Bad day at the dog park :(

So I've read all of the other dog park stories, and thought I'd add one of my own. Went to the dog park w/ Tayda and Lenny yesterday. We last went last year before it got too cold, so its been at least 7 months. Back then, Lenny was only 8 months old and everything was fine, he got along w/ all the dogs and had fun chasing them around and being chased. Now, he's over a year, bigger, faster, and trying to establish his dominance over Tayda (she is not giving it up). The first sign of a problem was while we were walking toward the park and he was almost in a CRAZE trying to get there. We kept trying to get him to sit, and pay attention to us before allowing him to walk, but he was just all over the place. He pulls on leash normally, but this was out of control. We kept putting him down on his back to get him to submit and establish our dominance over him. It took a good 15 minutes before we got to the gate and then we got in the park and almost immediately he started getting really aggressive with the other dogs. He kept growling and making all these horrible noises, and just did not seem like he was playing. I read about the "play bow" where dogs basically let the other dogs know they want to play - and the difference between the play bow and just charging the other dog. He was charging. We broke up a fight w/ a labradoodole and then he started chasing after a little wiener dog that wasn't giving in. We grabbed him, and put him on his back… as usual. but this time, the little weiner dog saw this as his opportunity to strike and went for Lennys tail. Lenny freaked and bit my boyfriend in the leg (the one actually holding him down). Ugh.... not a good day at the dog park. The rest of the time, Tayda played with the other dogs and Lenny was on leash. Other dogs would come by and we'd encourage Lenny to sniff and be nice, and project my sense of ease w/ other dogs hoping he'd pick up on it... but he just kept getting upset and growling...

So now begins boot camp, where he has to do something for me in order to get anything. sit for meals. sit and stay to go outside. down off the couch. Not pulling on lead. I think its a dominance issue and he is probably not seeing me as dominant over him... Tayda had something kind of similar a while back and just a few changes and everything worked itself out and she is as sweet as can be. But Lenny is an intact male.... I suspect that is a big part of the problem as well...

ugh... any suggestions???? I hate having "that dog" at the dog park.

Frankly, if I'd been having that much trouble w/him before I got to the park, I'd have changed my plans. I wouldn't have taken an agitated dog into a dog park.

If he was already questioning your role as leader, it seems natural that he would ignore your commands at the park and go about establishing himself as the leader there as well.

Maybe a long walk on leash with lots of stop, sit practice would have been effective to establish leadership and control would have been a better option. He may need more work before he's ready for a dog park.

Yeah, it was a mistake to go into the dog park. I had tayda and my boyfriend had Lenny. Tayda and I were already in the park and Lenny was with my boyfriend and I guess I convinced myself that Lenny was freaking out because he was not with me. Anyway, whats done is done, and now he's going to go through some serious "NILIF" training now. I love my dogs.. but last night, for the first time in almost 2 years, I was totally fed up with them. I think I've been a little lax on the training with them using the "well, they're Basenjis, they're different than other dogs… smart but not always obedient, etc etc etc"

not anymore.

<_>

Well...it isn't an excuse...it is the truth. There is a reason that you hardly see any Basenjis at dog parks, and it isn't because none of us know how to train them 😉 IMO, taking a high drive, intact male Basenji to a dog park when he has been in many months, is asking for trouble. This isn't a dominance issue...it is a stimulation/drive issue...he is way overstimulated, and it is unlikely that you could get him to focus on you without doing a TON of attention work...not NILIF (good for around the house stuff, but not when dealing with dog/dog interactions).

Don't get fed up...you chose Basenjis, you love Basenjis...if you wanted a dog that does great with all other dogs, you should have gotten a lab. You can't make your dog into something he isn't.

