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Discussion Starter #1
All,

I have a 11 month old guy who in the past month has started to become 'aggressive' towards only YOUNG dogs at the local dog park. It is generally smaller dogs since most younger dogs are smaller than him, but it is not exclusively small dogs.

As soon as a younger dog enters the park and my dog seesit, he will go towards the dog and do what appears to be a normal meet and greet, but then immediately he will pounce on the other dog, usually making the dog yelp loudly.

I have yet to really find out if he is just pinning the dog down, or if he is actually trying to bite the dog.

I'm not sure what to do, from my point of view, he barely gives the dogs any warning.

Has anyone experienced this? How abnormal is this?
 

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If your dog has done this more than once, he has no business being in the dog park. Not fair to the other dogs. I would work with a trainer to figure out what the aggression is stemming from. My male was more aggressive when he was intact, but it was almost never unprovoked aggression, as you describe in your dog.
 

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Which is why most dog parks, doggy daycares exclude intact males. I’ve always had males and my last dog, a Scottish Terrier, was intact. Poor sweet Charlie was marked for attack by altered males, no matter what size. The females, all sizes, loved him and he was always a deferential gentleman with them. I’m not a fan of dog parks unless you have no other way to exercise your young guy. Find a time when it’s not crowded, but be aware that if your boy plays with the big guys, they can harm him as much as yours can hurt a little.
 

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My post is to try to see if anyone has any suggestions to combat this behavior.

This is a dog park we frequent often, we are regulars.. I have no intention of simply stopping. I usually hold him back when puppies come and this generally helps him from not going after it.


This only happens with new and young dogs at the park and mostly long haired dogs, mostly poodle mixes. I jokingly have been saying that he is "racists" towards doodles.

When does this normally happen?
- when he hasn't had sufficient exercise in the day.
- to exclusively younger dogs

When does it not happen?
- To dogs he has met before.
- If he already had sufficient exercise


Could he see this park as his own territory? He gets along well with all other dogs he has met.
 

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Well, it sounds like you know how to solve the problem already. Exercise your dog every time before you let him in the park. Protect puppies from him by putting him on a leash when the puppies come in. Frankly, I would be very PO'd if you came to my dog park and your dog jumped on my puppy. It would not go well.
 

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Well, it sounds like you know how to solve the problem already. Exercise your dog every time before you let him in the park. Protect puppies from him by putting him on a leash when the puppies come in. Frankly, I would be very PO'd if you came to my dog park and your dog jumped on my puppy. It would not go well.
This is such a welcoming forum...

I would gladly laugh at you as you got PO'd. Dogs are animals that can learn and be shaped. You are probably the person who takes every little scuffle personally.

You have never seen my dog do this, if my dog was aggressive and hurting dogs, of course, I would NOT bring him there. Not all dogs can handle a dog park, THIS I KNOW. I even stated earlier, i cant tell how aggressive he is actually being because normally people will say something loudly to stop whatever is going on.


Does anyone else have an imagination here? If not, I will gladly take this discussion elsewhere.
 

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Until you are sure you understand why this is happening (and I can't tell you why I think it does since I haven't observed it) AND have trained to extinction of the undesirable behaviors I wouldn't go to the dog park.

I'm not saying never go back, but extinguish the behavior before returning since every time your dog has a successful rehearsal of an inappropriate behavior the likelihood of training it away is diminished.

As Mfmst noted many dog parks do not allow intact males (in my area not welcome after 6 months old). Personally I don't like our local dog parks because many of the people are pretty bad at reading canine body language and poor at interpreting a particular dog's intentions.
 

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Most dog parks don't allow dogs that do things to other dogs that might be construed as aggressive...dogs that harass other dogs because it can start a fight. I had a dachshund jump on my poodle aggressively, snarling (maybe more aggressively than your dog) and I wasn't the first this happened to so it was reported. That guy didn't do a thing to control his dog, blamed everyone else for it's behavior. I think he got asked not to return.

One thing, besides what was mentioned already is that one day, if your dog keeps practicing this behavior, he's liable to jump the wrong dog...a dog that will retaliate viciously, which will ruin your dog. So I agree to get yourself a good trainer who can observe in person, evaluate what's going on and help you extinguish the behavior in a nice, gentle way. Then you could try again. I don't take my dogs to dog parks anymore...tried it a few times and saw that they really aren't that into other dogs...mostly they wanted to visit the dogs' owners. lol. In general, unless it's the only way to have your dog have some fun and exercise, I'm not a fan of dog parks. I guess some work out for some people, some are run better than others etc. But I have to agree with MaizieFrosty that if your dog is jumping on other dogs and not in a reciprocal...playful way, then he shouldn't be in a dog park...not until that's resolved. And Lilycd gave great advice, as always. Good luck, best wishes.

