dog friendly" attitude. Not far down the path I saw a man coming with a Siberian husky. I told my husband to watch Luke. Typically I walk Elsa and he walks Luke when we are out together.
Why did I tell him to watch Luke? I gave him a heads up because Luke does not like Husky type dogs. He doesn't like dogs that lunge towards us or any rambunctious types upon greeting but he plain doesn't like Husky looking dogs. The only logical explanation for this is the ears and tail. The dog that was walking towards us had a calm and friendly body posture but of course his ears and tail were up. To Luke, this meant a challenge or threat and he addresses it head on. Passing the man and his Husky; Luke let out his customary and very scary lunge growl. He said his peace; told everyone how he felt and kept on going.
I have had many people tell me that their dog doesn't like Goldens, or Huskies or Poodles..........wait what? Not like poodles? No that can't be right? JK. (wink, wink) What we see and what our dogs see can be very different. I usually know when Luke is not going to tolerate a greeting. Of course an on leash greeting displays much more dominance and aggression than an off leash one. But our dogs have likes and dislikes and they can misread a message. They are good but they too can get it wrong. I have seen wrong readings within my own pack at home.
So what do we do about this dislike of Huskies? We get our distance. I know that he doesn't like them so we move away and remain calm. I do not give off any panic signals; we simply get some space and keep on going. The Husky dislike includes all breeds that are similar, Akitas, Jindos, Malamutes etc. etc. They all have the same body posture so they are all dumped into one bin as far as Luke is concerned. At the age of 12.5 he's not likely to change his opinion now. In fact I'm not worried about it; he is far too slight to be wrestling with them any how so we don't need to meet them for any reason. No Elsa on the other hand doesn't seem to show any dislike of particular dogs. She isn't keen on dogs that come out swinging upon greeting but that is normal behavior. She pretty much loves to play with anyone willing to play.
If you have a dog with a particular dislike of a certain "look" of dog, you can work on it. You focus your socializing on dogs with the specific look and create a positive association to them. Luke has singled them out because of their permanent threat image but we could change that if he was younger. A couple of good romps with a friendly Husky and he'd probably change his mind. He is very dog friendly but like us as we age we become less tolerant of many things. For Luke it's Husky types.