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Last night we went to doggy social. Sometimes it can be an ordeal...as expected, but last night I had to bite my tongue hard on two accounts. I was going nuts by the time we got out of there, just watching two particular dog owners and what they were doing.

There was a tiny dog there (tops 10 lbs), who had been playing on the small dog side, but she was getting ready to leave and just letting her dog watch the big dogs play (they had all calmed down by this point). Twice a big dog walked up, very nicely very slowly and went to sniff the little one. It went NUTS! Teeth bared, yapping and yelping. Big dog backs off and walks away, what does the owner do PINS IT! She pinned it to the ground with one hand....that is how little this dog was, her hand practically covered the whole dog! No wonder her dog goes nuts at other dogs!

The other issue was continued all night. HUGE Great Dane, beautiful! It had a muzzle and an e collar on! The reason? It growls at other dogs. It came around the room and got pets and cuddles from all of the humans but when a dog came near it growled, just a little grunt really. If the owner heard this, she "gave it a zap". Then it went and laid down near the owner and she looks at it and says "why aren't you playing". WHAT!!!! I hate to know what "training" preceded this phase with the muzzle and e collar.

Am I off base here to think that in both of these cases the owners might actually be making the issues worse? Has anybody else had one of these situations where you took issue with how someone was "training" their dog, is it better to keep your mouth shut? Does saying something ever make a difference?

Anyway, that's my rant, so frustrating. Caeda had fun with the other dogs at least so there was some redeeming quality to the night. If she didn't get so much out of it I would stop going.
 

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For the tiny dog, print out a copy of 'he just wants to say hi' and post it there. Or give her a copy, but it's perfect for that situation.

If it's an organized event, I would bring up the e collar with the management and tell them you feel it's being overused, misused and that it might be an idea to have the dog with just a muzzle for safety. Tell them you're concerned that people there might misunderstand what's going on and get e collars for their dogs that shouldn't have them.

But yeah people are dumb. Actually the 'he just wants to say hi' thing would work for the dane owner too...... poor guy!
 

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You're not crazy. The small dog sounds like its barking/growling was due to the fact that it had a much larger dog sniffing him. Too many people think every bark/growl is a problem, when most often it's simply a warning, the growling dog's way of trying to turn others away. It'd be different if it were doing that "small dog thing" that so many laugh at and find cute, and simply running around being a nut barking up a storm at everything, but what you described very much may not have been that. And to pin a tiny dog for such a reason? Ridiculous.

The second sounds just as ridiculous. Now, if the dane were really seeming to be aggressive towards other dogs (well, first off they'd be at the wrong event lol) then ok. Hey, it's a person's method, I suppose. But if he's just giving a little bit of a growl (or grunt)? But, at least on this one, I'll give it to the fact that the owner knows their dog best and perhaps the dog does have some slight aggression issues that didn't really arise last night. The part of that story that gets me is the questioning as to why the dog isn't playing. Oh, gee, I don't know...perhaps I don't want to play after being shocked! lol

As for saying something to the owners, that's really just a personal thing. What's your relationship with them? Can you bring it up in a way that would be more informative rather than condescending? Just based off of your story, I definitely don't think the owners are greatly helping their dogs, especially the little one.
 

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I feel sorry for the little dog. It already has dogs towering way above it and is probably scared of them in the first place. IMHO the owner pinning it to the ground has made it worse. The poor thing now thinks that when a large dog just approaches it is going to get punished. :/ Poor thing!

As for e-collars ... I do not believe in them at all. Sorry.

I would find a non invasive method of bringing up your concerns with the little dogs owner .... as for the big dog ... talk to the management if there is any.
 

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As for e-collars ... I do not believe in them at all. Sorry.
I'm going to take this a bit further and say they churn my stomach. They're a lazy solution to a fixable problem.
(I'll use 'you' to mean nobody in particular)
There's a lot of 'they're just tools in the right hands'. Well, first off, you wouldn't wear it. You can't say you would because that's horseshit. Why would you shock yourself? Secondly, even if they were tools when used in the right hands, they're sold to the public, and we should all know what that means. Too many stupid, sorry people have them and use them in ways that easily become abusive.
I once had a girl call me in to help train her shepherd mix pup. Now, I'm not a professional dog trainer by any means, but I'm not bad at things like basic obedience, tricks, etc. In just a very short time, this pup had learned 'sit', 'down' and 'wait' -of course 'wait' needed a lot of work, but it was a fantastic start. I wasn't going to charge them, but I told them how to continue that training, showed them how, and even offered to come back until they could get a better hang of it. I was never called back. I asked how he was doing. I got 'eh, he won't listen. we got a shock collar'. :doh: Never went back there because I don't even want to know what it's done to the poor thing.

