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Playdate with mixed results - try again?

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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Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 11:33am PST 
I've written before about my rescue bullmastiff who is, for lack of a better description, inconsistent with other dogs. She is 4 and gets along fine with my parents' older lab mix. I've taken her to a dog park without incident, but she has also gone after dogs when she was off leash 2 other times (the first time she was getting into our car, and the second time she was in someone else's care and now she is ALWAYS on lead). When we are walking, she shows interest in other dogs - depending on how I read the situation, sometimes I let her say hello and sometimes I don't, and she's been mostly OK (she has snapped at 2 dogs but without incident). I had her meet a dog behaviorist who says she lacks confidence and suggested I introduce her slowly to passive dogs. So we had a playdate with a friend's playful, but submissive lab. They got along great and were running together, chasing balls, and then the lab tried to jump on her. He is not aggressive so I'm sure it was playful, but she did not like it one bit and tried to bite him. He started to back down but I had to separate them because their collars got stuck! But neither one of them was bitten and the lab stayed and played a bit more while I kept Scarlett on leash. I actually thought things went pretty well, but am wondering if I should try again so she learns that jumping can be a playful act, or if I should just let things be. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions!
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 11:53am PST 
Different dogs have different genetic background based on generations of being bred for a certain job. Bullmastiffs were bred to patrol the estate and keep unwanted visitors, both people AND dogs, out.
As a result, it is probably likely that your dog will never be a social butterfly and should not be made to be one for your pleasure.
Not all dogs are dog park material mostly based on this genetic programming. Yes, there are exceptions to the generalization, but your dog is already trying to tell you she doesn't wanna play with a bunch of other dogs. I would listen to her!

Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 1:01pm PST 
I agree that she will never be dog park material and I'm fine with that! She's just always shown interest in other dogs and I don't want to deprive her of playtime with other dogs if that's what she wants. She was enjoying her playtime with the lab! But she clearly doesn't really understand how to play, so just wondering if that's something I should work on. She seems perfectly fine with just people time, so if I should just let well enough be, then that's fine too!


Code name:- Farmcollie
Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 1:47pm PST 
Jumping on another dog can be a playful thing, but to many dogs it is a RUDE thing, especially if they don't know the other dog very well.
Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 4:44pm PST 
I agree with Chandler.

Scarlett was probably just telling the Lab off... Jumping on another dog's back is very rude to most dogs. Especially dogs who have lacked early socialisation as Scarlett obviously has (not your fault of course).

I think most dogs can be rehabilitated to accept the presence of other dogs and learn to have fun, but it takes time and lots of it.

Poor Scarlett just needs to be introduced to other, more passive dogs gradually. Reward her with an extremely high value treat when she is in the presence of another dog, looks at another dog or sniffs another dog... If it's a positive interaction, reward her and reward her big time... She needs to learn that being around other dogs is the best thing EVER!

Maybe get a head collar for her and a long training line? That way, when she is on leash, you have complete control of her... If she lunges for another dog or shows the wrong kind of interest, you pull the leash and her whole body is automatically turned towards you puppy

Good luck and stay positive. It'll all be worth it in the end puppy

forever loved
Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 5:38pm PST 
I agree with Chandler and Rocky.
Personally, I think that while some dogs should not be brought to dog parks and would not enjoy them, it would not be right for them to never have any contact with other dogs. That isn't so the owner gets pleasure out of it...that's simply to allow the dog to be a dog. I don't think any dog would want to go through life without some type of social life with other dogs, so I think you are doing great trying to make play dates with passive pups.way to go If I were you, I would totally try again, just keep a positive, calm attitude (and I also agree a long-line is good too wink ). It is also good you are being careful about the type/energy of other dogs you make play-dates dog

Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 5:46pm PST 
Thanks everyone for your responses and words of encouragement! I will continue to work slowly and carefully with her - she has brought so much happiness to our family and I just want to do right by her!

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 9:00pm PST 
I agree with everyone, just one dog at a playdate and give it time. Sophie is highly reactive to passive dogs, but taking our time over a year with a friend's laid-back Ridgeback and she's gotten much more accepting-good luck!little angel

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Sun Mar 10, '13 7:52pm PST 
I agree that she may not be dog park trustworthy. But I also understand that you want her to be able to greet dogs and play and romp. I would certainly follow your behaviourist's advice. Maybe she could come see a playdate with the lab & give you her thoughts.
I really don't think a head halter & a long line is a good idea. The explosive power of a bullmastiff is incredible. You can cause serious damage to the neck in an instant.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Sun Mar 10, '13 8:07pm PST 
The long line is a good idea, but a long line should never be used with a head collar as it can be very dangerous. When you move to reel in your dog you can torque the neck badly and could cause a redirect onto the other dog. They are not designed for such use ... halters should only be used for walking. I would use it with flat collar or regular back clip harness. Otherwise the long line idea is fine. smile
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