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Dog park etiquette?

October 22nd, 2007, 10:45 AM
I have fairly recently started taking my 16mo old Cocker Spaniel to a leash free zone in our local park. Most of the time, he gets along very well with the other dogs, however there are some exceptions! Today, the minute we walked through the gate, a bouvier puppy came bounding over and started jumping and playing with my Cody. Cody started to growl, bared his teeth, and snapped at the bouvier. It didn't deter him at all, the pup kept right on trying to play. I pulled them apart, but my dog continued to growl and snap. I put the leash on, and we left. :mad:
Should I have given the dogs a minute to work things out? I have a hard time telling whether it is just an initial dominance thing, or if there is a real dog fight waiting to happen! The owner of the bouvier pup, was engrossed in a book, and didn't even raise her head while this went on.

I appreciate the thoughts and advice of more experienced dog owners.


white wrabbit
October 22nd, 2007, 11:17 AM
could it be that it is a Bouvier is a large dog/pup? wonder if male and unfixed.. My mother in law got herself a new one about a year or so ago (female) and our old blue dog and my sister in laws dog did not like her either.. the size can intimidate and the activeness and bouncing.. sorry can't offer advise on the situation (dog park) i would of done the same thing with my old blue dog he did not get along with any unfixed males and what your dog did would of been his reaction as well..

or could he of been trying to protect you from this dog the size and every thing.. just a few things to think about..

Ford Girl
October 22nd, 2007, 03:10 PM
In the dog world, that pup was being rude. Most pups are. You don't see adult dogs approaching starnge dogs that way, unless they knwo each other already. This is why being in a litter longer helps, the littermates and mom teach it a few social skills. Size isn't always an factor, it's more about attitude, body language and manners. It's up to older dogs and humans to teach puppies what's ok.

Your dog was warning the pup not to approach him that way (grow, snarl and snap - all warnings) Had the pup stopped and let your dog smell him, your dog would have probably let the pup smell him back, then they can play.

My trainer said this to me: Picture yourself on a packed public bus, a strange guy sits right next to you, touching you sholder to shoulder, leg to leg..and says.."hey nice shirt, do you like red, red is my favorite color, I have a red shirt, looks just like yours, where did you get your shirt, I like buttons, red buttons"...all in about 10 seconds, then touches your shirt, pokes it, looks at the tag...pulls on the collar. Would you sit there and shut up? Or walk away, or warn him to back off and push him away of you needed to?

Had you let them at it, your dog would have pinned him eventually or ran away. The secret to keeping this from getting out of control is to call your dog away from the situation, clap loud and say let's go! And go, no questions asked. If the pup followed, ask the owner for help - altho she should have been watching the whole time, especailly with a pup bouncing around. :shrug:

This is just what I have been told, Dazy tells off puppies all the time. :evil: I notice the approach and response and can tell when she think another dog is being rude.

November 18th, 2007, 02:01 PM
Nicely put Ford girl.

barbiegal39: I guess you know why is so hard to keep dogs from chasing cars. If not - its because the dog always win and the car always runs away.

And when I walk past a front yard with a dog in it and it barks at me and the owner opens the window and yells "Shut up you mut! Be quiet!!" This IMO is the pinnacle of stupidity. Ain't no dog born that will belive the owner is yelling at him! Dog thinks he's yelling at me and is trying to chase me too and that owner is happy that the dog is barking so loud.

Its all about signals and effects and us missunderstanding them. Consider what kind if signal you were sending to your dog and the bouvier. Sorry Barbiegal39, you may not like this, but the one that felt good about it, was the bouvier!

Oh yeah, what would I have done? Put my leash on - yes. Then call the other owner and asked him to collect his dog, and when he walked away with it, I would have followed a couple of yards before I turned and left.

November 18th, 2007, 02:25 PM
Sorry..Thnord but you are discounting the known behaviour of Cockers.

November 18th, 2007, 02:37 PM
Sorry barbiegal39. Didn't know about this behavior in cockers.
I'll try to google it.


November 18th, 2007, 02:56 PM
Sounds like the puppy was being rude.

Most dog owners would just think their dog is only "saying hi" and then get mad when another dog snaps and growls. A lot of people anthropomorphize their pets.


November 18th, 2007, 03:11 PM
OK, I didn't know this. There is a significant difference in the temprament of the American and the English Cocker. I'll asume yours is American barbiegal39.

My limited experience (1) is with English Cockers. And I asume that the "known behaviour" in Cockers is limited to the American breed.


November 18th, 2007, 05:36 PM
It could have been a fight in the making, sometimes even stitches are needed. Since her dog was in a dog run, he is probably friendly with other dogs, but we never know if we can trust ours? I would have done the same thing.