In my opinion, people take things too literally, they buy into the whole 'dominance' thing FAR too much, and yes, in the end, they're doing more harm than good.
 

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the second case-stupid, and yes making things worse. the 1st case depends entirly on the dog and the situation. if Rusty behaved that way I would pin him on the spot. why? because when he is riled up, I cannot just remove him from the situation, because if I do he will get MORE riled up take about 20 minutes to calm down, and the next time he see's a dog he will attack on sight. OTH if I pin him on the spot in full sight of the dogs thats riled him up, and dont let him up until he is relaxed(about 5 minutes if he is REALLY riled up) then he will be totally fine thereafter, and if a dog makes him nervous there again, rather then get riled up or attack, he will simpley walk over to me and get my help to protect him. BUT if she walked up AFTER the dog had calmed down and pinned him, or let him up before he was totally relaxed(should be totally relaxed without being touched) , then she would just be mentally screwing up her dog.
 

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You are right... bite your tongue. Feel free to complain to 'management,' but don't volunteer an opinion yourself, unless specifically asked for help. You might try to make a visible good example of Caeda.

It's a shame, b/c both sound like they learned dog handling from TV. The small dog needs socialization with large dogs... the one that walked away probably would have been patient. And, the Dane may be too energetic than most dogs can handle, but the owner doesn't understand. And, both think they do.
 

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You are right... bite your tongue. Feel free to complain to 'management,' but don't volunteer an opinion yourself, unless specifically asked for help. You might try to make a visible good example of Caeda.

It's a shame, b/c both sound like they learned dog handling from TV. The small dog needs socialization with large dogs... the one that walked away probably would have been patient. And, the Dane may be too energetic than most dogs can handle, but the owner doesn't understand. And, both think they do.
Agree ...
Pinning a dog to the ground ..shocking it with a collar etc etc..
Thats a great way to make things worst in most cases.
 

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I thought the point of social groups was to have the dog learn to socialize with other dogs. It sounds like these owners are NOT promoting this by punishing the dogs for attempting to socialize with other dogs. As long as it's safe, let the dogs work it out. In our play group, if a puppy is being in appropriate, it has to be picked up for a minute or two as a time out. There's one pup who is a little toy possessive/aggressive, and a pair who gang up on other dogs, and it seems they're in time out a lot, but "the fun ends when I misbehave" seems to be a better way to go than "you get hurt when you don't know how to socialize."

I don't think saying anything will do anything. I'm totally annoyed at this one woman in our puppy training classes whose dog "accidentally" gets away from her literally over a dozen times over the course of class, and immediately runs over and pounces Hamilton (playfully) and breaks his focus which is tentative at best to begin with. She's all "haha he got away again" and I'm very :| because holding a leash isn't brain surgery. If it happens again I'm going to talk to the trainer, because it's not cool -- but I feel like talking to the owner will just get her all defensive.
 

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0.o

I keep Kabota in the small dog side at the park and I see that little dog all the time. Kabota's looming over a tiny dog- not on purpose, he's just bigger- the little dog barks, and Kabota backs up and either runs off or offers a play bow. I assume he can hear something in the quality of the bark that determines what approach he uses. If the dog play bows back, they play, and little dogs are often barky in play, too.

Poor little dog.

As for the Dane, I feel sick. Kabota grumbles a lot. It sounds like a growl, but it's not. That poor Dane is probably either a. Grumbly, or b. effing hates other dogs after all that shock collar action. Poor big baby.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies, I'm glad to know I'm not off base for being kind of enraged, and thinking that they're making matters worse. IMO, at least in the case of the Dane I got to watch a potentially dangerous dog in the making. The little dog got pinned AFTER it stopped barking, which happened as soon as the big dog backed away. She very easily could have picked it up and taken it out of the situation. That poor dane didn't show any aggressive body language, just a little nervousness (turning his head away, growl). Wouldn't play or interact with other dogs at all. IMO, even people who are for the use of e collars would probably disagree with it in this situation.

