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maryevaoh August 17th, 2012 02:04 PM

What is wrong with the dogs in my city...?
Well, it's been a while since I last posted (a year, maybe?) and my husky Koru is a bit over a year and a half old now, intact, and doing for the most part, very well. His separation anxiety has been curbed with the help of the Thundershirt (that product is a miracle worker!) and he has learned to greet people politely, and can relax more in large groups of people at social gatherings. And clicker training has made him into a confident, smart, boy. :)

There remains one issue, though, and it is one that perplexes me. So, we spent about 6 months in Moncton, New Brunswick last year, and it was awesome for us. There were three fully fenced off-leash parks nearby that I took him to regularly, and I don't recall a single unfriendly encounter with another dog in the entirety spent in that province. That includes on walks when greeting other dogs on leash (I ask to let Koru meet every dog we pass). And, last month we went for a weekend trip to Moncton for a large event, and Koru met at least 20 dogs over that time, and again... not a single aggressive encounter.

Now, snap back to our current province and city, Halifax, Nova Scotia. We've been living here for about a year, and Koru has made very few friends. I'd say about 80% of dogs we encounter on walks will growl slightly (then owner will pull them back, usually) which then leads to them jumping and barking at him. Koru has NEVER growled first, NEVER barked, and NEVER growled back except during the maybe three times the other dog has "danced" with him (all when the other dog obviously had intense aggression issues, usually was off leash, and even when their owner pulled them away they continued snarling)

Nearly every time a dog has started growling at Koru, the owner blames me for having not neutered him. The reason I have decided to keep him intact is that it DOESN'T make things difficult. A simple "leave it" pulls him away from spots he approaches to mark. And he is VERY well behaved, energy-wise, for a husky. We've received multitudes of compliments in that regard, especially when we tell people he is un-fixed. Never barks, and the only thing he pulls for is to see other dogs on leash (he ignores those in yards that we pass on the way) and even this is getting better.

The major issue in my current city, I believe, is the lack of dedicated dog parks. All of the "parks" are unfenced, and are basically fetch fields and walking trails that you can bring your perfect pooch on off-lead. There is no place other than backyards to bring a dog to truly socialize (play, wrestle, and run) with other dogs. This is where I lay my blame. If Koru gets along PERFECTLY in a town where most dogs regularly play in dog parks, even after not visiting that town a year, then I cannot understand how he is the problem.

Maybe this is more of a rant... but if anyone has a similar experience, please share! I just don't know what to do any more except have him neutered, but I don't want to do that, especially if it turns out that isn't the cause. I'm tired of being blamed for other people's unsocialized dogs. I wish our city had a dog park, but it seems to be low on the priority list... Has anyone here had to petition for a dog park to be built? If so, what are some tips? I am getting desperate. A pup Koru's age needs to have friendly encounters, and although he has a few pals he regularly plays in backyards with, that certainly doesn't feel like enough.

maryevaoh August 17th, 2012 02:06 PM

Oh, and I have an alternate title, lol. "...Or is My Boy to Blame?"

Loki Love August 17th, 2012 02:17 PM

[QUOTE=maryevaoh;1044543]I just don't know what to do any more except have him neutered, but I don't want to do that, especially if it turns out that isn't the cause. I'm tired of being blamed for other people's unsocialized dogs.[/QUOTE]

Unfortunately, some of the stronger reactions may be in fact because your pup isn't neutered. Since most dogs tend to be spayed/neutered at such a young age, when they encounter an intact dog - they have no idea how to react to the smell. I don't think it has anything to do with socialization (it could be in some cases, of course).

Loki is intact and we would run into that issue at one of the larger off leash dog areas. He never had issue with any other dog, but a few took issue with him - simply because he was intact.

I'm not saying you should run out and neuter your boy (although I am a big advocate for spaying and neutering - Loki is shown in conformation and thus can't be neutered), but you may continue to run into such issues.

Can you perhaps find a local dog meet up in your area? Maybe take him to some kind of obedience/agility classes and meet up with other dogs there? I'm not a big fan of traditional dog parks anyway - I prefer puppy play dates mostly.

Good luck!

maryevaoh August 17th, 2012 02:19 PM

Oh, and even with all the troubles we have here, I know socialization is key. I bring Koru with me EVERYWHERE. Every dog we see, I ask to meet. Every kid we pass that wants to pat him, is allowed to. We go to beaches, parks, and all the stores I can... although even all the hardware stores here aren't dog-friendly... I hate my city ): Now all I can find are a couple convenience stores and pawn shops, which I go to with Koru almost daily. I will actually be starting a blog soon chronicling local businesses that welcome dogs... Fingers crossed that it will become successfully enough to convince a few businesses to change their dog unfriendly policies.

Dog Dancer August 17th, 2012 02:54 PM

I have to agree with Loki Love that neutering could well be part of the issue. Not saying it's everything. Many dogs do not get along with an intact dog, male or female. It's just a fact. Honestly, I don't understand not fixing pets, but I do applaud you for continuing to socialize him. Beware though that being unaltered he could well be severely attacked at a dog park by an unaccepting dog.

maryevaoh August 17th, 2012 03:09 PM

Haha, as I've said, there is no such thing as a dog park in my city! Although I was quite cautious of the parks in Moncton, every dog we ever met there liked him, despite his "masculinity".

