Dog Fight

After a full year of going to the dog park at a rate of once a week without any incident, I'm sad to say that he got into a fight yesterday. I'm not sure what kind of dog the other one was. It was larger, stocky, and more muscular. Maybe a boxer or a pitbull. No one was seriously hurt.

I didn't want that incident to discourage us from going back to the dog park, so I took him there again today. Big mistake! As soon as Loki entered, he was nervous about every single dog that sniffed him. And not five minutes passed before Loki started a big fight. It wasn't even with one dog in particular. He was just snapping at every dog around him; it didn't matter what dog it was. After making sure that no one was hurt, we promptly left.

I'm not sure if I handled it entirely correctly. I just leashed him and left. Yun thinks that I should have kept him on leash, but remained in the dog park. Or maybe I should have alpha rolled him there. I'm not sure what would have been the best way to handle it -- I never had to deal with it before. I was shocked, frustrated, and also saddened.

I felt like we spent so much time trying to properly socialize him so that he wouldn't be dog aggressive. Always going to the dog park every weekend. And now, what a setback! Sigh.


Maya said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about the fights. I agree, it is so sad & frustrating that after a lifetime of proper socialization, one incident can sort of void a lot of what's been taught. I don't think it was a mistake that you took Loki back the next day, I would have done the same thing. It didn't work out, but that's water under the bridge. Next time, if you're able to, take him at a time when there aren't a lot of other dogs, during non peak hours. I think the first step is for him to feel safe in that environment again.
In regards to keeping him on a leash inside the dog park, in my experience this has been a bad idea. I’ve seen people bring their dog in on a leash when their dog is unstable, unsocialized, scared, etc, for the protection of their own dog as well as others at the park. I think the other pups can sense that there’s a reason your dog is leashed and become curious…it’s kind of the same effect if you pick up your dog and hold him over your head. 95% of the time, the leashed dog ends up attracting even more unwanted attention or aggression. Again, this is just from my personal experience. Good luck though, please keep us updated.

Bonnie said...

Sorry to hear that Loki had an issue at the park.

Sushi and I have been there done that.

Check yourself before going to the park next time - how are YOU feeling? Are you hesitant, are you anticipating a bad incident to happen again? Dogs pick up on our vibes SO easily it's not funny.

You do need to ensure you have complete Alpha status over Loki - he needs to feel safe. If he doesn't, he thinks he needs to do the protecting. If you are tightening the leash, that will reinforce any aggressive behaviour.

Go in relaxed, pretend the incident never happened. Loki may still react, but if you intervene by showing Loki you are the protector, he will start to get the picture and relax.

The sooner you can do this, the better. I've had 2 years of getting Sushi back into the main area of a dogpark. I had to get rid of my own lack of confidence, any negative feelings or thoughts, and we are finally there. Not to say it will take YOU that long. Go when it's his best pals, a small group of dogs and explain what's happening. Hope things go better next time.

Vi said...

Thanks so much for your comments. Luckily, I do actually have the time this summer to take him to the dog park during non-peak hours (during the workday), so I'm going to do that. They also have an area for small dogs, so that may help.

Thanks Bonnie for sharing. It's comforting to me to know that someone else has been there and successfully resolved it.

KAY said...

I am dealing with the socializing thing's not easy...and sometimes I dont want to take her to the dog run because she get so uncomfortable there while the other dog parents there would give me the looks...yea i wish my pup have no problem being around other dogs..haha

Anonymous said...

You may also want to go when Loki's "dog buddies" will be around. Work with a small group of Loki "buddies" and then expand the circle.

Our dog park suggests that people remove leashes from dogs as soon as they get in the secured area of the park.

Here is our dog park website. You may find some useful information on it.

Type in:
(Fair Oaks Responsible Dog Owners Group)


Leodjenkins said...

it's kinda funny from my own experense i can sympathize with your dog you see i went to school with my older brother who everyone including teachers didn't like
when he got beat up after school he went home made up and interesting story to our mom and said he won but i ended up telling what really happened and as result our older sister took us to school

the thing im getting at is your dog is embarrassed he got beat up and coming from a dog it's oddly cute.

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