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Hi, I adopted a 7 months old half lab/dobby from the pound about 3 weeks ago. She is a sweet dog, loves everyone and every other dog. She has some anxiety separation, but is getting quite better.

She was so excited when I first got her, but so far, I`m pretty happy with her progress so far, as she can walk on the leash withouth nearly ever pulling it (except when there is another dog, a squirrel or a cat :), can sit, stay and wait for her food, doesn't jump on people anymore and can even go to her penthouse (well her dog bed). etc.

So obviously, I decided to bring her to the dog park to socialize her (I heard this is the best way to stop to dog being so interested in every other dog on the street).

She was shy as first, but now runs to every other dog, friend or new.

However, my concern comes here - play time with smaller dogs or even dogs her size (there is absolutely no problem with dogs bigger than her)

At first she plays REALLY WELL, she lets the smaller one dominate most of the time, plays really gently, but for some reasons, after 10-15-20 minutes of playing, she kinda gets overexcited and will start bitting the other dog harder. Here comes the problem, she will suddenly bite them and NOT LET GO. She seems to have NO BITING INHIBITION at all.

I found dog owners starting to avoid her (and us), which is NOT COOL.

Any advice on how to stop this?
 

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Is she getting seriously aggressive? Does she injure other dogs, or draw blood?

Assuming she's just gets wound up and plays too rough, interrupt her play every 10 minutes. Throw a ball a few times (surely a lab mix will chase a ball), then let her get back to playing. Just don't let her excitement escalate to a problem level.

Does she bite you during play as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Well I don't think she has injured any of the other dogs (from the onspot examination), but bites hard enough for the other dogs to yelp for help and then doesn't let go.

One guy got really mad at her... Although I didn`t hear his puppy yelp for help that time.
He swore and said to my pup something along the line of "wait until he gets a little bigger" (as if the dog was gonna get revenge....) and left the park. I thought that was a little bit out of line, anyway, I will be sure to stay away from his dog.

Another dog owner is litterally avoiding us, leaves when he sees us or changes direction when he sees us heading to the park. He has a golden retriever my pup played with last time. I don't remember her biting his dog hard, but maybe she did hurt him while playing and the owner doesn't want to say anything?

Other times it was obvious that the other dog was in pain and that she wasn't gonna let go.

Sigh.

As for the biting while playing, she's never bit me really, but I think she did bite my boyfriend a little bit hard one time and he did let the dog know it wasn't ok.

Thanks for the tip though, I will try throwing the ball every 10-15minutes, see how this works :) Hopefully all she lacks is a little bit of socialization.
 

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... and then doesn't let go.

Other times it was obvious that the other dog was in pain and that she wasn't gonna let go.
Does that mean her jaws lock and she doesn't release the other dog at all? You might want to have a look at the sticky 'the bite stops here' in the training section of this forum but if she shows a proper jaw lock that COULD mean she comes from a dog fighting line genetically ... That would be no good news. Any info on the background of the puppy? Where did you get her from?
 

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There are no breeds whose "jaws lock." That is a myth.

I wouldn't take this dog to the dog park, though. You're running the risk of her seriously hurting another dog, or getting into a bad fight when she bites and holds on to a dog who won't stand for that.
 

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The other guy might have intended a threat (which would be out of line) or might have just meant his pup's not ready to play with yours.

A yelp can indicate fear instead of pain, and there are other ways for a dog to show fear. Not that your dog is a bully (she's just a pup), but the smaller dog will feel and act like it's being bullied. It's not surprising for the other owner to interpret an encounter as being worse than you thought it was. You do step in and try to get control over your dog, right?

What do the other dogs do? I've seen dog-park packs intervene in cases like that, to put a stop to ill-mannered behavior. I think there are some things about being a dog, that a dog can only learn from other dogs.

I also think it was a mistake for the guy to take his dog home; if its last encounter at the park was unpleasant, it might end up with a fear of dogs, or of parks, or with an attitude toward your dog in particular.

Hopefully she just needs a bit more experience and maturity.
 

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It's not surprising for the other owner to interpret an encounter as being worse than you thought it was.
A bigger dog biting my smaller dog and not letting go is not a small thing. This kind of attitude is why many of us don't go to dog parks. This is a serious issue.

