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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Pals gone bad?

Hi all --

We (Snickers, Snoopy and I) had an encounter this morning that has me a bit confused and concerned. The dogs and I have hooked up with a group that meets regularly at a local park for some off leash play and running. We've been part of this "Pack" since the dogs were puppies so everyone knows everyone else.

There is Snoopy and Snickers - Both Havanese.
Then there is Stella (Female - mixed breed - very calm and well behaved).
Then there is Buddy (Male "Poo" dog -very friendly and loves his treats).
Finally there is Marley (Female - mixed breed - quite a lot more hyper - but "lo es me" in that whenever he sees me coming across the field with Sincks and Snoops he'll come running and won't stop till I've scratched his belly).

Buddy and Marley used to squabble when they were younger - haven't had an issue an a year or so.

Today Marley got irritated at Snickers for some reason and went off on her. Didn't hurt her, but scared the dickens out of her. We were all slowly moving across the lawn toward the dog drinking fountain when Snicks stopped to beg for a treat from Marley's owner. That was it. No other signs etc. No growling just all of the sudden Marley had Snicks bowled over and was baking and nipping. Dunno -- Don't think I've ever seen a dog go off without some kind of cause...

Maybe Snickers needs a bath?

Marley's owner immediately put her on leash and disciplined her but I don't think Marley understood why she was being punished --- dunno.

We'll see them again at the beginning of the week and we'll see how they get along then. I'd hate to loose these pack mates for the dogs but won't run the risk of having Snickers injured either...

Ideas?

Cheers!

Jim and Lynda and Snickers and the new P&P machine Snoopy.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 01:50 PM
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Just having one of those days, she wants to be left alone. All dogs fixed? Nice to see you again.



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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 02:03 PM
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Boy, an awful lot can be going on in a situation like that, and can be missed by all the owners because it happens so fast. You didn't say whether Marley is neutered, how old she is, and the size difference between her and Snickers. If she hasn't yet been neutered, it could be sexually driven. Even if she HAS been neutered, bitches aren't called that for nothing. If she is adolescent, she may be feeling her oats, and took it out on Snicks.

The GOOD thing is that dog "fights" that end with no blood were not meant as real "fights". If she didn't draw blood, she was giving Snicks a "dressing down" and didn't mean to hurt him. Snicks did the right thing by going belly up, to show that he had no interest in fighting back. Did she then separate from him, or did a person have to pull her off? If they separated on their own, even if Snicks then ran for cover, Marley got her message across, and Snicks is unlikely to do whatever bothered her so quickly again.

It MAY be that Marley is resource guarding either her person, or more likely, the treats he was carrying. This is often a bone of contention between dogs, and it could be that you could maintain peace by making play group a "no treat" period for everyone to avoid resource guarding.

I think that you are right, Marley probably had NO idea why she was disciplined. It was the right thing to do to get her back on leash if you folks didn't know why/what happened, but if the discipline came AFTER leashing her (or even catching her), as is most likely the case, all the owner REALLY reinforced is that it's better not to be caught or leashed. Probably NOT the message they were trying to get across!

If it were me, and Snicks and this dog are close to the same size, I'd try it again, without any food present. If the other dog is much larger, it is more problematic, because Marley could hurt Snicks more than she meant to, just because of the size difference. But just making a lot of noise and one dog going belly up for the other is the equivalent of two siblings squabbling... not that big a deal. Many people with two or more Havs living in the same home see the same type of behavior from time to time within the home.

If the problem continues, even with no food present, and it's important to everyone to be able to continue the group, see if everyone would chip in to have a good positive based behavior specialist come and watch the group dynamics to see if they can figure out what is going on. It wouldn't be expensive for anyone if you all chipped in.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
Boy, an awful lot can be going on in a situation like that, and can be missed by all the owners because it happens so fast. You didn't say whether Marley is neutered, how old she is, and the size difference between her and Snickers. If she hasn't yet been neutered, it could be sexually driven. Even if she HAS been neutered, bitches aren't called that for nothing. If she is adolescent, she may be feeling her oats, and took it out on Snicks.