And personally, I would NEVER roll a dog over in a situation like that...it frustrates him more, and makes him more likely to take it out on the next dog he comes across. I don't like to roll dogs in any case...I don't think it gives them any useful information, and it doesn't calm them. The original propriators of that manuever, the Monks of New Skete have recanted that technique, from what I understand._

Of course I love basenjis, and I'm not going to trade them in for labs, nor do I want him to act like a lab. I want him to act like a good basenji. I do think that I can work with them more than I have been and thats why I posted. I'd prefer not to get responses that focus around what I "could have done" yesterday. It was a mistake and I want to move forward. I was just looking for some advice for how to move forward, not for how to feel guilty about what happened yesterday. I don't need help with that. I obviously don't plan on returning to the dog park anytime soon.

I'm not giving up on them, I was just hoping to get some advice from all you experienced folks out there as to how to point us in the right direction. I'm prepared to do a lot of work with him. I have seen postings about people who can have their basenjis off leash and are trustworthy in the house without a crate. Now, thats not necessarily my goal, but I do want to improve things from where they are now. And I believe it is possible.

So, no rolling over, no dog park, no NILIF for this situation, lots of walks on leash with stop/sit practice….I can and will do that.

Quercus - you mentioned "attention" work. What exactly does that involve?

@Tayda_Lenny:

Of course I love basenjis, and I'm not going to trade them in for labs, nor do I want him to act like a lab. I want him to act like a good basenji. I do think that I can work with them more than I have been and thats why I posted. I'd prefer not to get responses that focus around what I "could have done" yesterday. It was a mistake and I want to move forward. I was just looking for some advice for how to move forward, not for how to feel guilty about what happened yesterday. I don't need help with that. I obviously don't plan on returning to the dog park anytime soon.

I'm not giving up on them, I was just hoping to get some advice from all you experienced folks out there as to how to point us in the right direction. I'm prepared to do a lot of work with him. I have seen postings about people who can have their basenjis off leash and are trustworthy in the house without a crate. Now, thats not necessarily my goal, but I do want to improve things from where they are now. And I believe it is possible.

So, no rolling over, no dog park, no NILIF for this situation, lots of walks on leash with stop/sit practice….I can and will do that.

Quercus - you mentioned "attention" work. What exactly does that involve?

I am sorry if I came across harshly. I can tell that you wouldn't want to trade in your Bs for a lab 🙂

You want to train your dog to pay attention to you in all circumstances…it is more valuable than sits, downs or stays. Once a dog goes into that other part of their brain associated with chase/catch/kill they can't hear the commands you have trained anymore. Kind of like someone trying to give you driving instructions when you are in the middle of avoiding an accident. Anyhow..you can train this by rewarding your dog for looking at your face. At first you will use a bridge (clicker or word), and then a food treat any time he looks your way. You don't prompt them by saying anything, you wait for them to pay attention...it puts the responsibility on the dog. Once you have your dog paying pretty good attention somewhere easy (kitchen) you start to take them to places with more distractions...they will be distracted, then as soon as they look at you click/treat. It is a lot easier to show than write. Later, once they get the behavior, your can alternate a treat reward with a smile, good-boy, or scritch. And you can start to add a word in like "watch me".

Those are the basics...it is a beyond wonderful behavior to teach. It still might not solve issues at the dog park. But at least it will give you a little more control. I think in the situation with the dog park, I might train a "stop" behavior (meaning stop what you are doing)...used when he is heading off towards a dog in "that" way. And then a really strong recall.

Dog parks are often bad news because dogs get so riled up, and so few owners have the ability to really control their dogs. Basenjis rarely do okay with that level of stimulation.

Good luck...try "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons...it is more about dog-dog aggression, but will give you the basics for attention work.

Taydaandlenny-I know this is extremely frustrating…I have a crazy dog too 🙂 and he doesn't like other dogs anywhere near him. Please don't get offended by the posts. The folks here really do have good intentions. I think Andrea just doesn't want you to make the same mistakes especially with the putting the dog on his back. As you've experienced it can be dangerous. I know C. Milan does this on TV but it's not really for everyone.

