|09-28-2013 04:30 PM|
You might also think about taking them to the dog park separately. I know Levi got more protective and reactive with Leyna around.
|09-28-2013 02:46 PM|
It is age related i guess. Your dog wants to dominate other dogs by force. If they submit to him and lie down then he might be happy. He is testing the waters to see what his strength and aggression will get him.
For me that is dog business. You must tell your dog he is not allowed act like that. He is of the age now where if you don't fix it he will do damage to another dog or meet a more powerful dog and get injured himself.
I was there with my dog and had to let the dog know that fighting is not allowed and he would be punished for not responding to me when in the zone. It worked pretty well and we avoided fights and now he is older and wiser he knows how to socialize and avoid conflict with me and other dogs.
One thing that strikes me about your initial post is the dog whining with this anxious excitement. This tells me the dog is not totally sure of his position and is not in a calm state in your home and on walks with you. The walks actually trigger this whining and anxiousness and this feeds into the prey instincts with other dogs.
You want to aim for a calm submissive dog inside the house and even the walk should send a strong message to the dog that you are in control, not the dog.
You should use ball play and tug to develop confidence in your dog and also instill control over him. You give him the fight he wants but under your terms. You gotta be careful as you do make the dog more powerful but you should be instilling discipline as well.
Food should not excite this anxious whining either. Food should be used to calm a dog down and it should wait relaxed to be fed. When using food as a reward for training you want it to excite the animal but not when feeding imo.
Research the hand feeding methods here on this site, or do what i do, and feed the dog when totally calm. Usually after walks when it has calmed down. I hold the bowl of food over the dog and wait until the dog takes his eyes of the food and looks directly into my eyes. I say good boy and place the food and observe that he eats his own food and doesn't challenge another dog who is eating as well.
I will also, with hold food just to de motivate the dog in the house sometimes. What are they gonna do when they don't get fed? Lie down and sleep. Then I will feed there one meal in the evening. Usually i feed twice a day but sometimes will leave it at 1 to remind the dogs i fed when i like not when they like it.
Before a walk i will pick up the lead, put it down again. Get the dog ready for a walk and then put away the leads again and relax myself. I will teach the dog it getting anxious or excited means no walk. The dog will come to my way of thinking as it really doesn't have any other choice.
But i show the dog that i will train him and satisfy his drives. The play with me far out paces what fun it can have getting aggro with other male dogs. He will come to realize that if it plays by my rules he will get loads of exercise, chasing, biting, swimming and at the end of the day some good food and a decent bed.
The dog will appreciate some discipline and some rules and guidelines in his life.
|09-28-2013 02:38 PM|
If you like dog parks then go, just make them part of your training routine and manage things accordingly.
The biggest thing for me right now is that I have to stay focused on Kaiser and pay attention to what he is doing. Watching things like his ears and tail, where is he looking, does he look calm and relaxed or is he getting keyed up? Right now I want him to start getting keyed up so I can work on returning him to a relaxed state.
So basically: keep going to the dog park, but work on yourself by paying closer attention to your boy and try to notice the little details about how he acts so you can start anticipating what he is going to do and when he is most likely to respond to you without you having to physicaly help him.
|09-28-2013 02:15 PM|
|Defenders of Hyrule||
I forgot to mention that, if at all possible, I'd like to try to fix this trait without completely removing the dog park from the equation... I know the potential downsides, but both of them really seem to love going and I'd hate to take that away from them. Whenever we ask them "wanna go see friends?" They spring to their feet and can't wait to get in the car. They actually react more positively to that question than to "who's hungry"... Every time we go they get "kid going to Disneyland" excited when we're 4 blocks away (they've learned the landmarks along the way).
As I said, I might be being a softie but I really don't want to have to take away something they obviously love so much.
|09-28-2013 01:51 PM|
|Defenders of Hyrule||
Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely look for that book it sounds like exactly the cure for my problem.
Do you think this could be another age-related phase? I've heard this from other local GSD owners (including one who works with dogs in a well-regarded boarding facility who has a 3-year old male) she said hers was the same way until about 2 when it just switched-off. While I find it encouraging, I prefer to try to be more proactive.
|09-28-2013 01:26 PM|
Besides consulting with a trainer to help you identify the triggers, I think your male is hitting that teenage stage of being a complete pill. Levi did this at around 10 months or so. Was great at dog parks until one day he wasn't (and we went to them because it was the only place to let them off leash and they were large areas).
But, I would really consult with someone who knows what they are doing to help you figure out what is causing said behavior and how to recondition his response.
|09-28-2013 01:22 PM|
I think it's a common opinion on this forum that dog parks are not a place to take dogs. The irony just kinda eats at you, no?
I've not had Kaiser get aggressive with anybody but does turn in to a tsunami when he gets over stimulated and getting his attention back on me is a wasted effort. I think the work I'm doing with Kaiser might be effective for you guy too.
In short: go read "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt. She spends a lot of time talking about managing your dogs to keep him under his threshold. So in your case I think you need to watch and see the signs just before he starts the whining and bring him back to you at that point and introduce a new game.
You might also consider not giving him 'free play' with other dogs. I don't know what your goals are for him. In my case Kaiser is my dog and I want his focus on me. Everything he does involves me. Once I have him to the point where we could walk unleashed through a dog park filled with new puppies, exciting stuff, clowns and ribeyes laying everywhere and he never takes a step away from me - then I'll loosen up a bit for doggy play time. But until he returns to me immediately when recalled - no go. He stays on a leash, especially if strange dogs are around.
|09-28-2013 01:07 PM|
|Defenders of Hyrule||
In all honesty, the dog park started-out as a means of socialization and (ironically) to prevent dog aggression. After a little while it became apparent that both genuinely enjoy going. Personally, I'd prefer taking them on hikes (fortunately there are a number of trail heads nearby) but it's been a once or twice a week concession for them since they seem to like it so much. It looks like we might have to curtail the dog park visits; good for me, sad for them...
Also, the dog park trips aren't their only activity for the week. They typically get at least an hour and a half walk or a hike in the foothills every night. I'm looking forward to winter for snowshoeing and XC skiing with them.
|09-28-2013 12:33 PM|
The times I see that happen usually involve one of the dogs getting sick of playing and wants to stop but the other doesn't so a snap warning happens and things go from play to a more serious "get the **** way from me" and if the other dog doesn't get the message it turns into a fight. I don't know if this is what is happening but that is the most common problem I see.
Lots of people here myself included shy away from dog parks because nothing good happens from them in the long run. Set play dates if you want, but you might want to ask yourself why you want to see your dogs playing with other dogs and not you.
|09-28-2013 12:05 PM|
|Defenders of Hyrule|
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