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Appropriate Dog park/Dog Run behaviour

September 12th, 2006, 07:20 PM
I have a 1 year old male chow-chow. Its my first dog, but my husband's 3rd chow-chow. They have a very bad reputation for not getting along with other dogs. We have been trying to socialize him as much as we can by participating in 2 group training classes and going to the dog park/dog run's regularly. He is very dominent, and always pushed the limit to try and dominate older/bigger dogs in the dog park. This decreased once we got him neutered. After he got neutered, he tried to dominate, but if the other dog was more dominent, then he switched his behaviour to play. I am concerned because the last 2 times we went to the dog park, he was dominating a female and not letting any other dogs approach her. You could see in his eyes and his behavior that he was not feeling playful. He did not show his teeth, but he does growl quite alot. Some people at the park have said that this is "play growling". MY QUESTION IS: How do I know when its play growling or when I should I get involved if I find my dog dominating and growling at other dogs? I would really like to continue to go to the park, but I fear that I am alienating some people whom I have seen leave when I approach the park? I would appreciate any advise? Thank you.

September 12th, 2006, 08:46 PM
I think you can tell the difference between play & agression by body language. well, at least that's how I do it. When play-growling, my dog will wag his tail around, play bow, jump around, run... I can tell he's definately playing. When he's being dominant or agressive, his whole demeanor changes. He moves slow or stands his ground firmly, basically it's a whole different attitude altogether. (my dog doesn't display that too often) If I were in the situation where I noticed my dog was not longer playfull, and was being aggressive towards another park goer, I'd step in, leash up, and leave. IMO, it's not worth letting anything escalate.

That said, I try to only go to the dog park when I know it will be slow. maybe 1 or 2 others, during off-peak hours. This way it's easier for me to really watch my dog, and his interaction.

September 13th, 2006, 06:38 PM
Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your insight. I believe that I was taking my dog to the park during "peak hours" and there were too many dogs in there at once. If I feel like its getting too "hot" in the park, I will take your advise and leave immediately. Thanks again.

September 13th, 2006, 08:11 PM
When in doubt, separate them. It's better to separate them too early than too late. If anybody tells you "oh they're just playing," you just reply, "I'm not comfortable with it." :shrug: