Baby steps at the dog park

So y'all know I have had issues with Lenny being ultra agressive at the dog park. I'm in between jobs now, so I thought it'd be a good time to bring Lenny and Tayda to the dog park when there is no one there, maybe get him used to the smells and perhaps one or two other dogs. So today was our first try. We were alone for about 5 minutes and then a britney spaniel came in. She was really submissive - I guess that was good for our situation. As she was getting in through the gate I was holding Lenny and Tayda, then I let Tayda go, and then Lenny after that. He started to chase and nip at the britney for a few minutes, and then he let up. From that point he didn't really pay a lot of attention to her. She went into the water to escape and wouldn't come out. She came out a few times, and he would chase her, but it was more of a playing chase, rather than a "i'm gonna kill that dog chase" So it seems like Lenny had this initial urge to establish his dominance, and then once he accomplished that, he didn't care much.

Any hints on how to get him to ease up at the beginning?

Overall I think it was promising. The britney left cause the owner couldnt get her to come out of the water, and then we were alone again for another 20 minutes or so and then I left with them as well.

Tayda, as usual, played a little, and then just sunbathed. 🙂

One more thing… its interesting to me that Lenny does not have issues at dog shows or lure coursing. He hates one of my friends dogs, a male beagle mix that he trie to take out his jugular, and he does this stuff at the dog park. But at shows and racing, he's fine. So weird. Of course, its not me that takes him to the shows and the coursing... so that's probably part of the reason, if not the whole reason. Sigh...

I think the issue hinges on a dog that doesn't submit immediately will be attacked. You see this a lot with Basenjis…they don't wait around to see how the dog will react eventually..they want to sort it out right now, and they want the other dog to submit right now!

So if you are lucky that the dogs that enter the dog park are very submissive, very clearly, immediately, he should do okay…otherwise, I predict that he will try to force the dog to submit quickly. I don't have the patience, energy, or desire to train a dog not to behave that way, so I stay out of dog parks 🙂 You could try to train a really strong "leave it"...or something that would mean "that dog is not for you to meet right now"...that would give the dog a chance to get in, and get situated before being given the third degree by Lenny.

You might check the book "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons. She trained her VERY dog reactive Golden Retriever to be able to calmly initiate interactions with other dogs...but I still don't think she frequents dog parks with him...pretty high stimulations level there.

My renewed interest in wanting my dogs to be okay at dog parks is that I'm moving to New York, where the hopes of owning a home with a fenced in yard are slim to none. So likely the only way i will be able to let them run freely is if I can go to the dog parks. So thats why I'm trying it again. And, I feel like, if he can see these dogs at dog shows and lure coursing, why cant he learn to be ok at the dog park!?

I will work on the leave it command. He listens all right, when we are home. But when we are outside, its a different story.

Honestly, the best advice I can give you is buy a couple great training books and really work on increasing your control over him off lead. Uh, there is a new book out that people have been raving about, and now I can't remember the name…something about off lead...I will look it up....

Shows and coursing are TOTALLY different than dog parks. At shows people don't let their dogs interact with each other much. And the dogs are focused (most of them) on what they need to do..and a little intimidated by the hubbub. Coursing, the dogs are focused on catching the bunny...unless the line breaks..then they fight 😉 No really...coursing is reminiscent of pack hunting....Dog parks are reminiscent of groups of dogs meeting for the first time and evaluating their status and resources! Dog parks are all about dogs interacting with each other...and then running around and getting aroused. Also, he has had at least one really intense altercation at a dog park, right...so he has a whole bunch of emotion arise anytime he visits one (at least the same one).

I think you may be able to make it work at the dog park...but it will take a WHOLE lot of vigilance and effort. You will have to know the dogs that come to your park, talk to the owners, and be ready to take your dog out, if a dog that he reacts to shows up. And keep in mind, it isn't the end of the world if he has to be restricted to long leash walks...lots of dogs are perfectly happy with that all their lives.

Good luck with your move!

CONTROL UNLEASHED - CREATING A FOCUSED AND CONFIDENT DOG
by Leslie McDevitt

This is the book I was thinking of. Found at Dogwise.com

I used to bring Denver and cheyanne to a dog park when i still had denver and he was ok as long as when i entered all the dogs didn't run up to him when he first got in but now that i have phoenix and also Aspen there's no way i would trust a dog park with them phoenix used to go to one when he was an only dog with his last owner however now he wouldn't do well with cheyanne there he's he little protecter myself i just don't feel comfortable with the dog parks anymore around here anyone can just bring there dog and that kinda worries me cuz i have been there when some dogs where getting "picked" on and the owners didn't seem to care to much me on the other hand that would drive me bonkers hopefully ur pup can get used to it if not there are always alll those trees in NY to smell and pee on lol 🙂

Try clicker training and leashes to keep him under control until he "gets" it.
IMO, dog parks aren't good for some dogs. My dogs can't go to one, because they become the "bad dogs" of the group…and no one is happy.
A good walk, leashed to you would be better and not one will get hurt.

@Tayda_Lenny:

So y'all know I have had issues with Lenny being ultra agressive at the dog park. I'm in between jobs now, so I thought it'd be a good time to bring Lenny and Tayda to the dog park when there is no one there, maybe get him used to the smells and perhaps one or two other dogs. So today was our first try. We were alone for about 5 minutes and then a britney spaniel came in. She was really submissive - I guess that was good for our situation. As she was getting in through the gate I was holding Lenny and Tayda, then I let Tayda go, and then Lenny after that. He started to chase and nip at the britney for a few minutes, and then he let up. From that point he didn't really pay a lot of attention to her. She went into the water to escape and wouldn't come out. She came out a few times, and he would chase her, but it was more of a playing chase, rather than a "i'm gonna kill that dog chase" So it seems like Lenny had this initial urge to establish his dominance, and then once he accomplished that, he didn't care much.

Any hints on how to get him to ease up at the beginning?

Overall I think it was promising. The britney left cause the owner couldnt get her to come out of the water, and then we were alone again for another 20 minutes or so and then I left with them as well.

Tayda, as usual, played a little, and then just sunbathed. 🙂

I totally understand where you are coming from. Dash is the same way. I was watching Ceasar one day and he mentioned that dog parks are a lot of high energy which can rile your dog up. I have noticed that with Dash too. As soon as we get to the park he races in 90 miles/hr to the first meanest, biggest dog he can find and bites at him. To combat that we actually have cut back a lot at the park and are just walking him more. But when we do go we try to use the small dog section to wear him out a little. For some reason the small dogs don't seem to be dominant towards him. Once he is a little tired and used to the park we switch over to the large dog section. He is not nearly as bad.

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