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View attachment 471727 View attachment 471727 Hello all! I know I am not that active on here (im a bit of a lurker lol), but I have a mini rant about what happened at the dog park today. My black spoo puppy Xhosa is only 9 months old, and for reference is about 24" tall and 44lbs, so not too big. She LOVES other dogs and has never shown any aggression (although she can be vocal, puppy barks, no growling), but ill admit she can be a bit rambunctious as any "larger" 9 month old puppy can be. Today she had a playdate with her 7 month old furfriend, a husky/mini pinscher mix, at the dog park. Im usually not a fan of dog parks, but this one is relatively small and usually never has more than 5 dogs. Also, Xhosa isn't a fan of "close contact" play, she would much rather run and be chased. There was also a yellow lab and a fox terrier at the dog park.

Everything was going great until a lady brought her just-turned-4-month old puppy into the park (unfortunately there isn't a separate area for small dogs). As soon as she puts her puppy down, the dogs rush her, but Xhosa was last to arrive (she was more interested in a hound mix that just came in haha). The husky mix is quite vocal and started barking, showing teeth, and growling. Xhosa never barked. The puppy starts screaming crying and the owner scoops her dog up. I go over and pull Xhosa away and eventually the other owners grab their dogs as well. Then the puppy owner puts her dog back down, and the same thing happens (all the dogs rush her again). The husky mix again starts growling, but this time Xhosa starts bouncing around playfully, still no barking/growling, and the puppy's owner starts yelling at Xhosa "No!! NO!" and pushing Xhosa back, never once touching the other dogs. Xhosa looks confused. Im right there and ask what the problem was. The puppy's owner says "shes being aggressive to my dog!" (?????) Me, confused because that is not what happened, the small husky mix was the aggressor, gives Xhosa the "leave it" command and we walk off to get Xhosa to play with another dog. The puppy and her owner then leave the park.

But this is when the lab owner chimes in and says "Xhosa is just so big and intimidating. Maybe if she looked friendlier, people wouldn't think she's aggressive." Excuse me? Your lab is bigger than Xhosa in height AND weight (her dog is 65lbs). And look "friendlier" how, no top knot? Lol! Xhosa may look bigger right now (she has about 2in of coat on her), but I keep her face and feet clean (I looovvve the clean face poodle look 馃槏).

Have any other spoo owners/black dog owners experienced this? This is not the first time I've heard people call my spoo "snooty" "weird" or "intimidating." I've even heard some say shes "mean" looking (maybe because she's black?). Xhosa is one of the FEW spoos in a SEA of doodles (like a TON of them). I want her to have more spoo playdates, but I only see spoos when I'm driving haha never when I'm out walking! But it's interesting, people stop me on the street all the time when I'm with her, and a handful will always comment on how spoos "aren't friendly." Yes. Xhosa is a bit aloof with strangers, but she will wag her tail and smile, maybe even sit for a pat if they talk to her. She's no golden retriever or lab, but friendly in her own way lol!

Sorry for the mini rant, but it's always hard to hear another owner say your dog is "aggressive" or "mean" simply because of how they look, especially when I've seen plenty of mean small dogs (people think their yapping is "cute"). I'll get used to eventually, if this is something all spoo owners deal with!

I thank you for reading the entire rant lol 馃挄
 

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Yep. I got it with all three of mine. I think spoos have a tendency to leap and pounce while playing, and it can freak out dogs that aren't used to that play style. (The tendency probably started with their ancestors needing to jump up to see over tall marsh grasses while retrieving.)
 

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People are more afraid of black dogs. Black dogs are always the last to be adopted in shelters, and big black dogs are worse than small black dogs. I love black dogs, but in 25 years of owning (black) Giant Schnauzers, I came to recognize the "big black dog syndrome". It's just a fact of life. It even occurs among professional trainers who should know better.

When I was looking for a poodle puppy, I wanted a black. Zephyr's breeder is known for black dogs, and his whole litter was supposed to be black. Out of 10 puppies there were 4 brown boys, 4 brown girls and two black girls. I wanted a boy, so ended up with a brown boy. I love his color now, but still want my next puppy to be black.
 

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Stories like this further repell me from the dog park lol.

