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Sorry in advance for the long post....

So I have had my dog since she was 8 weeks old, and in that time I have been training and socialising her to the best of my ability. She is in general very well behaved, and is doing well at obedience classes.

The other day after training, (which Zephyr did really well at) we all let our dogs off to have a play, which is something that we quite often do, and Zephyr has never had a problem with this before. She plays really well with other dogs, and respects other dogs space if they dont want to play. However this time, when she was chasing the other dogs, she got very growly, and was displaying very dominant type behaviour (going for the top of the neck of the other dogs, and standing over them if they stopped running). These are dogs that are all well behaved and socialised, and they have all played together many times before, so I have no idea why she was displaying this behaviour. She is also not usually a growler when she plays, so this was unusual.

The first time she did this I called her over to me, and made her do some doggy push ups (sit to drop and back again), which she did well, and gave her a minute to calm down. Then I let her go again, but she went straight back to it! So I called her over again and put her on leash, and left the park.

So I was just hoping that someone would perhaps have an idea as to why she is all of a sudden displaying this behaviour, especially with dogs that she has known practically her whole life....maybe she was just having a bad day? But we have also moved house recently, so could that have had something to do with it???

And do you think I did the right thing? And what should I do in future situations? Should I just not let her play with other dogs off leash?

Thanks!
 

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I feel like sometimes they just have super strange days, where they are in a "mood". Levi knows not to chase dogs when they run away from him, but every now and then he forgets, especially if the dog is yelping/crying - it sends him into prey-drive overload. When he does, I call him to me, and make him lay down and cool it. I don't want him practicing any behaviors I don't like.
I always supervise intensely, any play from either my own dog or a dog he is playing with, I call him over and get him to take a break.
You can always try again and see. As she gets older, she just might not be as much of a social butterfly anymore. Levi is becoming less interested in dogs now that he's approaching two.
 

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I also think you did the right thing by stopping the behavior, calming her and leaving the place as last option. This for sure let Zephyr understand that her behavior did not made you happy. Just keep an eye out if this repeats and see if by controlling this behavior goes away. She might have been overexcited or upset by something...
 

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I don't know how old your dog is but many dogs, as they reach social maturity, no longer enjoy playing with other dogs as much. If it continues, it may be that she's decided she doesn't enjoy the group play sessions at the park. Maybe try to find one or two dogs who she's compatible with and have play times with them.

If she's intact, is she coming into heat? It's also possible she was not feeling well and didn't want to play. The stress of house moving could have played a part.

Best thing is to remove her from the situation as you did. No good comes of letting her practice the behavior.
 
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