I don't know why you would say sarcastically that this is such a welcoming forum. Why? Because we can't tell you what to do to fix it when we haven't watched your dog, can't really see what's going on... or some of us aren't trainers? Or because we don't have good enough imaginations? Wha???? Or is it that we don't agree with letting an aggressive dog into a dog park? That's the general expectation placed by dog park managers and other attendees. Why should they be okay with someone else's dog jumping on theirs and spoiling the fun for others? Is that something that you feel entitled to? You were insulting to one of my best friends by stating that you'd laugh at her and all the rest of your rude remarks.
 

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The fact that your dog does this more when he has not been sufficiently exercised suggests that it is excitement/arousal based. Young dogs have difficulty controlling their energy levels and a high excitement/arousal can result in very unpredictable behavior. He likely does it with young dogs because they're more exciting. A dog acting out on this energy by jumping other dogs is a bad situation for a dog park for all the reasons stated above. The idea to exercise him thoroughly before the park is a good one, and one I would couple with a lot of impulse control work. But if you can't extinguish the behavior this way, seeking the help of a skilled trainer is the best option.
 

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My girl and I were regulars at our dog park for about a year. Another poodle, also a regular attendee at the park bit my Poppy one day, causing a tear in her side requiring several stitches and to the tune of about $600.

The one who bit her never came back again as the owner was told by others that an aggressive dog, even once, would not be allowed to return. She swore this was the first time her dog was aggressive, ever. To Poppy, she was just dancing and playing and she got chomped on. I was very angry and we no longer take any chances....no dog park for us.

Agressive dogs and their owners are regulary politely but firmly " thrown out" of the dog park by other owners. If they do come back they are reported to park officials and animal control immediately. The regulars at the park take pictures of the offending owner's license plate, and the dog to use when reporting aggression incidents.

Also, intact male dogs are not permitted at our dog parks. No exceptions.

If my dog, male or female were showing any signs of aggression I would NEVER take my dog to a dog park and expose others to this behavior. I am not sure why anyone would want to do that. Of course, my next step would be to seek professional training for the issue.
 

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I'm probably whistling in the wind but here we go.

If the shoe was on the other foot. If a guy comes in with his 100 pound Giant Schnauzer to the dog park & seems nice enough but then he jumps your 11 month old, you mean you'd be just fine with this? Putting your dog into fight or flight? Perhaps causing problems with your dog that you may have to come see a trainer like myself to try to fix or learn to work through? At your expense? There's not a lot of hope if you're okay with this. You don't understand dogs if you think a little skirmish means nothing to them.

All dogs who enter that park do so under the same idea that everyone is going to have their dogs properly socialized, well mannered, & under reasonable control. It's the responsibility of every handler to take it seriously & if their dog gets out of whack in the park, to leash him or remove him. Your dog should be safe but so should all other dogs be safe from him. You're late to the party in correcting him if he's able to jump & pin another dog. That he's done it multiple times is no good. He's learning with every experience & eventually someone yelling may not stop him. At the point the dog is eyeing that young dog, you have to be ON IT. Mine are trained to a 'leave it' command. If I say 'leave it' & they don't, I'm physically taking control & the leash goes on. Again, it's my responsibility. And just as I'll defend your dog from my own. I will defend my dog from anyone else's. My dog should not be pouncing on any dog. Dogs understand rules. To my dogs, I am the leader. (I must not be all that bad because when someone opened our gate to try to loose our dogs to get past them... the dogs all ran to the front gate & yelled their head off). So should your dog view you as the leader so it's important to train with him on lead. Get him reliable on 6 ft lead, on 15 ft long line, on 25 foot long line, on laundry line, then on shark line (which makes the dog feel free). He should be trained to the point that if he starts to build himself up for a pounce & you say, "Leave it" he should just sigh & you feel him just go into idle. Don't allow him to eye the other dog (this is where it all starts... they make eye on another dog & we don't catch it). A lot of the training if for us humans to read our dogs.