The GOOD thing is that dog "fights" that end with no blood were not meant as real "fights". If she didn't draw blood, she was giving Snicks a "dressing down" and didn't mean to hurt him. Snicks did the right thing by going belly up, to show that he had no interest in fighting back. Did she then separate from him, or did a person have to pull her off? If they separated on their own, even if Snicks then ran for cover, Marley got her message across, and Snicks is unlikely to do whatever bothered her so quickly again.

It MAY be that Marley is resource guarding either her person, or more likely, the treats he was carrying. This is often a bone of contention between dogs, and it could be that you could maintain peace by making play group a "no treat" period for everyone to avoid resource guarding.

I think that you are right, Marley probably had NO idea why she was disciplined. It was the right thing to do to get her back on leash if you folks didn't know why/what happened, but if the discipline came AFTER leashing her (or even catching her), as is most likely the case, all the owner REALLY reinforced is that it's better not to be caught or leashed. Probably NOT the message they were trying to get across!

If it were me, and Snicks and this dog are close to the same size, I'd try it again, without any food present. If the other dog is much larger, it is more problematic, because Marley could hurt Snicks more than she meant to, just because of the size difference. But just making a lot of noise and one dog going belly up for the other is the equivalent of two siblings squabbling... not that big a deal. Many people with two or more Havs living in the same home see the same type of behavior from time to time within the home.

If the problem continues, even with no food present, and it's important to everyone to be able to continue the group, see if everyone would chip in to have a good positive based behavior specialist come and watch the group dynamics to see if they can figure out what is going on. It wouldn't be expensive for anyone if you all chipped in.
Thanks Karen -- good advice. I try not to worry too much about the dog fights I've seen because as you mention it's usually just a way of the dogs settling a disagreement without ever doing any real damage. I would have been much more worried if Marley was a new dog to Snickers and acted this way. But it also makes me wonder "why today"? They've been good friends and pack mates for nearly the last two years -- Something got to Marley and it may well have been the treats -- My dogs will do nearly anything for a treat, and think nothing of asking everyone they see to give them one. That may well have been the final straw for Marley.

Both Marley and Stella are bigger than the Hav's are - don't know exactly what breed mix - a bit like a wire haired Terrier but with much longer limbs - not a great deal of weight, but still well proportioned.

I'll see how they do on Monday and propose to the group that we keep the treats out of the mix for a while - specially if we have difficulty again.

Cheers!

Jim and Lynda and Snickers and the new P&P machine Snoopy.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by krandall View Post
Boy, an awful lot can be going on in a situation like that, and can be missed by all the owners because it happens so fast. You didn't say whether Marley is neutered, how old she is, and the size difference between her and Snickers. If she hasn't yet been neutered, it could be sexually driven. Even if she HAS been neutered, bitches aren't called that for nothing. If she is adolescent, she may be feeling her oats, and took it out on Snicks.

The GOOD thing is that dog "fights" that end with no blood were not meant as real "fights". If she didn't draw blood, she was giving Snicks a "dressing down" and didn't mean to hurt him. Snicks did the right thing by going belly up, to show that he had no interest in fighting back. Did she then separate from him, or did a person have to pull her off? If they separated on their own, even if Snicks then ran for cover, Marley got her message across, and Snicks is unlikely to do whatever bothered her so quickly again.

It MAY be that Marley is resource guarding either her person, or more likely, the treats he was carrying. This is often a bone of contention between dogs, and it could be that you could maintain peace by making play group a "no treat" period for everyone to avoid resource guarding.

I think that you are right, Marley probably had NO idea why she was disciplined. It was the right thing to do to get her back on leash if you folks didn't know why/what happened, but if the discipline came AFTER leashing her (or even catching her), as is most likely the case, all the owner REALLY reinforced is that it's better not to be caught or leashed. Probably NOT the message they were trying to get across!

If it were me, and Snicks and this dog are close to the same size, I'd try it again, without any food present. If the other dog is much larger, it is more problematic, because Marley could hurt Snicks more than she meant to, just because of the size difference. But just making a lot of noise and one dog going belly up for the other is the equivalent of two siblings squabbling... not that big a deal. Many people with two or more Havs living in the same home see the same type of behavior from time to time within the home.

If the problem continues, even with no food present, and it's important to everyone to be able to continue the group, see if everyone would chip in to have a good positive based behavior specialist come and watch the group dynamics to see if they can figure out what is going on. It wouldn't be expensive for anyone if you all chipped in.
Very informative, helpful post, Karen!

