Dog to Dog Corrections

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!

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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 1:28pm PST 
I think you can get too extreme. Some things need to play for a dog's sense of balance.

I have said before....I think it is up on Chester page.....when he came here he was a bold little puppy. About the size of a potato. Just itty. And would be very brassy with my dogs, a Giant Schnauzer and GSD, who quite frankly didn't know what to do with something that itty. They are good boys, well raised, and never knew what to do about it. They'd just retreat to the bed, where he was too small to get at times, or put up with it. I was talking with my dog people at the time, I so wished they'd correct him! I was very uncomfortable with this, and just felt in terms of his learning this would go nowhere but bad.

He matured, and life went on much as it does. He matured to a confident little dog. He was very forward, very playful, a bit pushy. He was my number one player with fosters....the Pit Bulls loved him to bits because he was a rock solid player. I had a wonderful dog. The fact that he hadn't been corrected growing up still bugged me, but I could see some of its fruits for how forward and confident he was.

Until the day a bitchy Boxer female corrected him....HARD. They'd been together six weeks or so without incident, but when crowded by my kitchen door and he bulled past her like he always did, she slammed on him but GOOD. A bit over the top.

His world collapsed with that. Everything that to him made sense stopped in that moment. He became excessively paranoid, and the hardest part is that he became extremely intolerant of my Giant, Onion, who was lead dog in my crew, but never anything but benevolent. Not one harsh gesture had ever been shared between them, but seeing Onion, who had nothing to do with this incident, just lit Chester up like a hot bulb.

I was able to work with him and get him to level, but he never would be the same and lost a tremendous quality of life, as the rough play that once was the love of his life was now something he could not cope with.

The behavior of my large dogs when he was a puppy was ultimately a huge disservice to Chester, who grew up knowing no consequence and was living in a fantasy life he assumed to be true. It's not as if I learned anything from this....the dynamic when he was a puppy was bothering me to the point where I was seeking counsel as to anything I could do to get my dogs to correct him. We were trying to get them in games of chase where hopefully my German dogs would be more amped and thereby more likely, but they wouldn't budge. So that is all he knew until the day his world fell apart.

He was way too indulged and managed to skirt that consequence for five or six years, leaving him as a dog with no ability to cope or process it when the axe finally fell.

Just giving an example of the other side of the fence, and reminding that correction is *normal* Getting attacked isn't and certainly a high voltage adult doesn't belong around a puppy. Nature would have cut such dogs out, their response is not normal and they are socially inept. But snapping at a pestering puppy after issuing fair warnings is within a range of normal and an excellent lesson. It gives a sense of how the world is and builds both their ability to moderate their behavior and have coping mechanisms for the future, registering extreme reactions (such as the Boxer) and being able to identify them as such and just brush it off. Chester was unable to do that, as the reaction from one dog made him mistrustful of all dogs, as he lacked the foundation to process the event with a healthful outlook.

So that's my point to you, D'Ar. The puppy is learning and received a completely normal lesson. Puppies will often be as brassy as they can and find that line. They learn through that. An attack is a different matter, but your pup didn't attack. He was doing what would be normal in a dog's social work. Don't bug me while I am eating! Warned first, and without response reasonably upped the level. Good lesson to learn laugh out loud, and one that would absolutely play in a dog's natural life. No, setting up for a mess isn't what you do, but it's not like I didn't try it with Chester when a pup....the meatiest freaking bones I could find!....but my German dogs wouldn't budge. Wish they had. So wish they had.

Tiller was attacked by a Chow when a teenager and thought none the more of it in the aftermath. The dog was a jerk, he knew that, and it didn't translate generally. He was raised with his litter around many unrelated adults to age four months. That made a lot of difference. He knows the bar of normal, and that Chow wasn't it. He brushed it off entirely, with not one seconds worth of after effect.

Edited by author Mon Jan 14, '13 1:33pm PST


Member Since
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 1:43pm PST 
there are things that dogs can teach each other that a human can't (or can't, as well). I even prefer homes in which a young puppy will grow up with at least one well-rounded, stable adult who will teach the puppy through interaction and yes! corrections, what is appropriate and what is not. the basis of that is also the reason why a lot of people prefer to keep puppies with dams and siblings for at least 10 weeks. It's about interaction, and even more importantly, dealing with stressors of living together and correction, and things happening that you might not like.

to the extent that is physically safe, it is OK to let your dog have and work out their own relationships.

