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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I'm not lazy,- I'm just waiting- to play..
Barked: Tue Jan 15, '13 4:18pm PST 
I do believe that a dog should be able to communicate its feelings and speak for itself when it needs to. I don't understand why I should be able to tell a child/ person to quite it but a dog can't. In the case that he seemed overwhelmed or over stressed I will gladly step in, but in this case, to me Dar seemed more in just a 'knock it off' mood. He didn't mind when Trey jumped on his back and I would think that would cause problems also if felt overly stressed about the situation.

Asher, removing the puppy was actually what I was hoping the owner would do, whether by crate or redirection. But since he didn't I felt it was better to let the dog to dog communication continue instead of me 'training' their puppy. You mentioned that you never let your dogs get to a point where they feel the need to correct, but Dar corrected pretty quickly with a growl. It wasn't a situation where the puppy harassed him for 10 minutes, then he started growling. I'm just a little confused between this and correcting immediately, as in Nare's post you seemed to be okay with that immediate correction. Plus there is not time to remove a dog if it growl/snaps/nips immediately.

Tiller, I never thought about a timeout or redirection having an affect on social dynamics (in this type of case anyway). It makes a lot of sense to me. I was/am concerned about what Atreyu learned as well because Dar growled and snapped but Dar ended up playing with him after I took the bone away. I feel like Atreyu is going to learn that if he keeps pushing he gets what he wants.... Obviously this has only happened once but...

And poor Chester frown

Champion PPH
Barked: Tue Jan 15, '13 4:48pm PST 
Personally, I wish my Rusty would LEARN to correct more often.

Let me follow that statement with a backstory: A very frequent visitor to my home is a Belgian, Lucy; who is the manners police. If a dog has the temerity to rush up to our chairs full speed, she blocks access and snarks at the dog. The next time, it approaches calmly & slowly, and is allowed to visit. She expects every dog to adhere to the rules of good manners that she was raised with.

If a dog didn't approach Dahlia with good intent, she growled them off, so the Diva didn't have to correct a larger dog. (although Her Nibs had done that more than once, bless her grumpy heart.) Lucy now has taken on the role of protecting my current dog, but she NEVER corrects HIM; no matter how big a pest he can be. Her Mom says that's because she loves me, and wouldn't dream of snarking one of my dogs.

I wish she would have. confused He has proven to be a butt over toys at times. The first time he acted like a jerk, she did nothing & I was stunned.If she'd have given him the warning she gives others, he wouldn't be one.

Rusty is a happy boy, has excellent dog greeting skills, and loves rough & tumble play with his dog friends. When the larger ones flatten him or get too rough, I wish he would give a growl. The rare times he's done it, they get that they overstepped the line, and play resumes.

I think it's a disservice to keep a dog in a bubble and doing all the protection from daily life. They function in the real world much better if they roll with the punches, tell a dog to back off, and go on. If a dog doesn't learn this, I would think that one day another dog will hit a hot button, and the protected dog would give an over the top reaction, causing a major row. Had the dog learned to snark a little, it would be over in a second. Dogs are resilient. I have no desire to have a pampered pooch that can't cope with outside influences.

I know some folks say that the owner should be the only one giving corrections and that their dog should not have to do that. Unless you plan to hover over it 24/7, making it a neurotic mess, let it be a dog.!

Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Tue Jan 15, '13 5:22pm PST 
I don't really like my two getting to a point they have to correct either. The growling from D'artagnan would have been my sign to intervene if it was either of my two. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with normal dog to dog corrections in the right situations, for example, we meet up with a very in your face, boisterous dog who we have been helping to learn some manners and Ty has corrected her a few times when she's got to much for him. But in general i'd rather he's not forced to that point because i know he's at his limits when he corrects as he's so laid back and tolerant usually. He will actively look to me to "help" him in the situation. As D'artagnan was fine with the puppy all day i'd say the bully stick was the main reason he warned the puppy away. I wouldn't give him chews around the pup personally to avoid any possible conflict further down the line as the pup matures and develops some confidence too.


Awesome Dog
Barked: Tue Jan 15, '13 8:29pm PST 
I think it's a little of both. All dogs need to learn to heed the warnings of other dogs. I get particularly annoyed with dogs who seem to have absolutely no clue that the other dog is perturbed with their behavior. They just bounce right in and keep on coming no matter what the other dog says. Very stressful for that dog!

Granted, I have a dog who is afraid of other dogs and she is sometimes quick to tell them off just for being near her. HOWEVER, she is actually quite good with dogs once she feels comfortable and she's a very clear communicator. (And surprisingly tolerant with antics I wouldn't expect her to put up with.)

When I had my foster dog, Jagger, he was a very boisterous player. Risa is older and doesn't appreciate being body slammed. She is also a resource guarder and will guard me, toys, and places. (I was cautious to avoid situations where she might guard as much as possible.) However, even when Jagger gripped Risa's neck and spun her around on the floor. . .she did not tell him off for being too rough. However, I separated the two of them when things got a little too out of control.

