View Full Version : Behavior with Other Dogs

06-24-2009, 11:13 AM
Well our 7 month old ACD puppy is starting to become a bit of a terror at the dog park. First of all, I'm not the biggest fan of dog parks (mostly because of the owners), but living in the city it's one of the few places he can run off-leash. When we first got him he was always very nice with other dogs playing at the park, but recently, he gets very aggressive (don't like to use the word) towards certain dogs. It's not all dogs in the park, just a certain few. It gets to the point where he barks uncontrollably and I have to pull him off and leave the park. It's usually not his fault. He mostly reacting to a dog snipping at him or just playing gone bad. Any advice besides not taking him to the park? Or is this breed known to not get along with other dogs? From what I've read it seems to get worse with age. We have him enrolled in obedience training and its going very well but not sure if this will fix the problem.


06-24-2009, 01:00 PM
I also live in the city and take my ACD's to the dog park all the time. I have had a few issues with scuffles and would concur it often was started or contributed to by the other dog and not miy ACD. I also think part of the issue is that in the case of my dogs they just tend to be pretty vocal with play even though they are not being aggressive.

My solution has always been to start walking away from the situation and to call my dog and then distract them with a ball, frisbee, etc. Depending on the dog parks available to you I would also recommend finding the largest park you can. Here in St. Paul I am lucky to have several parks close by and if I use the large (approx 33 acre) unfenced park I have fewer issues as there is space to roam and the dogs don't get so concentrated in one spot.

Hopefully this is somewhat helpful - good luck and I hope you are able to work it out as I really love spending time with my dogs off-leash

06-24-2009, 02:04 PM
Part of the problem is the age of your dog. He is just entering his teenage stage. Not sure of himself one minute, then cocky the next. If he has not been raised around a lot of other dogs, he probably doesn't know how to interact yet- he is still very young.
I would make sure he has a solid recall, before letting him off leash, then keep your eye on the action. If there is ANY indication that things are getting out of hand, call him back to you. I live in a rural area, but we have a private dogpark that belongs to my obedience club. Even though I know all these dogs and their owners, I keep my dogs with me. I don't mean walking besides me, but they always keep their eyes on me. If I signal or call, they will come, but even in this private park, I have had issues with a new member. She can't control her dogs (4 of them) When I see her dogs coming, I call my dogs back to me- tell them to sit- then I chase the others away. I don't want my dogs to ever think they have to protect themselves as long as I am there. That is MY job! Being a private park, the matter was taken care of quickly. I would be careful at this age- I don't want my dogs to think they can bully other dogs or become afraid of other dogs.

06-24-2009, 02:06 PM
Also, is the dog fixed? Enzo started getting pretty dominant towards female puppies around that age. It went away when we fixed him.

Of course, there are some dogs he just does not like, just as there are people I do not like. We usually walk around the park with him when such a dog comes in to the park. We find that if we redirect him to concentrate on walking with us or playing with another dog, and stay on the opposite side of the park there is not much of a problem.

I do think that ACDs often play a little bit rougher than many other dogs, but Enzo is not usually aggressive, just very energetic in his play. I do however remove him from the situation if it is apparent that the other dog's owner is uncomfortable with the energy level. If he is not actually biting the other dog (or vice versa), and the owner seems OK with the activity, you might consider just watching to see if it is just very excited play. Obviously you need to be very careful about that, and if it makes you nervous it is more likely to actually start a dog fight. So use your best judgement on that, you know your dog better than I do. It also depends heavily on the culture of your dogpark - some are more understanding about teenage dogs than others!

****By the way, completely agree with TexasCDLorenz - it is your job to let your dog know that you are in charge and you will protect them.

06-24-2009, 02:17 PM
At the dog park, my Ozzie plays real well with the border collies and Aussies (and there are quite a few of them), but he doesn't seem to like the pit bull types (and there are TONS of these). We've notice that the herding breeds stick together and do lots of running and jumping, while most of the pit types spend more time bullying other dogs or begging for treats from people.

06-24-2009, 02:59 PM
Great advice! We got him fixed from the rescue, but he seems to really get bother by dogs who are not. I definitely always keep an eye on him since the owners in the neighborhood are very uptight about the dogs playing too rough. But this has been very helpful.

06-24-2009, 04:38 PM
but he seems to really get bother by dogs who are not.

Yeah, that's actually pretty common. Most doggie day care places don't allow in unfixed dogs because it can throw the energy off. I know many unfixed dogs that are great, but that's usually because they have great owners. I always try to keep Buck well away from unfixed males, especially. Buck is not a dominant dog, but he really doesn't like the majority of unfixed males.

Keep an eye on the behavior of the other dogs, too. If they are pulling dominance games, your dog might just be saying, 'yeah, I don't think so' before they get too far into it. That's understandable, but like Cindy said, you need to step in and make sure the other dog doesn't bug your boy. Then he won't have to defend himself and you won't have to deal with owners who don't know better and are letting their dogs be weird.

