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This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:00pm PST 
Something happened at the beach today and I'm wondering if anyone has any insight to it.
First though, let me lay out who Moose is when we're at the beach.
He is super, super, super friendly with dogs. He's polite in his greetings and if a dog isn't in to playing with him, he gets the message and moves on. Chase is his favorite game and that's all he does when we're at the beach. He has a few favorite dog friends he does this with or if he sees an unfamiliar dog who's playing chase, he'll get in on it. He's a sight to see running through the water down the beach playing chase.
He's also super submissive when it comes to dogs over the age of 1 yr. All a dog has to do is raise his lip at Moose and Moose either drops to the ground or he walks away. And size of the dog means nothing.
A Chihuahua, on a leash, had it in for Moose today and every time Moose crossed it's path, the Chi would go all Cujo on Moose and Moose was afraid of the dog. Luckily it was leashed, but Moose gave it a wide berth every time he passed it when he was playing chase.

So, here's the issue. Since taking Moose to the beach, at around 5 months, whenever he meets a dog younger than he, he bullies them. He'll get right over them, chest butt them down to the ground and just get right in their face.
The very first time I saw it, I stopped it. Then it happened again and again, so I got pretty good at spotting puppies coming into our general area.
Moose also started listening to me really well when it came to that. If I saw him go over towards the puppy I would tell him to "leave it" or "away" and sure enough, he'd walk away.
This is how it's gone for awhile. Even more recently he hasn't shown an interest in puppies. For a while now. He'll sniff them and that's it.
He met a bulldog puppy yesterday who was 4 months old and Moose sniffed her, hung out with her (and other dogs) and we ended up walking around the beach with the bulldog and her parents. Nothing.

But, this morning Moose took his puppy bullying to a whole new level and I'm curious as to what it is.

A stunningly beautiful 6 -7 month old yellow Lab came to the beach and ran right into the group of dogs playing. Wiggling like crazy saying hi to all the dogs and people.
This little guy was super submissive and could not be any sweeter. (I say "guy" but I actually don't know the sex of the dog. I'm just assuming it was a male).
Moose was just about the last dog to sniff this Lab and I jokingly said, "Don't be a bully Moose", which I've said before, and within seconds Moose had that dog pinned to the ground and Moose was growling. Like, attack kind of growl. He wasn't biting the puppy and the puppy wasn't screaming, but Moose had his face right on the dogs neck. The only sound was Moose growling.
The second he pinned the dog I ran over (5 ft)and pulled Moose off. Cussing like a sailor as I did. But, Moose's collar slipped off and he went for it again once I wasn't holding him.
I grabbed the scruff of his neck from behind him and pretty much used my body to push Moose off of the dog. Again, swearing like mad.
I was so shaken by it, but the puppy just got up and moved on.
I immediately leashed Moose and stood there, shocked.
A few people and their dogs and I went to another part of the beach and the dogs played there. Which is where the "killer" Chihuahua was.

What in the h*** was that? Someone said it was him just sowing his wild oats. Which kind of makes sense because of his age and adolescence is right there, but why do this to a super submissive, friendly puppy?

I almost chaulk it up to Moose realizing that the Lab, and puppies in general, are "weaker" than he is and they're the ones he can let know who the boss is. But, still, it's unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.

Is this just an age thing?

Later today I was taking Moose outside to go potty and neighbor was walking her dog, who Moose has met a handful of times, and Moose immediately laid down on his side and let the dog sniff him.
Moose wanted to play but he kept himself lower than this dog. He only got up once to say hi and the dog growled and Moose laid back down.

I enrolled him in another obedience class today and it's with the trainer who I've used for private lessons. She's seen Moose's behavior around dogs and she was wide eyed at how gentle and polite he is and with how good he is at reading doggy signals.

Sorry it's so long. I just wanted to give an overview of Moose.

Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 8:34pm PST 
I really don't know, but Kato can get kind of pushy/growly with the youngins. I really just go on the reaction of the pup. And it is always dogs that are usually less than a year old.