Edited by author Mon Jan 14, '13 1:45pm PST


Let's play tug!!
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 3:15pm PST 
I agree with Asher and Cohen. It hurts your relationship with your dog for him to see you sit there and do nothing while he's pestered. It teaches him to take matters into his own hands, which can cause problems when you don't like the methods he chooses or he begins to escalate more quickly as he learns that it's all up to him. I would have let it go for a growl or two in the interest of teaching the puppy social cues, but beyond that I would have intervened. A puppy can learn just as effectively from ignoring a growl leading to a timeout in his crate or being picked up and not allowed to play anymore as he can from being snapped at. I think you can intervene without causing unpleasantness with the other humans- you can say your dog seems crabby and ask whether it's ok for you to pick up the puppy and hold him for awhile, or take your dog into another room to chew his bone, and if they ask why you aren't just taking the bone away, you can explain that removing his bone in response to growling tends to make things worse over time, because he learns that bad things happen when he voices his discomfort. Respecting the growl means that the dog is less likely to escalate to snapping or biting. Since correcting or punishing aggression is usually the gut reaction, it's really good for new dog owners to see you skillfully navigating situations like this, without panicking or alienating anyone.

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 4:40pm PST 
"A puppy can learn just as effectively from ignoring a growl leading to a timeout"

That's not true....those are two totally different lessons. Learning, yes, but certainly not learning the same thing in any regard. A puppy will not learn how to adjust to social stress. He may learn to modulate pesty behavior (maybe) but he will not (certainly) learn the function of the exercise of social education, meaning in future if challenged by another dog and you are not right there, he, deprived of the social experience that this is normal, may react out of fear. And then you have a big problem. Part of the reason for puppies being benefited by being kept with their littermates, momma and optimally unrelated adults as well is to learn how to cope with social stress. These corrections aren't simply "stop that!" but learning about altercations ironing themselves out. It's how you avoid more reactive or socially backwards puppies. It is also about them testing social limits and having them defined.

This is a *normal* social process dogs have the wiring for as regards the puppy. Dogs teach dogs how to be around other dogs. We are but a pale replacement in that function, although a necessary one when a dog is genetically off balance or gets issue-y due to a bad experience.

In terms of one's own dog being the snapper....this does not come to blows. It is a puppy. Puppies don't fight adults, unless they are totally screwy. If this were two adults, who are far more primed, the scenario is entirely different. But an adult disciplining a puppy is totally natural, doesn't come with a fraction of the stress adult altercations do (they knowing of the potential fallouts), and where they can feel annoyed, but not stressed. They know they can boss a puppy.

Of course, some dogs, weaned too early and lacking proper exposures, have a natural discomfort around puppies. It is upon us, our responsibility to know our own dogs, and then of course in such cases letting them hang out with a puppy *period* would not the responsible thing to do. But when they are well adjusted, are fine with puppies, interrupting their normal behavior on the viewpoint you are alleviating their stress can be misguided. A lot of dogs like puppies, part of which is educating them. Dogs to have rights to be dogs when they are showing good balance and composure.

A lot of times dogs have issues that require protecting, but superimposing those policies on a well balanced dog can be over protecting. It is encouraging a dog's confidence and his sense of the world for him to be able to express himself. It's on us to be sure this is not done with a volatile playmate, etc., but a pushy puppy is as normal as green grass, and doggie mentorship common as well.

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 5:03pm PST 
Although I understand what Asher, Cohen and Smokey are getting at, and I agree that adult dogs shouldn't feel the need to defend themselves beyond a warning growl, I want to agree with Tiller re/ the adult/puppy social dynamics.

Corrections from an adult dog towards a puppy may SEEM harsh, but from my own observations, they are well-accepted by puppies, and don't lead to any scraps. Rather, they do appear to teach acceptable social behavior. While Lupi will grovel and appease any dog older than she is, a puppy getting in her face will most likely be vocally disciplined by her. It doesn't matter the size of the puppy, and it isn't fear-related. I've never seen a puppy respond poorly. Either they back off, still wiggly-bummed and grinning, or they work even harder to get her to play. Sometimes she caves, after administering the initial warning, and starts playing. Other times, she staunchly refuses. If they keep bugging her, that's when I step in and guard her space.