You might want to check out a great book that was recommmended by another AuCaDo member. It has tons of pictures showing dog mannerisms and is really in depth. It's taught me a lot about what to look for so that I can step in before things become an issue. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1929242352/ref=s9_simp_gw_s0_p14_t4?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=00HRM3STK6C9VN894RVV&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

Something else that might help is an article from a great trainer called 'He just wants to say Hi'. It's available when you register (for free and no spam either) at www.flyingdogpress.com (http://www.flyingdogpress.com) - it explains good and bad dog manners. It could very well be that your dog is just telling off other dogs with bad manners. Since he's getting older, he may be becoming less tolerant of jerky behavior. It was that way with my boy Buck. The article talks about some of the things other were mentioning like moving your dog to another place to avoid the jerk dogs or putting yourself between your dog and the jerk dog to deal with the problem yourself.

If your current park has bad/ignorant owners, though, it might be better to try going at different times or even driving a bit further to find a better park. I started going to one dog park that was a 30-40 minute drive because the owners there knew how to handle their dogs and were dog savvy. It was well worth the extra drive to not have to deal with problem dogs and problem owners.

06-24-2009, 06:06 PM
If your current park has bad/ignorant owners, though, it might be better to try going at different times or even driving a bit further to find a better park. I started going to one dog park that was a 30-40 minute drive because the owners there knew how to handle their dogs and were dog savvy. It was well worth the extra drive to not have to deal with problem dogs and problem owners.

So true! We go to a park that is not the closest one to us for this very reason. There are of course some notable exceptions, but most of the people at the park we go to are good about letting their dogs be dogs, but also prevent them from escalating too far. It is important for ill-mannered dogs to know when they are being socially unacceptable, and they can't learn that if the dog who lets them know they have crossed a line is pulled back and reprimanded.

I also think the point you make about watching dog behavior is very important. We often take Enzo for a walk around the park because we notice that the dynamic within a group of dogs is changing. I can't tell you how many times we have thus avoided a dog scuffle! Also, one thing I notice is that when the dogs start getting a little too intense, the way people intervene can have a huge impact on the outcome. If the owner(s) start coming in yelling and yanking the dogs around, it often gets worse. :no: Luckily, our dog seems to be very good about coming to us when called, so we can get him away from a developing situation easily.

06-24-2009, 08:37 PM
I've stopped going to the dog park near me because of the magnificent wealth of ignorant owners. I could go on and on. You just need to maintain control of you dog and do your best to politely defer dangerous situations. Tuggie would just leave the scene of a scuffle. He doesn't like 'em and won't participate. Ding is more of an instigator but mostly to protect her own "space". We have a better time walking the trails together (ON LEASH) and then they play in our yard.

06-24-2009, 09:20 PM
That is a great book that Autiger23 recommends. We have it too. Highly recommend it to any dog owner whether they have only 1 dog or a pack. It'll help anyone understand the actual interactions between other dogs and your own. It clearly pictures the differences between what can be a playful stance/look vs one that may lead to an unexpected dog fight in a blink of an eye. Mrs YB

06-24-2009, 11:59 PM
Age is a factor. In my immediate neighborhood most of the dogs could play together. My older male(4) can no longer play with my friends 2 year old ACD/Border Collie mix. It's my choice since the 2 year old tries to dominate my boy. Gryffindor will not back down and I don't want anyone hurt.

Draco is a target for all the males since he is intact. He plays with the females quite nicely. When I worked at a Doggie Daycare I had my boys out with the dogs. Both of them were intact. There were no issues and they all had a blast. Gryffindor is now neutered and Draco is still intact.

We do not go to off leash dog parks due to owners. My guys play with a group of friends S/N and intact males and females. We have no issues with our dogs racing around the 10 acre property of the Boarding Kennel where I used to work.

The ACD will try and keep control of the issue since they do not like things getting out of control. They do try to herd the other dogs and people don't understand what it is they are doing. They get pissed off and say our dogs are aggressive when in fact they aren't.

06-25-2009, 10:35 AM
Again, I truly appreciate the advice that is being given here. It's truly helpful and makes me feel better about our pup. I'm starting to realize he's just acting his age and everyday must be a learning experience for him (and for my wife and I).
This morning on our daily 6am walk he was well behaved and every dog we encountered on our walk he sat down patiently and wagged his tail waiting for the other dog to approach. He was very polite to them and even got to roll around and play with a boxer/lab pup.
Unfortunately we had a bad experience walking home with an adult lab tied up in front of a starbucks. From a distance I could tell it was bad news when the lab looked completely terrified and insecure because it's owner was inside getting it's skinny latte or whatever beverage he/she consumes. We walked by and Brody with his tail wagging just turned in the direction of the lab, to sniff (as all dogs do), and the lab lunged at him viciously and brody yelped and ran between my legs. Really I don't blame the lab, I blame the owner for tying him up to a parking meter in front of the coffee shop...