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Old 11-13-2011, 07:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Basset dominance issue

I took my 1.5 year-old basset, Oscar to the local dog park, where he normally goes and frolics with all of the other dogs. The only dogs he's ever had behavioral issues with are a couple intact males. Tonight it went too far when an intact male Basset came to the park. After the first initial greeting, Oscar snarled and got aggressive chasing the dog with ears back and jowls up. I separated him and gave him a time out.

After a few minutes and he'd calmed down, he went back to play with the other dogs. Within seconds he was chasing that poor basset again and attacked. No injuries, but just absolutely unacceptable. The other basset was fine, and continued playing. Oscar growled at me when I rolled him on his back and put his leash on to take him home. The first time he's ever acted that way toward me.

Needless to say I am absolutely embarrassed. He has gotten into scuffles with other larger intact males but it's only ever been when they try to mount him. This was completely unprovoked, Oscar being the aggressor.

I grew up with bassets, but until Oscar, never had a male. Has anyone ever experienced this? Is there a way to stymie this? Was it territorial--It was the first time this dog had been to the park?

Looking for any advice...
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Oscar growled at me when I rolled him on his back and put his leash on to take him home. The first time he's ever acted that way toward me.
which is complete and totaly understandable see
Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in
Behavior Modification of Animals

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
Quote:

People who rely on dominance theory to train their pets may need to regularly threaten them with aggressive displays or repeatedly use physical force. Conversely, pets subjected to threats or force may not offer submissive behaviors. Instead, they may react with aggression, not because they are trying to be dominant but because the human threatening them makes them afraid.

... Overall, the use of dominance theory to understand human-animal interactions leads to an antagonistic relationship between owners and their pets.


so let me get this straight Oscar has had problems in the bast with a few dogs that act rudely and when you do not protect him from such rude behavior he act on the behavior in an approiate mannor based on doggie etiquitte and you punish hin for it.

see
He Just Wants To Say "Hi!"
Aggression or appropriate response to rudeness? Far too many dogs suffer because handlers & trainers don't know the difference between the two

Dogs Use Non-Aggressive Fighting to Resolve Conflicts
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However, what about cases where teeth are f lashing, spit is flying and the growling is deafening, but in the end, neither dog is the worse for wear? This is a gray area that is so very interesting precisely because it’s often not clear-cut. Are these instances of aggression?
Quote:
The answer depends upon whom you ask. Even among behavioral scientists, the term “aggression” can have so many meanings that, in effect, it has lost its meaning. For example, behaviorists might use the word “aggressive” not only to describe a dog who has killed another dog but also to describe a dog who growls or snarls at a dog who is trying to take his bone. The motivations and emotions are clearly very different in these two examples. In the first case, the dog intended to do harm and did, but in the second case, the dog was likely just communicating his displeasure. Using the same word to describe two completely different scenarios can affect how we think about and respond to a wide variety of dog-dog interactions.
Perhaps a more useful term to describe growling at a potential bone thief or the interaction between Denny and Meadow is “agonistic behavior.” Ethologists, who often use this term when studying nonhuman animals, define agonistic behaviors as those that occur between individuals of a particular species in conf lict situations. Examples of agonistic behaviors in dogs include threats like muzzle-puckering and growling; submissive behaviors like crouching, lowering the head and tucking the tail; offensive behaviors like lunging and snapping; defensive behaviors like retracting the commissure (lips) while showing the teeth; and attacking behaviors like biting. With the exception of biting that results in punctures or tears, none of these behaviors necessarily indicates intent to do harm. They simply reveal emotion (e.g., anger or fear), communicate intention (e.g., to maintain control of a resource or to avoid an interaction) or function as a normal part of play fighting (e.g., growling, snapping or inhibited biting). To determine if an interaction meets the criteria for “agonistic behavior,” an observer must focus on an objective description of the communicative patterns displayed rather than automatically jumping to judgments associated with the use of the term “aggression.”

Be very carfull when try to asscess agressor in any dog v dog conflick First it takes two to tango If at any time one of the dogs back down conflict is resolved. As things happen so quickly in such conflict we human often miss provations that occur by one of the dogs.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for the information.

To be clear, I do not try and force him into submission. I was advised when I was at the vet that since he was neutered around 8 months old, he may develop some puppy adolescence. He went through it, and I have always been patient and consistent. I mentioned his previous issues with the other intact males and the vet advised that most often than not, they resolve it themselves.She also said to pull him aside and give him a cool off period and have him sit, or lay down. He's funny because he'll let out a big huff and you can see/feel his stress disappear.

The previous occasions were nothing like tonight. Previously, Oscar would turn tell the dog to back off, and then walk away wagging his tail over to see what the other dogs were up to. Tonight he seemed to lose himself, and it startled me. I could tell he was wound up and upset. One of the reasons I continue to bring him to the park is because he is normally so well behaved and silly. All the other dog owners love how he plays with the dogs of all sizes without prejudice, and is always so well mannered. Even when the puppies grab hold of his ears and extra skin. He loves playing with the other dogs.

