Why Does My Dog Cry When He Sees Another Dog?

When walking, your dog is well-behaved, knows how to walk on a leash, does not pull you around, does not approach strangers unless called and never eats things from the ground. However, whenever another dog comes, your dog starts crying.

can dogs sense when something is wr...
can dogs sense when something is wrong with their owner

But why does my dog cry when he sees another dog? Simply put, crying is your dog’s way of interacting with the other dog – your dog’s way of saying, ‘Hi, I am happy to see you, should we play”. Sometimes the other dog may not even approach – it can be several feet away, and your dog may start whining to say, “Hi, I am not in the mood, please do not disturb me.”

Generally, there are different reasons why your dog cries when it sees another dog. This article will tell you how to recognize what your dog is trying to say through its crying and what you can do to stop this behavior.


HOW DOGS VOCALLY COMMUNICATE?

As dog owners, we are well aware our dogs have a way of communicating with each other. In fact, there are several different types of vocal communication methods. Each vocal communication method is used differently and has a different function for the dog.

Crying or Whining 

Crying or whining is a short or medium-ranged means of communication. More often than not, dogs whine to demonstrate some form of frustration or pain. Some dogs may even whine to obtain attention. Due to their attention-seeking tendencies, modern dogs whine a lot more than their wolf ancestors.

Sadly, this is our fault. Just think about it – the explanation is quite apparent. Namely, you just got yourself a new puppy. You spend your time with it, but as soon as you leave it alone, it starts whining.

Typically, you feel guilty and start comforting it. At that moment, you unintentionally reinforce the whining. In a nutshell, the dog whined about catching your attention, and by consoling it, you provided the craved attention. 

Grunting 

Grunts are described as low, guttural noises that usually indicate happiness. Grunts in dogs are the canine equivalent to contented sighs in people.

They typically occur when the dog is expressing contentment, joy, or relief. For example, a dog is likely to grunt when it meets a person it is fond of.  

Howling 

Howling is a long-ranged means of communication used in a plethora of circumstances. Generally speaking, howling is more common in wolves than it is in dogs. Modern dogs rarely howl.

However, certain breeds like malamutes, huskies, and hounds are particularly inclined toward howling. Certain high-pitched auditory stimuli (such as sirens) are likely to provoke howling in breeds predisposed to this form of vocal communication.  

Growling 

Growling can be used either in play or as a warning signal that demonstrates dominance. Play growls are associated with wagging tails.

On the flip side, aggressive growls are accompanied by snarling and staring. Growling at the owner is considered an unwanted behavior – it is the dog’s way of expressing dominance and posing as a pack leader.

Simply stated, it is the dog’s way of saying – stay away. This can become a severe behavioral issue, and its elimination often requires professional training.

Barking 

As a result of selective breeding and human encouragement, barking is the most common communication form among dogs. It is a well-known fact that some dogs are genetically wired to bark, and barking is a normal part of their job description.

However, for some dogs, barking, especially if excessively presented, is a behavioral issue.

To us, all dog barks sound the same but dogs have and recognize seven different barking types:

  • alarm barking
  • territorial barking
  • greeting barking
  • attention-seeking barking
  • compulsive barking
  • frustration-induced barking
  • socially facilitated barking

WHY DOES MY DOG CRY WHEN HE SEES ANOTHER DOG?

The reasons why your dog cries when he sees another dog can be classified into five main categories.

Fear and submissiveness

Crying is a common sign of fear and submissiveness. Your dog can be naturally submissive or fearful as a result of previous negative experiences.

Generally, submissive and fearful dogs keep their head and ears down and hide their tails between the hind legs when in the presence of other dogs. If your dog is extremely scared, it might even hide behind you.

Mistreatment

If another dog snapped at your dog or behaved aggressively, your dog might feel mistreated. A mistreated dog will assume all dogs are bullies, and all interactions will result in bullying.

Puppies that were mistreated while young are more likely to grow into adults that cry when other dogs approach them. Extensive socialization and desensitization training are good ways of helping a mistreated dog regain its confidence.

