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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my dog is a friendly 1-year-old neutered male lab/pit mix. I usually take him to doggy daycare twice a week and the employees there are very responsible for making sure the dogs play nice and are super attentive. they love my dog there and they say he is usually very good, he is very energetic and sometimes tries to play too rough with other dogs, but he usually calms down and does well with all the dogs there. I know they try their best to discourage mounting/humping, but it's impossible to completely prevent it from ever happening. They also make it clear they are not responsible for any training, they simply manage the dogs' interactions to prevent any fights. one day they called me and said I needed to come pick him up because he was a little too aggressive in reaction to when another dog mounted him. they assured me there was no fight, my dog was "correcting" the other dog and was a little too over-the-top and scared the other dog. But, they told me he was not truly aggressive and he's still welcome to come back, he just needed a time-out for the day. I appreciated they had informed me of the issue, but I was worried because I know my dog is powerful and I adopted him when he was around a year old and I've only had him for about 5 months. So, since I don't know his past I'm worried one day he could snap and get in a bad fight, so I don't want to take him back to daycare until I can get it under control. Also, the very first day I took him to daycare, they do an inspection to introduce the dogs and make sure any new dog is a good fit and will play nice. after his first day, they told me he did great, and that he didn't even react when another dog tried to hump his face, so it's concerning that he went from apparently not minding it, to now he is borderline aggressive and over-corrects.
I also take him to the dog park pretty much daily, he also behaves well there, other than sometimes will ignore my recall. one day at the dog park I was playing fetch with him and no one else was there until a new dog I hadn't seen before came. I could tell right away the dog had anxiety issues and whenever my dog would come up (calmly) to greet it, it would get a little spooked and cower. then as we're playing fetch, the other dog starts coming over when my dog would retrieve the ball to me and it would try to mount my dog, but I would push it away. meanwhile, when my dog is waiting for me to throw the ball, he gets hyper-focused so I don't think he noticed the other dog. after a few more throws, I realized the dog wasn't going to let up and the owner wasn't doing anything so I decided it was time to leave. I put the leash on my dog and as we're walking to the gate, the other dog is still following us. then, as I'm opening the gate to leave, the other dog fully mounts my dog, and immediately my dog whips around to lunge and growl at the other dog. I gave him a quick verbal correction and he turned back to me and waited to leave. this was the first time I saw my dog react to another dog mounting him so I wasn't sure what to do. also what was weird, even after telling him 'no' in a sharp tone, he turned back to me and looked super-happy and excited. So I'm confused why even after a negative encounter with this dog and me disciplining him, for some reason he still looked very pleased with himself right after. other than that, I haven't personally seen any reactions like that from my dog being mounted because I'm normally able to stop it from happening if the owner won't, so I don't know how to go about correcting this behavior. I also know it's rude for other dogs to be mounting him in the first place, but some dog owners are just disrespectful and oblivious. Then if my dog over-corrects them, I look like a bad owner and like my dog is aggressive.
 

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Honestly, there's no reason your dog should have to put up with other dogs mounting him. You're right - it's very rude & he has every right to tell the other dog to 'knock it off'. Both day care & dog parks tend to provide an environment that encourages over the top arousal & the behaviors that come with it (such as humping/mounting) Since your dog has made it very clear that he prefers NOT to be subjected to this sort of thing, I'd strongly suggest you stop taking him to those locations & putting him into situations that will cause him to feel the need to react in such a manner.

It would be much better to find a few dog friends for him that are appropriate & who he plays nicely with (and vice versa) and set up individual get togethers. Many, many dogs 'age out' of enjoying the wild atmosphere of large group play, and end up preferring quieter social situations.
 

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To follow on from what BKay said, I'll also point out that your dog is a year old, so he's coming into maturity, and many dogs have a bit of a personality shift once they hit maturity. Some (like mine) become less tolerant of other dogs' nonsense. Your dog may not end up being a good daycare/dog park candidate at all, which is fine.
 

