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Social etiquette...

May 27th, 2009, 01:19 PM
Hi people
I have a 7mo old female presa canario puppy, Lily.
This is our first dog and we are really trying hard to do everything right.
We have kind of succeeded in big areas; she doesn't know the heel command but she is taught to walk nicely next to us on leash, she is house trained, crate trained, knows sit, down, stay, give paw (I have to work more on those, she doesnt see fun doing those "chores").

So I am still learning but one thing really bothers me

I know big strong dog races like her tend to be rough with each other. Some dogs play nicely together, but some start showing dominance and fight over for it. I wouldnt call it playing at that point anymore, but dogs dont do it to hurt or kill each other.

With most dogs, lily does the other kind of playing, which is chest-to-chest "fight of the strongest", both dogs will try and catch a grip of the ears or neck, but not hard, this is no dog fighting. They will try and push each other on their back and just lay down on top etc...

If Lily has a stick, she will growl and own the stick towards any other dog who comes close. She has NEVER done such towards any person, but she does it with dogs...

It struck me the other day when I saw a dog owner, also had a strong race puppy(same age as Lily), dog called Leo, so I compared Lily to Leo. This owner had jsut amazing control over Leo, as soon as Leo changed "playing" into "fight for the strongest/dominance" (as I described above), the owner said one single word and Leo looked at him, and changed the behaviour.

Everyody says "its just how these dogs play", but is that an excuse or what? Should I really stop that? I would love to. She just shuts her ears as soon as she gets to that mood of playing rough like that. Its so hard...

Tell me what is the social etiquettes in these things, please, please!

May 27th, 2009, 01:32 PM
If you observe carefully, you'll notice that dogs don't push another on their backs. Dogs do this voluntarily and often they take turns. Biting legs, necks, jaw sparring, and roll-overs are all normal dog play. Personally, I wouldn't stop this unless one dog is clearly not comfortable....just make sure other owners are ok with it too. It's a great way for young dogs to learn bite inhibition and soft mouth with other dogs as they are often given signs (yelping for one) when it's too hard.

Lily "shuts her ears" because you have competition ;). Easy way to deal with this is work on your recall. Have her come to you for the super yummiest reward and let her return to play so she doesn't learn that coming to you means the end of 'fun' all the time.

May 27th, 2009, 01:41 PM
Well I have to disagree on one, luckypenny.
Very submissive dogs have gone volunteeraly on their backs with her. And they enjoy it!! :D
Otherwise they are fighting for it, pushing and pushing. Some dogs still have their back paws on the ground while the upper body is on its back. They try hard to get up and push the other one down, and it usually ends with one of them snapping and they letting go for next 8 second. It does look pretty terrifying for those owners who arent used to see dogs play like that.

And the only way I can get her even look at me when she is doing that (getting her attention) is literally dragging her. A helicopter can almost land next to them without any of them moving :D

But I am gonna practise come command with her, she doesnt know it the right way yet.. Maybe that will help...

May 27th, 2009, 02:13 PM
Lucky, the referee/teacher of our canine pack, rolls on his back all the time....even for wee little puppies...and he's certainly not in the least bit submissive. He doesn't hesitate for a second to put another in his/her place if they've gotten out of hand.

Our confident girl Penny, who also won't hesitate to teach proper manners to newcomers, rolls on her back all the time too in play with the gentler dogs. She'll kick obnoxious dogs off her and just calmly walk away and ignore them for a few minutes. She'll try to engage them once again, rolls, and will allow them to pounce on her as long as they are more gentle.

Then we have our Ava, who's not always so comfortable with rough housing, the most submisive, if you will, of our three. She will never roll, nor allow another newcomer to stand above her while she's down...because she's afraid. She lets out a growl and runs away.

If anything through my observations, these wiser, most likely more "dominant" dogs, are teaching the younguns how to play/socialize appropriately. Who else to teach better social doggie etiquette than other well socialized dogs.

Keep up the good work in finding appropriate play mates for her :thumbs up.