Yes, if I knew your dog had a history of biting smaller dogs, you better believe, I would leave the minute I saw you coming.

I think there are some things about being a dog, that a dog can only learn from other dogs.
:jaw: uh....no...........

Other times it was obvious that the other dog was in pain and that she wasn't gonna let go.
Please find a good trainer to help you.
 

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A yelp can indicate fear instead of pain, and there are other ways for a dog to show fear. Not that your dog is a bully (she's just a pup), but the smaller dog will feel and act like it's being bullied. It's not surprising for the other owner to interpret an encounter as being worse than you thought it was. You do step in and try to get control over your dog, right?

What do the other dogs do? I've seen dog-park packs intervene in cases like that, to put a stop to ill-mannered behavior. I think there are some things about being a dog, that a dog can only learn from other dogs.
While I agree that a yelp can be from fear or even just surprise rather than pain, I also think it is quite clear that the poster's dog is biting too hard and holding too hard and yes, it is ending up as bullying. My dog is large and when he plays with a friend's smaller dog, sometimes she tumbles over and yelps or he will jump towards her and without even touching her, she will yelp. That is a "startled yelp" rather than a pain yelp like the poster above is dealing with (and I will note that in my case, our two dogs do very well together and the little one quickly gets back into the play)


"Dog-park packs intervening" sounds horribly dangerous and something that would make me (and my dog) turn tail and run. Very very very bad idea for unknown dogs, especially in groups, to be "correcting" each other. A well mannered adult dog can correct puppy biting (and they learn bite inhibition from mama and the litter mates too) when the owner knows both dogs and can control the situation but random dogs in a park? No way, not cool, not good, recipe for disaster.

To the poster:
Quit taking your dog to dog parks. Consult a GOOD positive trainer if at all possible and at least read some good training books. AFTER some training, maybe let your dog play with ONE well trained and well supervised adult dog with another adult around to help keep an eye on things and step if in needed.
 

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The yelp can be fear and not pain, but it is a CLEAR indication of a boundary. In a social puppy setting, dogs bite each other all the time -- I have two who play-fight on a regular basis and their mouths are always open going at each other or holding each other down -- but there is a line: when one yelps, the other lets go. This is important. Just because the dog is expressing fear, doesn't automatically mean it's "no big deal" or something of that nature. It is a HUGE deal, because the dog has fear for a reason. What is fear now could easily turn into a situation where your dog is causing pain, and if that happens, it would be because everyone ignored the warning signs (a yelp of fear).

My smaller dogs also play with the golden Lab upstairs. They run around and have some fun, and the Lab being bigger tends to pin the smaller dogs with her mouth. This is 90% of the time no big deal and the big Lab always lets go in due time and they have another fun romp, but the other 10% of the time the Lab holds on a little too long or a little too hard and one of my dogs gives the yelp. The "Ok, whoa, that's enough and I'm putting a boundary out there right now" yelp.

And what dose the Lab do? Lets them go of course! Because that's the way it works.

If your dog is not letting go then the dog is having difficulty interacting with the other dogs as far as I'm concerned. I certainly wouldn't want to encounter that dog in a dog park with my smaller ones. It doesn't have the social skills to know how to properly play with other dogs. Your dog runs the risk of moving from just holding the dog in his mouth to actually thrashing the dog from side to side and causing critical injury or even death -- something which I frankly would hold the owner of the attacker-dog liable for.

A dog who "doesn't let go" is capable of killing another dog as far as I'm concerned.

My recommendation would be training + doggy daycare. Doggy daycare will allow your dog to get supervised time with other dogs and learn how to play appropriately in a more closed and monitored setting, but I wouldn't take the doggy daycare step until appropriate training has been done with the dog first.
 

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Your dog is repeatedly biting a bunch of other dogs and refusing to let go, and you are going back like nothing happened? And you're annoyed that people are now avoiding you? I'm surprised the people at your dog park haven't kicked you out.

Don't go back to the dog park. I think you should find a class near you at a good facility, where interactions with other dogs will be supervised and among other things the trainers can help you with any specific issues.
 

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Your dog is repeatedly biting a bunch of other dogs and refusing to let go, and you are going back like nothing happened? And you're annoyed that people are now avoiding you? I'm surprised the people at your dog park haven't kicked you out.

