Dog Park Confrontations

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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There is no- Stark, only Zuul
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 1:19pm PST 
This might be more of a human behavior & training subject... We are dog park regulars and my husky loves nothing more than playing with other dogs. He is very friendly and though he sometimes growls while playing, he will turn tail and run if the other dog gets serious. He's only a little over a year, so he is VERY playful. He has a habit of running up to other dogs with gusto - sometimes actually jumping over them and then running back to greet them. Some dogs immediately start playing with him, some growl or bark but then end up playing with him, and then there are the problems... It can scare some dogs. And when it scares them, it scares their owners. It most often turns bad when the other owner's dog is onleash in the dogpark. They feel vulnerable to the fast approaching husky, while my dog cannot understand why they don't want to play. He will keep going back for another run at them, and I have to call him off. If the other dog reacts really aggressively, I sometimes have to physically drag my dog a few feet away to redirect his attention. Most people just keep on going about their business, but I have had dog owners get very angry and insist that my dog is aggressive and either should not be in the park or should not be offleash. He doesn't fight, nor does he go back to harass their dog once I have called him off. I can guide the way he greets dogs when he is onleash, but in the dog park it's just not that easy. Am I being too casual about this? Should I be trying harder to curb his enthusiasm? And if so, how?
Bella and- Daisy CGC

I'm a Meanie
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 1:31pm PST 
Yes, I do think you are being a bit too casual about this.

"He will keep going back for another run at them, and I have to call him off. If the other dog reacts really aggressively, I sometimes have to physically drag my dog a few feet away to redirect his attention. "

This should NEVER be allowed to happen when your dog is off leash and the other dog is on a leash.

The behavior you describe is actually extremely rude in the dog behavior world. Not to mention scary for someone who might have a leash reactive dog. As you have seen, some dogs do ok with a rude dog and others do not. But you should always keep in mind that your dogs behavior is over the top.

Are there any husky or boxer meetups near you? Those are the two breeds I can think of right now that have a very in your face style of play that many dogs do not find acceptable. It might be best to find dogs that play like your dog.

The best way to stop this behavior is before it starts. you need to call your dog before they are bounding like mad towards a new dog.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 1:50pm PST 
I agree with the previous post and would also like to point out that in the next few months your boy will be reaching maturity at which point he MAY NOT react so kindly when another dog tells him to get out of their face.
It almost seems to happen overnight but we see the boys grow up here in daycare. One day grabbing another by the neck and flipping him is fine and dandy and results in a game of chase...the next day the dog being flipped suddenly has become a tough male dog and starts a fight when he gets flipped.


dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 2:11pm PST 
Actually I have problems with people in dog parks that keep their dogs on a leash. That's actually prohibited at our park now.

Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 2:40pm PST 
Conker doesn't like direct confrontation with other dogs he doesn't know, so I have trained him to stay way back when new dogs come in and wait before greeting them. If they don't spot him right away he'll watch them a bit and if he gets the chance to do that first then he doesn't care as much if they rush him. He used to rush as well but having him sit and wait got him to stop.

But Juneau, yeah, she'd take major offense to your Husky's behavior. Juneau has a very short fuse, is leash reactive and likes having something to do at the dog park. A dog rushing up to her like that when she first gets in is asking for a bite. A dog coming up and barreling over her while she's playing fetch or following me around would get a reaction out of her as well. The first warning is normally just a few barks but the second she isn't so nice.

I'd try training him to stay back and wait. When you spot another person coming in, call him over and have him sit. If he tries to rush he gets called off and has to sit again until he doesn't rush anymore. It might take a while but if you keep at it you might be able to train him to stay back and wait.
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 2:42pm PST 
I keep Lizzie on a leash at the dog park. She will jump over the fence, so it's either keep her on the leash or leave her behind. She doesn't have any issue at all with being leashed. She couldn't care less about other dogs, she just likes to be with me. I do agree though, that it can be very difficult to introduce dogs when one is leashed.

Regardless, running at and jumping on or over another dog is not cool. A husky set Sarah waaaaay back in behavior towards other dogs when she repeatedly jumped on her and knocked her over. If your dog were to do that to my dog, I would be mad. If it happened more than once, I would be calling whoever was in charge and complaining. I called the park police at my dog park on the owner of the husky that was terrorizing Sarah.

Dogs should greet strange dogs calmly and slowly. They walk towards each other in arcs, sniff butts and 'junk' for a while, then maybe move on to sniffing the face. Then they make overtures towards play.

Does this only happen when the dog first comes in?
If I were in your shoes, I would be much more alert about watching the gate. Any time you see someone starting to come in, call your dog, take hold of his collar, and walk him up to the new dog so that they can greet each other calmly. I have a friend at the dog park who does this with her Great Dane. Once he gets to greet the other dog, all is well.