I do consider neutering him sometimes, but if it doesn't fix this ONE problem we have, what if all it does is change him? As many that we've met have said, if his behaviour is almost perfect at this age, it's only going to get better when he's fully matured. I like him the way he is. It means being a bit more cautious than most owners when it comes to keeping him locked up in the house, or securely on-lead, but I'm sure most husky owners can relate to that whether or not their pup has been spayed/neutered.

On that note, there is one walking trail that allows for off-leash dogs somewhat nearby, and I like to bring him there on a nice long leash... and oddly enough, this is one of the places we've had the most positive interaction with other dogs (and almost EVERYONE there is off leash except for my boy!) I know most people say never to have one dog off and one on, but since it's what Koru's known all his life, it doesn't phase him and perhaps when the other dogs have that advantage, his manliness (lol) is a little less of a concern to them.

Anyway, since it seems my options are neuter and hope for the best, or have more pre-arranged playdates, I am going to opt for the second one for now... I just made a local classified ad looking for dogs in the neighbourhood with the energy to play with a male, unfixed husky. It's funny... without a doubt, he is PERFECT with puppies. He will roll over and let them climb all over his belly, and puppy nip him, and he just loves it. I really hope another person in the neighbourhood has a young pup who needs a friend.

Longblades August 17th, 2012 03:24 PM

I agree that being unneutered could be part of the problem. It might even explain why he has troubles at home and not when you lived elsewhere. Puberty in dogs, male dogs, is unlike humans. Koru may have reached the limits of his "puppy license." If this is the case you can expect unpleasant reactions to subside as he matures. What happens is, a male dog's testosterone spikes to 3 to 7 x what it will be in adulthood. This is like waving a red flag at some other dogs, both male and female. There's a good link here: [url][/url]

The problem probably won't go away completely as it is well known that neutered male dogs are sometimes aggressive towards intact males. In fact, recent research shows aggression in neutered dogs and bitches is more common than in intact. Here's a link to that article, which is based on CBARQ data: [url][/url] Be sure to read this through. The summary says more aggression in neutered dogs but when you get to the breakdown you see there are some significant differences by breed and gender.

It's certainly not just a male dog problem. My friend's spayed GSD has been badly attacked by two spayed female dogs, on separate occasions. Both the attacking dogs are nasty to other female dogs, ok with males. Be careful with him, you have to look out for him.

Jim Hall August 17th, 2012 08:04 PM

ok so the more trained and well behaved dogs have no problem
the dogs in the city on leashes do,

hmmm does this suggest that the dogs u meet on the street have stooopud people for owners?

Choochi August 17th, 2012 09:52 PM

Unfortunately I hate to break it to you, but if you plan on keeping your boy intact you better get used to this. Neutered males can be very aggressive towards intact males. I've seen this plenty of times and yes majority of the time the intact males have zero issues with other dogs, are perfectly behaved, and are still targeted. I would not bring an intact male into a dog park for this very reason, not because the intact males pose an issue (which many people wrongly believe so yes get used to getting blamed by uneducated dog owners who think they know it all), but because they are put in danger from the neutered males. Unless you know all the dogs in the park at that time well enough and know they are good with your boy. Setting up private small group socialization meet ups would be a much better and safer option.

The fact he's getting growled at now and not before has nothing to do with the city you're in but the fact that 6 months ago he was still a baby, now he is a sexually mature intact male.

Longblades August 18th, 2012 07:59 AM

[QUOTE=Jim Hall;1044568]ok so the more trained and well behaved dogs have no problem
the dogs in the city on leashes do,

[B]hmmm does this suggest that the dogs u meet on the street have stooopud people for owners?[/[/B]QUOTE]I think you have something here, though I don't think it is necessarily the owner's fault or that they willfully produced poorly behaved dogs.

If you read the link the difference in behaviour between neutered and intact dogs is remarkable. Much worse for the neutered dogs in some cases. I can't help but think of all the times I've been told, read and heard "neuter, he'll be better behaved." My theory is that so many dog owners heard that, thought neuter was some kind of magic bullet that would prevent or stop unwanted behaviours and for their part thought their job was done and relaxed in their training. The owners of the intact dogs heard it all too but they trained their little hearts out and, voila, they got the better behaved dogs.

I know, it really doesn't matter to the OP how it happened but for me I hold out hope we can educate these owners of neutered dogs that, NO, neuter/spay doesn't miraculously produce a well behaved dog, you've still got to train your dog.

Choochi August 20th, 2012 01:09 PM

[QUOTE=Longblades;1044590]NO, neuter/spay doesn't miraculously produce a well behaved dog, you've still got to train your dog.[/QUOTE]

Bingo! I've seen plenty of this. Dog has some sort of a problem be it house training, humping, aggression, not listening to recalls, you name it, happens to be 6months old and the owners whole heartedly believe that as soon as they get the dog neutered it will be like giving him a magic pill and all those problems will resolve themselves without an ounce of effort on their part. Then the problems persist and they just come up with new excuses.

Choochi August 20th, 2012 01:51 PM

Some reading material for any one interested on this subject:


Longblades August 20th, 2012 02:34 PM

[QUOTE=Choochi;1044702]Some reading material for any one interested on this subject:


Did you read the one at the link I posted? They both use CBARQ data.

Actually, how about a general question: Did anybody look at the links?

Choochi August 20th, 2012 10:17 PM

LOVED the one you posted, goes into much more detail (and has pretty pictures! lol). Would love to see more studies on this, more scientific, more data, more variables.... dreaming on...

thildy August 27th, 2012 12:30 AM

[QUOTE=Choochi;1044702]Some reading material for any one interested on this subject:


I will look up to it , it might be important.

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