If you come across another dog that might be a good playdate, then exchange contact info with the furparent. There's an app called sniffspot where people rent their yards out in the neighborhood for $6-10 per hour per dog. It's a super good alternative if your not thrilled about dog parks and want a more 1:1 experience for xhosa and a playmate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep. I got it with all three of mine. I think spoos have a tendency to leap and pounce while playing, and it can freak out dogs that aren't used to that play style. (The tendency probably started with their ancestors needing to jump up to see over tall marsh grasses while retrieving.)
Yes, Xhosa is definitely a pouncer and loves to jump around and over dogs! I expect most people to may be taken aback by her energy level, but to call her aggressive? Thats definitely a stretch!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Stories like this further repell me from the dog park lol.

If you come across another dog that might be a good playdate, then exchange contact info with the furparent. There's an app called sniffspot where people rent their yards out in the neighborhood for $6-10 per hour per dog. It's a super good alternative if your not thrilled about dog parks and want a more 1:1 experience for xhosa and a playmate.
I've always been apprehensive to dog parks and unfortunately i have heard horror stories. I was lucky to find this park because it's never crowded and often times, Xhosa is the only dog, so it's been a great outlet. I also tend to schedule playdates with family members/friends with dogs and yards.
But Sniffspot is a great idea! Unfortunately, all of the houses in about a mile radius in either direction don't have yards (tons of historic townhouse, no yards), but since this city is such a dog friendly city, im sure i can locate someone renting their space! Thanks for the tip!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
People are more afraid of black dogs. Black dogs are always the last to be adopted in shelters, and big black dogs are worse than small black dogs. I love black dogs, but in 25 years of owning (black) Giant Schnauzers, I came to recognize the "big black dog syndrome". It's just a fact of life. It even occurs among professional trainers who should know better.

When I was looking for a poodle puppy, I wanted a black. Zephyr's breeder is known for black dogs, and his whole litter was supposed to be black. Out of 10 puppies there were 4 brown boys, 4 brown girls and two black girls. I wanted a boy, so ended up with a brown boy. I love his color now, but still want my next puppy to be black.
Yes I am aware of black dog syndrome, it's so sad! I love black dogs, and my second spoo most likely will be black as well. But ive also noticed people make negative comments about her breed! I've had people tell me they would much rather have a doodle because spoos are too "weird." So I guess Xhosa has a double whammy of stereotypes being a black spoo lol! Ill get used to it, but the experience at the dog park was eye opening to see it in action. She's such a sweet dog.
 

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I鈥檝e got a male black spoo and get that from everyone that sees him. Mind you, he is only ever out and about on a short leash, and he heels ignoring other dogs (after years of training because he is dog aggressive).

Honestly, I don鈥檛 mind it. My experience is that the people who think nothing of getting right down in a dog鈥檚 face or letting their kids and dogs do the same without so much as a by-your-leave are much more troublesome. I thought so even with my previous dogs - none of whom had an aggressive bone in their bodies and were as intimidating as a wet noodle.

But I get being upset that someone maligned your dog. No one appreciates that.
 

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How frustrating, ladyRay! I would be miffed, I have to admit. I love black spoos and only ever look at them as beautiful creatures when I come across them.
I have heard that people think poodles are aggressive, unfortunately.
Stereotypes always get me a bit riled up.
 

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I'm starting to wonder where this "poodles are aggressive" stereotype came from anyway.
I'm guessing some poorly trained bad examples from BYBs...especially during the poodle popularity heyday when too many people were jumping on the bandwagon breeding them to make a buck.
Old stereotypes die hard.
 

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This doesn't sound like aggressive behavior at all. But I wonder whether it is what the puppy's owner saw, because poodle play can be so big and bombastic, and maybe they thought the growling and barking came from your dog. It's also possible that they are just being defensive of their puppy without knowing a lot about dog behavior, and thinks that certain behaviors are aggressive because her puppy gets overwhelmed and doesn't like it. I've noticed that Oona and the neighborhood poodles and doodles recognize each other and play in a similar way (sometimes loudly). Some dogs don't respond well to a poodly style of bounding and jumping/barking.
 

