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So there is a person who frequents the off-leash dog park we go to who seriously thinks he's Cesar Millan. He constantly quotes Cesar and gives other people "advice" about being the pack leader and other dog-whisperer-esque words of wisdom about "bad energy" and "calm submissive" behavior.

Let's go back about a year ago, when I first got Brody and his issues began to be apparent to me. Looking back, I know that we SHOULDN'T have been at the park since Brody's recall wasn't great and his behavior was pretty unpredictable but it's too late to change the past and now I have 100% control of my dog and he's well-adjusted and comfortable in this sort of setting now. Going back to a year ago: I had Brody at the park and he was generally minding his own business. Fake CM started to run, egging the dogs to chase him. Brody being a motion reactive dog decided to pursue his "prey." He chased down Fake CM, body slammed into him and knocked him over. Fake CM got up, chased my dog into a corner and pinned him on his back. Brody growled and snarled and did everything in his power to try to bite him. Fake CM got a hold of Brody's throat and held it to "calm" him. Brody started to become weak, so Fake CM let go of him. Brody got up and bit him in the thigh. Fake CM was obviously unhappy and told me this dog was "unrehabilitatable" and needed to be put down. We left and didn't go back to that park. A few months ago I moved to PA so that park isn't nearby anymore anyway.

Today I went to visit my sister with Brody. We were near the dog park and Brody needed to blow off some steam so we decided to go. Brody was a nervous wreck and REFUSED to get out of the car. The rest of the day, he was cowering and generally on edge. Brody is usually very adaptive and curious about new places and situations, so I don't think it was the stress of the new places that got to him, however I think he still has a really bad association with that park. Is it feasible that he remembers this one incident so strongly over a year later? It's not really a big deal because we can definitely just avoid that park, however I hate seeing him so upset.

Even when we got home he was still kind of nervous. He didn't settle down and relax until we got to Rally class tonight. Now, he's happily chewing on a bully stick. Is there any way I can help him recover from something so traumatic if we come across another situation that upsets him that much? I hate that he was so upset for almost an entire day just because of the 3 or so minutes we were at that dog park.
 

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Well, Benny as a pup was held up by the scruff of his neck at 5 weeks old by a vet for at least two minutes as the poor thing just screamed and screamed ... as then the vet deemed him " going to have your hands full, he has issues." To this day, I cannot place my hand near the scruff of his neck to attach a collar or lead or anything without him going spastic. He is now 9 months old. Yes he has issues NOW ... and I blame the vet, whom I no longer go to.

IMHO ...... I say they can remember bad experiences and associate places with these experiences.
 

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I am not sure they remember the event the way we do, but you have to understand, smell, sights and sounds are very powerful in memory, and that is how a dog lives: smells, sights and sounds. (lol- now I sound like CM)

If the fake CM was there often enough, your dog may have smelled him there. He may remember the sounds and sight of the place too. I honestly do think they remember, good as well as bad. Just not like we do.

Im sorry -- I for one tho, wouldnt take him back to that park. If it isnt a big deal as you say.

Im sorry it happened at all, Im not sure I could have done anything about it if anyone did that to Sadie, I cant run after someone, but I can scream!! And they would have heard some harsh words, the whole park would have till i caught up with this "person". But it sounds like he is home and happy now, so maybe a rally is just what he needed to get back to the life he knows and loves?
 

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Is there any way I can help him recover from something so traumatic if we come across another situation that upsets him that much? I hate that he was so upset for almost an entire day just because of the 3 or so minutes we were at that dog park.
I'm wondering who is actually upset more ???

If you want your dog to recover ... YOU have to recover.

Proverbially speaking ... ya fall off the horse ya get right back on, without skipping a single beat. I know it's difficult at times when emotions run high, but NO reaction whatsoever to events like these, is best.

Furthermore .. carrying baggage and guilty feelings on your part, will do absolutely nothing but prolong the process for your dog.
 

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If my dog was involved, the guy in my imagination has still not recovered from injuries received from the dog's owner. In reality I'm not so violent, but holy crap!

Tucker had one bad day at the dog park -- at 5 months old he didn't always take "no" for an answer to his play invitations; a French bulldog took exception and chased him around with much intensity, until the enforcer (Tucker's big brother Scout, the westie) intervened and chased Frenchy away. Happily, violence was not involved. Frenchy's owner was apologetic (polite but not necessary IMO). I wouldn't leave the park until Tucker had recovered at least a little of his self-confidence, and so spent the better part of two hours with a 70 lb ridgeback mix glued to my leg. Point being, I think it's better to end a session on a positive note where possible. Too late in your case though.

I think a gradual reintroduction. Park there some more, until he at least gets out the car. etc.
 

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That is an unfortunate event. And for a fake CM, it sure sounds like he forgot the calm energy thing. I have to agree with DustyCrockett, slow reintroduction would be my suggestion to break the behavior. Maybe stop the car a few blocks away and walk the rest of the way, see if that brings on the same response. Is it all parks, or just that park? Perhaps try to break it down and find the one thing that is really promoting the behavior and then slowly address the situation. No one likes to see their friend feel scared or anxious, but try to put up a strong non-reactive front so as to not add to the problem.
 

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I absolutely do think they remember. My mom scared one of my dogs when he was a young puppy. She didnt mean to, she's just kind of overwhelming sometimes and when she first met him, she jumped all around screaming and clapping and being my mom ;) Yeah. Rocky freaked and I made sure she never acted so exuberant around him again, but he never forgot. She lives far from me and so he rarely saw her, but everytime he did, for 12 years, he cowered and barked fearfully at her. Nobody else, just her.
 
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