Linda, Augie & Finn's Mom
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 08:51 PM
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I too think it was resource guarding. My girls no better, but in rally class when some of the other dogs beg for a treat from me, my guys give me the look..they don't like sharing but know better. My friend has a nice Springer who is 2 and has become nippy about food we practice together and now the only dog he has not tried to nip is my girl Misty...she will not go around him or eat treats if he is around she turns the other way. We have elimated all food during some practice,we use praise and play instead if not none of the others would have wanted to keep practicing with him. She is working on it but in the mean time she can keep practicing. Save the treats for home or the car.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 11:05 PM
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We have four dogs living here and every once in a while the same thing happens. I feel it is the food guarding that Karen was talking about. I bet if you leave the treats out it will not happen. Although some times are sweet 13 year old Ausie will get mad jut out of the blue it always sounds worse than it really is. She likes to herd my two sometimes and it sounds bad but she gets her point across.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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I wanted to bubble this back to the top because we just got back from the park and I need some additional input.

Basically since Snickers had Marley had their differences we've not had much of a chance to be with them - things have conspired to keep us all on different schedules. Last week we saw everyone and as soon as Snickers saw Marely she took off across the park and would not come back when I called her -- I had to leash her and then walk her around everyone else.

Today we had the same issue. She was fine until she spotted Marley and then she took off and would not return. I put her on a leash and walked her back in the area the other dogs were and she balked and pulled away. So, we tried a few things -- every one put their dogs on a leash and we walked ahead of them (to show dominance?). We had Marley lie down and tried to walk Snickers past her which she refused to do. We tried having me hold Marley's leash and walk all the dogs -- that didn't work either.

Clearly Snickers is terrified of Marley and does not feel like she is a pack member in good standing. As soon as we were away from them both Snicks and Snoops ran and played like they normally do.

Looking for some good ideas to help get this pack back together.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Jim and Lynda and Snickers and the new P&P machine Snoopy.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SnickersDad View Post
I wanted to bubble this back to the top because we just got back from the park and I need some additional input.

Basically since Snickers had Marley had their differences we've not had much of a chance to be with them - things have conspired to keep us all on different schedules. Last week we saw everyone and as soon as Snickers saw Marely she took off across the park and would not come back when I called her -- I had to leash her and then walk her around everyone else.

Today we had the same issue. She was fine until she spotted Marley and then she took off and would not return. I put her on a leash and walked her back in the area the other dogs were and she balked and pulled away. So, we tried a few things -- every one put their dogs on a leash and we walked ahead of them (to show dominance?). We had Marley lie down and tried to walk Snickers past her which she refused to do. We tried having me hold Marley's leash and walk all the dogs -- that didn't work either.

Clearly Snickers is terrified of Marley and does not feel like she is a pack member in good standing. As soon as we were away from them both Snicks and Snoops ran and played like they normally do.

Looking for some good ideas to help get this pack back together.

Cheers!
I think it would really be a good idea to get a good trainer out to watch the group dynamics and help you sort out what's going wrong.

In the mean time, I'd keep Snicks on leash around the other dogs, BUT maintain what feels to her like a SAFE distance. Then ask her to sit and ignore the other dogs. feed her LOTS of cookies when she does. SLOWLY, as she shows signs that she is ready, move a little closer and a little closer, feeding LOTS of small treats at each step. This won't work in one session or two... it may take MANY sessions before she feels comfortable and safe again. She sounds like she got really scared!

I would NOT walk her in front to the other dogs. Regardless of what Cesar says, NONE of the dogs read this as "dominance". And a frightened dog doesn't WANT the dogs she's afraid of coming up behind her. Better would be to have the owner of the dog she is afraid of walk that dog parallel to her, but at a distance she feels comfortable with. (that COULD start out being the other side of the field. Over time, with lots of treats and praise, (to both dogs) start moving them closer together as she can tolerate it. At the first sign of nervousness, you know you've gotten them too close.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 03:54 PM
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I don't have anything useful to add, just wanted to say what a sad situation for everyone. I'm sure the other dog owner feels awful about it too. I hope Snickers works through this and can keep all her doggie buddies. Poor girl.

Tracy and Brody


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