Tonight, though, he seemed to be beside himself. I have never seen him be aggressive. The dog hadn't even had time to get through the gate and he was chasing him around. It really happened quickly. The second one when he seemed to lose it, By the time I got there, the other dog had run to its owners with Oscar right behind him again, when I intercepted him. I was more upset than the other owners, and apologized profusely.

Anyway, I am seeking more advice as to prevent it from happening in the future. The park is great, and he gets amazing exercise and socialization when he's there. That said, I don't want this to recur as the other dog has as much right to be there as Oscar.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You seem like a really responsible owner, which is good.

haven't dealt w/this issue directly before, tho some thoughts might be to work w/a Behaviorist & have them come w/you to the park and see what they say to do. even better if you can get that same basset (well, if the owners were willing and ok w/it) for them to see the interaction.

we recently had a trainer/behaviorist out on the field for my pal, the chocolate lab "poopeater." we were all supposed to be there at a certain time to show the trainer what a "typical day" for us was like. they had Cody on a leash and were doing some leashwork w/him, while he was surrounded by the usual temptations (poop, poopbags, bags of treats-- all of these he likes to steal). it seemed to work well

best of luck & please let us know how it goes. we are starting to go to a dog park that has ~30 dogs playing together (in fact early tomorrow morning). i'm sure this sort of thing happens from time to time, so please don't feel too bad about it. having been on the receiving end, it is greatly appreciated when people apologize & seem interested in making sure the other dog is ok.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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when I rolled him on his back and put his leash on to take him home.
[quote]To be clear, I do not try and force him into submission[/q
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Is there a way to stymie this?
the quick and easy managementent technique is not to take the dog to the dog park off leash when there are intacted males around

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I was advised when I was at the vet that since he was neutered around 8 months old, he may develop some puppy adolescence.
Puppy adolescents is going to occur regardless of the nuetering status or when it orruced it is a part of the normal maturation process of all social beings. and at 1.5 he is still an adolescent.
puppy adolescents

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I mentioned his previous issues with the other intact males and the vet advised that most often than not, they resolve it themselves.She also said to pull him aside and give him a cool off period and have him sit, or lay down
That works fine if the conflict is resolved in the middle of the contact again it can cause social interactions proplems because the conversation was not allowed to conclude normal and on friendly term.


Let =me give you an exampe form personal experience. Macey can be "agressive" lcharhing, growling and snaping. At fist I though it was with large dark colored dogsd but after further reviewing incidents is was hearding breed in particular and after careful observation it became obvious that her reaction was actual a measure responce to rude behavior even if the owner of the other dog was oblivious to it. Hearding breed are natorious for ginving eye ( threatening display) Macey is more sensitive to it than most dogs but at the same time time it is rude and obnoxious behavior on the part of the other dog that percipated her actions should she be punished to acting appropriately to such provocation. I think not inteadt it is my resonsibility not to put her in a position that she feels the need to respond. So I need to be vilgent for negligent herding breed owners that are oblivious to the action of their dog. So if have to step betwen bracking eye conttact turn macey away etc.

If I actual saw the behvior I might draw a different conclsion which is why having a behaviorist that actual can see the behavior first hand is never a bad idea but at the same time you need to keep in mind that growling, snaping chasing are not aggressive by themselvs it is sort of like calling souting and yelling aggressive. We don't like it when we see it but often time they are required for solid and meaningful conversation to occur. and most often are entirely appropriat. Such behavior in dogs isd akin to yell and are meant to prevent a fight not cause one however if we human get involed in the conversation we then to screw up the vital dog v dog communication going on.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Update re: Oscar.

Update re: Oscar.

I took him to the vet recently to have his nails trimmed (surprisingly, they're much cheaper than any of the groomers around here). While there, I spoke with my vet about these issues. She tends to agree the issue really boils down to precisely what Mikey T referred to: Them sorting out the pecking order, and rude behavior.

First, She suggested I monitor the situations to see what the trigger is. Because he's such a happy-go-lucky guy he's having a blast one minute, and then something happens and it sets him off. The thing I noticed immediately is when another male dog trys to mount him, he spins, snaps, and walks away pretty much telling the other dog to back off. This is regardless of whether they're intact or not.

He seems to have associated the regular dogs at the park to being a member of his pack. There have been times recently where new dogs, males specifically, come in and go and try to hump all the other male dogs in the park to show them they're the new sheriff in town. When they've been told to back off by other dogs, usually about their size, Oscar then becomes the target as he's smaller generally one of the smaller dogs there (despite being a lean 55-60 lbs). When the dog comes in for the sniff around Oscar's head, there is no animosity at all. But when a sniff toward the rear end lasts a little too long, Oscar will spin as if to say, "I don't think so!" When the persistence of the other dog doesn't stop, Oscar will turn and snap, essentially telling the dog, okay I've had enough, leave me alone, then walks to me as if to say, "I'm doing what you asked me to, Dad!"