I would not allow him to meet/greet off leash any more. Until he leaves his pouncing/pinning ways behind him, on the leash. If you are at the dog park & you know someone with a young dog that he would likely target... put him on line & train, train, train. Heck I think sometimes my dogs behave beautifully because they know if they pull a bone headed stunt we're going to train, train, & train some more. My dogs are welcome anywhere even in places the general public can't bring their dogs.
 

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In regard to intact dogs at dog parks, it really seems to depend. In Miami probably 50% of male dogs are intact. Many of them are fine at the dog park while others are really into the dominance game. I don't think they're usually the cause of fights though. I've only ever seen that happen when dumb people bring in a female in heat. So I don't see having an intact male as a barrier to dog parks (if they'are allowed), but it may require more impulse control training because the hormones will increase arousal.
 

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This attitude is why we do not get to go to dog parks. When your dog acts out toward others, its not fun for the to hers anymore. Better to find reason first, could even be his hormones kicking in and teenage years. Good luck with him. I'm sure when this phase is over he will be fine, as long as he is not permitted to act this way, as it will become a learned behavior.
 

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Hmmm. Not a fan of dog parks but this post has solidified that. My ten month old pup’s socialization has been carefully crafted to avoid problems. I’ve had a lot of rescue dogs whose problems I’ve had to fix and I am very aware of the importance of building good, formative experiences. We can’t control everything but we can stack the deck.

My Gracie believes life is wonderful and safe, I won’t risk changing that at a dog park.
 

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Hmmm. Not a fan of dog parks but this post has solidified that. My ten month old pup’s socialization has been carefully crafted to avoid problems. I’ve had a lot of rescue dogs whose problems I’ve had to fix and I am very aware of the importance of building good, formative experiences. We can’t control everything but we can stack the deck.

My Gracie believes life is wonderful and safe, I won’t risk changing that at a dog park.
I agree. I especially wouldn't take a puppy or young dog. At least with an older, well socialized dog that's been around the block, already experienced lots of good times with other dogs may be able to bounce back from one lousy experience. But they don't all so it's still a risk. Take a young dog or puppy and that's really stacking the odds against you. Dog parks are full of random, unknown dogs that come and go, not necessarily the same ones every time. Dogs haven't lived that way since they were scavenging piles of garbage back in the days of proto dogs in Pemba where they were the only ones in town. lol. But I get it that it works for some people, some dogs. But it only takes one horrendous event and it can undo all your hard work and sometimes you can't get it back.
 

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This is such a welcoming forum...

I would gladly laugh at you as you got PO'd. Dogs are animals that can learn and be shaped. You are probably the person who takes every little scuffle personally.

You have never seen my dog do this, if my dog was aggressive and hurting dogs, of course, I would NOT bring him there. Not all dogs can handle a dog park, THIS I KNOW. I even stated earlier, i cant tell how aggressive he is actually being because normally people will say something loudly to stop whatever is going on.


Does anyone else have an imagination here? If not, I will gladly take this discussion elsewhere.

To start, I do not have experience with my dog jumping on other dogs. Only excitement and a booty/tail shake of joy when meeting others!! But your dog may be communicated something other than joy, possibly may feel threatened?

Also...
This is a very welcoming forum but everyone has strong opinions! Please do not feel offended if someone gives you advice (even if its advice you're not seeking), because this forum is filled with dog owners who have had experiences that shape the way they think. People here are very kind and words can be misconstrued over text in ways the originator did not mean. Some topics are very "controversial" in dog-owner world...

Such as dog parks! Lots of people on here (who I learned quickly) are not fans of dogs parks! I came on here talking about my experience and like you, lots of people came and told me I should not be going there because my bad experience would likely happen again. Granted, I was on the other end of the stick where my dog was attacked. I ended up agree with them and will never take my dog back. BUT that does not mean other people's dogs do not have great times at these parks! Some dogs love them and behave well!

Now I am no professional but I do have some ideas to possibly help you if you want to help this odd behavior! It seems your pup has high energy around younger dogs, so maybe he needs to meet younger dogs (out side of the dog park) in a safe environment. This will test to see how he reacts in a different environment. This can show if he is territorial over the park, or just very anxious around younger high-energy dogs. Younger dogs high energy can be scary for others. Norman (my dog) is not a fan of high-energy dogs since he was attacked. If a dog moves too fast or is too jumpy, he will cry and run back to me or away from the dog. I helped his fear by having him watch other dogs and reward his calm-ness with treats and positive words. I did not have Norman meet every dog because he needs to know that not every dog/human has to be greeted! Now, we are a lot better with high-energy dogs since he has grown in size and comfort and is no longer smaller than these dogs.

