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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Dog Parks

Dog Parks

Dog Parks

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I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.

  1. Dog parks: Why you don’t want to take your puppy to them.

  2. I disagree with you on your article called Dog Parks.

  3. My dog Kimba likes to play rough with every dog it sees. How can I train it to leave a dog alone who doesn’t want to play?

  4. My 13 month old Rott has started to lift his leg and pee on other dogs in the dog park. He is not dominant, what ca we do?

  5. My 8 month old GSD was chased by a Pit Bull and he hurt himself. Will he be afraid of other dogs now? What can I do?

  6. My dog has a tendency to nip and growl at other dogs in the dog park. Any suggestions as to how I can stop this behavior?

  7. Is it normal behavior for my dog to get to down in a crouch as another dog approaches? Is it normal for him to get in such a submissive posture for other dogs? Am I ruining him by brining him to the dog park?

  8. Some days there could be 30 dogs in the park and my dog plays nicely with all of them, and other days a nice sweet lab comes in the park and he becomes a monster. Why is he good with the rest of the dogs and so bad with the labs? What makes him to target this breed?

  9. We have been taking our very sweet and gentle hound mix to the dog park for the last six months. However, in the last month there has been a change in her behavior. We have cut the dog park out of her life now. I'm wondering what could be causing this to happen though?

  10. I have a 12 month old Boxer who is extremely dominant/aggressive towards other dogs. Nothing we tried has helped him. My dream is to be able to take him to a dog park to really run and play. Do you think with the genetically wired dog that I have this will ever be possible?

  11. My dog ended up biting me while at a dog park. What do you suggest I do?

  12. Can my "small-dog aggressive" dog be trained not to bother small dogs?

  13. What methods you teach your clients to use when their adult dog wants to meet this strange adult dog walking in their direction?

  14. I had an idea though and wanted to know what you thought. What if the city parks and recreation had a trained monitor (as a pack leader) for these parks?

  15. My dog is toy obsessed and won’t listen to me at the dog park once she sees a ball. She also will fight with other dogs if they sniff her and she has her ball. I’ve been making her lay on her side to let the other dogs sniff her and her ball while I make her stay down.  Is this right?

  16. Since my puppy turned 5 months old,he has become possessive with objects like tennis/soccer balls at the dog park and becomes dominant aggressive with younger dogs almost every time I have been to the park. I want to be a responsible dog owner and fix this problem but I have am not sure how to do this correctly. I also don't want to deal with an attack that leads to a lawsuit, an upset owner, or an injured dog.

  17. My dog was attacked when she was a puppy by 7 German Shepherds and then later attacked by a Boxer. She became embarrassingly dog aggressive after that. I have worked on her aggression and now when I take her to the dog park she behaves aggressively to certain dogs and she is chasing other dogs. She likes to chase squirrels, do you think she sees the other dogs as the squirrels?

COMMENT:

Hello Mr. Frawley,

I recently discovered your list of articles on the internet and have enjoyed reading several of them. The article about 'Dog Parks' caught my eye as I am a frequent user of a public dog park here where I live in Florida. I have two Dobermans, a 3 year old American-bred male from show and obedience lines and a 10 month old bitch I imported from Holland at the age of 10 weeks.

My male has an excellent mind for a non-working Dobe. He has good confidence, is protective, and has a lot of courage. He also has good prey drive and is not afraid to "go after" a target. I would say he is not dog aggressive unless he is challenged; he does not 'enjoy' fighting. But I have seen him fight off multiple dogs who have ganged up on him - he can fight and win if necessary. He is a semi-soft dog in terms of what it takes to correct him. He has had no formal protection training but I have seen how he reacts to threats and I rest easy knowing he is in the house with me. He has a lot of personal pride, which helps him to be an effective protector. He is NOT your typical American Dobe.

My bitch is from top working lines, although most of the dogs on her pedigree are also show champions as well. Her sire just earned a Korung 1A ZVA rating this year and he has all-around excellent credentials. Her mother has an IPO 1, which is nothing to sneeze at, and she is a Dutch Champion. The mother also earned highest scores on the DKT, the Dutch equivalent of the ZTP. My pup has a more intense temperament than my male and she's a little smarter (but the male's no dummy). She is a 'good biter' but she, like my male, is generally non-aggressive and peaceful around other dogs. When she was 6 months old I witnessed her chase away a 4 year old Chow who was trying to bite her. To say she is precocious for her age is an understatement. She already has developed well defense drive and is a somewhat dominant bitch, and I would say she is more hard than soft. I may train her for Schutzhund or protection, although I have not been impressed with the clubs I have seen in my area. She puts all the other dogs at the training club to shame because she hasn't been trained to bite but yet she bites harder and faster and more accurately than almost all the other dogs there, especially the other dogs her age. She is an all-around great (world class) Dobe in terms of her superior working ability, good conformation, and nice temperament. She is muscular and has a strong head, almost like a male. I don't know whether she's Korung material but she definitely has strong nerves.

I have been bringing the male to the dog park since he was 6 months old and I started bringing my puppy when she was about 5 months old. They have never been attacked and I feel that it has actually made them more confident in unfamiliar situations. Sure, they've each gotten into 1 or 2 minor scuffles, but fortunately most of the people who frequent our local dog park are "regulars" and we know each other as well as each others' dogs. The dogs also know each other, unless the dog is new to the park. Better than 90% of the people at this particular dog park are responsible dog owners; it is very rare that we have any real problems.

For me, our dog park is also a forum to discuss training (usually simple obedience), health and medical issues, and anything else that relates to dogs. I understand in Europe (esp. Germany, Holland, and Belgium) most towns have a nearby training club where dog owners regularly go with their dogs. We have no real training club where I live, but the dog park is only a five minute drive away and I feel it has been a benefit to both my dogs and me.

My dogs like to go because it gives them an opportunity for intensive exercise which is really play. The dogs seem to enjoy the company of other, different dogs, and it also exposes them to different types of people. It is definitely a place to socialize the dogs, as well as the owners. They have fun and so do I. It is cheap entertainment with several benefits to me and the dogs. It is a place to go to "get away" for a while, to clear your mind, etc. And I've made some friends there (so have my dogs!)

I understand that bad things can happen at dog parks, but bad things can happen anywhere, really. I have been to the two local dog parks in excess of 150 times total (maybe 200, I haven't really kept count), and I can tell you that I've never seen a dog or person get seriously injured. I do know of a man who had two male English Mastiffs he raised together as puppies. His dogs did injure two other dogs, but he is a moron for getting two large male puppies the same age in the first place. Fortunately he stopped bringing those dogs to the park.

I have had three occasions where loose neighborhood dogs have attempted to attack my male while I was walking him (not at the dog park). These were dogs that were not socialized at all, I would consider them to be dangerous or vicious. I have to ask myself if these dogs would be so dangerous had they been socialized at an early age. Fortunately my male is a hard and fast fighter and he quickly ends any fight another dog chooses to start (the same for my female puppy, actually, despite her age). But he doesn't fight at the dog park because he has been trained not to, and he has a proper temperament for a Doberman (non-aggressive).

So I have to disagree with your blanket statement that dog parks should always be avoided. Sure, you shouldn't blindly turn your dog or puppy loose amongst a pack of unfamiliar, potentially dangerous dogs. But not every dog park is like that. Like I said, our dog park consists of mostly "regulars." We welcome newcomers but we watch them carefully. I have not really observed the "pack mentality" you speak of. The dogs know who their owners are and tend to stay near them, even though they may wander off for a while and come back. There is no reversion to a more wild, uncontrolled type of behavior. At least not at our dog park. On a normal day we have about 20 or 30 dogs, coming and going at different times, with as many as 20 dogs there at once on a busy day. There are it is enclosed and is actually fairly big (maybe 3 acres).

I would not recommend bringing a young puppy under about 5 months of age to our park, although there are plenty of 12 to 16 week old puppies there on any given day. I understand that you do not want to have your carefully-bred puppies injured at the dog park, that is only common sense. But I think once the dog is old enough it could be beneficial for both the dog and owner if the circumstances are right. I believe in letting dogs play. Part of the reason I don't like our local Schutzhund club is because it is run by a woman who believes that her working dogs must be kept in cages when they are not working. It is my impression that socialized dogs who are allowed to play are happier and healthier, and they probably have less obsessive/compulsive behaviors such as chewing, barking, etc. If my puppy is killed by a pit bull at the park I may change my mind, but, based on what I've seen over the last 2 years, I don't think that's going to happen.

Just something for you to think about... You have done a good job with your web page/articles. I am a Dobe person, not a GSD person, but I'm sure a lot of your principles can be applied to the Dobe.

Larry

RESPONSE:

I certainly appreciate the time you have taken to pass on your thoughts, but when one stands back and looks at what you have written, it is evident that you are naive in your approach to dog training and the dangers present in dog parks. You have been lucky and as a result you are misdirected. You also do not have a clear understanding of the pack drives in domesticated dogs.

In my opinion my dogs (even my police dogs) should never be put in a position where they have to fight another dog, no matter what the circumstance. Your attitude towards your dog's ability to defend himself against dogs that are out of line is not an acceptable position to defend.

If people thought like this, they would find themselves in a situation where they would find out that there is always going to be someone or some dog that is tougher than there dog. In your case, there is no question that a rank pit bull would teach your very quickly how easy it is for one dog to kill another. It happens very quickly and the odds are you would be standing there wondering what went wrong and where did this fool with this crazy pit bull come from? I hope this does not happen to your dog.

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SECOND COMMENT:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I have read your response to my original comments about your article on dog parks. I realize there is an element of danger at our particular dog park. I do not like pit bulls, as a rule, but my observation has been that most of the pit bulls in our area have little more fighting ability/confidence than the average American bred-for-show German Shepherd. Of course there must be some pits out there who still have the abilities of their ancestors, but they seem to be few and far between (none that I've seen). And hopefully the people who own that type of dog would not bring it to our dog park. Most of the pit bulls I've come across LOOK scary and intimidating, but that's all. The pit bull breeders in our area have been producing friendly, soft dogs, either by design or by accident. They don't seem to be the tough killing machines most people would expect them to be. Maybe I've just been lucky (I expect that's what you will tell me). I do know that no dog has ever been killed at our park in the last two years or more, that says something concrete about the place. I also can tell you that the "regulars" at our park would not permit someone to continue bringing a dangerous dog once it had demonstrated its bad behavior (a pit bull may be intimidating, but 15 or 20 people carrying large sticks and/or rocks would probably be more intimidating; fortunately it has never come to that).

Our dog park will still continue to be a part of my life, when I have time to go. I, like many others in our town, do not have a large yard of my own to exercise my dogs, and the park gives me that opportunity. Our situation may be somewhat unique in that we are a fairly close-knit group of regulars who know each other and each other's dogs (many of us have been regulars for more than a year, some for several years). In that sense, we may not be exactly what you would define as a "dog park," with lots of strangers and strange dogs coming and going. I realize I am fortunate to have two relatively large dogs with at least somewhat good fighting ability, should an "incident" occur. If I had a Lab puppy or something less able to protect itself, I might feel differently. Or if injuries or deaths started occurring I would feel differently. Hopefully that won't happen. But we have an awfully good track record over about three years' time. I am putting together a web page about our park. I will send you the URL when I do (it may take me a few more weeks to finish it). I realize I am not going to change your mind, but I hope you will be open-minded enough to at least consider that, given the right group of people and the right dogs, a dog park doesn't necessarily have to always be a terrible thing. Granted, we may be the only park the way we are... I do not deny that. It is unfortunate that some people bring aggressive, dangerous dogs to dog parks; hopefully our park will continue on its present track (without any real problems, with good dogs and owners).

Larry

P.S. The typical reaction of both my dogs, when they are "snapped at" by another dog, is to stand there without moving and stare them down, as if to say to them "What do you think you're doing?" 90% of the time this will make the other dog stop its bad behavior. I do not deny that they would fight back if pushed, but the average dog out there does not want to mess with a dog that shows no fear toward them. Not all of the other dogs have the high level of confidence my dogs have; I realize I am lucky in that respect, also. Confidence is perhaps more important than toughness, as far as keeping the peace at our little dog park.

SECOND RESPONSE:

You do not need to send your URL on your dog park. I would not consider adding any information on something I am so strongly against and when I know that I am right.

I think your quote “I realize I am fortunate to have two relatively large dogs with at least somewhat good fighting ability, should an ‘incident’ occur,” indicates that you are out of touch with reality and are living in a dream world.

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QUESTION:

I have been reading your Q&A section, and have found several articles very useful for our problem, specifically the one about the dog that wouldn't come when called.

