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Aggression at dog park

959 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Twin City Dog
I have a 2 year old Husky mix who up until just recently, has been the perfect dog. I've been taking her to the dog park since it opened (about 3 months now), on a very regular basis (about 3 times a week). The last time she was there, she had a problem with aggression towards one dog when toys were involved. We have never seen this with humans. And she's always great with other dogs when toys aren't involved. But as soon as another dog has a toy, she doesn't want them to have it, and she'll fight over it.
It's happened about 2 times now (twice in one night), and I've always broken up the fight. I just don't know what to do with her now. It's just very strange that she started showing aggression out of the blue like this. Is there anything I can do to get her to stop this toy aggression, or do we have to give up the dog park?
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Dog parks are one of my favorite topics. I am convinced that they are built for humans to interact...not dogs. Once past the puppy stage, dogs are no longer comfortable with being thrust into an unknown environment. It can happen suddenly. The lack of a leash and the guidance of their handler makes the uncertainty more intense. Couple that with clueless owners (I am referring to the random mix found at the park, not you) and their hapless animals, and you have a recipe for disaster.

We cannot expect this new experience to be beneficial to our dogs unless we have carefully conditioned them to Accept a "good citizen" role in a woefully unpredictable environment. Only the best animals and the best handlers can reasonably be expected to master this. While training therapy dogs we play loud noises and crash pots and pans to the floor, to desensitize them to that which they will encounter in a hospital environment. This is reletively easy to do when compared to the unpredictable nature of a dog park, which has little or no control save the fence.

I am strongly in agreement with other posters here...give your dog play time with predictable play pals, in an environment that you can control.
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I would also like to add that resource guarding is a serious behavior problem. When it first becomes apparent is the best time to work on it. Consult with a local behaviorist now and save some time and effort in the future.
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