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Very scary moment today at Duke's first Puppy Club Session

December 10th, 2006, 08:24 PM
Well today was Duke's first puppy club play session and we were all very excited/ a little anxious to see how he would react to all of the other puppies running around him as though he has gotten almost 110% better with other dogs ( when we first got him he was exhibiting a lot of fear aggression whenever another dog was around especially when large ones would come up to him and try and play). Anyways when we first got in he was immediately greeted by 20 assorted sized puppies all which were smaller then him and all playfully licking him and trying to jump on him to play, he was very gentle with the little ones and lightly pawed at them and ran around with them and I only needed to call him away once after getting a bit over excited and to rough around one particularly small doxin. After awhile he began to lose interest in the other puppies and wandered off to do his own thing and I started throwing a tennis ball for him and any other puppies who wanted to play fetch.

About 30 mins into the play session, a couple brought in their 3 months old shar-pei on it's lesh and started walking around letting her dog sniff the other dogs while still having it under control. I assumed this was because she was still unsure of it's disposition around other dogs and considering their background and what they were originally bred to do this made sense to me ( though I know plenty of pitties which are EXCELLENT around other dogs). Anyways after a few successful nice interactions with other dogs she let him run through one of the agility tunnels which of course meant she needed to let go of the lesh. When he got to the other side she went to grab his lesh when a smallish schnauzer /poodle ran by and he immediately chased him down and began repeatedly biting down hard into the other dogs leg, the other puppy was screaming and trying to get away and it took 3 people to separate the two and to pull the sharpie puppy off of the other one.

A little alarmed/ horrified by this I called Duke back over to me who; after hearing the snarling and screaming of the two dogs had run away to hide and began pawing at the door to get out. until. To my surprise instead of leaving the lady put her sharpie back on a lesh and again began walking around letting her dog smell other dogs, until it again snapped and lunged at another puppy however this time the owner had the lesh. After awhile they began again making her way towards were Duke and I were playing fetch so I put Duke's lesh back on and began to walk away however they reached us first and their dog who was about Duke's height but much bulkier began to sniff Duke. They looked a bit distraught about the incident and I felt bad as they seemed like very nice people but seemed completely unsure what to do about their dogs behaviour. Just as I was about to mention that I knew plenty of individual dogs who were of a dog fighting background who were great with other dogs, and that maybe they should try a private trainer before coming back to such a chaotic environment which her puppy was clearly not ready for, he lunged again this time at Duke's face and missed by inches after I pulled him back. After that I had enough and felt it was time for Duke to leave as I didn't want all of his progress to go backwards because of one particular puppy.

I really do sympathise with the owners of the shar-pei as I personally really like the breed and all breeds in general even ones people like to demonize like pitties, rotties, dobs and shepherds but I was very taken aback by their behaviour and couldn't believe that after witnessing their puppy chase down and intentionally continue to attack another puppy that they wouldn't think to leave instead of continuing to let that potential situation happen again.

It was a bit of a rocky start to puppy club but I think I will go back as before those particular owners came in Duke was having a lot of reinforcing positive interactions with the other dogs. However if they are their next time I may mention to them that maybe they should seek private help before considering such a chaotic environment as the puppy club as I don't think he's particularly ready and its not really fair to the other puppies/ owners as the whole point is to socialize not traumatise. Obviously stuff like that can happen, just their manner in dealing with it afterwards and almost denying it didn't happen or that their dog doesn’t have a few issues to work out surprised me/ scared me a little.

On a positive note though later that day when we went back for his obedience lesson he did very well and today we learned how to go back into a sit from the down position and into the down position straight from standing and we increased out sit stay and down stay time to about 25 seconds or 8-10 steps backwards:). After class I let him run around in the offlesh dog park as he already knew all of the dogs their as the same people usually stay afterwards each time and he played very nicely with a gorgeous staffie and they had fun playing fetch together.

Anyways just needed to share as it was rather frightening


December 10th, 2006, 08:48 PM
What do people really expect from these things doggie social things? Animals will be animals. I wouldn't take my puppy to socialize with strange dogs. Just my opinion not to cause a stir.

December 10th, 2006, 09:13 PM
I suppose I just liked the idea of it as it is supervised and it is for younger puppies and I really wanted to get Duke over his fear aggression while he was young and not let it manifest but I think I will keep Duke on his lesh for future sessions to be safe. Besides that one piticular couple everyone else was keeping a very close eye on their puppies and stepping in whenever one was getting over excited, I don't think I'll ever do the outdoor unsupervised dog park thing but this piticular facility for the most part has been excellent and only lets in neutered/ spayed animals for the adult dog off lesh park and does interview everyone coming in however I guess from what I saw today the owners either lied or were very oblivous of the situation.