Our problem is this: We take our Kimba, a neutered, 1 yr old male Rhodesian Ridgeback, everyday to an off-leash park to run/walk/play (I know that you are not an advocate of dog parks, but please hear me out). We often walk with friends who also have two RR's - Rio, a female litter mate of Kimba's, and Rocco, a 4 yr old neutered male RR. The dogs love to play, especially Kimba and Rio - Rocco is more aloof and likes to take it easy. As is with RR's, they love to play rough, and Rio and Kimba are no different. That is not the problem. Kimba is very dog and people friendly with the exception that he thinks that every dog we meet should want to play, and play rough. By rough I don't mean biting or nasty play, just lots of paws and "arms," rough and tumble, big dog play. In most cases this is ok - but he seems to lose his sense of hearing when he is playing - often not coming let alone leaving the dog alone. I end up going up and often getting him back, putting him on the leash etc. While I recognize that he is "tuning me out," and that we need to work on our "coming" (and your article gave some good ideas for doing that), is there another command i.e. "leave it" that I can teach him in order to get him to leave the dog alone? I don't necessarily need him to come to me every time we experience this, but I want him to leave the other dog alone if it becomes obvious that the dog and/or owner don't want to play, or if we just want to walk further along.

I would appreciate your advice.

Thank you.
Carol and Kimba

ANSWER:

This is an obedience issue and you are confused on the steps of training.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video and a prong collar. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog before it becomes considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

The command you need to use is COME. Your dog is not trained to distraction.

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Question:

Hello,

My husband and I have a 13 month old rottweiler who is very well behaved, and enjoys going to the dog park to play and socialize.

Lately, though, he has begun peeing on the other dogs, and twice he has almost peed on people. He is not a dominant dog, but this behavior is awful, and the only thing we know to do is catch him in the act and take him home. We want him to understand that behavior is unacceptable. What can we do? Thank you.

Answer:

Your dog is starting to mature. This is a sure sign of him displaying dominance. So do not kid yourself.

You need to read the article I wrote on my web site about DEALING WITH DOMINANT DOGS Look in the list of training articles on my web site.

I also have a number of Q&A sections on this issue.

You should read my article on DOG PARKS and why they are dangerous and how to break up a dog fight. That may save you from a serious dog bite.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience DVD . You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. Get this tape and a prong collar. If you do not have a prong, we also sell those on our web site.

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QUESTION:

Hello Mr. Frawley!

Unfortunately I read your article on dog parks too late and now I'm not sure what I should do with my dog.
 
I have an 8 month old GSD puppy named  Shaman.    He got sick when we just got him and he did not get his shots until he was 5 month old, so he did not have any experience with other dogs.  I slowly introduced Shaman to my friends dog (girl shiba-inu, his age) and it took him a while to get used to her but now they are best friends and play very nicely. Shaman also plays with a male Newfoundland puppy who is only 4 month old.  What always bothered me is that Shaman gave up his toys and his bones to his friends without any arguments.  Shaman even lets them take over his bed when they are visiting our house.

One of my friends told me to meet with a guy who supposedly used to train GSD and ask his advice.  We met in a dog park and the guy showed up with his 8 month old pit bull.  His dog ran up to Shaman and of course Shaman backed away and tried to run away from this dog because pit bull was in his face and Shaman is not used to this.  The guy told me to take Shaman off the leash and I did (big mistake).  The pit bull started to chase Shaman around and Shaman would run for cover to me or my husband (fortunately we did not push him away but rather let him come down and then told him to go play), the guy insisted that we should "let our dog to figure it out on his own".  Well to make the long story short after one of the chases Shaman fell and hurt his foot and he also looked shocked and scared.  I took Shaman and we went home.  I did not say anything to the guy but realized that I did a huge mistake and never again I'm listening to stupid advices.

Do you think that now Shaman will be afraid of other dogs and is there something I could do to make Shaman feel more comfortable around other dogs and not to be afraid of them?

Is it bad that he gives up his toys, food and bad to other dogs?
Also does it mean that he will be a bad protection dog?

Thank you for your time,
Victoria

ANSWER:

Your problem with this dog is your lack of knowledge of dog behavior and care.

Let me begin by saying that I NEVER ALLOW MY DOGS AROUND OTHER DOGS!!! NOT EVER!! Dogs are pack animals. Strange dogs are not from their pack. Pups expect their pack leader to protect them – You are suppose to be a pack leader – your pup expects you to protect him and instead you put him with Pit Bulls and other strange dogs. BIG MISTAKE!!! Your dog expected you to protect him when he was chased – you did nothing to protect him.

As far as this so called GSD expert – where is what I say about people like this - “Everyone has an opinion on how to train your dog – just ask your mailman – the problem is that very few people have the experience to back up their opinions which results in a lot of bad information being handed out.”

Forget everything this guy told you.

Get a dog crate for your house. When friends bring dogs over put your dog in the crate.  I don’t understand how you allow this – no one brings a dog to my house – if they do they leave it in the dog crate in their car.

Stay out of the dog parks.

Train your dog –use my DVD on Basic Dog Obedience.

If your dog ends up being dog aggressive because of this, I suggest you also get my DVD on Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs.

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Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I was wondering if you could offer any suggestions for me.

My 3 year old dog Kraemer, an Australian Cattle dog and Rottweiler mix, has started to develop aggressive behavior toward other dogs at the leash-free dog park. When we enter the park through the double gates and if there are dogs to greet us, he'll charge out of the gates and bark and chase the dogs away from us (me and my other dog Annie). He loves
to smell the other dogs and literally gets urinated on sometimes because he's right in there (sorry to be so descriptive). However, when the dog turns around to smell him, especially in the face area, he'll snarl, show his teeth, and sometimes again try to nip the face and chase them off. If there are dogs running past him playing, he'll try to nip one as they pass by. He loves to fetch a deflated basketball and if another dog tries to run towards him while he's bringing it back to me, he'll growl out of the side of his mouth. My vet told me to put him in the car for 15mins every time he does this. She told me that they only learn from banishment. This is not such a great idea in the middle of summer even with the windows down. She also told me to put his leash on him in the park. But, I know that the other dogs would sense his vulnerability and react to that even more. I just want him to play and have fun. I always tell him that we're going to the park to see his friends but frankly he doesn't have any because he doesn't know how to interact with the others and just play. He is always by my side and constantly looking for my queue. He also doesn't allow strangers to pet him. Because of the herding breed in him, he also used to chase children in the park if they ran and nipped at their heels. This I thought was actually just normal until one day he nipped at a child's hand for no reason. The child was just there, not even moving and I was completely mortified.

Anyway, I know this is a long email and only if you have a moment to reply, I would greatly appreciate it. I would like to get your Dog aggression DVD but I still think my dog is not that viscous and malicious and really want to avoid him increase the level of his aggression.

Kindest Regards,
K

Answer:

First off, I would stop taking this dog to dog parks. The behavior you are experiencing with Kraemer is only going to continue to escalate. There is NO good reason (in our experience) to take any dog to an off leash dog park.

Dog Parks, it's a place where lots of dogs get bullied and injured, and aggressive dogs become MORE aggressive because their owners don't understand pack behavior and allow the behaviors to continue.

Your vet may know medicine, but banishing a dog to teach them their behavior is not acceptable does not work. I would disregard any training advice from your vet from here on out.

You need to learn more about pack behavior and establish some leadership for your dog. Right now he is in charge. In this day and age of lawsuits, I would take this very seriously. If you don't make big changes in the way you handle this dog, I am afraid he is going to injure another dog or a person.

Please read this article about becoming an effective pack leader.

The first sentence in this article says it all: "You can feed water and love your dog and he will like you but he very well may not respect you." 99% of all behavioral problems are a result of dogs not respecting their owners. This happens as a result of poor handling and/or poor training.

This article was written for people like yourself, people who have great intentions but not enough knowledge of pack structure. There are links within the article that will take you to other articles on my web site.

I believe that this recently finished DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project. Your dog is an aggressive dog, and it will escalate. Being aggressive has nothing to do with being vicious, it's part of a dog's natural behavior. You can go to the web page and read the outline of what’s included on the video. My DVDs are not meant to be watched one time. The fact is anyone who needs this information needs to watch it many many times because every time they watch it they will pick up new ideas.

I hope this helps.


Question:

I have a nine month old Boxer-Lab mix, Zachary. He is fun loving - loves dogs and people, but I am wondering if I am making mistakes with him. I have been taking him to a local dog park since he was 4 months old. He loves it. This dog is fun loving and loves to play and romp with all dogs. But he is full of energy and he is very strong and some dogs don't want to be bothered. He will usually learn which dogs want to play and run and wrestle with him, but occasionally he will be too much for a given dog. At these times I will get his attention and put him back on leash to calm him down.

Recently one dog at the park became quite aggressive with Zachary, not once but two or three times the dog came after Zachary and growled and lunged towards him. I immediately put Zachary on leash and took him home. Then another day at the park we ran into a Husky that was aggressive towards Zachary, growling and snapping. I immediately put Zachary on leash, informed the owner of the Husky of his dog's behavior, and took Zachary home.

Now I have noticed that Zachary has a new behavior. Whenever I am walking him on leash and we see another dog up ahead, Zachary will go down in a crouch position and watch intently as the other dog approaches us. Since he doesn't want to move from this position I let Zachary stay like this. When the other dog gets near us, Zachary will get up to sniff the other dog and then he wants to play. One time it was two dogs and Zachary immediately rolled over on his back and exposed his undersides and belly in a very submissive position while he allowed the dogs to sniffed him up. When Zachary got up and we were leaving one of the other dogs snarled aggressively at Zachary.

Here are my questions: Is it normal behavior for Zachary to get to down in a crouch as another dog approaches? Is it normal for Zachary to get in such a submissive posture for other dogs? Am I ruining Zachary by brining him to the dog park? He gets great exercise off leash there and he loves to go there, but I don't want to continue if it is harming him either psychologically or otherwise.

Thanks
Joe

Answer:

I wouldn't be taking him to a dog park; we don't feel they are healthy for most dogs. Sooner or later, your dog will be involved in fight. It's not IF, it's WHEN. He's becoming a young adult and as he becomes more mentally and physically mature I would expect more conflicts with other dogs as he tries to establish his rank.

We will take our dogs to a park ONLY to work our obedience with the distractions of the other dogs. We do not allow our dogs to interact with the dogs there at all, and if a dog were to approach us we would drive them away. This is only when we have a dog fully trained and we need to proof with distractions. Taking dogs to a dog park for exercise is not something we agree with. Dogs don't 'need' to play with dogs outside their family pack, and the time would be better spent playing with your dog yourself and working on training.

Read this article on Dog Parks.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

Thank you for putting all the great information on your website.
I have two male unaltered Malamute/German Shepherd dogs that my husband picked alone and brought home. It seems for a while is my job to take care of them as my husband is most of the time away from home. I am trying my best as I don't want anything bad to happen to them or to anybody.
One of them (Sam) is the boss of the other one (Labus), his brother. Sam is obedient, comes when called even from the distance with many distractions around, but has a problem with some dogs at the off leash park where I take them 4 times a month to get them used to, socialized with other dogs. Some days there could be 30 dogs in the park (all sizes) and he plays nicely with all of them, and other days a nice sweet lab comes in the park and Sam becomes a monster. He growls and corners that poor dog until gets him to lay on the ground and he gets on top of that dog and threatens to bite him. I have to use all my strength to remove him without causing him to escalate his aggression into biting the other dog. I feel that if I don't interfere he will leave alone the other dog after few minutes, after he submits, but I can't do that because the other owner will intervene immediately and I can't blame them. I tell him that he is a bad dog and I take him on the leash around the fence of the park (like a time out) and not let him to play with the other dogs for a while. Few times I just removed him and we left home. I hope he will understand that by removing him I punish him for behaving that way. He is a big strong dog but he enjoys playing with the small dogs anywhere he meets one. He bows in front of them and runs to them and prefers their company but he plays nicely with Rottweilers or Huskies and German Shepherds.

I noticed that he picks fights with dogs that are close to his age (11 months) and that are very submissive, like some nice sweet young Labradors.

Why is he good with the rest of the dogs and so bad with the young sweet labs? So far I noticed four different Labradors he does not like. What makes him to target this breed?