Here's Kato "greeting" my cousin's pup. They've met plenty of times before and get along just fine. But Kato just got pushy and growly with him and started doing it on more and more greetings with Tobie (the dog in the video). But throughout it, Tobie is just unphased and goes about his happy, bouncy self, so I don't bother to intervene as they soon work it out.

But some pups don't take kindly to it. At the dog park the other day, Kato tried to pull that same crap with a golden retriever pup who he had met before and also got along with great. But this last meeting, he got pushy/growly with the pup, and the pup gave it back. So, it was quite the scene with them growling and butting chests with each other. I grabbed Kato just to have him chill out and let things cool down. They more than likely would have worked it out just fine as neither one of them really meant any true business by it. But when at the dog park, you just try to prevent any drama.

Once they both chilled for a bit, they were perfectly fine with each other.shrug
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 10:42am PST 
"but why do this to a super submissive, friendly puppy? "

Short, simple answer - Because he CAN! wink

That's body language that leaves the door open. An opportunity to strut his stuff knowing there will not be backlash.

Teenager stages can be very much about testing environment. There is a lot of hormonal prodding to find his place in the world, yet at the same time, a lot of protective social insecurity. This is very much "of nature." Subadult behavior. At this age, the young adult is highly likely to get driven out or away by more seasoned animals....this holds particularly true of males. So if you are talking about a social group animal, such as a wolf or lion, young males are forced out by constant brow beating and intimidation, while at the same time the animal is seeking to survive, get the best/most food, hoping for some sort of position and/or territory, but in some ways being a nomad, as he is not yet strong or experienced enough. So he spends his time building his confidence, being tough where he can, or quickly fleeting away when he is faced with a stronger, older adversary.

So, knowing your history....do not be alarmed. It could be this, or, if he is socially less secure, it could be the hyper submission makes him anxious and sets him off.

Either case, this is reasonably in the range of normal if he generally interacts ok.

And it is a GREAT time for training. Which does build confidence and a sense of the world being controlled, expect-able and safe. Really smart thought to enroll him.

No need to put your finger on the panic button way to go In the meantime, it is CRUCIAL to keep him integrated with other dogs, but supervise more carefully as he is at a more vulnerable age. You need to prevent him from practicing negative behaviors, while continuing him with the critical social exposure.

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 10:50am PST 
Should also add for you, Moose...

When Tiller was around the same age all he'd do with other dogs was "kick sand." He was very erect, totally invaded the body space of other dogs, butted them with his body, hovered his head over their bodies....he did anything and everything to make them pop off. Utterly impossible. And was worse with people. Doing these mad, aggressive darts, trying to snatch their hands with his teeth. It was utter, total madness. Like some demented arcade game every time we walked out of the door into the real world.

They do get over it. You can humanize it if you want....subadult phases are very common in nature. That defiant teenager doesn't have some epiphany that makes them less trouble finding or defiant in time. They simply grow up, hopefully with confidence, and cease the behavior.

Today, he is a reassuring brother dog to a myriad of fosters that come through here. Very tolerant. Very reliable on the street with people. Steady as a string!

I didn't do any behavioral modification work with him. I kept him socialized and out of trouble, worked on OB a lot in scenes that set him off, asked for behavior and composure in and amongst the social stimulus.

Eventually, the hormones evened and he got over it, while still very socialized and used to being around what once were stressors, and now simply a part of his backdrop towards which he was now confidently accepting.

I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 3:25pm PST 
Yep, Kato, your video is Moose. Although his size allows him to chest butt the dogs down to the ground and completely physically dominate them. And that growling. Unsettling when your sweet, dopey, friendly "puppy" makes that sound for the very first time.

Thanks Tiller. I figured that was what was happening but to ease my mind, I wanted to be sure. Didn't think it would be that intense though.

Moose will continue to be socialized for sure. We'll continue going to the beach and I'll keep a sharp eye out for puppies. Especially that Lab.
Our obedience class starts next month and I love these trainers, so unlike his puppy class, I'm really looking forward to this.

Like I said in my post--Moose is so great around other dogs. His greeting skills are text book perfect and he will take a correction from another dog well. Funny seeing a 30lb dog light into Moose for his behavior and Moose dropping to the ground to submit. And like that puppy yesterday, Moose just bounces up all wiggles.