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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At Peggy’s playdate yesterday, she took a break to lay in the grass and chew on a root. One of her playmates is an adolescent male who she is a little quicker to tell off than the other dogs.

He was being silly and dopey (like young boys so often are), and managed to crash down into Peggy’s rear end while she was focused on her treasure. This triggered an eruption of snarls like I’ve never heard from her before. It was loud and over in seconds.

I don’t think there was actually any contact from teeth—certainly there were no marks or injuries—but I wonder how things might have gone differently if a) Peggy hadn’t learned and practised proper bite inhibition and b) her young playmate wasn’t a well-socialized boy who knew to back right off.

That encounter got me thinking of this:


And it reminded me for the gazillionth time of the importance of early and consistent socialization, which must be continued throughout adolescence. It also reminded me why we so very carefully select Peggy’s playmates.

Has your poodle ever gotten into a squabble or even a proper fight?

475217

Dogs practising being dogs.
 

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This kind of thing happens a few times a week here. Beckie will tell Merlin off when she decides that she’s had enough. The growling/snarling is quite impressive but it’s over in 1 second. It’s just a warning but it would escalate if Merlin kept going or if I didn’t intervene.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This kind of thing happens a few times a week here. Beckie will tell Merlin off when she decides that she’s had enough. The growling/snarling is quite impressive but it’s over in 1 second. It’s just a warning but it would escalate if Merlin kept going or if I didn’t intervene.
Do you have to intervene because Merlin doesn’t always get the message fast enough?
 

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Misha went through changes as he aged where he viewed his social status becoming higher and therefore expected more respect from others. It is normal for them to stick up for themselves more as they age. Peggy is getting older and changing socially from a youngster to an adult so it sounds totally normal that she would start to take offense at things she would have previously overlooked. I have also seen that the scale of the correction isn't always appropriate when they first try their hand at correcting other dogs.

Misha has little patience for rude adolescent males now and makes his displeasure very clear to me. He will leave them alone if I ask but wants nothing more than to knock them down a peg. He can tell just by looking at a young male if they are going to be rude and try to hump the adult dogs. I've taught him to leave them alone and return to me upon my request. But he still gives them some side eye.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It’s very cool to watch these dynamics evolve over time.

Peggy’s correction in this case may have seemed excessive from a human perspective, especially if we (wrongly) believe our dogs should never express themselves vocally. But it obviously worked perfectly well. And I had Ian Dunbar’s voice in my head, reminding me that dogs can sometimes disagree, and sometimes even scrap. That it’s okay.

We did have that one encounter a while back with an obtuse young Golden who seemed to think any attention was good attention. That’s one case where human intervention was warranted. I could see Peggy’s corrections escalating in speed and intensity each time he pestered her.

I always worry that dogs like that will someday push the wrong dog too far.
 

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Galen is the derpy male Peggy would have snarled at. His doggy socialization is pretty good considering the Covid situation, but I wish it was better. Unfortunately we lost Pogo when Galen was six months old, so Galen hasn't had as many slap downs from a well socialized adult dog as I would have liked. ("Please let your dog beat up my puppy." Sounds weird, doesn't it?) He has a tendency to happily charge in to another dog's personal space. His girlfriend Coco will tell him off, and he was able to run and play with some neighbor dogs over the summer, but he really needs to get better at not flattening his friends.
 

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It’s very cool to watch these dynamics evolve over time.

Peggy’s correction in this case may have seemed excessive from a human perspective, especially if we (wrongly) believe our dogs should never express themselves vocally. But it obviously worked perfectly well. And I had Ian Dunbar’s voice in my head, reminding me that dogs can sometimes disagree, and sometimes even scrap. That it’s okay.

We did have that one encounter a while back with an obtuse young Golden who seemed to think any attention was good attention. That’s one case where human intervention was warranted. I could see Peggy’s corrections escalating in speed and intensity each time he pestered her.

I always worry that dogs like that will someday push the wrong dog too far.
A case like that happened at the park we go to. A young intact golden did something (postured or humped or something like that I would guess) and an older pit bull was not having it and attacked him. It was a bad bloody fight and was hard to break up. He still has bad scars on his leg. When a pit type loses their temper it goes bad real fast. It is necessary to moderate things so your dog doesn't get themselves into trouble like that when they don't know any better and are young and stupid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A case like that happened at the park we go to. A young intact golden did something (postured or humped or something like that I would guess) and an older pit bull was not having it and attacked him. It was a bad bloody fight and was hard to break up. He still has bad scars on his leg. When a pit type loses their temper it goes bad real fast. It is necessary to moderate things so your dog doesn't get themselves into trouble like that when they don't know any better and are young and stupid.
Just reading that stressed me out. So scary.

I was chatting with our trainer yesterday about dogs that are bred to fight, and how they can seem perfectly sweet—even easygoing—and then BAM! No in-between.
 

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The other day I was reflecting on how amazing bite control really is. He was being nippy and annoying, so I handed him a stick with a diameter bigger than my thumb. He rolled it in his mouth, got a firm grip, and then, SNAP, he bit the stick clean in half. Then he went back to nipping and annoying me. That play session with the broken stick really brought home to me how much force my boy is holding back each time he playfully grabs my hand or nips.
 