The other dog, Labus (Sam's brother) is more difficult. He is not aggressive but he is very stubborn, he takes off and will not come back, when he gets the chance to be free (on a ravine not far from where I live). I strongly believe that I would have lost this dog long time ago if it was not for his brother Sam. Labus comes back after a while for Sam, not for me. He pays no attention to me and when I walk him he pulls me on the leash ( I use a prong collar), he crosses me to get on my other side if he wants to mark a shrub or to sniff something. He has no respect. I am trying to be firm with him and put him back in his positions but I see he is only ignoring me more and he is showing no affection or respect for me. He loves my husband so I know he is capable of bounding with somebody. I am not too harsh or too friendly with him, I just want him to be more obedient as his brother is. No matter what I do, this dog doesn't care for me, I am invisible to him. He is not reading my face, no looking back at me, no waiting for me. I feed him, walk/exercise him the same as his brother. What is funny is that when he disappears for 5-10 min on the ravine and he come back running towards us after a while, his brother, Sam is visibly upset with him and he will take him by the scruff and put him down, and bark at him few times and look at me to see what I will do. I don't encourage it, but I like to thing he is punishing him for me. Is this to punish his brother for wandering around? If I can only understand those dogs.

I want to neuter them but my husband will not accept this in any way. I tried many thing to convince him of the benefits. Unfortunately he considers this to be mutilation...
I understand you are very busy and I appreciate any advise you can give me.

Thank you!
Laura

Answer:

These dogs need structure and proper handling. First read this article about dog parks. In my opinion, this is the worst place in the world to take dogs that are untrained.

Neutering doesn't affect dominant behavior, although vets will try to tell you it does. It does stop certain hormone driven behaviors and if your dogs are not breeding candidates it's probably best to have them neutered at some point. I try to wait until they have reached their full growth and their growth plates have closed (18-24 months as a rule).

I would be training these two dogs separately, and taking away all privileges until you have calm and obedient behavior from them. Stay out of the dog park too. I would not let them run loose together at all until they are both responding to you with respect and obedience 100% of the time.
Training 2 dogs is very hard, so you have your work cut out with you.

The first thing you need to do is to establish clear leadership with your dogs. This is achieved by restructuring your dog's daily life and controlling all privileges through our groundwork program. Please read this article first.

The first sentence in this article says it all: "You can feed water and love your dog and he will like you but he very well may not respect you."

This article was written for people like yourself, people who have great intentions but not enough knowledge of pack structure.. There are links within the article that will take you to other articles on my web site.

Pack structure and how to live with a dog in your home are the very first issues to deal with whenever you add a new dog to your family or have problems with existing dogs. This DVD extensively covers the way Ed and I live with dogs in our home.

I would also recommend the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience.

You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the training steps for training your dog. A dog must go through training steps before it can be considered fully trained.

I also recommend that you read the recently written article titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

While obedience training is not the solution to all behavioral issue it most definitely is part of the solution for every single behavioral problem.

I hope this helps!

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I'm hoping you can answer a question for me. We have been taking our very sweet and gentle hound mix to the dog park for the last six months. However, in the last month there has been a change in her behavior. She is becoming more and more aggressive toward other dogs, in particular smaller dogs. Also, she is becoming more and more disobedient.

We have cut the dog park out of her life now. I'm wondering what could be causing this to happen though?

Thank you for any information you might have.

Paul

Answer:

I suggest you read this article, "Dog Parks: Why they are a Bad Idea."

There are links within the article to other information and recommendations for training materials.

Cindy


Question:

I have a 12 month old Boxer (neutered) who is extremely dominant/aggressive towards other dogs. I have just watched your DVD on this matter and am anxious to start applying your techniques. I have a prong collar (which I found out I was putting on the wrong way) although he still accepted it well. I also just received the dominant dog collar from you. Here is my question. I am a small woman and my Boxer is about 55 pounds but seems like an elephant when he sees another dog. The prong helps but I still feel a bit behind the eight ball. It doesn't seem like I can get that level of correction needed that I see you apply in the DVD. I was thinking about getting a muzzle for our walks and saw that you have one that will be perfect for the Boxers head. If I muzzle my dog and we encounter another dominant/aggressive dog who has an untrained handler, am I not putting my dog at risk in a fight? I certainly could not stop a dog fight and wouldn't even try but if it got intense would I be really endangering my dog by cutting off his defenses? Would love to get your advice on this subject. My dog appears very well trained at home with the basic obedience commands but as you pointed out in your DVD, with his behavior outside the home, he really isn't trained at all. I'm hoping I can overcome this because he really learns quickly and loves to please but just seems to be wired wrong when it comes to other dogs. By the way, I started him in puppy socialization classes at 12 weeks and he already was what I call a "psycho" He then went on to basic obedience (always being the class distraction and general pain in the ass) I also get him out daily hoping to encounter other dogs for training purposes.

Nothing has changed, no better, no worse. It's just that now my "psycho" is 55 pounds of solid muscle! Now that I have a firm understanding of the prong collar, hopefully I will begin to see some positive results. My dream is to be able to take him to a dog park to really run and play. Do you think with the genetically wired dog that I have this will ever be possible? Hope to hear back regarding the muzzle. Thanks for your great DVD.

Vicki & (Jager)

Answer:

Whenever you take your dog around other dogs that are not under control there is the risk for a fight. A muzzle will prevent your dog from biting, but it doesn’t actually address the issue of aggression and it doesn’t protect your dog from being bitten by other dogs.

I would advise NOT taking this dog out into areas where you are likely to encounter loose or out of control dogs.

Ed has written an article on what to do if you are attacked by a dog.

I have no problem chasing, hitting or pepper spraying a dog that approaches me and my dogs when we are out together. For a dog this is very important, because he learns that you will deal with the issue and it’s not his place to do so. Of course, your dog needs to be trained and accepting of your leadership 100% for this to be effective. You need to be a calm and consistent leader. If you haven’t read this article, I would recommend it.

Please don’t take this dog to a dog park, even if you think his aggression has improved. You have no control of the other dogs there and you would just be asking for trouble. I suggest you read this article on dog parks.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

It is with much sadness that I write to you today, in search of professional guidance, to better understand what has occurred to me this past Sunday. I’d like to begin with a bit of history for your better understanding.

We have a 2 year and 7 month old German Shepherd, named Tango, that we have had since he was seven weeks old.