Excitement

Crying due to excitement is the canine version of our “tears of joy.” When extremely excited or in anticipation of an exciting event, dogs are likely to cry.

If your dog cries at another dog due to excitement, it will also wag its tail and pull you in the direction of the other dog.

Encouraged behavior

Crying at other dogs can be an encouraged behavior. For example, if your dog realizes that every time it starts crying, you respond by praising or giving treats, it can cry to other dogs to manipulate you into offering treats. The more your dog cries, the more treats it is likely to get from you.


HOW CAN I TELL WHY DOES MY DOG CRY WHEN HE SEES ANOTHER DOG?

To figure out which of the above-explained reasons is behind your dog’s crying, you need to consider several factors.

Body language

Your dog’s body language can tell you a lot about your dog’s emotional state. You just need to be careful and pay attention.

For example, if your dog is excited, you will likely catch the following signs:

  • tail wagging
  • tail held up in the air
  • eyes wide open
  • erect ears
  • open mouth
  • tongue sticking out.

On the other hand, these body signs indicate that your dog is feeling submissive:

  • hidden tail
  • ears back
  • lowered body posture
  • brief eye contacts
  • back rolling.

Type of dogs that trigger crying

Your dog can cry at all dogs or certain dogs in particular. For example, if your dog cries when it sees larger dogs, it is probably because of fear and submissiveness.

 If your dog cries at dogs from the opposite sex, the crying might be an effort to initiate contact that will lead to mating.

Finally, if your dog cries at all dogs and does not have particular preferences, it ismost likely due to excitement.

When the crying started

If crying when spotting other dogs was not part of your dog’s usual behavior and now it is a frequent occurrence, it is advisable to pinpoint the exact moment the crying started.

Sudden crying onset is usually linked with either mistreatment or excitement. Your dog has been mistreated by another dog and now associates the negative experience with other dogs’ presence.

On the flip side, if your dog did not interact much with other dogs and one particular interaction resulted in a fun and long playtime, now your dog may perceive the overall experience as positive. In such cases, the crying can be an attempt to initiate a new play date.

If crying is an ongoing issue, your dog might feel submissive or fearful around other dogs. Then, there is a big chance your dog lacks proper socialization and could benefit from extensive interactions with new dogs and in new environments.


HOW CAN I PREVENT MY DOG FROM CRYING WHEN HE SEES ANOTHER DOG?

Preventing your dog from crying when in the presence of another dog is a complex issue that requires a multimodal approach.

Stop encouraging the behavior

Sometimes we all intentionally or unintentionally encourage certain behaviors in our dogs by appeasing them. To stop encouraging the crying behavior, there are three things you can do:

  • redirecting your dog’s focus before it starts whining
  • rewarding your dog if it does not cry when another dog approaches
  • rewarding your dog as soon as it stops whining.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement is the basis of raising a well-behaved dog. The training method’s concept is to reinforce good behavior in your dog by rewarding it every time it acts correctly and per your instructions.

In this particular situation, positive reinforcement includes rewarding your dog after interactions with other dogs, not accompanied by crying. On the contrary, if your dog initiated the interaction with crying or ended up crying, there will be no reward.

Asking for professional help

There is no shame in admitting that some issues are above our understandings and abilities. Licensed dog behaviorists specialize in dealing with a variety of canine issues, including crying to other dogs.

The licensed dog behaviorist will determine the reason for your dog’s crying. Then, they will work with your dog on eliminating the behavior. Finally, the behaviorist will explain how to manage your dog in the future so that the issue does not reoccur.


CONCLUSION

From fear through excitement to encouraging behavior, there are many reasons why your dog cries when he sees another dog. Although crying is one of the dog’s communication methods, it can be categorized as a behavioral issue if exhibited in excess.

On the bright side, as you and your dog cohabitate over time, you will learn to recognize what your dog is telling you by how it vocally expresses itself. Understanding your dog takes some time, but it is entirely achievable and not as challenging as it may appear at first. 

If you cannot deal with the issue independently, do not hesitate to consult with a licensed dog behaviorist. The dog behaviorists will mediate the communication between you and your dog and help you understand each other.