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I think a lot of people miss the signs in their dogs or misinterpret them especially when a dog is shutting down.

One of the worst things I ever saw at a dog park was when a family brought in three dogs. One of the dogs was some type of a neutered Beagle/Doxie mix. As they approached the gate, you could already see this dog shutting down. It stayed frozen in place from the time it got there until it left. The poor thing stood with his head down and turned away, eyes averted, tail tucked and wagging. I don't know if maybe this dog had a bladder infection or what, but the big male dogs were piling on him. I kept my dogs as way but every time I called them from approaching, the woman would say it's okay.

The trauma and stress that this dog endured was awful. This was not a dog park I frequent often so I don't know if the family brought the dog often but it was a heartbreaking scenario.
 

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Here is what I remember from my distant childhood. Dogs roamed. Sometimes they came home, sometimes not, sometimes they came home injured. Injured dogs sometimes got vet care, sometimes got left to heal or die as nature dictated, sometimes their death was aided by a bullet. Or a bag on a tailpipe hose. Puppies were born wherever, some survived, some didn't. Some got tossed in the river. Few were purebred. Vaccines were largely ignored, unless the vet was there to check the cows. Dogs slept outside, because they had fleas/ticks/worms. Those that survived to old age often drew their last breath alone, in the barn or on the porch and were disposed of when discovered in the morning.
They roamed with us kids and had fun for sure, but kids don't roam anymore either. Dog fights DID happen, just no one cared.
So I am sitting here watching Shadow crashed on her cushy bed, watching TV, waiting for her walk which will be followed by a cookie while I make her dinner that contains the supplements that keep her free from pain. After dinner she will get her brushing chew to help keep her teeth healthy and later she will be brushed then massaged while I check for injuries, sore spots, bumps, lumps or anomalies. Before bed she will go for another nice long walk and have her bedtime cookie then she will stretch out on the bed next to me and sleep safe and sound until morning.
I really think that people gloss over the truly crappy details of a dogs life in years gone by, and I am not convinced dogs preferred that life. I don't believe that dogs desire to be part of a mob of strange dogs, dog packs are stable units.
I remember similar to this. Down south, the dogs slept in the ditch. I remember petting a ditch dog and it was like something you see on TV, the tick infestation...probably thousands of ticks, puppy's entire under ear flap just engorged ticks. I doubt that puppy survived. The home that these dogs "belonged" to burned. Family moved away. There was only one dog left by then, an older rottweiler bitch. Family drove her off as far as they could and dumped her off on a dirt road and left her there. She walked all the way back to where the house used to be and arrived with bloody paws. My uncle who was the unofficial animal rescuer for that section of rural Georgia did get her and heal her and find her a real home, just so you know she did not die alone in a ditch.

A friend's neighborhood also had free roaming dogs but a different kind. These were house pets but no one had fences so everyone let them out and they all kind of ran as a pack all day. Fights happened, puppies happened, no one cared. My friend's dog, a big white shepherd. Great dog. Did sleep in their house and was loved, died hit by a car like ao many.

On the other hand, these obese neurotic house dogs are not havibg a great life either...

But there is middle ground.
 

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I think a lot of people miss the signs in their dogs or misinterpret them especially when a dog is shutting down.

One of the worst things I ever saw at a dog park was when a family brought in three dogs. One of the dogs was some type of a neutered Beagle/Doxie mix. As they approached the gate, you could already see this dog shutting down. It stayed frozen in place from the time it got there until it left. The poor thing stood with his head down and turned away, eyes averted, tail tucked and wagging. I don't know if maybe this dog had a bladder infection or what, but the big male dogs were piling on him. I kept my dogs as way but every time I called them from approaching, the woman would say it's okay.

The trauma and stress that this dog endured was awful. This was not a dog park I frequent often so I don't know if the family brought the dog often but it was a heartbreaking scenario.
What a terrible sad thing for that dog, that its owner didn't understand its situation.

There was this one game little dog, very energetic, probably part Jack Russell, that had an edge to it. It was a bit of a pain in the *ss, but it sure loved the dog park, to chase and play and nip at other dogs. Anyway, one day when Jupiter was about 8 months, he hopped up, did a fur-rocket, and bit it, maybe you'd call it a nip but it must have been quite hard. A few days later, the guy came over to me and said, "My dog used to love the dog park, but after Jupiter bit him, he's afraid to come in now. He used to be so excited to come, but now he just trembles when I try to bring him."

That was the time I realized Jupiter wasn't going to be a dog park dog.
 

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What a terrible sad thing for that dog, that its owner didn't understand its situation.