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No need for Day Care and I absolutely advise against all Dog Parks. Pit Mix dogs usually do not do well in dog parks.

Your dog SHOULD react when a dog mounts him. It is rude behavior. As this continues and your dog matures he may someday decide enough is REALLY enough and the other dig may pay the price. Your dog could be injured badly as well.

Dog parks and day care are, IME, the lazy way to exercise your dog. Instead, take a training class or three or take your dog for walks. Bond with your dog. Dogs don't need other dogs to play with and, quite honestly, most do not WANT other dogs around them.

So, you spend more one on one time with your dog and drop day care and dog parks.
 

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In addition to agreeing with BKay and the others, I find it extraordinary that anyone would play fetch with their dog in a dog park where other dogs are loose. It sounds like an invitation to a fight - a high percentage of dogs who see something thrown are going to go after it, and if two with equal amount of drive arrive at the object at the same time....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Honestly, there's no reason your dog should have to put up with other dogs mounting him. You're right - it's very rude & he has every right to tell the other dog to 'knock it off'. Both day care & dog parks tend to provide an environment that encourages over the top arousal & the behaviors that come with it (such as humping/mounting) Since your dog has made it very clear that he prefers NOT to be subjected to this sort of thing, I'd strongly suggest you stop taking him to those locations & putting him into situations that will cause him to feel the need to react in such a manner.

It would be much better to find a few dog friends for him that are appropriate & who he plays nicely with (and vice versa) and set up individual get togethers. Many, many dogs 'age out' of enjoying the wild atmosphere of large group play, and end up preferring quieter social situations.
thanks for your advice! to clear some things up and address some things other people mentioned, when I adopted my dog they told me in his previous home he lived with one of his sisters and they were extremely attached. since they were separated after their owner surrendered them, I feel bad for him and I don't want him to feel lonely with no other dog interactions. he also has some leash reactivity issues so I can't let him meet other dogs on walks, and I probably wouldn't do it even if he wasn't leash-reactive. also because of his leash reaction problems I want him to be able to learn to socialize with other dogs properly, and not be deprived of seeing other dogs since I know he was used to living with his sister. I don't know too many people with dogs and the ones who do have very small dogs, which wouldn't be good for my 85lb dog to run around with. I've thought about signing up for group training classes, but 1) there are none currently active in my area right now due to covid, and 2. I am a college student and although I can afford training classes, I would prefer trying to find another solution since I am training him myself and he's been responding well. do you have any ideas on how I could find another way to socialize my dog or how I could meet responsible dog owners for dog playdates? I also live a very short walk from the beach/dog beach, I could try putting him in a different setting to play with other dogs, but I don't know how different it will be from the dog park.

A few other people questioned why I go to the dog park in the first place to play fetch. The reason I go to the dog park so frequently has to do with where I live. im living in a college town where there really isn't much side-walk space, some streets have no sidewalk at all. I do still take him for walks every day, but I don't want to walk him for over 45 minutes because the asphalt is hot, even in the morning. pretty much every night here is packed with people partying. although I could walk him at night and he doesn't care about all the people walking around, I am not too fond of drunk people running up to my dog trying to pet him while I'm still training him. so my solution to this is to use our small community dog park. the college area I live in is relatively small and not too many people have dogs so taking him to the dog park in the morning when no one is ever there is the perfect opportunity for him to play, exercise, use the bathroom, and it's a good (and the only) opportunity I have to train him off-leash in an enclosed area. then once he's already played fetch and went for a walk in the morning, ill take him to the dog park in the afternoon to socialize with other dogs. since its a small park, I've never seen more than 5 dogs there at a time and it's usually the same ones I see regularly. although I have a yard, it is not fenced, so I keep him on a long leash to go outside, but he doesn't have an opportunity to run around like he does at the dog park. I know this living situation isn't ideal, but this is my last year here, and I'm trying my best to make it work. in another year ill be living in a quieter area with a fenced backyard, but for now, I do rely on the dog park.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for your advice! to clear some things up and address some things other people mentioned, when I adopted my dog they told me in his previous home he lived with one of his sisters and they were extremely attached. since they were separated after their owner surrendered them, I feel bad for him and I don't want him to feel lonely with no other dog interactions. he also has some leash reactivity issues so I can't let him meet other dogs on walks, and I probably wouldn't do it even if he wasn't leash-reactive. also because of his leash reaction problems I want him to be able to learn to socialize with other dogs properly, and not be deprived of seeing other dogs since I know he was used to living with his sister. I don't know too many people with dogs and the ones who do have very small dogs, which wouldn't be good for my 85lb dog to run around with. I've thought about signing up for group training classes, but 1) there are none currently active in my area right now due to covid, and 2. I am a college student and although I can afford training classes, I would prefer trying to find another solution since I am training him myself and he's been responding well. do you have any ideas on how I could find another way to socialize my dog or how I could meet responsible dog owners for dog playdates? I also live a very short walk from the beach/dog beach, I could try putting him in a different setting to play with other dogs, but I don't know how different it will be from the dog park.

