Aggressive behavior issue

The Problem:

Kristin –

We’ve been working on the exercises from class but have discovered an off-leash problem. Two days ago A- took our dog to the dog park for the first time. It was empty and he was enjoying the freedom to run since our yard is not fenced in. However when A- tossed him a tennis ball he brought it back and dropped it and lunged at her. He kept grabbing at her arm and gnawing it. She struggled for several minutes to get him off, but he kept lunging for the arm. She ended up with several bad bruises and a few scrapes. Our dog went back later that night and only had issues when a toy was removed form his mouth and he wanted it back.

The next day E- took him to the park to see if this behavior was the same. This time there were other dogs and people. He was doing fine for 20 minutes, but then he ran back to a girl who had previously pet him and proceeded to lunge at her arms.

This behavior is frightening to us as we have lots of little kids in our family and this lunging/biting/gnawing is unacceptable. He is fine on the leash, though on occasion he has turned around and jumped on E- a few times. He is mouthy at home, but we have been discouraging that with “Leave it” or removing ourselves from the situation. When he lays on his back and we pet him he likes pawing at the air and trying to nip our hands.

We’re not sure if his behavior is real aggression or just exuberance. But we would like to know how we can diagnose the problem and if it is something we can work on.

-A- & E-

My Reply:

A- and E-,

You are correct in being alarmed…any “exuberance” should not cause harm to a human or their clothing. But it is unclear if it is “aggression”. This is difficult to diagnose over email and having only met you and your dog in a large class. But I would be happy to do a more thorough evaluation for you if you’d like. I do in home work through the Water Bowl (formerly the GenevaRuffners).  There is a list of training I offer through there.


Saturday and Sunday dog park

A friend has been trying to get a core group of dogs together on the weekends for play time. These times are not supervised by anyone other than the dogs’ owners. I like helping anyone interested in getting dogs together to play nicely so I agreed to post this on my website. Anyone in the Fox Valley IL area who is looking for a dog park can attend at these times and hopefully find other well mannered dogs there. I, however, have never been to this dog park and cannot speak to it’s facilities, but my friend said they are good and apparently there is a lake for them to swim in!

dog park

July 3, 2009 • Tags: , • Posted in: general info • No Comments