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Two Dogs, Dog Parks and No Recall

SunGurl372
September 12th, 2010, 12:25 PM
We've had Scarlett for a little over a week now, and I think things are progressing as well as could be expected with a "pound puppy". She needs a lot of work, but what's really driving me crazy is how she and my other dog, Harley, are doing together. Scarlett's a total terror with Harley. Any time both dogs are out together, it is a non-stop beat up fest with Scarlett doing the beating. Harley's older, slower and in general she's a VERY laid back kind of dog. Scarlett, at 7 months old, is anything but and is clearly trying to establish herself as alpha over Harley. Lots of straddling, growling, and biting at ears or neck. The girls spend a lot of time taking turns in the crate.

Scarlett is very dog oriented, interested, whatever you want to call it. Took her to her first obedience class yesterday, and she spent over half the time barking like a nut because she couldn't get to the other dogs.

I've been thinking if I could get Scarlett to the dog park a few times a week, she could get her "doggie" fix and run off enough energy that when I got her home, she might be tuckered enough to play a little more civilly with Harley. Beyond that, its just really good exercise.

Here's the problem....she has no recall. She'll come to me in the house most times when I call her, but never when she's going at it with Harley. Considering her fixation on other dogs, I doubt she'll come to me at the park. How the heck do I take her there and yet ensure that when it is time to go, I can get her back on the leash? Not sure if I brought both dogs, when I called Harley who has perfect recall, would Scarlett follow her?

LavenderRott
September 12th, 2010, 01:03 PM
You have only had this dog for a week. There is absolutely no way you should turn her loose in a dog park! Forget the fact that she is not going to come to you - you haven't had her near long enough to even begin to predict what type of behaviours she might display in that environment. What if she isn't dog friendly? She may well be fine one on one but in a pack situation - you are opening yourself up to all kinds of trouble.

She sounds like she needs a ton of work. First - stop leaving her loose with your older dog. Keep her on a leash. If she starts harassing the other dog - remover her from the situation. If she can remain calm, she can have a treat.

Keep going to classes.

14+kitties
September 12th, 2010, 01:05 PM
So why is it you want to take a dog with no recall who is showing aggression tendencies towards other dogs to an off leash dog park? :confused:
IMO I would steer clear of dog parks until she is showing 100% recall with no aggression towards other dogs. To me it just makes more sense. She clearly needs tons more training to get to that point.

Rgeurts
September 12th, 2010, 01:53 PM
I don't know if this is something you have considered, but daycare can be a tremendous help in teaching appropriate play with other dogs, and will tire her out. Find a daycare that does not just throw her in with other dogs and let her go for it. Find one that actually teaches basic obedience and proper socialization. Where I live there are a few, not sure about your area. It also keeps them from getting lonely if you work or are away alot.

It has done wonders for our youngest (now 6 month old Giant Mal), and boy... did he need help learning to play! They even throw the dogs with "extra" energy to spare on the treadmill. He would come home after daycare, and instead of pouncing on our old boy (11 yr old Mal/GSD) and having to be taught some manners, he would just howl at him, try to kiss him a little, then fall over and go to sleep. A tired dog is usually a more well behaved dog ;)

SunGurl372
September 12th, 2010, 03:14 PM
So why is it you want to take a dog with no recall who is showing aggression tendencies towards other dogs to an off leash dog park?

Maybe it's just that I can't tell context or tone in printed type and I'm being sensitive, but yikes!! I was just looking for feedback, input from folks with experience. I already had my own reservations about taking her there, as evidenced by the fact that I came on here asking for thoughts instead of just risking it. Maybe I'm missing something in how I deal with her, and that's why we come here, right? To learn?

I'm open for feedback, kind of have to be to put yourself out on forums such as this, but it would be nice if it were constructive.

I have every intention of continuing with training, of course, and I already mentioned that I'm keeping the dogs separated.

Hope I don't get flamed on this, but felt I had to put in my :2cents:. Again, I might just be overly sensitive, but I don't recycle dogs so Scarlett's here for good and I really want both dogs to be happy.