Since my initial posting there hasn't been an issue until the other day. An intact male boxer has started to come to the park and within 10 minutes Oscar had told this dog to stop three times and was very quickly going from, what MikeyT described, as shouting to blows. I spoke to the owner, and asked her to please keep an eye on her dog, she apologized and said she can't wait til the 4th when he goes and gets the snip. Frustrated she was doing nothing about her dogs poor behavior, I took Oscar home.

The next day, she brought him to the park, same routine, but actually bullied several other dogs to the point of the owners getting their dogs and leaving. Noticing this, I and another dog owner brought our dogs to the other end of the park to avoid the situation. Our dogs were playing and wrestling, having a blast when this Boxer pounced on Oscar. When he turned, and told him to back off, the Boxer left for a second, and then came right back. After the fourth time, Oscar finally lost his cool and went full speed absolutely letting the dog have it putting the 120lb boxer in his place. The boxer submitted, but, just as quickly then snarled and snapped back with his hackles up. That's when I intervened, separating them before it escalated further. The reality is, Oscar would have been in a wold of hurt if it went any further, and I really didn't want to deal with vet bills.

Of course the owner of the other dog was off in LA-LA land, and oblivious to what her dog was doing. Another guy had seen enough of her dog going after his two German Sheppards, and finally Oscar, and told her to either leash her dog, and teach him to behave or she knew where the gate was. She was absolutely shocked, and left.

I feel bad because it's a Catch-22: To prevent this type of behavior, the dog needs to come to a park with well-behaved dogs, but at the same time, if a dog is that far out of control (at the owners responsibility of course), it shouldn't be there.

Another thing the vet checked out for was Oscar's back. He's a bigger basset at 26kgs (55-60lbs), but is very lean and, as she put it, has a great ticker. Because he's so long, when the bigger or heavier dogs jump on him, it may be pinching his back, thus causing the fight or flight effect. And because Oscar has a pretty strong personality (find me a basset that doesn't ), he's more oft to fight. She said it would be akin to someone walking up behind you and jabbing their thumb into your spine. Then asked what my first reaction would be. Well, Oscar showed no signs of pain in his back so that's a good sign.

In the case of the other male Basset coming to the park, the vet thinks that was very much a territorial situation, and the key is to ask the owners to wait for me, and we meet out on the sidewalk before entering so the dogs can meet on neutral ground. In doing so, it may negate Oscar's territorial-ism, as the other dog would then enter first. Though this too may have been the pack mentality, and may see the other dog as a threat to him in the pecking order, or even to the pack as a whole. Again the key is to have them meet in neutral territory and see how they behave. Unfortunately, we haven't seen that dog since

The vet's key to success: Communication with the other dog owners. All have been more than supportive and have offered to pay a little closer attention and let me know if they see Oscar is showing rude behavior when I'm not watching closely.

Anyway, all this to say things have been MUCH much better and his separation anxiety is all but gone- just don't mess with the routine, or he'll letcha know :P

Next step: convincing him to sleep in his own bed for the WHOLE night. Anyone have an explanation as to why they seem to always have to have their butts up against you in bed or on the couch? And why do they sleep horizontally across the bed, and not vertically like us?!

Happy Holidays!!!
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Glad to hear things are going well!

Unfortunately, rude dogs and oblivious owners are everywhere. When faced with one, even though it may not be "fair", it is your responsibility to protect your dog from the situation by whatever means necessary, whether that means taking Oscar and leaving, or physically preventing the other dog from bothering him. He needs to know that he can look to you for guidance and protection.

As far as the bed thing, I'm afraid I'm no help there as I tend to sleep in the middle of a pile of Bassets.
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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[quuote] He seems to have associated the regular dogs at the park to being a member of his pack[/quote]

ctually this is highly unlikely beacuse recent observaions of feral dogs show the do not form packs but loose high felexible associates that are always changing.

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said she can't wait til the 4th when he goes and gets the snip. Frustrated she was doing nothing about her dogs poor behavior, I took Oscar home.
\mounting behavior is not sex hormone rel,ated and snip will only have a minor effect.

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I feel bad because it's a Catch-22:
not really because simply takeing the dog to the park accomplishes nothing with an older dog. you need to engage in training teach the dog right from wron rewarding acceptable behavior and not reward bad behaivior and if the owner is not engage in this they are only creating more problems not solving them.

for what ever reasion IMHO male basset are more anal about having a routine than females.

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why they seem to always have to have their butts up against you in bed or on the couchwhy they seem to always have to have their butts up against you in bed or on the couch
that way thay can keep track of you.

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And why do they sleep horizontally across the bed, and not vertically like us?!
if you willing to give up the pillow they will sleep vertically.
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Something to consider is if however you intervene sooner and seperate oscar from the rude behavior sooner he would have less reason to esculate as well. keep in mind dogs look to use to keep them safe as well. Where to draw the line is not black and white ie when to intervene or let the dogs try and work it out themselves so this is not met as a critisim but as observation that you want to intervene soon. If you are finding a substaintial say 20% or more encounter esculating to where you have to intervene you may want to consider intervening a bit sooner and move oscar away from the other dog
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