Dog Dominance Behavior – Dog Park Ruckus
By Rena Murray
The peaceful dog park erupts suddenly into a hotbed of aggression dog dominance, with your dog and others engaged in a nasty show of dog dominance behavior. What happened? Who is to blame? How might this be prevented?
The first prevention, of course, is to ensure that your dog has had ample psychological and physical challenge and release PRIOR TO entry into the dog park, such as with a forty-five minute walk on a heel. Then you enter with your dog clearly under your control, so the other dogs there do not feel they must teach him the rules, as they would naturally in the wild. Unfortunately, though, most dog walkers expect the park to be the place of outlet for the dog, so all kinds of pent-up issues enter the gates, just waiting to erupt.
Now, dog owners, please do not tell someone off with unacceptable words or gestures if their dog seems to have started a fight with yours. The true instigator might well have been your dog or another. You have heard of “fighting words” with people, and the adage that “the second to strike gets caught,” so why would you expect anything different in the dog world?
If you have a little trouble-maker, bring a professional dog behaviorist with you to see what is really going on with your dog. Then too, what might you be doing wrong?
If your little one tends to be attacked, then perhaps it is not the fault of the big Doberman. Perhaps your precious little Pomeranian was a silent aggressor. You need to find out through a trained eye, and correct any dog behavior problems. The subtle ones can sometimes be the most insidious and most difficult for the normal owner to detect.
If your little dog gets right in the face of the big dog, he is challenging the big dog. Give him a firm correction, or the big dog is going to pin him down. It is not proper dog instinctive behavior nor fair for a Chihuahua to go after a person or dog any more than a big Rottweiler. That must not be tolerated by people, and you certainly cannot expect another dog to put up with it, either!
So remember to be fair and consistent. Same rules for everybody, from the German Shepherd to the Jack Russell.
Also, stop picking up the little ones! That is reinforcing the bad dog behavior by sending the message, “It’s okay.” Learn to give firm “pack bites” or touches to the instigators, big and little, before a fight escalates.
What to do when two dogs have fought with each other?
The wrong reaction is what you most often see â€“ pulling Spike and Butch away from each other while yelling “Bad dog!” or “No, no!” at them, and things like “You’re not coming back until you behave!” Not only did all of that go in one ear and out the other, but you left the dogs holding the bag and with a traumatic experience. So the next time Spike and Butch see each other, they are immediately going to fight. They go back to what they were doing before.
Now here is how to fix it. First, both owners, CHILL OUT! Not every pair of dogs gets along right away when they first meet. Gain firm control of your dog, breathe deeply and relax, then bring the dogs back to each other. Do not allow either one to face the other. Sit them down, back to back and fairly close. Whoever calms down first â€“ let’s say it’s Spike â€“ let him smell Butch, but do not let Butch turn around and look at him until Butch is also relaxed.
Next, take a walk with them together, owners in between. That turns Spike and Butch into a pack, and while pack members might have little spats, they do not really fight with each other. That is not allowed. Then, bring them back to the dog park and let them play with each other. This removes the traumatic experience from both. It is a step-by-step process.
So avoid aggression dog dominance, shows of dog dominance behavior, those nasty fights! Going to the dog park? Take the doggie rules with you!
GET HELP from Rena Murray at the Dog Obedience Training website. An accomplished Dog Behavior Modification expert, Dog Obedience Trainer, and Platinum Expert Author, Rena provides self-help Articles and free “Best Ezines”-recognized newsletter: PAW PERSUASION POINTERS to help you better understand communication and control of your dogs, debunk dog training myths, explore right and wrong dog training techniques for specific situations, address destructive dog behavior, excessive and obsessive dog behavior, and other canine issues, from new puppy to old dog. Subscribe for free at PawPersuasion.com, visit Rena’s BLOG – http://www.pawpersuasion.com/blog/ , find the dog products, crates, and gifts you need at PawPersuasion.com, and Contact Rena for Coaching .
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