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Killa and Tekno
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475224

My Min Pin, Killa, often has to correct Tekno’s poor puppy behavior and Tekno demands that she not step on him nor steal his stuffed toys. During these disagreements there are ugly faces, growling, fake out jumping, and yells but no contact and everything is over in seconds. They communicate very well with each other and I am continually impressed with how they teach others their boundaries. Usually any potential arguments are side stepped by the other and they try to quickly deescalate things when there’s tension. In the photo they are sharing a puzzle toy, They navigate around to keep each other comfortable and know not to even try stealing something after “talking” about it other times. When they argue though it “sounds” awful lol.
 

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Do you have to intervene because Merlin doesn’t always get the message fast enough?
No, he stops right away. But the growling is so sudden and terrifying (even though she’s small) that I startle and my reaction is to say « Hey ! » I’m afraid she will keep going, being the little demon that she is, that I feel I have to let her know that it’s okay to be offended, but not too much, lol.

It happened today and it scared the heck out of me. So sudden. They’re playing and suddenly, wham ! I think she needed to go outside so she had no patience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The other day I was reflecting on how amazing bite control really is. He was being nippy and annoying, so I handed him a stick with a diameter bigger than my thumb. He rolled it in his mouth, got a firm grip, and then, SNAP, he bit the stick clean in half. Then he went back to nipping and annoying me. That play session with the broken stick really brought home to me how much force my boy is holding back each time he playfully grabs my hand or nips.
I watched a video of a mama bear carrying her cubs across the road yesterday and thought about how natural it is, too. So cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
View attachment 475224
My Min Pin, Killa, often has to correct Tekno’s poor puppy behavior and Tekno demands that she not step on him nor steal his stuffed toys. During these disagreements there are ugly faces, growling, fake out jumping, and yells but no contact and everything is over in seconds. They communicate very well with each other and I am continually impressed with how they teach others their boundaries. Usually any potential arguments are side stepped by the other and they try to quickly deescalate things when there’s tension. In the photo they are sharing a puzzle toy, They navigate around to keep each other comfortable and know not to even try stealing something after “talking” about it other times. When they argue though it “sounds” awful lol.
That is the cutest photo!

I wish my phone wasn’t perpetually at capacity so I could get some good slow-motion video from every play session. I would be so neat to really break it down and watch those subtle dances and negotiations that are constantly taking place.
 

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Killa and Tekno
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The other day I was reflecting on how amazing bite control really is. He was being nippy and annoying, so I handed him a stick with a diameter bigger than my thumb. He rolled it in his mouth, got a firm grip, and then, SNAP, he bit the stick clean in half. Then he went back to nipping and annoying me. That play session with the broken stick really brought home to me how much force my boy is holding back each time he playfully grabs my hand or nips.
Yes! Both my dogs can snap clear through bones without batting an eye when I feed them raw portions. And yet somehow all my fingers survive play bites and nips... for now 😭
 

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I've tried my best to shelter Basil from potentially unfriendly dogs. 95% of our dog socializing are 1:1 playdates. The other 5% are "hello" on the street.

Basil sticks up for herself like a big girl when she communicates "leave me alone!". Poodle on poodle action is the worse thing we have experienced and I would like to keep it that way. The air can get tense for resource guarding like tennis balls or attention, but it's simple to diffuse and read obvious dogs body language like "MINE". (Solution: have two tennis balls in the yard). Or Basil gets jealous when she's tired and I'm scratching her friend so she growls. (Solution: one hand to scratch for each dog). Or she thinks I am giving her friend treats and not her so she growls. (Solution: one sit = a treat)

The other parent and I are right there incase either of our pups is naughty. We're like twinsies.

I'd rather we rotate between 3 good friends then play roulette at the dog park.
 

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Mine have very occasionally had a growling, glaring stand off when they have both claimed the same treat - my fault for not making the naming clear and aiming the throw poorly. Sophy complains vociferously if any part of her is trodden on, especially the long hair of her tail. A word from me will quickly calm things down - I don't take sides, just tell both of them That's enough!

Sophy is very adept at warning off obtrusive dogs - the first warning is a glance, the second a glare, and if they persist they get the full on snark. There is one little terrier they have known for 10 years and he still hasn't learned to leave her alone - he gets the full snark immediately!
 

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The only dogs that fight are my poodles. The puppies are 6 and 8 months old and have a scrap daily over toys, hay, bones or posturing. Darla rules the roost and her rules change to suit her needs. No one messes with her.
 

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Our trainer mentioned yesterday on the dog walk that the actual dog fights you have to worry about don't sound like much and are quiet. Have you all found that to be the case? Obviously it makes sense that noise could precipitate an actual fight, but it also makes sense that most of the time the noise is part of the communication through which they sort it out.
 

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We visit a friend with a Entlebucher Mountain Dog. I've known that dog for years and he was always thrilled to see me. He was NOT pleased when I started bring Meisha around. At first, they would growl and snap over everything. Now they have an understanding. Meisha lies across my lap when the other dog comes for pets. She definitely claims me for her own, but she lets me pet him. The other dog does not allow my friend to pet Meisha.
 
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