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 Aggression or Fear?

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mssuchy
Teenager
Teenager
mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

Aggression or Fear? Empty
PostSubject: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 1:47 pm

First off it's been a while since I've posted in here, we've just been busy this summer! Klaus is now 10 months old and we had our first incident at the dog park yesterday. Now we visit the dog park 3-4 times a week, you could say we are regulars and we've been going since he was 4 months old. It's his favorite place to be and most of the time it's a great time. This past week Klaus got into a scuffle with another dog upon our entering the park and drew blood on the other dogs ear.

When you enter the park, as I'm sure most dog park goers know other dogs are eager to greet you and bombard the entrance. Usually this isn't a problem for Klaus, he just bounces through and off he goes and has a good time. Well this time he seemed a little annoyed when we walked in, particularly with the dog he got into it with. This dog was fixated on him when we came in, jumping on him, nipping a little (not aggressively) and just up in his junk. Klaus gave a warning growl or two, meanwhile the other dogs owner was calling him away but within the minute that we were there Klaus turned around and snapped on the dog. Just a quick swift growl and bite - but pretty hard. The other dog quickly let out a yelp and submissed and that was it. We both grabbed our dogs, then a couple seconds let them off thinking they were okay. Well they were both still interested in one another, just sniffing but the other guy decided to take his dog and leave.


I didn't realize this dog was hurt until they were on their way out the gate, my fiancé said he had seen a drip of blood on the dog's ear and heard one of the owners call our dog mean to her husband. They never said anything to us about it, had my fiancé not seen that, we wouldn't even had known.
We had Klaus in time out at this time, and once they left we stayed for another hour (we had friends up here) and he was fine. I wish I had known their dog was injured so I could have said something but there isn't much I can do now unless we see them again.

So at this point I'm wondering was it an aggressive bite, or fearful bite? Klaus has a very high tolerance, he's never went after another dog. He tries to play with literally every dog while we're there and he's exactly like that dog. When people come in he rushes to the gate and wants to jump all over them, but most of the time we grab him and wait for people to enter. Now I know he was annoyed with that dog, and I know the other dogs owner knew it because he was calling him off and that was Klaus' way of getting him to leave him alone... but I'm shocked at how quickly he bit the other dog  Shocked  I understand he was annoyed but that kind of reaction and that quick? I've been trying to play it through my head, why did he get so upset? What was different this time? Will he do it again? I just don't know so I'm looking for some advice.

He is usually as you could say "dominant" at the dog park. Humps occasionally, when he chases he likes to grab other dogs, jump over them, roll them. Never aggressively but obviously some bully tendencies. Was this the next step up?

This got me looking into Michigan dog bite laws and it isn't something I want to risk happening again. Owners are completely liable and any dog considered dangerous will be euthanized. Not to mention I don't want put any other dog at risk. Maybe it was a one time thing, but how do I know? How do I find out? Obedience trainer? Behaviorist? Sorry for the long post but this has honestly been keeping me up at night! I'm shocked that our happy go lucky boy reacted like that No
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aljones
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aljones

Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 2:12 pm

Haley, I wouldn't be overly concerned (of course Klaus isn't my dog).  What you describe is a typical situation of "buzz off", followed by "I told you to buzz off!"  You ran into a dog who is undersocialized enough that he didn't respect Klaus' warning growl ("Leave me alone!"), pushed the limits and Klaus responded appropriately.
He did nothing that was something that you should be overly concerned with.  

Now, that said, had I been there and realized that he'd gotten a piece of ear, I'd have tried to talk to the other dogs owner; possibly offered to pay for a vet visit, depending on the severity of the wound and the owners attitude.  Ears bleed - since they are part of the dogs cooling system, there's a constant heavy blood flow through their ears when they're warm - but within a day, they're normally either healed or scabbed over well on their way to healing.

If you look at Dangerous Animals what Klaus did doesn't fit that category at all. What Klaus did doesn't meet the "causes serious injury or death to another dog" clause by any stretch of the imagination.

I'd watch him for the next few visits to the park to make sure this isn't becoming a 'normal' response but from the way you phrased it, my impression is that it was the other dog that was wrong, not Klaus.
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mssuchy
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Teenager
mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 2:30 pm

My fiance feels the same way, that it was a fluke and Klaus was just overwhelmed. I guess my biggest concern is just will it happen again. If a dog bites once do they usually turn to that behavior again? Like I said he's never snapped, even when he's been chewed into a few good times never even growled back.

If god forbid it does, and it's a smaller dog or if another dog bites back it could be a lot worse. I know Klaus was annoyed but is this really considered acceptable behavior?
This also was only our second trip since his neuter, I don't know if that would have to do with it? scratch

But like I said he has always been a bit more "dominant" in the park, overbearing and I'm curious on steps I should and can take to control it from escalading any more. Or him thinking "hey, biting got that dog to leave me alone, that is what works".
I'm actually afraid to take him back because I don't know how to prevent it, coming in the gate there are always going to be other dogs.
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RedFlashFire05
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RedFlashFire05

Join date : 2015-05-19
Location : manteca, ca

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 2:50 pm

I too have had to deal with another dog pestering Leo and playing way too ruff. Leo gave him all the warning sings but the dog ignored him and keep pestering him. i saw the face Leo the one he makes when he gets annoyed and decided to leave the park because the owner could not get his dog to stop, and played it off as just play. only thing was after we left the chocolate lab that was bugging Leo got into a scuffle with another dog that had just come in. resulting in the owner of the other dog storming off to the vet and the lab owner leaving immediately after.

but from what i have read it look like the other dog didn't get the massage that Klaus was giving. i would defiantly just watch his dog park interaction when you go so that if another dog bothers him you can intervene before anything happens. eventually he will know to go to you instead of have to deal with it him self.
Usually i fallow Leo around and watch cause if another dog tries anything he know to come to me and the other dogs leave him alone. i always shoo them away.
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MiyasMomma
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MiyasMomma

Female Join date : 2014-06-26
Location : west Texas

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 2:58 pm

I agree with Al, Haley a dogs growl is meant to warn, if a human or other dog ignores the growl, then, well they get what they get, haha. Don't take that as me saying any of this is funny, but, the rule of dogs is just that. You do not want to train out the growl, otherwise, a dog will bite unsuspectingly, as in no growl just bite, and person or dog never gets the warning. So indeed it is a two step process in a dogs mind, growl, then bite. It is the other dogs fault for not respecting Klaus' growl and leaving him alone. The neuter question, hmmm, unless it has only been a few weeks, maybe he is still a little agitated, as in not feeling 100%, but I have understood, for most male dogs, neutering calms a male dog down. Was the other dog a male and was he intact? If so the issue, still falls on the other dog. I personally do not believe you have the problem. The other dog's owner does.

Miya can be very dominate as well. She plays best with other huskies, and the 2 she does play with frequently are males. The neutered one lets her dominate him, but when she went over to his food dish and dog house he warned her, and when she ignored him, they had a slight scuffle. The owners felt bad, and I told them it was Miya's fault, and she ignored his warnings. On the flip side, the other male husky is not neutered, and he let's her get away with everything. She will yell at him over the water bowl, and he will walk away thirsty, until I intervene. Now if it was another male and not Miya, he would have chewed the other dog up. So it's all about dog language, body and barks and growls.

Perhaps the next time you go and that same dog is there, you may want to try and talk with the owners, prior to going in, so they can keep a handle on their dog. Since I have never been to a dog park, anything I mention as far as approach while there, you may want to take with a grain of salt. The interactions of dogs though are the same, it doesn't have to be a dog park to understand dog language. Have you tried the H2M2's in your area, I know that a lot have monthly playdates. The time between those meetings, maybe go to another park, or go at different times?

Good to see you here on the forum again Haley. Miss seeing that handsome boy of yours Smile
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MGoBlue
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MGoBlue

Join date : 2012-06-13
Location : Denver, CO

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 3:17 pm

That is why dog parks are so tough. You cannot control other people's dogs. Regardless of fault, it is up to you to watch situations. Both if your dog is annoying another or if another dog won't leave yours alone. In your case here, it's obvious that the other owner wasn't seeing their dog not taking the signals.

That's the situation where you have to be the one to remove your uncomfortable dog from the situation, though he may be doing nothing wrong. If it had been me, the first time I heard my dog growl and the other dog didn't back away, I would immediately intervene. It's just not worth the risk. Because like you said, dog bite laws can be scary.
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mssuchy
Teenager
Teenager
mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 4:51 pm

Thanks for the input everyone.

Renee - I am part of a Michigan H2M2 group, they're amazing and have play dates quite often but some of them are a bit of a drive so that's why we still make it a habit to go a couple times a week to our local dog park, it's barely 5 minutes away. We're actually friends with other regulars there with all different kinds of dogs.
It's been a little under a month since his surgery, so I don't think he's sore or anything from his neuter just wondering if it was a personality change.
And yes! I'm glad to be back. Between the H2M2 group, summer, and work picking up, I just haven't got to being on here. I'd like to update his scrapbook too!