You said your dog is intact perhaps you can tire him out first before you can go to the park. Maybe at first try not to have any socializing but just visit the dog park from afar but only after a long tiring or exhausting walk on a leash. This way Lenny is a lot less fired up and too tired to really cause much trouble.

One thing I'm learning to do is working with my dog getting his attention when another dog is around at different distances. He's not ready for interaction with other dogs just yet but we're working on remaining calm when dogs are around during our walks. You work on getting closer & closer until he's completely calm with a dog very close. BUT this takes a lot of time and patience.

I found a realy good trainging tape just for Bs @ basenjivideo.com i have used the tape and it is helping so far w/ my little girl give it a try it might help you in your need. I hope it works for you like it has worked for me

@StellaGirl:

I found a realy good trainging tape just for Bs @ basenjivideo.com i have used the tape and it is helping so far w/ my little girl give it a try it might help you in your need. I hope it works for you like it has worked for me

I can't find anything on the internet with basenjivideo.com? Can you give more specifics?

@Quercus:

I can't find anything on the internet with basenjivideo.com? Can you give more specifics?

I found it under www.basenjivideos.com With an "s".

It sounds intriguing…but I would be more likely to buy if he told me what kind of techniques he uses rather than acting as if he has a mysterious magical training technique....there is nothing new under the sun of dog training.

I would also be more impressed if he didn't have links to puppy millers selling puppies. Someone who knows so much, and cares so much about Basenjis certainly shouldn't want to advertise puppy mills.

He is out to make a buck....

I'll check for that video at the Library - thanks for the recommendation

Quercus - thanks for the brief on keeping his attention. I'll be starting this asap at home and then we can graduate to more distracting places. Instead of the dog park, I'll try to keep him socialized with some of my friends' dogs for now, who he already knows. He still gets a little snarky with them, but not nearly the same intensity of the dog park dogs. I agree, most of the dog park dog owners don't have proper control of their dogs, nor are they aware of what their dogs are doing.

I apologize if I got a bit defensive there… I know everyone on this forum has the best interests of the breed and their B's in mind. Thats why I like it so much!

Basenji Mix

My sympathy for your ordeal at the park. Duke is a wild crazy walker always in a normal collar. I have to use a head collar on him for walks. He hates it with a passion, but that is the only way I can possibly walk him. At least my walk is enjoyable . . . I hope Daisy doesn't adopt his bad habit. I can walk her with a normal collar and she's doing great (so far with fingers crossed). I'm not yet ready for the outdoor dog park. More socializing at an indoor park is necessary and then maybe I'll try the outdoor park. BTW, were you at the Hines Drive park? Did you read that a pack (4) of coyote have been seen in the area? :eek: One of them got a labradoodle, it lived but had many injuries. 😞

Wow! I had heard about the coyotes, but I had not heard it had gotten hold of anyones pets! So sad! We were at Mill Pond Park in Saline… I didn't know Hines Drive had a fenced in area. I think it would be about the same distance from me. The Saline one is about a 20 minute drive away.

Well, some progress already! I have a balcony that the dogs like to hang out on and just get fresh air and watch traffic/people. They never come in quickly when I call them off the balcony, and actually now that I think of it, Lenny normally does not come in on his own when I call him... I usually have to go out there and give him a little nudge to get him in. so for the last 2 hours or so, the neighbors have been playing with their dog outside and my dogs have been watching intently from the balcony. I've been calling them to me from inside periodically, sometimes calling them in twice in 5 minutes, and then not again for 20 minutes and they get a treat when they come to me. And already some progress - he will actually abandon watching the dogs/people to come to me for a treat now. Tayda comes much more willingly than Lenny, so I've actually just been holding Tayda on my lap and doing the exersize with Lenny by himself. I don't want to think he is learning, when really, he is just following what she is doing...

so i'm sitting here at the computer with a handful of treats next to me and every so often i'm calling him.. he comes, and i give him a treat and some praise, and he goes away again 🙂 If i hear a bird or something go by, I'll call him, sometimes he comes, sometimes he doesn't, but it seems to be working!!