There was this one game little dog, very energetic, probably part Jack Russell, that had an edge to it. It was a bit of a pain in the *ss, but it sure loved the dog park, to chase and play and nip at other dogs. Anyway, one day when Jupiter was about 8 months, he hopped up, did a fur-rocket, and bit it, maybe you'd call it a nip but it must have been quite hard. A few days later, the guy came over to me and said, "My dog used to love the dog park, but after Jupiter bit him, he's afraid to come in now. He used to be so excited to come, but now he just trembles when I try to bring him."

That was the time I realized Jupiter wasn't going to be a dog park dog.
Are you so sure that it was Jupiter that wasn't the good dog park dog? ;)
 

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Are you so sure that it was Jupiter that wasn't the good dog park dog? ;)
well........ you know, that other dog was a bit of a nuisance, but never rose above the level acceptable to most owners. He was small. And in the following weeks, Jupiter had several incidents where he chased down puppies and harshly disciplined them. I don't know why an 8 month old felt he had the need to control puppies so much. Since I didn't really understand the behavior nor know how to control it, and besides was getting a reputation, I regretfully decided to leave. This all happened over a period of 3-4 weeks when he was 8-9 months old. He gets along fine with dogs on leash greetings and at the elementary school, but he still seems to have a thing about puppies!
 

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well........ you know, that other dog was a bit of a nuisance, but never rose above the level acceptable to most owners. He was small. And in the following weeks, Jupiter had several incidents where he chased down puppies and harshly disciplined them. I don't know why an 8 month old felt he had the need to control puppies so much. Since I didn't really understand the behavior nor know how to control it, and besides was getting a reputation, I regretfully decided to leave. This all happened over a period of 3-4 weeks when he was 8-9 months old. He gets along fine with dogs on leash greetings and at the elementary school, but he still seems to have a thing about puppies!
Maybe Jupiter is reacting to all of the terrier nips? I wonder if Jupiter was putting out signals to the JRT that were being ignored and one day he realized that his signaling was futile so he tried something different that worked so it has become his goto learned behavior when interacting with smaller dogs?
 

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Maybe Jupiter is reacting to all of the terrier nips? I wonder if Jupiter was putting out signals to the JRT that were being ignored and one day he realized that his signaling was futile so he tried something different that worked so it has become his goto learned behavior when interacting with smaller dogs?
Oddly, I had never seen him interact with the dog, "Captain," before he popped up one day and nipped him.

Jupiter doesn't have any pattern of being mean to small dogs. What he seems to react to (outside of the JRT incident, which I don't understand), is submissive, frantic, puppy-like behavior. I'm going to try to remember all the times I've seen him do anything mean. Less than half of these were at the dog park. If you can see a pattern I can use, that would be helpful. The list feels kind of long after writing it up.

1. "Captain," the JRT-mix, who Jupiter unaccountably nipped
2. husky who snapped and lunged at Jupiter four times, and now Jupiter will growl/bark/lunge at
3. cocker spaniel who snarls/snaps/digs in and acts crazy whenever he sees Jupiter, which Jupiter reacts to by getting stiff and moving towards it
4. Giant Schnauzer which once sprinted at Jupiter at night when he was a puppy, when they met months later and the dog messed with Jupiter's ball, J chased after him but didn't bite.
5. Jupiter got excited off-leash at the German shepherd club and ran and barked at two dogs that had preceded him in the line, but he didn't bite.
now for the puppies:
6. mix-breed juvenile that was pestering J while playing fetch and messing with his ball, after a few minutes of this, J chased and nipped hard.
7. husky juvenile running around at the dog park, Jupiter looked agitated, chased and nipped
8. lab puppy on its back in front of Jupiter, but J was being "mean," looked to be nipping him but not hard
9. poodle-bichon-type puppy on its back, but Jupiter looked like he was going to nip
10. puppy ran up to us while playing fetch, Jupiter chased it and looked like he was going to nip, but I got his long-line
11. tiny puppy ran up to us and Jupiter looked like he was going to nip, but I had his leash, the puppy kept coming back until I told its owners to pick it up

It's only a tiny percentage of the total amount of interactions we've had, but it's certainly not zero and I don't know if I'll ever feel comfortable with him off-leash again.
 

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Discussion Starter #288
@CactusWren I feel for you man! A couple years back I was just entering the park when my dog darted forward and put a Husky pup, about 10 or so months old, on it's back!

Quite uncharacteristic for her. I called her off right away and apologized to the owner, who said "no problem, he deserves whatever he gets, he's usually the one doing that".

Point is, she knew what she was doing! And my dog didn't give that pup a second look the rest of the time we were there.

Taught me to trust my dog's instincts...
 

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Discussion Starter #289
I just found this today by accident, but if for whatever reason you're unable/unwilling/or whatever keeps you away, this guy posts episodes with a variety of dogs and circumstances at his dog park. Pretty cool to watch, I thought, so I thought I'd share it here:


Enjoy!
 
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