December 11th, 2006, 08:15 AM
even ones people like to demonize like pitties, rotties, dobs and shepherds but I was very taken aback by their behaviour and couldn't believe that after witnessing their puppy chase down and intentionally continue to attack another puppy that they wouldn't think to leave instead of continuing to let that potential situation happen again.

I find this a bit disturbing. IMO, no breed is out to "demonize". the puppy in question is just that... A PUPPY. I doubt a 3mth old pup is intentionally "attacking". sounds to me like rough play. and why was this group not supervised? or if it was, where were the people supervising? is it just left up to all the owners? at the puppy groups I've been to, at a training facility, there are at LEAST 2-3 experienced trainers within the social to step in and referee. the trainers seperate pups if necessary.

my dog got into quite a few scuffles in puppy class. I can remember most people being a bit afraid of my dog at first. He was very "alpha" in puppy classes. tried to dominate every pup there. however, on our trainers advice, we let the pups work it out. and low and behold, he found his place. in fact, I can also remember 2 corgi's that really dominated. they continually picked fights and ganged up on my dog... but I let my lil' guy fend for himself. and he did. by the end of our 6 wks - they were all playing nicely, and friendly. it takes time, and experience for them to learn how to behave. sometimes I thought it was actual fighting, but it was just puppy nonsense (and a whole lotta noise!) which quickly got sorted out.

how many pups are in this group? the one I attended had 6 pups max. enough for them to socialize, but not too many where it became difficult to control. also, as mentioned above, there were always 2-3 experienced trainers in addition to owners in the room at all times. I think a small group, with experienced trainers on hand is KEY.

December 11th, 2006, 09:38 AM
Woah what a miniute you completely misunderstood what i was saying. I added in the bit about breeds everyone likes to portray as "dangerous" as I didn't want to sound biased against the puppy because it is of a "fighting breed" background. I never said the puppy or those breeds were trying to demonize the rest of the group just that people tend to make them out to be "monsters" when their NOT. Lol at least qoute my whole sentence which said, " I love all breeds even the ones people like to "demonize"

Their were 2 experinced trainers in the room at all times and maybe anywhere from 6-15 ish puppies at anyone time as people were coming and going. As for the actual attack, I understand the difference between rough play and an actual attack as Duke plays very rough with other dogs and usually snarls, growls, barks and nips at them during play however, he does not continually bite down hard into them and make them bleed and not let go. The Shar- pei looked like it had gone into a completely prey driven mode, which as i said surprised me considering how young it was. I have been attacked by dogs in the past and their is a very big difference between rough play and an actual dog fight/ attack.

December 11th, 2006, 11:55 AM
Absolutely a 3 mo pup can attack and with nasty consequences for the victim - both emotionally and physically. Baby teeth are pretty sharp.

My question is where were the people who were supposedly supervising? This is why there are people to supervise to take control of these situations and make them right again. Didn't they do anything?

This is one HUGE reason I am not a fan of puppy socialization groups. The best supervisors would be some emotionally healthy adult dogs who would teach the young ones some healthy boundaries while everyone is having fun. Otherwise one bad pup can ruin it for everyone, and all the other pups learn is to be scared or to then attack back. Pups teaching other pups isn't always ideal. Best to have some great adult dogs in there to help everyone get along with good manners.

Sorry, it was a poor start to the group.

December 17th, 2006, 03:06 PM
Sorry for taking so long to reply i've been so busy with Christmas around the corner. Just wanted to mention that the supervisors where the ones who broke up the fight but it still deffiently reinforced what everyone here is saying about maybe it's not the safest enviroment for socialization. I think I might just stick to using other friends dogs which I know are already well behaved and use his obidence classes for socialization. This weekend we went up north to vist family and Duke came with us and my cousins have two dogs, an 8 year old Golden retriever and a year old Boxer and Duke did very well with them even with Tyron ( the boxer) who is a neutered male who we were a little scared might not like Duke since he is also a male and not yet neutered ( taking him when he hits 6 months). However they all got along very well and only two short scuffles broke out when Tyron who being a boxer is very hyper play bowed at Duke and then playfully smacked or boxed him in the face and Duke who was cornered nipped and growled at him to get him to back off at which Tyron tackled him and pinned him on his back growling. So we seperated them gave tyron a time out but for the most part they did very well so I don't think the puppy classes are really neccicary for him as he's still gets to play with Gypsy a few times a week and once he starts his second level of obidence in a few months ( he graduated from Puppy Manners level one obidence today:)) he'll have alot of other dogs to play with again.

I'm just happy to see any fear aggression towards other dogs has disapered and he seems much more happier/ less stressed around other dogs.

Thanks for all of the imput though:)