Sara - It is hard, and that's my main worry. All of that which unfolded was within literally 1-2 minutes of us entering. So both of our dogs were doing that interaction while walking into the park while walking away from us. We were keeping an eye but not right on top of them to have prevented it.

So I guess that is my main fear, entering the park again and it happening. Or a minute in. I don't want to be tense on him while walking in or that might just spark it. I've started wondering about a remote collar for the dog park. Even just on the vibrate/beep to break his attention.
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mssuchy
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mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 4:55 pm

And I know it was him reacting out because his growl was ignored but does it seem normal for him to bite after only warning off once or twice and all under one minute? I just felt like that was a very low tolerance for him?
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aljones
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aljones

Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 5:14 pm

Haley, if Klaus walked into the park and immediately jumped the first dog he saw, then I'd say you have a problem.  Whether Klaus took 2 minutes or 10 minutes of a dog irritating him before he reacted is, in my opinion, inconsequential.  Klaus warned him, and the other dog disregarded the warning - he got what he asked for.

I'll put this in human terms.  I'm on good terms with almost everyone who lives within 20 miles of me (not saying much, there's probably only 500 people in that area) however, there is one guy who's a bible thumping, thieving hypocrite.  When I moved down here I tolerated his "visits" a couple of times and then told him to stay off my property.  After a couple of more visits, I got a restraining order.  Several of us had gotten together at the Neighborhood Center when he comes walking up to me with his "glad hand", at which point I told him I wanted nothing to do with him, I've made that clear.  So he later comes over to my place and got met with a pistol.  (( This is Texas, remember )) He stopped his truck on the road and got out and started to walk toward my place, I stepped onto the porch and told him that if he took one more step I'd fire.  He's since left me alone.
The thing is, he isn't smart enough to realize that people don't like him; where we live, we have very low tolerance for people who won't accept "Go away and stay away!"  because there have been a couple of killings by "parties unknown"; how much should we put up with before we take more decisive action?

How much should Klaus put up with? Sounds like he put up with enough and the pup just wasn't smart enough to realize he'd been told to "Go away, Stay away!"
If all your other interactions at the dog park have been good, then I wouldn't worry about it.
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mssuchy
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Teenager
mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 5:28 pm

That is a good point Al. And I definitely agree, if it were the other way around I'd know it was Klaus' fault he was bit.
I don't expect him to be smart enough to change his tolerance depending on situation, or like every single dog he meets, but he is usually in heaven when a dog like that wants to play. He does exactly what the dog did when he's been at the park for a while and a new one comes in.
And for example there is one dog in particular I don't even like going in when it's there. It is a beagle that hides underneath this owner at the picnic table and just barks and barks at Klaus whenever he comes to sniff him. Klaus of course does not take a hint and does not leave the dog alone. I have to grab him and walk him away from the dog. So I guess I'm a little annoyed, how hypocritical it was of Klaus to snap at that other dog, and so quickly. Maybe I'm thinking too human lol.

I'd like to give the park another go but maybe getting a handle on his "bullying" tendencies will help him with dog park behavior overall. We've been working on doing time outs with him when he becomes too much, and it's been very slowwwww progress. He is as stubborn as stubborn can be when you try to stop him from something he wants to do, sound like a husky?
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Rumflower
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Rumflower

Female Join date : 2015-06-16
Location : Kansas City

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 5:56 pm

How old was the other dog? It kind of sounds like puppy behavior to be honest. Unfortunately, while Klaus didn't do anything wrong in dog world he has to learn to live in human world where we don't hurt the things that annoy us. When I take Loki to the dog park I keep him on the leash until we are settled and everyone has gotten the greetings out of the way. It keeps him close enough to where you can grab him or whatever other dog Is bugging him in a short amount of time.

One trick you can try is bow. Just ask him to lay down and stick your leg under him so that he has to bow until he figures it to do it on his own. Have him do that when you greet other people or dogs. Our trainer had another lady do that with her dominant dog. It encourages them to posture in a playful, submissive way.

I definitely understand what everyone else is saying. That dog should have taken the hint. Sadly, children a lot of the time don't take the hint either so it is something that I think should be addressed before an accident happens. It seems a lot of the time our dogs have to learn better patience than we do!


Last edited by Rumflower on Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Some days I can't even English.)
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seattlesibe
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seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyWed Aug 19, 2015 11:57 pm

Haley,

 what benefit do you get from the going to the dog park that keeps you going back?

You said that Klaus behaves just like this other dog, except, in Klaus' case, he has now bitten and drawn blood.  If he's super amped up at the gate, that means he's adrenalized, tuning you out, and overly stimulated.

You said he seemed agitated at the gate by this dog, but you went in anyway.  So he was saying to you "this is bad news bears", but ignored that, and entered.

He also rushes gates when people and dogs enter, so he exerts the same type of pressure and assertiveness as the dog he bit.  

He jumps up on people, so he's disrespectful to humans in the dog park.

He humps and tackles dogs, so he's showing a form of dominance when there.  

He's not coming to you when you call him in the dog park, so you have basically no control over him while there and he's free to be as amped up as he pleases.

Sounds like Klaus can't handle being at a dog park very well and he's making some risky, bad choices there that is causing him to do the very same thing the dog he bit and drew blood on is being criticized for.

In light of all this, why do you want to keep going to the dog park?  Surely there can be other, safer, more pleasant ways of getting whatever benefit you think he gets from being there.  

I think Danielle is right, in that the dog park is part of the human world because it's governed by human laws and all responsiblilty within the park is on the humans, not the dogs.  So really, the question is why should you go back, not whether or not Klaus should go back.  He seems to be making it perfectly clear that he isn't handling this dog park very well.  

Hope that gives some food for thought.
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wpskier222
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wpskier222

Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyThu Aug 20, 2015 8:46 am

I'm going to add just one thing to what Jeff said.

Although the 'blame' may fall on both dogs, I completely agree with what Jeff said. You can only control yourself, your choices, and are responsible for Klaus' behavior. If you could tell at the gate that he was uncomfortable, you shouldn't have gone in.

You can down play it to 'normal response to rude behavior' but the truth of the matter is, this actually could be a life or death situation. For Klaus. If it had been a smaller dog, or if the other owner had called the police, where would Klaus be? The other dog was bleeding, he was not. It doesn't matter how we interpret the situation.

My dog does the same thing if dogs rush the gate. I have basically stopped taking him to the dog park altogether, in the rare times we go, if there are many dogs there, or if they all run to the gate when we try to come in we don't go in. Even though the other dogs are being rude, I'm only responsible for my dog, and taking him into a bad situation then blaming other owners for their rude dogs is my fault.

You need to advocate for Klaus. If you can't keep another dog from bothering him, he's going to react like he did, and now he's learned to bite as a way to advocate for himself. Yes, it's normal for dogs to correct each other, but most dogs don't know how to correct safely and end up starting fights, or doing more damage (like drawing blood). An appropriate correction should not draw blood.
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mssuchy
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mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyThu Aug 20, 2015 11:35 am

I suppose we go to the park because it gives him a release for energy more so than any walk or play time in our yard. We also only know maybe one or two people with dogs who play well with him outside the park and most of the time our schedules don't match up so the dog park is for his socialization. If our H2M2 group meets up it is at a dog park.

He doesn't bother humans at the dog park, he doesn't have interest in people when he is playing with other dogs so he doesn't jump on them.
When I say he was agitated at the gate I mean once we had walked through, otherwise he was just crying and wagging his tail in excitement as usual, that is why it was such a shock to me.

His behavior at the dog park your right is inappropriate, but it's something we've been trying to work on. And he does rush the gate too, but we grab him and make him sit and wait until the new dog comes into the park. When he does exert the dominate behavior we leash him up for a time out. I guess up until this point we've seen it all as behavior we could work on and try to improve. He responds to time outs, but it goes on a dog by dog basis.
I have seen improvement in him, for example - when he was really little he didn't get the hint from older dogs who didn't want to be bothered. Now he knows not to even mess with them, so while it's been super super slow progress we did see some and we just figured we'd get there and everyone in our park has been understanding about his high energy and puppy attitude.

Now that he has taken it to another level is why I'm here for advice. I really hate to never go to the park again, because we have days that are fantastic and he has an AMAZING time. Plays so well, it really depends on the other dogs there. But because I'm not sure why this dog and situation (which has occurred before) pushed him over the edge this time leaving me unsure how to prevent it again. I also fear if we stop going to the park and he isn't seeing other dogs he'll never have the chance to learn any more social skills than he does now.