At that time, we purchased some of your videos, which we have found truly fascinating and appropriate, as listed below:

  1. Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months
  2. Eat Drink and Wag your Tail
  3. Basic Dog Obedience (2) discs

It was my wife’s and my decision to abide by those philosophies in raising Tango to be the best family dog possible. Our goal from day one was to have a dog that is prey driven, active, etc. to fit our lifestyle (parks, hikes, beaches, etc.). Having two kids, we were also concerned with having a well behaved dog (Trust factor). Another hope, was a dog that could protect the house while being in the yard (a characteristic dog’s are not trained in, but rather assume).

From day one, we decided that Tango would solely live outside, never intending for him to step foot inside. As a young pup, we trained him to feel comfortable in his crate, and as he grew older, built him a bigger environment for him to retreat to. 

Regarding his play toys, they were never left in the yard. They were brought out when we would play with him. One toy he loved from early on was chasing the object at the end of a string. He showed signs of a prey driven dog. Tango later learned to catch frisbee’s, which is one of our families biggest enjoyments.

Regarding his diet, we fed him a raw diet for the first 1.5 years, and have since changed to the “Alpha” dry food diet. He is a very healthy dog.

For the first year, Tango was not taken out of the yard, and had not been around any other dog, than our other dog, a Beagle. Parvo was one of our concerns, and therefore we decided to shelter him.

One challenge to overcome in his first year, was his constant jumping on the kids, and biting of the ankles.

At his first year, I started taking him for jogs around our community, while still keeping him from other dogs. At about 1.5 years, I started noticing his desire for other dogs. While out on jogs, he wanted other dogs that came by, by tugging, barking, etc. At this point in time, I purchased the prong collar, which really helped in getting his attention. I later switched to a choker chain, since someone had told me that the prong makes the dog feel as if it were a bite, and that the choker chain would not give him that sensation. I started noting a trend in Tango’s behavior with other dogs, and I was now committed to correcting that issue, since the walks/jogs became more and more of a burden.

I understand that Leerburg does not believe in dog parks. I truly felt that at 1.5 years, I now needed to introduce Tango to other dogs, before his response to them worsened. I decided to take Tango to my children’s school (gated park area), where other dog owner’s take their dogs. To my surprise, I had shown up one Saturday morning, and there were 5 greyhounds running loose, with all owners looking on. As I approached, them, it was obvious that Tango wanted to interact with them. I asked the people if it would be okay to let Tango go with them, after careful introduction to the dogs. They mentioned that there would be up to 20 greyhounds coming to the park on that morning. I turned Tango around and had the other dogs approach him. I then let him go, and for the next hour, Tango had run around with 20 greyhounds with no problems whatsoever.

Since that day, I have had other opportunities for Tango to run with other dogs without any issue.

The one thing that is bothersome, is his demeanor when we get him out of the car until he gets into the park with other dogs (or in general when he sees a dog). He is very vocal, and just wants to tug the entire time. It is a constant battle that could last minutes of correction and trying to calm him before we approach the scene. Sit, stay, that’s fine………..sit, stay, that’s fine…….then a serious tug at the choker chain………..etc.

He is now 2 years and 7 months old, and has not yet been neutered.  On Sunday, we went to the school to play with the Frisbees, etc. When we showed up, their was another 2 year old male German Shepherd. Not neutered. I asked the owner if he felt comfortable in introducing the dogs, with hopes that we could let them play together. Tango was unbearable, tugging, barking, wining, etc. The other dog was calmer.  It took 20 minutes before we could get the dogs nose to nose. I made sure Tango was in a lay down position, as he brought his dog closer. Tango stood up and they sat there face to face, smelling each other’s neck.  We were still holding on to the leashes. Within 5 seconds, Tango lunged at the other dog with aggression. I immediately pulled Tango’s leash, and it drew him straight back towards me. Things happened quickly that in his ‘rage’, and as he came towards me, ended up biting me on the calf.  His bite drew blood, as he was definitely sending me a message. He clamped onto my leg, and I had to pry his snout open. The bite may have lasted 3 seconds. There was no correction given to Tango, since it would have been too late after the fact, when I had realized what he had done. I made it to the hospital to get the appropriate shots. The bite was deep enough to draw blood and leave his entire mouth marked on my leg.

I’ve heard it said before that a dog who bites (especially the owner), can no longer be trusted.  The pain in my heart for the occurred is much, and I am completely uncertain of how to deal with this situation.

If you would be so kind as to suggest an option, it would be greatly appreciated.  Your experience with dogs is great, and it may be that for legal issue’s you cannot recommend a possible solution, and I would completely understand.

Regards,
Leo

Answer:

It is our feeling that there is absolutely no reason for a dog to interact with dogs from outside the family pack, especially dogs that are showing aggression to them from a distance. If and when letting dogs interact, the wrong thing is to do this with strange dogs in the manner you attempted (as you found out) Letting your dog run loose with a pack of strange dogs is like playing Russian roulette. 

While I acknowledge that many dogs actually enjoy playing with other dogs, it’s not something they need to be happy and healthy and in my experience the risk for problems far outweighs any benefits there may be.  I want my dogs to be indifferent to other dogs.  I don’t want him to be overly interested or friendly with them and I don’t want him showing aggression. 

When you received the bite from your dog, it was classic redirected aggression.  In other words, you blocked Tango from biting the other dog and he turned around and lashed out at you.  This is no different from a couple of guys getting ready to have a fist fight.  Their adrenaline is up, you see that the men are going to fight so you tug on the shoulder of one of the guys and he turns around and punches you in the nose.  He’s not really made at you, but he’s in the heat of the moment.

My advice to you would be no more playing with other strange dogs. I’d start Tango out immediately with our Groundwork program and the video that picks up where the article leaves off, Pack Structure for the Family Pet.  

I believe that this DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project. You can go to the web page and read the outline of what’s included on the video. These DVDs are not meant to be watched one time. The fact is anyone who needs this information needs to watch it many times because every time they watch it they will pick up new ideas.

I think you are lucky this didn’t happen before, when he was running in a group of dogs.  Hopefully your wound heals quickly and with beefed up leadership and training, this will be an isolated incident.

Cindy


Comment:

Hello Cindy,

I have written you on the past and you always gave me great advice. I just read your current newsletter and there was one short paragraph that was absolutely profound - it hit me in the jaw like a brick. So brilliant yet so simple.  I never liked dog parks but have had mixed feeling regarding my 7 year old protection trained GSD Cereal to mingle with other dogs that approach him. He never approaches other dogs on his own. You really made this simple for me. Here is the paragraph - wish I could plaster it everywhere.