The biggest problem I have with being able to say anything is that the lady who runs the social (management) is a trainer. I don't agree with some of her attitudes on handling behavioral issues, or the way of living with a dog (Dominance theory stuff, people eat first, don't let them lean on you or get on the furniture: its dominance, etc....). She is fine for basic obedience stuff, easy to ignore the dominance stuff, and to her credit, she's excellent at telling when rough play is about to escalate or one of the dogs is uncomfortable. She does train in her basic obedience class with treats and clickers. Teaching heeling she only suggests a choke collar for the very difficult cases (not insists) and she is very clear that if you aren't ok with it she is willing to help you work on heeling without it.

With this stuff going on I'm very tempted to stop going, but we don't have many friends with dogs (especially dogs that can take Caeda's exuberance!), and the few friends with dogs have pretty dysfunctional ones (kept outside all of the time etc. not spayed/neutered, aggression/fear issues, no socialization). I want to make sure she has contact with other dogs, since we started going she has gotten FAR easier to handle with other dogs around. Plus social is a supervised (by the trainer and all of the dog owners are very attentive to the dogs), its a safe enclosed area, no toys kicking around to cause fights. On top of it, Caeda really enjoys it.

I'm guessing I should probably keep biting my tongue....and if I can't I should stop going (or be prepared to get kicked out lol). Its just so hard watching stuff that is, in my opinion on that fine line between poor training and abuse. Grrrr, part of me wishes I was younger (and rich lol) and could go back to university and study to become a behaviorist so I'd have firmer ground to stand on if I did say anything.
 

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It's too bad ur not closer to tx, GS bc Josefina & Buddy would have tons of fun knocking around with your Caeda, a cattle dog can take a lick & keep on playin'..... Like a Rolex ;).

Yeah, no but I get your frustration, mine is with people who think I should "manage my dogs better" bc they do things like go off on their own (usually to use the restroom or cool off in the 20 acre stock tank in the neighboring pasture to the barn) they say hat I'm not a "pack leader" & all that alpha BS ppl are all about these days. Hey I used to be like that too but I manage my dogs a lot different then I used to now I ignore the behaviors indoor want & reward the bahaviors i do want.... What's change huh :).

Pinning a TINY dog??? A shock collar??? Yeash :/.
 

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Oh yeah, my dog "walks all over me". And never causes the slightest trouble and obeyed a sit this morning in the presence of a rabbit. I'm terrible at this dog owner stuff.
 

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"study to become a behaviorist so I'd have firmer ground to stand on if I did say anything. "

Knowledge, experience, and education do not trump ignorance, b/c ignorance always has much more practice.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Knowledge, experience, and education do not trump ignorance, b/c ignorance always has much more practice.... :)
You're dead on there....though people who believe TV personalities without question also tend to be very easily impressed when a person has letters before and after their names. I've got some minimal alphabet soup....but nothing that would be impressive in this case :p

I try to make a good example with Caeda, unfortunately she goes pretty bonkers when we walk in the door (though the more we go the faster she is calming down, which is why I don't want to stop going), we do actually get lots of compliments on her once she is off leash. I really do wish I lived in TX, or near any of you with exuberant dogs, instead I'm stuck with this doggy social as my only real resource for wide ranging socialization and play with other dogs :p
 

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Pepper is a small dog - 8.5 lbs. And he is terrified of big ddogs. However, I've found that if I hold him up so that they can touch noses, he calms down almost immediately.

He is a rescue that had never seen a dog much bigger than himself, and the first bog dog he saw after I got him made him hysterical (if a dog can become hysterical) and terrified. He shook and screamed and almost climbed up my leg like a monkey. It took about a month of having him sit on my lap while my friend who owns the big dog just had her dog lay there. I treated them both. ALOT. Then, every day or so, we'd move closer and closer until Pepper didn't even pay attention to the big dog other than walking over and sniffing him.

They are best friends now (bad pic of Pepper, but you get the point)
 

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You're dead on there....though people who believe TV personalities without question also tend to be very easily impressed when a person has letters before and after their names. I've got some minimal alphabet soup....but nothing that would be impressive in this case :p

I try to make a good example with Caeda, unfortunately she goes pretty bonkers when we walk in the door (though the more we go the faster she is calming down, which is why I don't want to stop going), we do actually get lots of compliments on her once she is off leash. I really do wish I lived in TX, or near any of you with exuberant dogs, instead I'm stuck with this doggy social as my only real resource for wide ranging socialization and play with other dogs :p
Your welcome anytime you are in the neighborhood ;).
 
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