14+kitties
September 12th, 2010, 03:29 PM
I'm on my way to work so have to answer quickly.
No sensitivity needed. :D I was basically putting what you said in your post into one short sentence. :shrug: Because if you look at it that way it really does not sound good, does it? I was simply putting into context.
What we are saying, as LR said, you've had the dog for a week. You are having issues with her at home. How do you think you can handle her at a dog park when she has no recall, there are other dogs running around, and most of the time, unless your park is different than most, you have inattentive dog owners standing around yapping. How were you planning on controlling her? :shrug:
Umbilical training, always on leash, most definitely when your older, quieter dog is out, is a possibility. Nothing In Life is Free may help. Continued training is a must.

http://www.dogtipsdaily.com/umbilical-training-gets-your-dogs-respect.html
http://www.pets.ca/dogs/articles/nothing-in-life-is-free-nilf/

I am sure there will be many dog savvy folks joining in soon. Maybe they can give you more constructive ideas.

SunGurl372
September 12th, 2010, 08:38 PM
All of you have given me great resources to start working with. Scarlett's definitely a bit more of a handful than my last shelter dog, who I adopted at 4 months and who will soon be celebrating her 5th birthday with me.

Again, sorry if I came off as defensive, but I'm here looking for suggestions and I appreciate the advice that you all have posted here so far. Trust that I will look into everything and keep you apprised on Scarlett's progress.

Might seem naive, but I'm convinced there's no such thing as a bad dog, just bad owners. Trying my best not to fall into the latter category. If that means I ask a stupid question from time to time, so be it. Better a stupid question than a disastrous result.

LavenderRott
September 12th, 2010, 09:14 PM
Oh, there most certainly ARE bad dogs! But they are much harder to find then bad owners, which seem to be a dime a dozen and live on just about every block in the U.S. (and Canada too, I am sure!).

For a cat lady - that 14+ has some good links in her bag of links.

Your new pup sounds like her early training and socialization was lacking. No big deal. With the information given to you and some training classes you will have an amazing companion.

Rgeurts
September 12th, 2010, 09:45 PM
Oh, there most certainly ARE bad dogs!

LOL... nookie monster is a very bad puppy! Just take a look at the Sept. photo challenge ;)

But he had no socialization and was taken away from his mother at about 5 weeks, so it isn't his fault. Thorin is helping to teach him, but it's going to take alot of time and work.

luckypenny
September 12th, 2010, 09:46 PM
First, congratulations on the adoption :highfive: :goodvibes:!

She needs a lot of work, but what's really driving me crazy is how she and my other dog, Harley, are doing together. Scarlett's a total terror with Harley. Any time both dogs are out together, it is a non-stop beat up fest with Scarlett doing the beating. Harley's older, slower and in general she's a VERY laid back kind of dog. Scarlett, at 7 months old, is anything but and is clearly trying to establish herself as alpha over Harley. Lots of straddling, growling, and biting at ears or neck.

Have you ever had two dogs living in your home at one time? This sounds like perfectly normal roughhousing, especially for a young dog, and nothing to do with establishing "alpha." What is Harley doing the whole while Scarlett is bouncing all over her? If Harley seems ok with it, or if she can correct Scarlett herself when she becomes overly rambunctious, I'd only be working on interrupting the play every now and then to get Scarlett to calm down for a minute or two. How is Harley's recall? If you called her over to you in the middle of play, will she come immediately? We interrupt our guys all the time, call them to us, and release treats, toys, praise (whatever they value most) but only if they sit and are calm in front of us for a few seconds. Then we release them to play again. Our youngest dog, including any past fosters, learn quickly from the older ones.

I also agree that right now is not the right time to be taking Scarlett to a dog park (not really crazy about them because, unlike yourself, lots of people don't care whether their dogs will listen to them or not in such an environment).

I'm wondering how the trainer of your class handled Scarlett barking at the other dogs? Did she give you any pointers on how to help calm/refocus her?

SunGurl372
September 13th, 2010, 04:40 PM
Have you ever had two dogs living in your home at one time? What is Harley doing the whole while Scarlett is bouncing all over her?