A few other people questioned why I go to the dog park in the first place to play fetch. The reason I go to the dog park so frequently has to do with where I live. im living in a college town where there really isn't much side-walk space, some streets have no sidewalk at all. I do still take him for walks every day, but I don't want to walk him for over 45 minutes because the asphalt is hot, even in the morning. pretty much every night here is packed with people partying. although I could walk him at night and he doesn't care about all the people walking around, I am not too fond of drunk people running up to my dog trying to pet him while I'm still training him. so my solution to this is to use our small community dog park. the college area I live in is relatively small and not too many people have dogs so taking him to the dog park in the morning when no one is ever there is the perfect opportunity for him to play, exercise, use the bathroom, and it's a good (and the only) opportunity I have to train him off-leash in an enclosed area. then once he's already played fetch and went for a walk in the morning, ill take him to the dog park in the afternoon to socialize with other dogs. since its a small park, I've never seen more than 5 dogs there at a time and it's usually the same ones I see regularly. although I have a yard, it is not fenced, so I keep him on a long leash to go outside, but he doesn't have an opportunity to run around like he does at the dog park. I know this living situation isn't ideal, but this is my last year here, and I'm trying my best to make it work. in another year ill be living in a quieter area with a fenced backyard, but for now, I do rely on the dog park.
and one more thing, I don't take my dog to daycare because I'm lazy or don't want to spend time with my dog. I would take him there because I still work 5 days a week and I thought it would be nice for him to play with other dogs a couple of times a week while I'm at work instead of waiting at home all alone for me to get home. he doesn't have separation anxiety or anything, I just thought it would be nice for him and he does really enjoy it there, just not the humping part.
 

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and one more thing, I don't take my dog to daycare because I'm lazy or don't want to spend time with my dog. I would take him there because I still work 5 days a week and I thought it would be nice for him to play with other dogs a couple of times a week while I'm at work instead of waiting at home all alone for me to get home. he doesn't have separation anxiety or anything, I just thought it would be nice for him and he does really enjoy it there, just not the humping part.
I am 100% on board with doggy daycare when at work (just doesn’t work for me). Some have smaller group settings. I wouldn’t take mine to the “throw 35 dogs in a gymnasium” type places, but yeah, I like daycare otherwise. I hate dog parks..... for all dogs.

With that said, I think you’re doing things right, but a daycare that would let that happen is a red flag...... after all..... what is the appropriate response to being raped?
 

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I am 100% on board with doggy daycare when at work (just doesn’t work for me). Some have smaller group settings. I wouldn’t take mine to the “throw 35 dogs in a gymnasium” type places, but yeah, I like daycare otherwise. I hate dog parks..... for all dogs.

With that said, I think you’re doing things right, but a daycare that would let that happen is a red flag...... after all..... what is the appropriate response to being raped?
A dog mounting another dog is non sexual arousal. It is not "rape." It often is a show of excitement or dominance in pack structure at that moment.