Thanks for the support!

Basenji Mix

It's great that Lenny is trying to be a good boy with the training! When you must have Lenny's attention, bring extra-special "high value" treats. Once, I had some extra corned beef. That kept Duke by my side the whole walk. Another is hot dogs. There is a post here somewhere to cut them up in pea size bits and dry them in the oven. I'm no expert here, but for sure I know these types of treats really work.

Keep up the good work Lenny - make mom & dad proud!

Tayda/Lenny
I have been going to the dog park for years now (about 4ish times a week) with my boyfriend and our dog Garrett. For us it has been positive part of his training being around so many different breeds, people, and kids. Maybe it would help to ease into it. I know people that start by going to the park during slow hours so there are not to many dogs early a.m. and such. If your dog park has two sides I personally started off when I first started by going to the small dog side. Then we worked our way up to the big dog side where the dogs seem to be more ruff when playing. I also noticed some people start going to the dog park for a while with a muzzle on their dogs then as they show that they are calm and dont have ill feelings towards the other dogs they take it off. Of course all this depends on the dog and all. A few loops around the park when you first get there might be a good idea too.
I hear you on that comment about how extremely excited they get when they first arrive my dogs back hair is up and everything. He bounces around the car like a ping pong ball (its kinda annoying). Its weird because the second he gets in the gate he's calm. Although He's and old pro at dog park etiquette now it did take some time. For example he had to learn to play gently with the small dogs there was a time he would scare them even though he thought he was being nice.
Also i would like to add I dont know if you have many options in your area but where I live the dog parks can be quite different. Talk to people as you will find many have done some dog park hoping and they will let you know the good and bad they have noticed at other parks. Some are better than others, there is one that I go to that is pretty much regulars and we all know each other and are familiar with our dogs play styles. Here in my area we have a good handful of basenji's that go up to the park and it melts my heart when I see them all playing together its a wonderful sight.
Good luck to you.

I think that one of the things that happened is the he was so out of control before ever getting to the area.. that there was no way that he was going to be calmed down….
I stay away from dog parks... for me they are an invitation for disaster.....

I agree with you Pat that dog parks are an invitation for disaster. Abbey got attacked and chewed up by a dog a few weeks ago and now she doesn't want to go back to dog park. We had worked so hard on controlling aggression towards other dogs and then that awful thing happened. Most of the owners stand around in little groups talking to each other and no one pays attention to what their dogs are doing. We've got several nondog parks within walking distance of home so we can have our own adventures. We live in a condo without a fence so we go to the fenced playground at the park (she has to potty first) and she can run all she wants. Going to the dog park to socialize isn't top priority for us because she already has dog friends in the neighborhood she plays with.

@Lenora:

Most of the owners stand around in little groups talking to each other and no one pays attention to what their dogs are doing.

This is one of the biggest problems with dog parks. I do take my dogs to play groups and group walks with members of my obedience class. The number 1 rule of these is that everyone must keep moving and keep an eye on their dog. When everyone is moving and the dogs have to keep track of where their owner is, it really seems to diffuse a lot of problems. The dog's energy is being spent moving between the dogs and their owner as they walk. The dog park we have in Davis is large enough to walk around and keep the dogs moving but most owners do not so I have been sticking with the organized walks where I know the dogs and that the owners will follow the rules because if they don't they won't be invited back.

I was just surfing youtube for basenji videos and i found this one that has a link to the basenjivideos.com that was mentioned earlier in this thread and thought i'd post it for y'all to see!

@Tayda_Lenny:

I was just surfing youtube for basenji videos and i found this one that has a link to the basenjivideos.com that was mentioned earlier in this thread and thought i'd post it for y'all to see!

cute video! Ours ring a bell to go out also! We have sleigh bells, though. It is super easy to teach them to do it. And once one knows the trick, the others learn from the first one.

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