Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!

I have a 7-month-old cattle dog mix puppy. He started off playing with a lot of dogs that are bigger than him in the dog park, so he's pretty rough when he plays with them to keep up. He's also fine with dogs that are smaller than him that he's known since he first started coming in.

However, with new dogs that are smaller than him, he's a bit aggressive. He steamrolls them, or tries to drag them by their legs to get them to play with him if they aren't willingly chasing him, and a couple of times he's actually gotten snappy. He doesn't listen when I call him off the other dogs (he doesn't attack them, but they do seem scared by his barking and aggressive pouncing). I have to try to scoop him up, and either the small dog leaves or I have to take him out. That's his main time for exercise and socialization (he goes out other times, but that's the busiest time when his friends are all there), so I hate having to take him out.

Any suggestions for how to train him that he can't play with small dogs as aggressively as he plays with big dogs? And how to stop trying to dominate the few dogs that he doesn't seem to like?

I've considered a vibration collar, but I feel like even without the shock they are negative reinforces. Telling him no doesn't work, picking up him and putting him in puppy time-out doesn't work, and I'm not sure he actually associates leaving with his aggressive behavior. Our trainer said the other dogs he's annoying have to teach him it's annoying, but they all just hide rather than bark at him or anything.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,421 Posts
He doesn't sound like he should be at a dog park. I don't agree with the trainer's advice. Letting dogs teach each other lessons in appropriate play can go bad in a heartbeat. I am biased against dog parks. Your dog is bullying other dogs. He's not really socializing and you're having to consider corrections. Can't see the advantage to continuing going.

Find other ways to exercise and provide socialization. Many dogs do best with one or two dogs they get along with. You might try some various dog sport classes. You can meet some people that might have appropriate dogs for play dates and he can get some exercise and mental stimulation.

https://thesciencedog.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/dog-park-people/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
911 Posts
I agree he doesn't sound like a dog that should be at the dog park. Many dogs just don't do well there as they age. He sounds like he many be over stimulated and I'd be afraid that one day he will hurt one of the smaller dogs.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,281 Posts
Third for no dog park. Or if you do go, go when nobody else is there and with a dog friend he plays nicely with.

Also, the vibration collars can be seen as a click if you wanted to-vibrate, treat. Vibrate, treat. You can use it the exact same way if you wanted to and never used it with a punishment. Totally unrelated to your post though, this probably isn't the best option in this situation (they're best for deaf dogs and distance work, and you're talking about something that is neither).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
You could try having him in a harness & long-line at the park and when his play gets too rambunctious he's pulled off, has to do some simple "obedience" tasks to get him calm and focused again, and then he can resume play. As long as play is quiet/well behaved, then he can continue.

Make sure that when he's being pulled off to settle down, that you're not using it as recall training but instead it's an immediate drag with the leash until he's with you, basic obedience, then release him to play again.

Another thing to try is having him lie down to meet smaller dogs -- but I'm not as big of a fan of this unless the small dog is leashed as small dogs can be mean too and then you're putting your pup in a vulnerable position. Plus at a dog park with lots of activity going on, it would be really hard.

ETA: I don't think your trainer's theory is *all* wrong, but I don't think it's the right approach for the situation described. Manners are taught by other dogs, but this only works when the dog "teaching" the manners is older, wiser, and confident enough to put pup in his place without hurting pup. Your pup is getting outside that age range where this is a good window for that plus most small dogs aren't going to be in that calm "babysitting" mind-set with a larger adolescent they don't know very well - they're going to be focused on protecting themselves. So that makes for a situation that could escalate the wrong way quite quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
You really only have two options. First, stop taking him to the dog park, or second, enforce his recall so it is reliable enough to call him away from dogs that don't enjoy his play style.

The dog park isn't for everybody. I always tell myself I had a fenced in yard, I would never take them. When we lived in a complex that had it's own private dog park and open areas, we never went to the public community one. Honestly, most dogs aren't well socialized or well behaved enough to play at high volumes in small places. I usually notice that at least half or the dogs that are there probably shouldn't be. I would think twice about going. Maybe meet up with your friends during the off hours when strangers won't be at the park, or go to someone's house instead. Your dog absolutely shouldn't be there unless he is under voice control, which it doesn't sound like he is.

If you want to stop going for a month or two while you reinforce his recall, that may be a solution as well. You probably can't "train" him entirely to play nicely- usually dogs develop a style and stick to it, even if it is slightly bully-ish. However, if he is constantly called away and has to take a couple minutes away from playing whenever he approaches a smaller dog or starts to be too vocal, chases, knocks over, whatever the undesirable behaviors are- he will eventually not do them as much.

Both of my dogs do things that I don't like when they play with other dogs. Bear is always trying to knock his opponent over, and sometimes the other player doesn't like that. Loki can get very vocal and "play growl", sometimes that arouses the other dog too much. Sometimes both of my boys will gang up on another dog. However, this is acceptable because they will stop immediately and return to me 9 times out of 10 when I call them away. When they are released, they usually do not repeat the behavior of chose to play with a different/less nervous dog or eachother.

If you are viligant and work on your recall, you can continue to take your dog and the problem will subside. Make sure you are walking or running him before you take him to the park as well. Too much energy can sometimes result in borderline aggressive play.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
I disagree with your trainers advice, do not take your dog to the dog park. Dog parks are supposed to be a safe, fun place to take your dog, and I can tell you personally how much it annoys me when owners take their aggressive dog to the park. I would suggest for you to find other ways to release his energy. Agility is a great way to do this, as are obedience trials. You should also probably find a new trainer.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top