When I worked (out of the house 12 hours some days) I had both outdoor and indoor full size kennels for my dogs (5'x10' with 6 foot sides, out door kennel had dog house and a wire top and was shaded). I put a rabbit pan in the kennel indoors as a potty spot.

When I got home the FIRST order of business was to get the dog or dogs out. Then I would get changed if necessary and the next order of business was training and play with the dogs. AFTER that they would get fed (in kennels) while I prepared and at my own meal. After that I would have more dog interaction (if light out a walk, if dark out, house time). Bits or training were thrown in here and there.

Socialization is NOT about allowing your dog to play with other dogs (this is a common misconception). Socialization is getting your dog used to environmental things and focusing on you. It is absolutely NOT allowing other dogs to approach your dog or people to lean over your dog (very threatening to dogs) and pet it.
 

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I, too, tried to use dog parks, on-leash meetings, and - for a brief period - doggy daycare to 'socialize' my dog. I failed to recognize that as my dog matured, he became more stressed in these situations and faster to correct other dogs, and was growing more wound up and tense overall because he could not handle the chaos and unpredictability in these scenarios. Leash meetings just meant he was constantly scanning for other dogs, and then immediately escalating to overstimulated and frustrated when he saw them. While some other dogs and owners at the dog parks were very responsible - watching their dogs closely and intervening before rude behavior escalated - many were totally uninterested in even knowing where in the park their dog was, meaning things often got out of control and many dogs there were too overexcited or stressed to behave nicely with others.

What this all lead to was my dog learning how to interact with dogs when everyone was in a heightened, overaroused state and a fight could break out any second. This isn't healthy socialization. Think about a human child learning how to socialize with their peers in a controlled, structured setting like kindergarten, summer camps, etc. vs them learning to socialize in a Lord of the Flies scenario. At almost nine I'm still working with my dog's leash reactivity and intense overreactions in dog-dog interactions, even between family dogs he knows well. He can live with our younger dog fine, and is good with my MiL's very even-tempered, calm Leonberger, but gets extremely stressed and snappy around my SiL's energetic and excitable spitz. I wish I had taught him to be neutral about other dogs in his environment, to focus more on me and not fixate on where other dogs are and what they're doing, but dog parks, doggie daycare, and allowing frequent on-leash meetings with other dogs taught him the opposite and now I'm working with the aftermath.

I no longer use dog parks unless they're totally empty (we leash up and leave immediately if someone else shows up). Some dogs are great dog park dogs, but many really don't do well with them. Same for doggie daycare - they tend to also be high-energy experiences where many dogs are amped up and overaroused, unless you're lucky enough to have one that manages their dogs super super well, allows frequent breaks to cool down and unwind, and keeps play groups very small and curated so everyone gets along.

I do take him on leashed group trail walks, where the focus is more on experiencing the walk and the sights/smells around than fixating on and interacting with the other dogs. I allow him to play and interact with select dogs I know he does well with and who have owners I trust to help manage the interaction and respect my boundaries when I say it's time to stop or we have to intervene with certain behaviors (mostly family members' dogs at the moment). I train fun tricks and enrichment games to keep his brain engaged, and take online classes when I can (I like the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, which does offer scholarships for people who need financial assistance, if that sounds like something that'd work for you). He doesn't enjoy 99% of interactions with strange dogs, and that's okay.

See if you have a dog club in your area, or a local facebook/other social media group for dog-savvy people looking to connect. Dog clubs do often charge membership fees, but many are helpful if you reach out and explain you're looking for safer places to exercise/train your dog, or people willing to set up safe, controlled playdates.

It's also worth noting that this dog is a miniature poodle. I never had the extra concern that if something happened, he'd be blamed for starting the fight due to his breed. I never had to worry that I wouldn't be able to physically control him or remove him from an escalating situation. This is something you need to think about, both because you have a breed mix that shoulders the unfortunate burden of being seen as an 'aggressive' breed by much of the public, and because your dog is large, strong, and much more difficult to physically remove from a bad situation if he decides he's not going anywhere.
 
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