Dog Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I've got 2 black lab mixes that I got from a rescue when they were small puppies. They are brother and sister, and are now 2+ years old. The brother dog is much larger and is dominant over the sister dog, but their is no problem with the pecking order in the house (they understand and obey the rules, and I would generally say that they are very good dogs.)

We've been going to the same dog park since they were about 4 months old. They probably visit the park 3-4 times a week, for both exercise and socialization with other dogs. In the past couple months, the male dog has been showing some signs of aggression at the park. He whines and is very excited to get into the park, but when he finally gets inside and other dogs start to approach, he often growls at them, and his hair starts to stand up. He's even lunged at a couple of dogs that won't take the hint to give him his space. Nothing close to a real "fight" has happened, but I don't like this behavior. It's ironic, because the majority of these other dogs are just trying to play and sniff, but he doesn't seem to understand. A year ago, he had these same puppy behaviors/actions, and now he growls at other dogs exhibiting those same behaviors he recently had! Most of the other dog owners are not that concerned with my "aggressive" dog, but I don't like it, and I verbally tell him to stop with all of the growling. (I know growling itself it not bad, but I can't figure out WHY he is growling at other dogs so frequently.) He looks up at me with his puppy eyes and stops growling, but 2 minutes later he's back it. I'm afraid an altercation could happen at some point, when another dominant dog won't back down from his growling.

So I'm looking for any suggestions on how to curb this behavior. I'd like to keep coming to the park, but it's getting stressful for me (I think the dog loves going, because when I tell him the word "park", he jumps around like a hooligan and can't wait to go.) At first I thought that maybe he was protecting his smaller sister with all of the growling, but now it just seems like he's acting the part of park bully. By the way, he's 70LB, and he's "bullying" dogs that are much bigger than him. He's never had anything traumatic happen to him in his entire life, has always been exercised well, and is otherwise what I would consider a very good/normal dog. There is no aggression at home. I can take away his toys, food, whatever without a single growl. He's also fine on walks, and is great with all humans. He was definitely dominant/bigger than his 5 other litter mates, and now at the dog park, he wants to be "king of the park."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
I would stop taking him to the dog park. I did know of a friend's dog that did that same thing. He had to get his butt beat by a bigger dog to knock it off. A great dane put him in his place, and he stopped going after other dogs. He may be thinking he can dominate over any dog because he can do it to his sister. There are a few things. Try going to a open field. See if he does the same thing. It could be the area that is setting him off. Ask some friends to bring there dogs and watch his body. If you see any sort of aggression put him right into the car and leave him there for a few minutes, then get him and repeat. That might help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
I agree that he's not a good candidate for dog parks. This is not uncommon when dogs reach maturity. Not every adult dog wants or needs to be friends with strange dogs. You're setting up other dogs to having bad experiences. Dog park bullies often create a lot of stress for all the dogs. You may also find yourself liable if a serious fight breaks out and a dog gets hurt. No more dog parks for him is my advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
thanks for the suggestions...

I believe I will take everyone's advice, and avoid the dog park for now. It's sad, because it was a great alternative to walks, and we met some really nice people and other dogs. But, it's not worth the potential altercation that may occur.

It's funny that you mentioned the Great Dane. I have a friend that has one, and I thought that perhaps we finally had a candidate dog to show my dog who's boss. When we get the dogs together, the Great Dane was really shy, and my dog appeared to be dominant over it too. Oh well, we'll find additional ways to get exercise aside from the dog park.

I would stop taking him to the dog park. I did know of a friend's dog that did that same thing. He had to get his butt beat by a bigger dog to knock it off. A great dane put him in his place, and he stopped going after other dogs. He may be thinking he can dominate over any dog because he can do it to his sister. There are a few things. Try going to a open field. See if he does the same thing. It could be the area that is setting him off. Ask some friends to bring there dogs and watch his body. If you see any sort of aggression put him right into the car and leave him there for a few minutes, then get him and repeat. That might help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,437 Posts
If your dogs didn't spend time with other puppies during their early socialization period, his behavior could be the result of that deficit. Having another dog put him in his place would be a bad idea, in my opinion, if he has poor dog-dog communication skills. This is often the case with dogs that bully other dogs. The dog with poor dog social skills may or may not back down when challenged and a serious fight could occur.

I think you've made a good decision. You can find other ways to exercise him physically and mentally. Your other dog may blossom if she spends enjoyable time at the dog park without her sibling. Do you do separate training and activity with the dogs?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
This is a normal behavior.. I would also advice you not to go there anymore... Or at least wait some days or weeks and try again. ;)
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top