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Dog Park Antics


sjuguy
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So I've brought Chopper to a local dog park a few times, generally during off-peak hours to avoid sensory overload. Well, on Saturday there were more patrons than expected. Chopper was "that dog", chasing other dogs, herding a mini-schnauzer, barrelling full speed into another bc causing her toy to be fumbled, and darting full speed across the park to "get in on the action". Not impressed with this behavior. From this experience I realized that the number one thing we need to work on is his self-control and willingness to look to me for direction. He's 6 months, so we are currently in puppy obedience, and will be enrolling in basic obedience once puppy class ends. I think this will naturally help. However, does anybody have any guidance and successfully finding a solution to Chopper's joyriding ways? I have tried using a 20 foot line and treats, which works with varying degrees of success. Once he has made his way more than 10-15 feet away from me though, game over, he's off on his own agenda if I don't have the line in hand.

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So I've brought Chopper to a local dog park a few times, generally during off-peak hours to avoid sensory overload. Well, on Saturday there were more patrons than expected. Chopper was "that dog", chasing other dogs, herding a mini-schnauzer, barrelling full speed into another bc causing her toy to be fumbled, and darting full speed across the park to "get in on the action". Not impressed with this behavior. From this experience I realized that the number one thing we need to work on is his self-control and willingness to look to me for direction. He's 6 months, so we are currently in puppy obedience, and will be enrolling in basic obedience once puppy class ends. I think this will naturally help. However, does anybody have any guidance and successfully finding a solution to Chopper's joyriding ways? I have tried using a 20 foot line and treats, which works with varying degrees of success. Once he has made his way more than 10-15 feet away from me though, game over, he's off on his own agenda if I don't have the line in hand.

 

 

 

He's six months old, so not entirely unexpected behaviour but old enough to start to learn manners. If he hasn't been around other dogs since leaving the litter, he'll quickly learn that barelling into an adult dog is not acceptable because the older dogs will lay a smackdown on him for acting like an idiot. Unfortunately, at dog parks, you are as likely to run into a dog that reacts inappropriately and hurts him or an owner who freaks out and hurts you/him.

 

The trick with training things like lie downs and recalls is never to give the command unless you can enforce it and reinforce the desired behavior. A crowded dog park is not the place to do either.

 

I'd keep him on the long line until he's solid on his recall.

 

If letting him tear around like a mad thing at the dog park is not an option (although to my mind what else are dog parks for?), then don't take him there. If it is an option, then wait until he's headed back your way and only give him a recall when he's going to come to you anyway. Leave insisting on it until you have him in an enclosed area, by yourself, on the long line. He'll eventually get the point that coming to you does not always mean an end to the fun but that not coming is not an option.

 

Border Collies learn quickly. They learn especially quickly when "that'll do" or "leave it" mean "NOW" and when they mean "when ever you feel like it would you perhaps, please, drop that stinking dead carcass you are eating and rolling in and wander over in my direction if it won't interfere with your plans for the day".

 

Pearse

 

 

 

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I hate dog parks. Not all dogs have the mentality to do well at them.

 

Personally, I prefer that my dogs play with me, not other dogs. But eh, I know lots of people like to use dogs parks as an easy way to wear out their dogs.

 

He is a young puppy, but old enough that older dogs are not going to put up with his antics much longer. Personally, I would limit his socializing to controlled atmospheres (like his obedience classes) until he matures a bit more and decides to listen to you. Right now he sounds completely out of control and the dog park is rewarding this behavior.

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I hate dog parks. Not all dogs have the mentality to do well at them.

 

Personally, I prefer that my dogs play with me, not other dogs. But eh, I know lots of people like to use dogs parks as an easy way to wear out their dogs.

 

He is a young puppy, but old enough that older dogs are not going to put up with his antics much longer. Personally, I would limit his socializing to controlled atmospheres (like his obedience classes) until he matures a bit more and decides to listen to you. Right now he sounds completely out of control and the dog park is rewarding this behavior.

 

 

I totally agree with no dog parks. Personally, I totally dislike them! Mine have never been to a dogpark! We play before and after our obedinece classes! All the dogs know each other, the owners all know each other and we are on the same page as far a dogs, training and behavior go.

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If he doesn't come when you call him the first time, walk him down. May take a long time at first (15 minutes or so of walking a dog down can seem like an absolute eternity, especially in front of other people) and may seem fruitless at first, but you can outlast him, and it will get easier from there. You may need to walk him down a few times, but each time it should take less time for him to give up. I'd growl a bit while walking him down, but the second he stops running from you or moves toward you, I'd be all happy and soft with him. When Meg was about five or six months old, she went through a phase of not wanting to come to me in the yard if the other dogs were playing, and after walking her down a few times, she understood it was both futile to resist and I was no fun if she did try to resist. At nine months, her recall is pretty darn awesome now, even in open space with strange dogs around--part of this is growing up but most of it isn't. My Sophie Dawg had a terrible recall as a pup/adolescent (and it's still not fabulous), and for a long time people told me it was because she was young. But most dogs generally don't "grow out of" blowing you off--they need to be taught that they have to listen when you call them. Best chance of lifelong success is to do this while the pup is still young and hasn't had a million chances to practice blowing you off.

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Just my tuppence, but given his youth and energy, I wouldn't go there, at least not when it's busy. He's young enough that his impulse control is iffy, and old enough that other dogs may not want to tolerate him as a puppy, any more. You could end up with him getting bitten in one of those dog-on-dog collisions, or getting another owner thoroughly ticked off at you.

 

So, if that's the only place I had to take him to run, I'd either go there only at off-hours or keep him on the long-line until he's old enough to handle it. That's a *lot* of excitement and I don't know too many 6-month-old pups who could exercise self restraint in such highly charged situations. Better yet, just avoid the dog park until he's older. It's kind of unfair to ask him to behave amidst a doggy play-fest. You wouldn't ask a 5 year old kid not to run and scream on the playground, would you? ;)

 

I think your best bet is to work on firming up your recall in quieter, more favorable situations. He'll get there in time, but right now he's quite young and you don't want to set him up to fail.

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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Is there a day care in your area that you can trust? Riley, my youngest is 2 and loves to play. Play is the greatest thing in the world to him, to the point that it's his 'high value' reward when we're training. Every few weeks I bring him to a doggy daycare that I utterly trust, to blow off some steam. They match him to dogs with similar play styles and energy levels (mostly bully breeds and greyhounds for some reason) and he has a blast. We do go to the dog park and he can be over bearing with softer dogs because he's such a physical player. So if he's doing that, I basically walk him down and leash him. We move away from the other dog and he soon finds something else to do. I never recall him when I think he'll fail. I've had him for less than a year and he's improving all the time. He was a stray for most of his life, so he can be a tiny bit aloof still. I've also found bringing one of his favorite toys to the park keeps him closer to me, because I'm more fun than the dogs. He want's to play with me most of all, but if I'm being boring and just walking around, he'll find someone else to pester.

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