Maybe we should look into a personal trainer? We've been recommended by other owners who had the same issues an e-collar to get his attention to us at the park, but I'm not sure which would be the most beneficial to him.
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seattlesibe
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seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyThu Aug 20, 2015 2:11 pm

Have you considered that maybe dog parks are making him more energetic,  more hyper, more uncontrollable,  more disobedient,  more of a brat, more of a bully?
Does he act like he's in a dog park on walks around dogs, at home, in per stores, in Home Depot, at outdoor patios,  at the vet, in other people's homes?

If so, maybe the dog park is doing you a disservice.

Besides, the socialization he's getting there makes him energetic,  hyper, uncontrollable, and dominant, and now,  biting and drawing blood on dogs.

That's not good, constructive socialization.  That's making your life more difficult and could end up with a legal issue on your hands.  

Advocating for him involves acknowledging his strengths and weaknesses and thinking big picture.

Hope that helps.
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Rumflower
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Rumflower

Female Join date : 2015-06-16
Location : Kansas City

Aggression or Fear? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyThu Aug 20, 2015 2:45 pm

No stressing! You got this!

A professional trainer is of course never a bad thing. We took Loki to group puppy classes and I learned so much. I think it's good because if you don't know what you're doing wrong it's impossible to correct so having a neutral party observe you can be really helpful. That said it's expensive and a time investment so really is up to you with what you feel most comfortable doing. If you try one thing and it doesn't work it's not the end of the world.

I definitely understand the appeal of dog parks. It's so fun watching them run and play. But it seems like Klaus is a little over stimulated. I wouldn't swear off dog parks forever if it's something you both enjoy but maybe take a break. Walk him around a regular park for awhile. When he's on a leash and close to you it's easier to make him do polite greetings. Don't let him jump and if he starts getting overly excited take him out of the situation. Walk by some dogs and people and don't let him socialize a few times a day. It will help him learn to ignore some stimuli. He needs to figure out how to not get out of his mind excited and forget himself when he around other dogs.

A little bit of focus would probably help. Get a treat and hold it up to your face and say "watch me." Reward him when he looks at your eyes. Try to hold his attention longer and longer. When you're comfortable with that, take him out in public and work on it there. Do it around other dogs or things that excite him. The goal is to lengthen his attention span and teach him to focus on you.

It's also possible he's still a little bugged about the neutering. It's a traumatic experience and I'm sure it takes awhile to get used to new hormone levels. He probably got a little antsy after having to rest for awhile too.
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mssuchy
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mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyThu Aug 20, 2015 4:16 pm

I would say his hyper/dominant energy like that would be the same with dogs anywhere. It fades within maybe 10 minutes of us being there and then he is pretty chill.
We've had dogs over our house and he over others and it's the same scenario. He just has a very hard time controlling his excitement over other dogs. But at the same time he loves playing, even with my cousin's dog a Doberman who is actually dominant over Klaus. Don't know how that happened but Klaus somehow doesn't fight for it with him and they just play.

But I never took a step back and looked at it as a whole. His behavior at the dog park isn't changing, and if it is very slowly, so he is just being allowed to practice that behavior. So thank you for helping me realize that.

I think we are going to take a break for a while, but I really do want to look into a trainer that can help us teach him how to correctly socialize with other dogs and maybe a controlled class would be good for him. More work at home as well such as recall and focus.

Now I need to figure out what a good trainer for him will consist of study
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seattlesibe
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seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyThu Aug 20, 2015 4:38 pm

No problem, glad to help.

I'd recommend a trainer focused on creating calmness, non-reactive, non-excited state of mind, and find one who addresses misbehaving, disobedience, and incorrect choices head on, rather than with redirection or ignoring.

Klaus' reactivity and impulsiveness need to be addressed and capped, not rechanneled or ignored.

Most good Balanced trainers will accomplish this with you. And you can always ask either Jen (wpskier) or me for recommendations.

Cheers

I think a break from dog parks is very wise Smile
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mssuchy
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mssuchy

Male Join date : 2014-12-10
Location : Detroit, Michigan

Aggression or Fear? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyThu Aug 20, 2015 5:01 pm

Thank you. I'll do some research over the next couple days and share my findings. I've never worked with a dog trainer and I'm not trying to enter a program where we're going to get the run around for our money.
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seattlesibe
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seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

Aggression or Fear? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? EmptyFri Aug 21, 2015 12:30 am

That's very fair Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Aggression or Fear?   Aggression or Fear? Empty

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