Don't go back to the dog park. I think you should find a class near you at a good facility, where interactions with other dogs will be supervised and among other things the trainers can help you with any specific issues.
This. Of course people are avoiding you. They're being quite polite. I would have told you to get out.
 

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Totally agree with what's been said by begemot & sendiulino.

Seriously, if I were one of those other dog owners, I'd be avoiding you and your dog too. Biting another dog during play and NOT letting go is NOT normal. That's not how well mannered dogs play. If someone yelps, the other is supposed to LET GO, because it's a warning to say "hey this isn't fun anymore".

Those people are not overreacting to your dog's behaviour and how you managed the situation. You need to stop bringing your dog to dog parks until you consult with a trainer to get her trained to properly interact with other dogs. Your dog is big and could VERY easily kill a small dog in a split second. How would you feel if you were the owner of that small dog who got bitten? I expect you wouldn't be very happy either.

I understand that your dog is like your baby and nobody likes people criticizing/avoiding their kids but unfortunately... they have a valid reason to and maybe you should take a step back and consider your options instead of blaming other people for being mean.
 

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Definitely go to a trainer and get this situation under control before going back to the dog park. If you insist on returning, I would suggest a muzzle next time and maybe a non-shock E-correction collar (doesn't hurt the dog at all! I've tried it before on my neck before. It's just vibration.) She's only 7 months old at the moment...when she gets bigger and gets all her coordination and strength, she might take this whole situation seriously and not just play. Even when a small dog squeaks in her mouth might turn to whole situation from play...to something else.
Nobody is trying to be mean, just stating our opinion. Good luck with her training! :)
 

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..."Dog-park packs intervening" sounds horribly dangerous and something that would make me (and my dog) turn tail and run. Very very very bad idea for unknown dogs, especially in groups, to be "correcting" each other...
Maybe "intervening" is too strong a word, it's never gotten ugly or anything. Mostly they start to gather round, maybe a little barking. Surely you've seen this sort of thing? Or maybe I need to look for another dog park?
 

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Maybe "intervening" is too strong a word, it's never gotten ugly or anything. Mostly they start to gather round, maybe a little barking. Surely you've seen this sort of thing? Or maybe I need to look for another dog park?
I don't frequent dog parks a lot, but I have been and I've also had my dog off leash on private property with other dogs. I wouldn't feel comfortable with a group of dogs gathering round and doing something that is likely to up the ante for the "attacker" (attacker meaning the dog who isn't releasing the other). Too easy for the aggressor dog to get really hyped up by the pack around them, easy for them to turn the aggression towards one of those surrounding barking dogs and too easy for one of those barking dogs to jump into the fray.
I wouldn't like any dog park where the owners allow the dogs to get into enough trouble to begin with that other dogs have the chance to intervene.
Not being able to see what you are describing, I can't say whether its a problem at your dog park, but it doesn't sound like a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Wow lots of responses...

--> I forgot to add in the original post -- whenever we separate them, the other dog always come back right away running to play more with her - although i never let her play anymore with the other dogs after the incidents. So I highly doubt they are really hurt. BUT THIS IS STILL A CONCERN - SHE NEEDS TO LET GO EVEN WHEN OVEREXCITED?


First, OF COURSE I INTERVENE when she does it. I don`t watch and let it happen... I run and separate them. THIS IS WHY I AM ASKING FOR ADVICES ON WHAT TO DO, whether people had encounted similiar problems and resolved it. I've never encountered this type of problem, and of course this stresses me out, I want to feel safe, my dog to feel safe just as much as other dog owners to feel safe.

In the short amount of time I've brought my dog to the park, I`ve seen other dog owners do nothing when their dog bullies other dogs. One couple was busy drinking beer and making out on the corner when their dog was hurting other dogs... I`ve seen dog owners not care when their dogs hump other dogs. One pitbull was bullying every other dog and his owner thought it was fuuny... I even saw a fight between two dogs and the dog owner of the faulty dog ended up with a bloody hand trying to separate the dogs. On the other hand, I have seen responsible dog owners. One women had rescued a boxer who showed a little bit too much dominance over the other dogs. So she supervised him very closely at the park, and anytime he tried to do anything wrong, she quickly separated him and calmed him before letting him go play with other dogs. Most dog owners will not let their dog hump other dogs and stop discourage this behavior. Another dog owner supervised his dog who seems to love biting on my dogs ears, and tell him off whenever he went for the ears. My point is that dogs are dogs and THINGS HAPPEN AT THE PARK. But I am trying to figure out the steps to do with my dog so ALL OF THE ABOVE DON'T HAPPEN. She is a young dog still, so I have no doubt she can learn.

