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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!

My name is Adrienne and I have a 2 year old Cane Corso and a 3 year old lab/pit mix rescue. I've had my Cane Corso, Roman, since he was a puppy, and rescued the lab/pit, Sookie, last summer. They have been to the dog park, as well as dog park-style daycare/boarding facility, many times and love it!

A few weeks ago I brought the dogs to the dog park. They were having a great time as usual, when another owner/dog came up to the outside of the fence to enter the dog park. He was standing there talking to someone for a few minutes. This excited the whole "pack" of dogs in the park, including my own. They were excited for the new dog to come in! It seems they got too excited, especially my dogs, because they started playing rough with the new dog, then it became aggression and biting. The new dog had a little knick on her head, but minor. I was very surprised and worried. My dogs have never, ever been aggressive with other dogs before. The other people in the dog park assured me that this happens sometimes and it wasn't a big deal. They know my dogs, and they've never been a problem.

Yesterday (about 1 week after the above event) I decided to try and take them again, leaving them leashed until I was sure they were comfortable. They came in without much problem. Everything seemed fine until another dog came in and a similar thing happened but not nearly as aggressive. Everyone said don't worry about it, they play rough sometimes. A little later another dog came in, and this time it was bad. The dog ended up having a small cut in her ear. At that point, I took the dogs home and apologized, not knowing why my dogs have started doing this. Even the woman who owned the other dog said she didn't get it, our dogs have met before and there was never a problem. I'm thinking it may be having them both there together. It's almost like they are testing out the new dog to see if they are strong or weak, and really going after the weak, more vulnerable dogs.

Can this be corrected? The dog park is a great place for my dogs to get exercise, and despite these instances, they have a great time. I am stumped as to why this is suddenly happening and would appreciate any help I can get!!
 

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Don't let them rush the new dogs coming in. If you have to take one at a time, do so. My dog randomly started bombarding new dogs at the dog park, so I started having him sit or down stay until he was calm. Often they'll get more frustrated and excited during the stay, right before they go into a calmer state of mind. Once they are calm and responsive to you, then they can be released from the stay and go greet the dog. I think in the first instance, they got super frustrated and excited about the new dog and were allowed to greet them in that mind set, so it ended badly. If they are calm and responsive, it should go alright.
 

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Does this always happen at the gate? I find it is where 99% of problems at the dog park happen. I always call my dogs away, put them in a down stay, and let the new dog come in and relax for a few minutes before I release my guys to say hello.
 

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Thank you for your responses! Yes it happens at the gate only. I am just going to take them one at a time, that would be much easier. I'm glad to hear that others think the problem can be fixed...we love the dog park!
 

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I'd definitely follow the above advice on training your pups to sit with you when dogs enter the park. I have to do that with my coonhound because he simply overwhelms every dog that comes in and then he immediately humps them.

I take some training treats that don't smell too strong, for example some banana treats, that way the other dogs aren't getting into my business or competing with my dog for it, but my dog still feels rewarded. Then, I ask him to come to me when I see someone arrive at the park. I have him sit and focus on me and my sit hand-gesture, which holds the treat while training or when I know he'll be extra tempted to leave. It looks a lot like the hunger games hand sign. I make sure he focuses on me until the new dog has entered and is acclimated, and then I reward my dog and let him go.

If I try to restrain him once the dog is already entering, he feels punished and hesitates to play for the rest of our trip to the dog park. The timing is really important for me. It's also important that I simply distract and reward instead of restrain.

I hope this helps!!!
 
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