"I don't allow ANY dogs from outside my family approach my dogs, ever. Even if it's a dog I know is friendly and even if I know my dog would probably enjoy meeting him, I protect my "pack of two." It's good leadership and goes a long way to making my dog more relaxed and confident, he knows I'm not going to allow any situations that may make him feel the need to be aggressive."

Thank you,
Richard
NYC

Cindy's Response:

Hi Richard,

Thanks so much for the nice email. It’s nice to know someone is reading my advice and finding it useful. Emails like this one truly make my day.

Thanks again for writing and for your business, we appreciate it very much.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I just re-watched (for the third time) Ed's video on electric dog collar training, and I have a question: Can my "small-dog aggressive" dog be trained not to bother small dogs? He's a two year old Lab, and recently started "attacking" small dogs on leads (which doesn't sit well with their owners--to say the least). Up to this point he's been responsive to my commands and friendly towards other dogs, but "loses it" when he sees a small dog.  We live in an area where most of the larger dogs walk without leashes; we do likewise and he enjoys meeting and playing with those larger dogs. However, when a small dog approaches--the problems start. 

I do not wish to constantly use a lead when we're out, nor do I want to discourage him from socializing with ALL dogs. Are these realistic goals? Would you recommend an "extreme" correction when he approaches small dogs only? (He was trained by me using an electric collar, but I've never hit him with anything higher that a low-medium nick, on the Dogtra scale.)

Any insight you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks!

John

Answer:

If you have watched the electric collar video, you know the goal is to get your dog to follow a voice command.  As the pack leader, you pick and choose what you allow your dog to do. BUT I don’t agree with allowing dogs to play with strange dogs, period. If your dog is showing aggression to small dogs, it’s only a matter of time before he meets a large dog that there is going to be an altercation with. The fact that your dog has recently started aggressive behavior (2 years old is when many dogs begin pushing the envelope with other dogs) is a big red flag to me.

I suggest you read this article on Dog Parks.

But to get back to your question, if your dog is truly trained he can be told who and when he can approach. If he “loses it” and wont’ listen to you then he is not ready for off leash.  With that said,   I certainly wouldn’t recommend an extreme correction for this.  If your dog is already showing aggression and you use an ecollar correction you can actually cause a dog fight.

I’d spend some time reading this section of Questions & Answers on Dog Fights.

I believe that this DVD could really help you. It’s titled DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS and was a 5 year project.  You can read on the webpage what is covered in the video.

I want my dogs to get their exercise and fun from me, not from other dogs.  We never allow any of our dogs to sniff, socialize or interact with dogs from outside our family pack.  It’s just not necessary and in a huge number of instances, dangerous.  Even if your dog is social and under control, you have no way of knowing that the other dogs are.  It’s just not worth it, in our experience.  I actually chase dogs away if I’m out with my dogs and I am approached.  I don’t care if the other dogs are friendly or not, I don’t want them around us.   This is a huge part of being a pack leader.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Please share with me what methods you teach your clients to use when their adult dog (the K9 is K9 friendly and on leash) wants to meet this strange adult dog (who is on leash too) walking in their direction?

Thank you,
Ron

Answer:

I don’t allow my dogs to meet strange dogs; my dogs are taught to be neutral. I don’t tolerate aggression but I don’t allow my dogs to socialize with strange dogs from outside my family pack.

Just because the dog looks friendly or is wagging his tail does not mean he isn’t a threat to another dog, on leash or off.

We just don’t advocate this at all.

You can search on our website under dog aggression and dog parks for more examples.

Cindy


Question:

I wish I had read your articles about breaking up dog fights and dog parks. I have a very well trained lab/shep  and took her to the dog park yesterday, not knowing what I know now. She was immediately attacked by a dog as soon as we let her off her leash inside the fenced in area, six other dogs joined in. I had no idea what to do. FINALLY… the owners casually walks over to retrieve their dogs. We immediately left the park and will never go back.

I had an idea though and wanted to know what you thought. What if the city parks and recreation had a trained monitor (as a pack leader) for these parks. That way they can be properly introduced inside the fenced area and each owner has to pay an hourly fee or something to cover the cost of the monitor. If a dog seems to be aggressive then they would not be allowed in the park.

My dog was okay. She has one puncture on her tummy but she is fine. I would love to purchase your videos but I cannot afford it. So I have been reading as much as I can on your website. Thank you.

LIANNA

Answer:

Your idea is a good one, but unfortunately it would require funds that most areas don’t have to pay an employee.  The other big issue is finding someone who actually knows how to evaluate dog behavior and temperament who wants that job.

Thanks for taking the time to write. I’m glad your dog wasn’t more seriously hurt.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,
 
I have an 11 month old lab/border collie mix that is very toy obsessed. I don't mind that she likes to always play with toys but I'm having trouble with getting her to only play with the toys when I say it is alright, she's at her worst at the dog parks when other owners are playing with their own dogs. Once she sees the toy (mainly balls) she does not listen at all she is so fixated on the ball and it gets really frustrating when she takes the other dog's toy. She's really good at bringing the toy back to the other dogs owner so they will continue to throw the ball for her. She'll take off to the other end of the dog park just to get that toy, I call her but once she's on the move there is no stopping her. I read in some articles that I could use a shock collar and that seems like it could work but I was wondering if there is other things I could try and do before I spend the money on one of those collars.
 
Also, when I take her own ball to the park she gets really aggressive and her hackles stand up anytime another dog comes up to sniff her when she has the ball, she has also gotten into fights because of it. This only happens when it's her own toy, I've been working with her about it. When her hackles stand up I take the ball from her and not let her have it till her hackles come down and the other dog leaves. If it gets to the point where the two dogs get into a fight, I break it up and put her on her side and make her stay and try to get the other dog to come up to her and sniff her and sniff the ball while she's laying there. Is this right?
 
Any help is appreciated,
Kaitlyn

Answer:

Why does she have access to the toys on her own? I would not allow any toy obsessed dog to be able to get toys whenever she felt like it. The toys are MINE and I allow her to play with them when I say, and only when she behaves in a manner in which she earns them (like training time).

