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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sofie is now 10 months & 2 weeks old. We take her everywhere. She LOVES people (thank goodness). She's not so confident around dogs - most all dogs. We started taking her to the dog park, and to obedience, and everywhere else just as soon as she had her last vaccination, which was I believe around 14 to 16 weeks (can't remember now - seems forever ago).

There are dogs that she does just fine around, and others that cause the hair on her back (from scruff to tip of tail) to stand on end.

I generally take her into the dog park off-leash (removing leash in "foyer" area), and then walk, walk, walk around the perimeter and away from the other dogs so that she can smell and relax some.

She does this thing at the park where she rushes another dog and then runs back. I don't even know how to describe it. I'm posting a couple of links to YouTube - very poor, poor video (sorry), in hopes that you can see it and let me know your thoughts.

Perhaps you can either 1) allay my fears and tell me that this is normal behavior for a 10 month old, or 2) confirm that I need to get some help - perhaps from a professional.

We were told that if we just kept socializing her, that she'd relax. When does the relaxing come in? If another dog comes around that seems to scare her, she does this rushing thing. If another dog comes around that seems scared of her....she nips at it and completely terrorizes and bullies it. I have the horrible child that picks their nose and beats up on all of the other dogs in the class!!!! She can play all day long at Day Camp with another dog (I watch on the monitors and she plays great), but then as soon as she's outside of the play area you'd think she was Cujo. She's definitely better off-leash than on. When we're walking with her, we have to put her on the other side of us and just keep her at a heel position and just walk with purpose. If you stop and let her approach the other dog, she goes nuts.

Anyhow, I'd love some feedback if anyone has time. She is still just the light of my life and even though it's work, work, work with her because she's got so much energy, it's completely worth it.


Thanks - Maggie
 

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From what I could see, she wants to play but is very fearful and doesn't know what to do. Could you find a friendly dog and take the two dogs, with the other owner, out for walks and then have a play date? This way she would have time to relax and get to know the other dog before being allowed to play together. There would be just the one other dog and that would be less stressful too.
 

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I don't know, Lola does that too whenever she wants to play with another dog. I don't know if it is fear because she does it with her best playmate (cousin's golden mix), it seems it is how she starts their games...
 

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looks like playful behavior to me...

Cody (also 10 months) likes to be chased. so he'll do sort of what Sofie did to the husky. Kind of charge, maybe bark a bit and then run away in hopes the other dog will give chase.

Cody will also come up to our other dog and bite her on the side of the neck to get a good chase going. (not bite hard, just play bite to set things off)
 

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She does look likes she's being playful. I'm not a fan of dog parks because for the most part it's not controlled play interaction, it's a "free for all". Maybe introduce her to dogs you trust on leash to build her confidence and take walks together.

Beautiful girl!
 

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looks like playful behavior to me...

Cody (also 10 months) likes to be chased. so he'll do sort of what Sofie did to the husky. Kind of charge, maybe bark a bit and then run away in hopes the other dog will give chase.

Cody will also come up to our other dog and bite her on the side of the neck to get a good chase going. (not bite hard, just play bite to set things off)

Yep, it looks like Sofie wants to be chased. She is a herding dogs too, so she might, at times, be herding dogs that she's concered with away from you.
 

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Max does that too. He loves to be chased! I do agree with what was sad above about meeting with dogs you know will play well with him first. You don't want him to have a bad experience when he is just learning to be around other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the great replies - I am so relieved. She absolutely LOVES to be chased, and now that I read Chicagojosh's post, this describes her to a "T".

Typically most owners at the park don't mind if she plays rough with their dog. Once in a while though, there will be the owner that coos over their dog and scoops it up apologizing to it all of the way out, which chastizing me for having such a monster of a dog.

She will go after a fearful dog in a heartbeat though. But, it's funny that last week a little Chihuahua ran up to her and attacked her (in our neighborhood - it had gotten away from it's owner), and she squealed like a little girl. How embarassing!! :shocked: It surprised me completely because usually she looks at little dogs like they're something to be chased, and I have to hold her back. This little demon was so "in your face" that I think it shocked her too.

So, when she exhibits what I think is fear with the hair standing up on her back, should I correct that and tell her "no", or just leave it alone and let her work it out?
 

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she definitely wants to play but i think she is scared if she gets to far from you. my lab used to be like that, i would have to fast walk with her to whatever dog she wanted to see.
 

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So, when she exhibits what I think is fear with the hair standing up on her back, should I correct that and tell her "no", or just leave it alone and let her work it out?
Raised hackles can mean a lot of different things... excitement, aggression, fear. I think you need to pay attention to a lot of different things.. tail set, ear set and her general demeanor to understand why she is acting that way and how to proceed.

Fear is usually ignored, not corrected or coddled. Aggression should be corrected.

You should look into the Calming Signals DVD by Turid Rugaas which will help you learn more about canine body language.
 

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She wants to play, but is approaching the other dogs very causiously. She is thowing out all sorts of calming signals, head turned, approaching in a curve and sniffing the ground.

She went to the huskey in a very different manner though, very fast and straight on from behind. If that little girl didn't walk behind the huskey and distract them I think the two of them would have played.

What I did notice in the first video is that you do not let her get too far from you. You called her back via a whistle, noise, or just calling her several times (she listens good). In the 2nd video she does not get too far away from you too, and comes to you instead of playing with the other dogs.

When I went for off leash hikes with Dakota with the behaviourist (dogs that needed to were wearing muzzles) and I called her to me when she went what I thought was too far she told me that I was micro-managing her too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Caledon - good thought about micro-managing. I do try to keep her near me because I am afraid that she's going to go terrorize another dog and I won't be able to get there fast enough to stop it. This has happened to me twice, and you should see the stares I get from other dog owners. Geesh. She's just a puppy, but to them she looks pretty serious and big. And, she plays rough.

She listens well when there are no distractions. But....if another dog was around that she was interested in, or something else real fascinating, I could stand on my head and scream and odds are she wouldn't come. We've got recall with no distractions down pretty good. Lots of work needed though with recall when there are distractions.

We've got a long way to go. Well, maybe it's me that has a long way to go. There's nothing wrong with dogs --- just owners, 'eh?

I have a huge amount of uncertainty though, which translates into anxiety. This is my first puppy (as an adult), and even though I've read all of the books, and watched DVD's, etc., it's more difficult when it's your dog. I am so afraid that I'm going to not catch things that become bigger problems later on. And I really want her to be well adjusted and happy (and tired - did I mention tired? :)). If she ever has "problems", I don't want it to be because I was slack in some area of training or exercise.

These boards have been invaluable, and I really do appreciate everyone's input. I'm leaving now to take Sof for a walk, and reflect on how fortunate I am to have such a great pup. :wub:
 
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