In my house, if one dog has a chew, all dogs get a chew. Usually that prevents incidents. But if a puppy were bugging her like that puppy was bugging D'ar, I would allow her to offer an initial correction. Like Tiller described, I'd rather the puppy get told off by my vocal, but non-violent dog, than get bitten by an intolerant strange dog. Hopefully, the pup would learn. If not, I would step in.

I don't however, expect my dog to defend herself from aggressive or rambunctious adult dogs. I can clearly see when she feels threatened or uncomfortable, and that's my cue to take control of the situation.
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 5:04pm PST 
Just a side question, Tiller . . .. is this why young dogs just starting to hit maturity around a year or so seem to get into more rumbles at the dog park? Are they testing the limits? Or is it a lack of good social graces taught by older dogs earlier in life?
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 5:17pm PST 
My first lab, a great dog, somehow, someway, ended up biting EVERY SINGLE puppy I ever brought into the house. No matter how well I tried to "protect" the puppy from him, he somehow managed to break some skin somewhere along the way.
BUT, the minute he bit them, he was absolutely perfect from that point on and would never hurt them again.
His bites DID leave scars, (but never any REAL damage), and the puppy always ran screaming away, BUT he NEVER really hurt one (although I always worried!!!) and he never held a grudge, in fact, would bring his toys for them to play with after that initial bite. Not one puppy ever got a second bite, either, not even a harsh growl.
My mistake was in trying to protect the puppy...had I let him bite them right in the beginning while they were younger and more resilient I think it would have been much better for the puppy, although they always quickly got over it and loved him shortly after that bite.
The amazing part was that if I wasn't going to keep the puppy but just brought it into the house for some reason for a day or two, he would NEVER touch them.
As for Tiller's previous comment about trusting a normal, well adjusted adult to discipline a puppy, I do, BUT... I will NEVER trust a spayed female who has just reached maturity with a puppy. They can be lethal!!!
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 5:27pm PST 
Bingo, Gus! laugh out loud They are in what is called "subadult" stage, which is socially a tough age to be. On a nature's scale, they need to be as tough as they can to press for resources, as by that age no adult is going to be babysitting or supporting them, but at the same time aren't fleshed out, so are subject to getting driven out or pushed around by the stronger and more established adult population. Horses can get like that, too....so bitey and pawing and just a pain in the bottom. Hence the phrase "coltish." wink My favorite phrase came from Steve Irwin regarding how more intense subadult male crocs are to handle, saying "they haven't grown a brain yet." Which reminds me of our teenagers laugh out loud

So it is this odd and rather unfortunate blend of extreme bravado with some level of fear. They may push harder to see if this friend, foe or something to kick around. Anxious to find out. Part insecurity, part agenda.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 5:36pm PST 
@ Toto....I don't do females laugh out loud big laugh The older I get, the more breeder mentorship I receive, the more brilliant I think I am on that absolute wink

Tiller is fantastic. When I have a momma here, it amazes me how he keys off her. Until she starts getting short with her puppies, he is the prince of patience. Then he will correct, but usually with him he just puts his paw over the pup, smushes him to the ground, lets him then wriggle away. Is pretty effective. They get a lot more "may I?" with him then. He touches me in that when motherless litters come in, he is far more tempered...just extra patient and benevolent. When there is a momma, she usually is very warning with him to start, but in a few days they seem to appreciate his role as babysitter and are glad for the relief.

One of my best Tiller moments, where I was just really awed with who he was a "person," was I was on my computer....probably writing a Dogster post laugh out loud....and he was in the next room with some young puppies with this low growl that went on and on and on. I finally got annoyed enough to get up and go over....as he truly is my puppysitter.....and there he was, laid flat with all the puppies draped dead asleep on top of him. One splayed over his HEAD! What a dear dog he can be....he could have just stood up to shed his puppy blanket, but didn't want to disturb them.

He definitely has a big heart for puppies and loves being a mentor. Intact male, but definitely loves being the big brother. It's really sweet.

Edited by author Mon Jan 14, '13 5:42pm PST

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 6:37pm PST 
I'll probably get lynched for this, but, frankly, I will trust an intact male with my puppies way, way more than one of my neutered guys!!!
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