Bit at the dog park...

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Jessica
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Bit at the dog park...

Post by Jessica »

I take Eli and Lily to the dog park several times a week. Eli does not bother other dogs but if one bothers him he will growl and even snap (not to bite just to scare), especially if the dog is as big or bigger than him. So yesterday a dog was sniffing him so Eli tried to run away, this dog chased so Eli was running and growling and ran into the middle of a group of dogs. I'm assuming that one of that group thought he was threatening because he ran towards them growling and that dog (german shepherd) bit his ear. I didn't see it happen but I heard yelping and Eli comes running back to me crying and flapping his head. The bite is kinda deep but didn't go all the way through the ear leather so I think he'll be ok. This is not the first time he's been bitten in the ear, unfortunately.

Also, if other dogs are playing and get close or run by he barks his head off at them, like he's telling them off, everyone seems to think that he's "protecting" me because while he's doing this he backs his butt into me, but I'm not sure. If a REALLY big dog even comes near him he barks like crazy too until they go away. Does this sound like protection of me or fear? He is an alpha dog and very bossy.

Is there something I can do to get him to not bark all crazy and stop this goofy behavior? I'd like to get him to play with the other dogs.
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Eli: rescued 12/20/07........Lily: rescued 05/16/09

"If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
~Roger Caras

adele
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Re: Bit at the dog park...

Post by adele »

Well, it sounds an awful lot like the way Lola behaves and without a doubt for Lola its a combo of fear and general crankiness (with Lola its possible the root may be her sore legs.. but maybe not). It is not about protecting me! (and that backing into you... he is expecting back up from you). What I do is try to keep her away from unleashed dogs. There will be a snarlfest if an unleashed dog gets too personal. Ya know, it may be that Eli just doesn't want to play with other dogs or with certain other dogs. Lola is funny, she picks and chooses who she'll play with and who to ignore. I always feel like its sad when she won't play but its just me dumping sad feelings onto Lola. She's happy as a clam if we wonder off and she can spend her time hunting which is what she wants to do.. I must keep reminding myself ... the no-play thing makes ME sad not Lola. My opinion (and feel free to disagree) is that bringing Eli to a park where he gets chased and bitten is only going to make the situation worse.

It may not be possible for you but I take Lola to a daycare so she can interact with other dogs under experienced supervision. Its a good set-up. They separate the big and little dogs with Lola attending "little dog day". Some of the dogs are her buddies and she ignores some. Sometimes there are new dogs but there is always a core of regulars so I believe Lola feels comfortable in that situation. Neither the day care provider nor I can tell if Lola is going to like a new comer. But it doesn't really matter. She gets to play if she wants or attend to cat patrol if she doesn't want to play. Either way she is learning to be with other dogs.
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Canned Ice
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Re: Bit at the dog park...

Post by Canned Ice »

They separate the big and little dogs with Lola attending "little dog day".
I was about to suggest for Eli to be around little dogs. The dog park around here has a big dog and a little dog section and the daycare does big dogs and little dogs. When Buckley gets overstimulated, he will be very pest-y, hump-y, and defensive. So on the days he seems to be too stimulated, he plays with the little dogs and things go well. If he's in a relaxed mood, he plays with the big dogs. Eli may feel more confident with the little dogs and the play is a little less rambunctious. It's nice that Brits are medium-sized and can play with both groups.
Buckley - I own this mountain.
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binkus
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Re: Bit at the dog park...

Post by binkus »

Sounds more like nervousness/insecurity to me. I came to realize Bailey is like that. We used to go to a 20 acre Dog park in WA...he loved it and never had a problem with other dogs. Then we moved and started going to these small dog parks...Bailey always started humping other dogs. It took me a while to figure out that he doesn't mind other dogs if he doesn't feel overwhlemed by them. At the large park in WA the dogs were spread out and meeting othere dogs was usually one on one. In the small parks the dogs are on top of each other from the start and Bailey doesn't know what to do. If he can't get away he will turn and try humping...I think it is an attempt to figure out where he belongs in the pack. If the dog is bigger that him then he will bark at it... I realized quickly that dog parks just stress him out so I oly go when they are empty or there is only one other dog.

I like the idea of a daycare situation. I am convinced that if he was around the same dogs evey day he would quickly figure out where he belongs in the pack and be quite comfortable.
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MaggieRocks
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Re: Bit at the dog park...

Post by MaggieRocks »

I always liked the idea of taking the girls to a dog park so they could actually "get to be dogs". We are rather secluded where we live, so they don't get to interact with other dogs.

When a dog park finally opened in our area, we took the girls a few times. They both had a tendency to walk around with us. If we sat, they stayed right by us. We would navigate to other "friendly" looking dogs to try to encourage play, but the girls would have none of it. If someone got in Maggie's face, she didn't like it one bit. She would give a warning growl-not menacing, but a "get out of my face" growl. Once, she did an "air snap" warning. So that basically ended our trips.

So we decided it's not worth it. It became apparent that the trips seemed to be more for our benefit than the girls. After all, if they aren't having fun-why go? And we did have both girls in puppy kindergarten, and we took Maggie to daycare once a week before we got Emma, so it's not like she was NEVER around other dogs.

Brian can vouch for me. When he brought his crew over one time, the girls basically ignored his 3! It was like Maggie was thinking, "if I don't look at them, they can't see me, either!" :roll: :lol:

You could try the daycare, as others have suggested. But if the behavior doesn't change, maybe you should stop going to the dog park. It's for them to have fun-not get stressed out (as Maggie pretty clearly told me that day....)

Alifaire
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Re: Bit at the dog park...

Post by Alifaire »

Victor's idea of outdoor fun is chasing birds. Any dogs in the dog park need to mind their own business in Victor's opinion. He'll back them off if they try to play with him. If they run in front of him - the prey drive kicks in and he tries to catch them to put them behind him. So, he runs by himself in the fenced areas and on a long line in the fields.

Inside, Victor plays very well with all sorts of dogs - big and little, young and old, old friends and new acquaintenances. It's the outdoors that gets his birdiness going and other dogs just need to stay behind him.

Good luck at the dog park. I agree that the human idea of 'fun' may not be your dog's idea of 'fun'.
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AuntieMom
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Re: Bit at the dog park...

Post by AuntieMom »

binkus wrote:Sounds more like nervousness/insecurity to me.
I agree. We have consulted a behaviorist/trainer for Trapper. Are there any in your area that are affordable? Maybe having one accompany you on the trip to the dog park and give you hints might help.
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holisticmom
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Re: Bit at the dog park...

Post by holisticmom »

Jessica--check out Dogs 4 Life over on Facebook. Christine is a sweetie, adored Orion (and he was the model in her brochure). She does training as well as acupressure and nutrition consultations. 8)
The point of [dog guardianship] is to open oneself to becoming partly a dog...Edward Hoagland

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