If Risa gave Jagger "the look" and he did not back away and leave her alone, I removed him. While I didn't want Ris to get to the point where she felt she needed to do the canine equivalent of shouting in his face, I wanted her to be able to tell him to back off and give him the chance to listen. If he didn't, the interaction was over. With Risa, it was critical for me to back her up and show her she didn't need to blow up at him. For Jagger, he learned he needed to give her space when she asked for it or he earned himself a time out.

Fortunately, Jagger was bomb-proof when it came to other dogs. I saw several dogs practically blow up in his face when I took him to events and he didn't even flinch. So he was a good match for Risa.

I think you need to allow dogs to learn the subtleties of canine communication but you don't necessarily need to have the adult dog "go all the way" with the correction. If the warning doesn't work, it's probably better to step in rather than risk a serious altercation or a permanent scarring of a puppy from an adult dog who went too far!
Angel, CGC

Throw the- ball!!!
Barked: Tue Jan 15, '13 10:12pm PST 
You mentioned that you never let your dogs get to a point where they feel the need to correct, but Dar corrected pretty quickly with a growl.

I don't have a problem with a growl. And my dogs do snarl at each other. But D'ar airsnapped.

If child A were harassing Child B, would you let things escalate to the point where child be felt the need to strike out or would you intervene when Child B complained? Again, I would not want my dog thinking he/she is out there on his/her own. If my dogs are snarking at an over-exuberant puppy,the puppy needs to chill. it s not fair to my dogs to allow them to be harassed.

And yes, my fosters DO learn to chill. We also play amp up, chill out games. Nothing is bad, they just learn that they are not allowed to harass a dog in that manner.

And I think the biggest difference between your situation and Nare's is that Nare's mom DID try to intervene and remove her dog from the situation. The other dog kept coming and Nare felt the need to lash out. When those crazy curious dogs wander over to Angel at a CGC test, i DO intervene and move her. If they keep coming, she growls. She does not need to physically strike out because I step in and take control. Again, my older dogs do not need to be harassed by another dog.

It is not D'ar's fault this happened either. I don't think he did anything wrong. He reacted as the situation demanded.

Like I said, I realize you did not have control of the puppy, but if a dog at a CGC test were doing that to Angel, I would remove her to a crate or to my car so she felt safe. D'ar SHOULD have been able to feel safe on your lap, and it is extremely unfair that someone else's dog kept that from happening. You should be his first and last line of defense.

BTW, Angel does not fall apart if another dog gets in her face and, given the choice, will always walk away. She may not have grown up around a lot of puppies or playing with a lot of other dogs and she may have a very low growl threshold, but she has a ton of tolerance and, other than the low growl threshold, is pretty darn stable (which is why she is our CGC distraction dog in the first place).
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Jan 15, '13 10:20pm PST 
I agree with Tyler re the bully stick....I wouldn't do anything apt to spark anything intentionally...but let's face it, the main stress in the situation was the SBF criticizing you and your dog, D'Ar. The scene itself was puppy acting like puppy, D'Ar confident to express himself. Self expression is good (to a point)....just as it can be affirming to us, it can be affirming to them.

These things are affirmations to the dog that he is in control of his universe. It is on us as owners to not put them in unreasonable situations. A dog who doesn't like puppies is in an unreasonable situation if placed with one. The puppy himself is also in an unreasonable situation if he is placed with such a dog. But when the two get on well generally, there's no real reason to get up in their business. Puppies learn well from adults, and a lot of adult dogs appreciate the role of mentorship. Sure, they may snark, but snarking isn't "bad" in the absence of other tension signs; it is self expression and them being invested aunts and uncles.

It's always important to remember that body language isn't only one thing, but oft a combination. I could probably list off the top of my head ten different versions of growls without scratching the surface. I often read growls very differently with bones dependent on if they continue chewing or they stop to issue the growl, particularly if they bare front teeth. In my years with dogs, a consistency I find is that if the dog keeps chewing (this does not include chewing more frantically!) while growling, that is likely all he will do, whereas if he stops chewing when he growls, particularly if his body tenses, he may be issuing a far stronger warning. Sometimes, the best way to learn canine body language really well is to be a student and look at the actual dog receiving the message. Some are socially inept, but well adjusted dogs can educate you well. And it's important, re that socially inept comment, to remind that that most likely is a dog separated from his litter too early and/or not corrected enough in his formative periods.

At any rate, D'Ar, most of my comments had to do with the puppy. When I puppy coach, I always stress the most important thing one can learn is the art of redirection. I personally am not into time outs, I suppose because they become the bane of my existence when people get pups of known rambunctious breeds....Labs coming VERY much to mind, lol....who then time out multiple times a day, on and on and on. That to me is cruel. Puppies are highly social and thirst engagement. Isolating them? No. If you learn to redirect, that's the way to go IMO, unless they have gone into such a banana head frenzy "high" that the moment has completely gone to pot. Then you time out out just so he can get his bearings. Although I myself never do....if I can redirect a puppy in that phase (which wasn't what you were describing), then I know our future is very bright indeed wink

So really, with this scene, the fault wasn't on you, wasn't on D'Ar, wasn't certainly on the puppy....who is a BABY....but on the SBF. If some other dog had a bone, obviously play time was not in that moment, and he should have redirected the puppy.