Not living together. When I first got Harley, I visited my folks alot and she played with their older Bassett. Kind of funny, because I had posted about the problems I was having with them on this forum years ago, and it sounds pretty similar. However, then I could just separate them and then take Harley home and not have to worry about it.

Don't have that luxury here. These two are going to HAVE to find a way to get along.

Harley's pretty mellow, so at first she just tries to avoid Scarlett but eventually she'll get involved. She'll play nice for awhile, tail up and wagging, but Scarlett is really rough / rambunctious and eventually Harley is done with it. Harley will snarl and snap at Scarlett, however, this just gets Scarlett MORE worked up and the whole thing escalates a notch. As rough and loud as it has gotten, no one has been hurt but I don't know if that's because I intercede at that point, and usually one or the other ends up crated for awhile. Over the first couple of days, Scarlett would try to mount Harley and "hump" her, although I haven't seen that recently. Actually, Scarlett is now trying to get a BIG mouthful of the Harley's scruff at the back of the neck. Those were the behaviours that made me think she's trying to dominate Harley. And the few minutes she will stand still while they are playing, she's typically standing crossways over Harley's back (she's a bit taller).

Harley's recall is excellent, so I can call her to me but as she's doing that, Scarlett's coming along too and still trying to jump and nip allover Harley. I haven't had much luck getting Scarlett to calm down for more than a couple of seconds before she's back at it. I literally have to stand over them while they play, ready to pull one or the other out.

I don't think Scarlett's dog aggressive though, because we spent 3 hours over at a friend's house and she has a 1 year old male cattle dog and a 4 month old female dauschund mix. The bigger dogs went at it for three hours, with no fighting (lots of playing and chasing each other like they had the zoomies) and even the little one got into the action from time to time.

LavenderRott
September 13th, 2010, 05:02 PM
She is a puppy with energy to burn. You need to find something more interesting then the other dog. When my pup wants to play rough with my older dog - he is redirected to a rousing game of fetch with me to burn that off.

SunGurl372
September 13th, 2010, 08:24 PM
Yep, working that. Right now she seems to find dogs more interesting than anything and everything else. But I'm starting to think that might be a bit of an early socialization issue. She likes people and is developing a tendancy to follow me around, but it has been a somewhat slow warm up process. Maybe she came from a background where there were more dogs and less people to orient herself around.

Anyhow, with much work, trust, patience and time, I have every reason to believe she'll turn out just fine.

SunGurl372
September 14th, 2010, 12:55 AM
Umbilical training, always on leash, most definitely when your older, quieter dog is out, is a possibility. Nothing In Life is Free may help. Continued training is a must.

http://www.dogtipsdaily.com/umbilical-training-gets-your-dogs-respect.html
http://www.pets.ca/dogs/articles/nothing-in-life-is-free-nilf/

Like both of these. I'm trying a variety on umbilical, mostly when Scarlett's loose with Harley, so I can nip it in the bud as soon as they get rowdy and later at night, when my human kid and older fur kid are upstairs and Scarlett figures she can run up there and start a party. Sometimes I have her on leash, and others I let her have a drag line so the second I see her bolting, I can get a handle on her.

Dealing with the repercussion of that is interesting because then I become her favorite human chew toy. She's pretty easy to redirect in that area, so no harm, no foul.

In terms of NILF, I've always practiced that with Harley, and it's already paying off with Scarlett. Took one evening and one morning to get her to figure out that if she doesn't sit by the door, she's not going out. And that's without having to tell her. Just auto response....love it.

Maybe I'm just going through new parent syndrom. LOL

happycats
September 15th, 2010, 10:25 AM
I still believe in Cesar Milans methods (although some here may disagree)
Scarlett needs to know "your" the boss, and that harassing Harley is not acceptable, so you need to stop her (separating dogs, I find teaches them nothing, unless you need the break that is, or if you not there)
She needs to be corrected every time she goes after Harley, if you keep all over her she will eventually get it, and stop.

As for dog parks I think it's to soon, a better idea would be doggie dates with younger and just as energitic dogs, in an enclosed area, she would probably do better with males.