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 3:19pm PST 
Even if you feel it's too much to ask your dog to sit before greeting other dogs, at least try and implement this around on-leash dogs.
I don't let Lupi meet on-leash dogs unless we know them, or their body language is extremely relaxed. I've seen far too many leashed dogs get very nervous and lash out at the dog that's sniffing them, since they can't get away.
Also, if your dog was leaping over mine, I would body- block to keep him from accidentally stepping on her back.

Gone, But Not- Forgotten.
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 3:48pm PST 
When dogs first come in the park, they are a bit amped up. Rude behavior can escalate very quickly. I would suggest that you work on training your dog to wait, then greet in a proper doggy manner.

My dog has a "bodyguard" most days heading down the ramp to the park. Lucy will block dogs with rude, in your face behavior, to allow Her Nibs to get to the bottom area. She also has a good knack of seeing which dogs going down the ramp need a meeting with the fun police.

Your breed is a very physical dog, and that doesn't always translate well with a body slam or jumping over the top greeting. It can & will backfire when the teen stages appear. I'd suggest you use the dog park arena to teach your dog how to greet others calmly. Enlist the help of other owners to work it into his repertoire.

Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 4:01pm PST 
There was an infamous case last year of a Siberian Husky named Bear Bear being SHOT AND KILLED inside a dog park by an off-duty Federal officer. Bear Bear was trying to play with the man's on-leash German Shepherd. Bear Bear was a regular to the park and never had any issues with anyone but the officer claims that Bear Bear was playing (keyword: PLAYING) too "aggressively" with his dog, and before anyone was even given the chance to pull Bear Bear away, he shot him. Bear Bear then calmly walked away, laid down by a tree and bled to death in the park before he could be helped. He wasn't being aggressive at all - he was just being a typical Siberian; trying to wrestle with a growly, playful voice. This incident last year has kept me from ever going to a dog park with my dogs again.

FACT: Most Siberians can be considered obnoxious players by the average dog and human's standards.

MYTH: Siberians are aggressive.

People don't understand the breed and too often get overly sensitive and freak out at the drop of a dime. I'm not saying it's okay to let a Siberian come up and start smothering another dog, no. But it would be nice to have a little understanding of how they socialize and play before shunning them for being Siberians in the first place. When Kadan was 10 months old, I took him to his first dog park. All I got was the disapproving glare from dog owners whenever he tried to play with non-Siberians. Not because he was playing rough - because he was being vocal. There are always exceptions to every rule, but typically there is never anything to worry about. They wrestle, get very vocal and it can be very rough play, especially with Siberian vs Siberian. But they're gregarious by nature - you can't have aggressive dogs in a dog sled team and expect a smooth trip.

And honestly? Dog on a leash in a dog park = BAD. I don't care what the circumstances are. In my opinion, if you need a leash on a dog in a park to keep them from jumping fences or otherwise escaping/not coming when called, you shouldn't be in the park. Many parks prohibit it nowadays because of all the leash reactivity and scuffles it can cause. It's NOT you or Stark's fault if the other dog is unable to actually move around and properly greet and feels backed into a corner with the need to defend themselves because they're stuck on a leash and Stark isn't. This is exactly what happened with Bear Bear, and he lost his life because of it.

So my advice: No more dog park, especially if leashes are allowed, or only go during less-busy hours. Find or start a group meetup for primarily Siberians. Stark's play will be more than welcome in a group of dogs just like himself. Or consider adopting another Siberian companion. Kadan was over the moon after I adopted Keira and she plays just as rough, if not more than he does.

Edited by author Fri Jul 22, '11 4:06pm PST


There is no- Stark, only Zuul
Barked: Fri Jul 22, '11 4:49pm PST 
Thanks for all the responses, and especially to Kadan for your thoughtful and Husky-sympathizing response. You are absolutely right about them being misunderstood as aggressive, but other people are right about it being rude behavior for many other dog breeds. There is zero chance of him attacking another dog or even fighting another dog that attacks him. When dogs get too serious he runs, and there is also zero chance of them catching him big grin But, we are working on the behavior. I watch the gate more than he does and when I see someone come in with a leashed dog, I find my dog and give him a warning. It has helped tremendously. I just don't always catch him, or them, before he is out of reach. But, I do always go over, call him off and apologize. I've just had a couple of very nasty human reactions. And, yes, they don't understand that huskies over SUPER friendly and overly physical and vocal. And- Yes, I do wish that people would not have their dog on-leash at the off-leash dog park, because that makes everything more tense. BUT, I can't change their behavior, only how I react and working on Stark's behavior. I did recently form a husky play group. We are actually supposed to have our first meetup this weekend. There are just not many of them in the area, and this park is particularly nice because he can swim and it has been ridiculously hot. So, we'll keep working on his doggy manners and if you see a husky barreling towards your dog, RELAX he's just an acrobatic goofball with ADHD!
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