When I first got Stella, about 3weeks and a half ago, she was 6 months and had terrible manners. It was a really claustrophobe unsecure dog. It looks like no one ever taught her anything and probably confined her in a room, but playing with a dog at the pound for one hour doesn't tell you their story or habits, and she was really friendly too, so I picked her.

As for where she comes from, I got her from the pound. Her chart says she was born on a farm and given to a couple. Then, according to the chart, the wife got pregnant and they decided they didn`t have time for her. A second person adopted her, but also found out that she required too much time, so they gave her up. According to the charts, she has lived with children 8-10 years old and did very well with them.

She looked like an angel at the dog pound but became a little bit of a demon after a few days. She could barely sit on command, would pull as hard on the leash as possible, steal food, go absolutely nuts when she saw another dog (play mode), jump on people to say hi, whine like crazy for anything, pee in the house or on her bed, and was so scared of the broom or anything that looked like a stick, but we have been consistantly training her and ignoring her cries.

I`m not gonna lie about it, after only two weeks of having her, we thought about giving her back to the pound and trading her for a smaller dog, because she was so untrained and so difficult to control and because the whining was driving us crazy - I now suspect this is why the second owner gave her away. We felt that all we were doing was taking care of the dog and were overwhelmed (we both used to have VERY LAID BACK DOGS). But my friend, who rescued a german sheppard with lots of behaviorial issues and who showed lots aggressivness towards other dogs (he trained her properly and it is now the sweetest dog ever) convinced us to give it some more time, patience and lots of training.

It is weird to say, but after the night we discussed for a good hour or two about bringing giving her up, she started changing, as if she understood our concerns. And now, after 3 and half weeks with us, it is obvious that she is highly trainable (which I kinda doubt before). Stella sits, stays, holds her pee, waits her food, waits for me to step out or step in before she does, walks properly on the leash although she still likes to sniff around a lot, but a least I can tell her to come back to my heels and sit. She responds to "out" when we don`t want her in the living room.

We can also sweep the house without her running around with her tail tucked in between her legs.

Her whining has gone drastically down too. On a scale of 10, where 10 is non stop whining, she was a 7, now at her worst a 2.

The other nice thing is that she doesn`t jump on people anymore (except on the neighboor who`s pretty bad at letting her (and getting her) to jump and get overexcited. I might need to let him know that, until she is fully trained he should reinforce the no jumping thing.

She is still showing lots of interest when she sees other dogs on the street, but can remain fairly calm. So maybe she was never really socialized with other dogs in the past?

I let her play with my brother`s Shitzu last night, SUPERVISED, and she did fine. Mind you, the shitzu wanted nothing to do with her, but she didnt try to grab or bite, she was just jumping around trying to get him to play with her.

She`s never showed any agression towards dog, if a dog snaps at her (especially smalls one seems they have less patience), she whines, hide behind me, tail between her legs.

She doesnt show any food or toy possessivness either (I can take her food/toy/bone anytime from her), she had no trouble letting the shitzu chew on her bone, didnt really do anything else other than some whining.

I will withhold the dog park for some time, and work on the training. But there is no doubt about it, I will ALWAYS supervise her closely at the park. I will look into Stop the Biting, teach her how to play tug war properly, that kind of stuff, look into a proper training class. I might let her play one on one with my friends bigger dogs for a little while. And like the DustyCrockett suggested, until I fully trust her in that regards, I might just stop playtime every couple of minutes or when I see her getting too excited.

She is not a bad dog, just a very untrained strong puppy - like someone commented she is all muscles... and it would really sadden me to give her up. But as for now, we are going on week 4 and I couldnt be more happy with her progress and learning curve, even when she sneaks in my bedroom and lies on the nice comfy bed where she isn`t supposed to be :)
 
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