May 27th, 2009, 02:30 PM
You've really got two totally different things going on here:

1. what is "normal" dog play/group interaction and

2. recall/obedience

As for 1., I agree with LP, unless there's a real fight (i.e. someone is getting hurt), all the mouthing, snarling, snapping, pushing, shoving, rolling etc. is perfectly normal and I wouldn't interfere at all. It's all good fun. That said, if another dog is clearly uncomfortable with it or an owner for that matter, it's your job as a good dog owner to remove your pup from the situation.

As for 2., it certainly can be really tough to get a reliable recall ("come") from a young dog who is engaged in super-fun play :D Work on your training/recalls when she's on-leash and things are calm and there are few distractions. Once she's reliable there, gradually add new challenges/distractions, then start working with them off-leash. IME, every dog is different in its innate desire to listen to commands and will be motivated differently; some will snap to attention with no effort and others will require a lot more work. All part of the fun! :D

May 27th, 2009, 08:57 PM
personally I would not let the dog play with other peoples dogs if it ignores you like that. Maybe you think the play is all in fun, an usually it probably is, but what if it crosses the line, and what about the other dog? Until you have taught a reliable recall, it just isn't safe, or respectful to others. If another dog is being dominated by your dog, it would only be right to call your dog off.

The fact that your dog ignores you when it is playing is a sign that your dog does not have complete respect of you, being such a large and powerful breed I feel it is very important to have this 110% before allowing it off leash with dogs that belong to other people. That is why it probably does not do that other behaviors that you have taught so willingly, just to get the reward and not because you want him to. Go back to basics and work work work, get the heel, and respect in all areas and work up tp a reliable recall off leash around other dogs. It could otherwise turn into a bad situation sometime for your dog, someone else, or another dog. Good luck! It takes ALOT of work and patience to get the respect of a powerful, stubborn, headstrong breed!

May 28th, 2009, 02:37 AM
lUvMyLaB<3, there, the truth came out! That was what I was kind of fearing with all this. Most people say she is jsut a puppy, but Ive seen other people ahve much more control of their puppies too, so it is not a good reason.

You know Ive really worked hard, what am I supposed to do to make her respect me more? I am no matter what gonna train her all over again, from the start, but this time making it all fun. Because I think she thinks doing sits and downs and such is "because I have to" and maybe she's been punished with them sometimes too...

But other than that??

Ive thoguht about doing some our own agility training with her, I would do it with my boyfriend. That will increase some trust between us?

And luckypenny, maybe its not because of who is more dominant, but with us certainly very few dogs enjoy doing that :D

But if dog is not comfortable with that, the dog makes a sound and Lily (as well as every other dog ive countered in a situation like this) listens and gives a well-deserved break. I guess it is puppies pracitising these things with each other!

But I really dont wanna go to dog parks anymore. Ive thought about this before but it is done now. I also feel like the unbalanced dogs at the park affect our dog in someway...

May 28th, 2009, 09:01 AM
It's ok! and don't stop!! Most of us have trouble! I cannot allow my lab off leash in a park anymore, trust me I have bigger problems!! ha! But my little dog is awesome and I have NO trouble with recall.. When he was little and was learning if her ignored me I had a squeaky toy he wont ignore that! Do u also have something your dog CANNOT resist?

Just repitition and consistancy.. In the house too, she must know that you are in charge, I have a feeling she is not convinced. I really would make her heel, you can still give the command 'ok' when she has learned if you still want her to explore in some places, but don't let her go sniff without saying 'ok' and you have to innitiate it. Not she pulls the leash to go sniff something, then say ok, she has to be heeling nicely, then you say ok.

she is still young, and you have time, just make sure your roles are established before she is full grown, all the work now will pay off.

Classes are a GREAT idea! OB and agility, even rally o, will really help, she will learn the pecking order, and have fun and exercise and be around other dogs, you really should think about it! Between you and your BF, whoever is the weaker one, that she doesn't usually listen to, is the one that should handle her in classes.