My comments were more generalized re one's own puppy in the home. If it's not a bully stick, it may be a toy, a pillow (Tiller loves those, lol) or whatever else. It's just a part of life and living and important lessons for the puppy to learn as to what is appropriate and what is not. My dogs tend to be very well socialized, and while puppies can get on their nerves just as with any other dog, they LOVE puppies, and most credit for my dogs' good social behavior goes to their breeder and my own dogs being good mentors. If they wanted to pop off on one of their puppies, that never was a fright to me. They are brother dogs and will live their lives together, and it's really on them to figure it out. They know far, far more on the issue than I do, and I would never kid myself otherwise.

Edited by author Tue Jan 15, '13 10:24pm PST


Awesome Dog
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 3:02am PST 
To me, a time out isn't isolation from a social setting. It's a chance for the dog to get a "do over" and learn some self control.

When Jagger was too much for Risa, I simply put him back in the x-pen for up to 5 minutes. He was still out with us, just unable to interact. He was one smart puppy and figured out quickly that he'd better control himself if he wanted to stay out. Harassing Risa was not in the cards nor was overly enthusiastic rough play.

Believe me, he was very Lab-like in his enthusiasm for other dogs. It wasn't hampered by anything I did. I don't see how this is any different than separating a young dog from an older one if the youngster is playing in a way that could potentially hurt the older dog. The young dog clearly can't define his own rules and the older dog shouldn't have to be pushed to the point where they're that hurt or otherwise upset with the antics of the young dog. I want my dogs to know I've got their back. With reactive Risa especially since I've worked hard with her to realize dogs aren't scary. Granted, she is a special case but I see no issue with instilling that level of trust with a more socially adjusted dog.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 3:27am PST 
Agreed, Risa. One of my former fosters was adopted by my trainer. He is so high energy. And NOTHING seems to set him back. A short time out in the crate with a kong certainly did not impair his ability to be social and we now use him for play therapy with appropriate fearful dogs. In fact, I have used him a couple of times to help bring a fearful dog out of his/her shell. And we are considering eventually using him in some time of more formal play therapy work.

In fact I have been getting a lot of high energy puppies (mostly terrier mixes) in lately and I work very hard to teach them ALL to simmer down, and include games to that effect. It is important that a puppy know how to turn it off when it is needed and helps if they can do it on cue.

Again, D'ar, I don't think YOU did anything wrong. They puppies owner should not have allowed the puppy to harass D'ar. But if I knew my dog was being harassed and there was nothing I could do to stop it, I would remove my dog. It is not fair to D'ar to be harassed while he is minding his own business.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 7:27am PST 
A growl is a correction, so is an air snap or even a contact snap. it just depends on what you find acceptable and how much you want to micromanage your dogs' interactions.

I honestly think people get too worked up about physical corrections as if it were equivalent to a violation of people's social graces. they are animals. sometimes they correct each other physically. and i don't see anything wrong with that or see why i should have to step in under normal and routine 'problems' (such as an adult has food that a puppy wants). this is a scenario that is one of the most basic.

now if you have an adult who is not very well rounded and who isn't socially adept, either by lack of experience, faults of character, or possibly by breed, then OK, you as an owner might have to step in to prevent a reaction which is incompatible or over-the-top with a given situation. otherwise, i have no problems with the dogs correcting one another. they all have to live together, even when i am not around, so it's better they learn how to deal with each other.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Wed Jan 16, '13 8:23am PST 
I used time outs only when things just went too far and the pup needed to chill. Kato turned into a devilish fiend who would run circles around me and then launch in and latch onto my arms, legs, sleeves, pants, etc with the bite force of a hyena. I could only take so much, and it was obvious that me being his toy of choice at that time meant it was damned near impossible to do much of anything else. So, he went for a time out. Once he chilled, usually 10 minutes, he was let out again to play with more appropriate things. This happened maybe a handful of times a week, so not a daily thing. Like anything, it can be overdone, and if that's the case, then I agree that it's not good.

As far as corrections go, the only correction I've seen from my 2 is when Kato is chewing on something of value and Sanka sticks his nose where he shouldn't. I'm amazed at how Kato can tell Sanka's intent to. Often, Sanka is just sniffing to sniff and happens to wander by Kato. Nothing happens. But when Sanka wants what Kato has, and Kato either can't walk away or doesn't want to walk away, a swift growl is given. I'm not even sure if Sanka can hear the growl anymore due to hearing loss, but he certainly gets the message and all is fine.

It is so much easier and more peaceful when the dogs do interact like that.

Sanka doesn't correct. I saw him do it ONCE to a lab that obsessively humped him, and I believe it just got to the point where it really started to hurt Sanka, as the lab was BIG, and Sanka turned and barked at him. I was quite amazed because Sanka took the beating of his life with puppy Kato. It's quite tiring to have to be the one to always correct obnoxious behavior, which puppy Kato did constantly to Sanka, if only for the fact that he knew he could get away with it. When the 2 learned to get along in terms of reading each other, life was much more peaceful.
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