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Peggy can be very vocal when she plays. It's not that persistent sharp barking we sometimes see from other breeds, but lots of growls of varying pitches. And it did once scare away another owner. Oh well.

I do find she's better received when she's clipped short. Her jaunty tail pompon helps, too. But as long as your poodle is properly socialized and playing politely, keep your chin up and ignore that silliness! People can be so rude.
 

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Peggy can be very vocal when she plays. It's not that persistent sharp barking we sometimes see from other breeds, but lots of growls of varying pitches. And it did once scare away another owner. Oh well.

I do find she's better received when she's clipped short. Her jaunty tail pompon helps, too. But as long as your poodle is properly socialized and playing politely, keep your chin up and ignore that silliness! People can be so rude.
I noticed Fenris growls when he plays with himself, when he complains about being crated, or when just life doesn't go his way. It's good to know that it's probably just his regular vocalization and not something I have to worry about. He also has this really low woof-woof-woo-woo-woo thing he does. I never had a dog before but it just seemed such an odd vocalization.
 

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I noticed Fenris growls when he plays with himself, when he complains about being crated, or when just life doesn't go his way. It's good to know that it's probably just his regular vocalization and not something I have to worry about. He also has this really low woof-woof-woo-woo-woo thing he does. I never had a dog before but it just seemed such an odd vocalization.
There are so many different types of growls. Some communicate discomfort and/or the need for better socialization. Those absolutely deserve your attention. But grumbly, playful growls are just adorable. :)
 

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There are so many different types of growls. Some communicate discomfort and/or the need for better socialization. Those absolutely deserve your attention. But grumbly, playful growls are just adorable. :)
I wish I knew if they were ones needing to be addressed or not. He rarely growls at me, I think the only time he's done it is when I've taken my arm away from his teeth and replaced it with a toy. He prefers to gnaw on my arm and I try my hardest to discourage it by sticking his toys in it's place. Otherwise it's been to himself. I've not seen him growl at another person, at my cat, or any other dogs (like my neighbor's barking dogs). So I'm hoping those are okay growls.
 

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I wish I knew if they were ones needing to be addressed or not. He rarely growls at me, I think the only time he's done it is when I've taken my arm away from his teeth and replaced it with a toy. He prefers to gnaw on my arm and I try my hardest to discourage it by sticking his toys in it's place. Otherwise it's been to himself. I've not seen him growl at another person, at my cat, or any other dogs (like my neighbor's barking dogs). So I'm hoping those are okay growls.
Tug is a surefire way to elicit a play growl! But a growl when you take something away could also be fearfulness/resource guarding. So yes, it does take some experience to recognize the difference.

Since I've experienced both with Peggy, I can tell you the play growl is more.....musical? That's my best word for it. Her "I mean business" growl was flat and low and ominous. You could almost miss it at first. It was accompanied by very stiff body language, not a wiggly loose playful puppy body.
 

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Tug is a surefire way to elicit a play growl! But a growl when you take something away could also be fearfulness/resource guarding. So yes, it does take some experience to recognize the difference.

Since I've experienced both with Peggy, I can tell you the play growl is more.....musical? That's my best word for it. Her "I mean business" growl was flat and low and ominous. You could almost miss it at first. It was accompanied by very stiff body language, not a wiggly loose playful puppy body.
He has a playful and frustrated growl, but I think the frustrated growl is more the in-crate growl since I only seem to hear that tone in his crate. He is all tail wagging as he tries to bite my arm, I think he thinks it's play. I don't seem him wanting to actually hurt me. Even though ouch! He hasn't shown resource guarding behaviors, he is okay when I take his food or toys away (just not okay when I take me or any of my body parts away, so maybe when the recourse is me?).
 

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He has a playful and frustrated growl, but I think the frustrated growl is more the in-crate growl since I only seem to hear that tone in his crate. He is all tail wagging as he tries to bite my arm, I think he thinks it's play. I don't seem him wanting to actually hurt me. Even though ouch! He hasn't shown resource guarding behaviors, he is okay when I take his food or toys away (just not okay when I take me or any of my body parts away, so maybe when the recourse is me?).
I'm sure he's just fine. :) But if you have any doubt, try to get a video and we can take a look/listen.
 
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