I’d also keep her out of the dog parks. Taking her to a park where you KNOW people are going to be playing and KNOWING your dog won’t listen is an incredibly bad idea.  Putting a dog on her side is not going to teach her anything and is not a proper way to correct the behavior. It’s really not a good idea and it will not give you the results you want.  At only 11 months old, she’s an adolescent and as she matures you are going to end up with an obsessive/compulsive,  aggressive dog on your hands if you don’t start managing her time and training her.  You are also going to either end up with an injured dog or a lawsuit if she attacks another dog and injures it. (or a human will be bitten trying to break up a fight)

You can read Ed’s article on dog parks.

I’d start with basics, since your dog is toy obsessed you can use a toy as a reward and get great obedience from her if you put in the right training effort.

I’d first start with some pack leadership, here is our groundwork program. Pack Structure for the Family Pet is the video that picks up where the article leaves off.

I’d recommend

The Power of Training Dogs with Food

The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog

Become a student of marker training:  I would read our article on training dogs with Markers.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers

You can always go to the remote collar but first she needs to learn what you expect, you need to control her free time and her toys and give her something positive to do with her energy to earn her toys. Set her (and yourself) up for success.

I would recommend learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Dear Ed Frawley,

I have been to your website many times the past few months since I purchased a GSD puppy in January. He is 10 months old, a great house dog and is sweet to my Pomeranian and my two cats (never had problems before with them getting into actual fights,only play fights). I have been training him with a prong collar and using long leashes to teach him sit, heel, come. I am moving slow with his training but I am still trying to find a reputable obedience class in my area. He responds nicely but I still have work to do. Ever since the beginning of our relationship I have taken every precaution to keep him below me in the "pack rank" so that I am seen as the alpha. He is extremely smart and has a good amount of prey drive.

The two problems I have had to deal with since he turned 5 months old are his possessiveness with objects like tennis/soccer balls at the dog park, and choosing a young dog to become dominant aggressive with almost every time I have been to the park. His aggression with possessiveness has never been addressed to me or my fiance with whom I live with. I am afraid that if I do not Correct this problem he may become aggressive to the point of not being able to socialize even with the older dogs because there are young dogs at the park.

He is great with older dogs and dogs who are equally dominant back to him, but he becomes very dominant aggressive with the younger dogs and puppies even if they submit. He has not drawn blood yet but his nipping, holding and nasty growling has gotten out of hand. I want to be a responsible dog owner and fix this problem but I have am not sure how to do this correctly. I also don't want to deal with an attack that leads to a lawsuit, an upset owner, or an injured dog.

If you could respond back I would truly appreciate it. Koda (my GSD) is a wonderful dog and I want to be able to share that with other people.

Thank you, 
Gina

Answer:

Dog parks are a bad idea in most cases, Ed has written an article about them.

Dog parks are more of a human idea than a dog idea. It’s not natural for dogs to want to play and socialize with strange dogs from outside the family. You WILL see this problem increase as he gets older if you continue to let him interact with other dogs in a park setting. I never let my dogs interact with any dogs from outside our family because I have no control over other people’s dogs. It’s not IF you have an incident, it’s WHEN. It’s also a lawsuit waiting to happen, in these days of legal issues tied to aggressive dogs.

My advice would be to continue training, establish clear leadership in ALL situations and let your dog get his fun and play from you and your other dog (not strangers dogs).

We also have a number of ebooks, which include topics that may help you. 

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q & A’s, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.  Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Ed,

I have been looking around your site and reading the various articles. I have a 4 year old Labradoodle (poodle X lab) I know it isn't one of the usual breeds you deal with, however I am in need of some advice.

My dog was attacked as a puppy by 7 GSD's. I was out walking her and had let her off the lead in an enclosed space in order to do some training. A man with the pack of dogs walked up to the gate and came in. The dogs saw my pup and pulled the leads out of his hands and chased her. Before I could pick her up, they had chased her out of the park and across two fields. I finally caught her as they had her cornered in some bushes. I don't think the dogs actually bit her - however it has had a long-lasting affect on her. Since that incident, I became very nervous when walking her around other dogs, as did she. She was then charged and attacked by a Boxer, who did actually bite her.
 
At around 2 years old, her aggression towards other dogs became uncontrollable and embarrassing. I think it was fear based. Whenever a dog came up to sniff her rear (she has mild hip-dysplasia which might contribute to it) she would turn and snap at them, then run away with her tail between her legs. She would lunge at dogs when she was on a lead too.

I came across Cesar Millan (I don't know what your views are on him?) and it all made sense. I have been following his rules for nearly 2 years now and they are working very well.

I have been socializing my dog with friendly dogs and it is going well. She has lots of doggy friends and can play nicely with other dogs. On a scale to 1 - 10, her aggression a couple of years ago was about a 6. Now, I would say it is about a 3-4.
 
She can interact with other dogs with nearly no problem now. Only if they are too boisterous she may growl at them, which I think is fair.

Recently we have been walking (off-lead in a park where the dogs can play. I live in the UK, and this is the norm among dog owners) with a collie X (and it's owner). This dog chases other dogs (especially small dogs) it is very rough and pushy in play too. My dog has also started to display the same behavior - chasing small dogs. Can dogs pick up behaviors that easily? My dog attacked two small terriers, both of whom were old. No injuries were actually inflicted on them, however both the patterns of attack were the same. She ran up to it, sniffed it, and watched it tensely. When it moved, she then growled at it, flipped it over and started to bite - release it. She didn't actually clamp down onto them, which is what I can't understand, as it can't really be classed as a 'bite'.
 
She chases squirrels, however I have used a vibration collar to stop this habit. I was thinking she might be seeing the small dogs as the squirrels? She is better with small dogs that are moving. It is the old/timid ones she has problems with.

My dog is very affectionate with people and the dogs she knows. She is actually very obedient - but obviously not enough. If I could only solve this problem she would be the perfect dog!

Any advice greatly appreciated,
Monique

Answer:

I would NOT allow this dog to be off leash around other dogs from outside her circle of friends.

Ed has written an article about dog parks.

Since you have experienced first hand the long term psychological damage that can occur from being attacked by other dogs I am surprised you would allow her to do this. 

Whether your dog sees other dogs as prey items or as threats to her, it makes no difference. If you can’t control her off leash in the face of distraction, she should not be off leash in these situations.

She needs more training and you need to be more selective as to the types of situations you allow her to face off leash until she’s reliable.  For some dogs, this may not ever happen in the company of strange dogs.

I would suggest our groundwork program and the videos Pack Structure for the Family Pet and Dealing with Dominant & Aggressive Dogs.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you. 

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q & A’s, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

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