I think another idea is when younger dogs do come in, keep him on leash and feed treats to distract him. Slowly build up seeing younger dogs with positivity!!
Young/New dog + yummy food = Happy.... To make it.... Younger/New dog = happy.
I think that a lot of his pouncing could be due to him wanting to be alpha in the situation as well. Greet, pounce and show dominance. He possibly learned this from the older dogs there?? He might be wanting to put this dog in its place in his mind, letting them know who rules the park there. If this is the case, there needs to be more reinforcement of positive behavior. Greet, walk away, treat.

I am sure your pup is very sweet, but like others said, this could be dangerous if not fixed. I do not want an aggressive younger/new dog to attacked your dog for being too playful or touchy.
I am so glad you're looking for a solution! Some dog owners do not care how their dog is at parks and I am glad you're trying to make it a good experience for everyone. I wish I had the courage to take my dog back, let alone to a dog park that has well behaved dogs!! But unfortunately dog owners can be neglectful and not watch their dogs or do not care to train them.

I wish you and your baby luck! And again, please keep with the forum! Everyone here is opinionated, which is why we joined a discussion forum :) Speaking for myself, nothing I ever say to someone here is meant to be rude or distasteful. Strictly just giving my own advice/opinion as you asked :)
 

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To second what SammieNorman said, I dont "speak" here with negative intent. I will not waste my time on that sort of nonsense. I trained with a lot of police, agents, & military folks so I can be blunt but it's not meant to be rude or unfriendly. I like to help dogs & their handlers.

I've been on both ends of this situation. The difference is my dog became dog aggressive after being jumped once. Then he became the aggressor. He was a deadly threat to any man or beast he thought was a threat to me or a dog who tried to dominate him. Cost a lot of time & $ to learn how to train through it plus it was like a person with addiction issues... not cured but constantly in recovery.

To be blunt...I dont want any other dog/handler to go through that if possible. These situations can spin out of control faster than you blink. Dogs are super subtle communicators. Humans are super slow plus we go quiet when stressed yet that is when dogs need direction from us.

Rather than be offended by the words here understand we all want to protect & help the dogs.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 

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This is such a welcoming forum...

I would gladly laugh at you as you got PO'd. Dogs are animals that can learn and be shaped. You are probably the person who takes every little scuffle personally.

You have never seen my dog do this, if my dog was aggressive and hurting dogs, of course, I would NOT bring him there. Not all dogs can handle a dog park, THIS I KNOW. I even stated earlier, i cant tell how aggressive he is actually being because normally people will say something loudly to stop whatever is going on.


Does anyone else have an imagination here? If not, I will gladly take this discussion elsewhere.
Yes, do us a favor and take your attitude elsewhere. And I hope you get POd at that comment so I can gladly laugh at you. Even if your dog hasn't hurt anyone (yet) that kind of behavior has no place in a dog park and can still intimidate and cause fear in other dogs.
 

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Worlvlhole, I hope you will listen to what is being said, and reconsider. It almost sounds like you are blowing off peoples concerns. Please do not do that!

I do have to say to everyone that many dog owners do not seem to know the difference between 'play' and 'aggression'. I was one of these owners when my beloved spoo was a pup. I was terrified whenever a dog came up bouncing all over and pounced on him. I overreacted. I dragged him away, I left the dog park and swore at other dog owners. I had no idea that most times it was just play.

By now I have worked with an excellent dog trainer who is psychology based. I have learned to read dog body language, and I can tell when it is play and when it is aggression. I watch every move carefully, and observe if the other owner/handler is also observing and if they know what is happening.

I take my dog off leash to the woods often, and it is great to come across an owner who also understands. Our dogs can have a glorious romp/pretend growl play fight, and then we both go our own way.

My dog has turned into one of those wonderful ones that can actually calm other dogs, knows how to totally avoid trouble, and helps other dogs be socialized.

However I would say at least half of dog owners are pretty clueless in this department, and that is where there can be major problems.

BUT, IF your dog is causing other people problems, please do not continue. As others have said, take your dog to a top notch trainer, and if necessary have your dog 'fixed'. Really good trainers, when working with a really motivated owner/handler, can do wonders with a dog. Be one of those motivated caring owners!

Hoping both you and your dog have an attitude adjustment. And have a long happy life together mutually enjoying being with other dogs also.
 
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