Something pretty disturbing with Baloo.

Barbara!

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#1
So, I have been working with Baloo heavily on recall. He is doing a good bit better and is starting to come to me when called, even when otherwise engaged. Except for today...

Baloo has been becoming increasingly reactive with small dogs. Or at least, that's what I think it is. He will get over-amped up and start totally freaking out and trying to pounce on them to play. This has happened only a couple times, and I usually just leash him and take him to time out. Sometimes he will absolutely SCREAM at the end of the leash wanting to pounce on them. It's not aggression, he just wants to play, but he plays too rough. Well today, he was getting a little amped up, so I went to grab him and put him in time out. I put my hand on his butt and he turned around and bit me. Hard. And then snarled at me and scooted away. I didn't know how to react so I just clipped his leash and took him to time out like I'd planned.

Now Baloo has always been a "mouther" so to speak, using his mouth a lot to communicate. When I clip his nails, he will keep his open mouth on me and squeeze a little when he gets stressed. When playing, he will nip at my hands and feet. When training, he will sometimes get a little excited and bite at me or grab me with his mouth. It's never enough to hurt and it's never serious. This is the only time he has ever bitten seriously and it hurt.

I've never really had this issue before. So I don't even know where to begin.
 

Barbara!

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#3
My first thought is to have him looked at by a vet to make sure there's no pain going on.
I took a look at him afterwards to make sure that wasn't it either and I poked and prodded the same area and he didn't react again. So, idk. ):
 

Emily

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#4
Sounds like prey drive/overstimulation to me. I have a massive headache so I just don't have it in me to type out a detailed post. I'm sure others will chime in.

The prey drive and the redirection are separate issues; however, if you can help him raise his threshold and become less reactive towards small dogs, you won't need to worry about him redirecting. I always recommend Control Unleashed for dogs that are reactive and/or easily overstimulated. It's awesome.

Re the redirection... there's not much you can do except for help him stay out of the state that makes him redirect. Dogs that redirect aren't clear headed and really can't help what they're doing, they just have low thresholds. So your reaction was a good one - no point in punishing him for something he's almost unaware of doing.

Also (and please don't take this wrong way!) please be ever vigilant. What is play now could easily become aggression later. Keeva has been on the wrong end of predatory drift before and as a small dog owner, it is unbelievably terrifying. So just remember that while it is play now, it may not always be.

Basic post, I know, sorry. My brain is pounding. lol. Others should stop by with some help shortly. ;)
 

milos_mommy

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#5
How old is Baloo? It does sound like that could be turning into aggression/prey drive, or at least such a high frustration at being unable to play with a small dog that it's turning into aggression. Is he the dog in your picture, and is he part pit bull?

Control unleashed is good, so is Click To Calm. I would not allow him off leash around small dogs (or quite possibly other strange dogs at all) when not in a controlled setting.

If you're still bringing him to the dog park, I would definitely stop doing that.
 

Barbara!

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#6
He is 8 or 9 months old. This has only happened a few times and he's met dozens of small dogs. (He's never had an issue with larger dogs... Only anything smaller than say, a Pomeranian.) It usually only happens when the owners show up holding the dog in their arms. I'm pretty sure it's not aggression, because all he wants to do mostly is paw at them or lay on them, but they won't let him and that's when he starts to bark and scream and make noises at them. So I leash him and put him in time out and when I let him back out he is fine with them. Most of his issues are when the owners come in with the dog in their arms and then set them down or they don't put them down. His breed is unknown, but I suspect he's mostly lab with a mix of some type of bully breed (maybe pit bull). Yeah, he's the one in my profile picture. I should post updated photos of my crew...lol.

Click to Calm is on my list of books to buy and now I have added Control Unleashed.

And the prey drive part does make sense if that is what his interest is in the first place. He is EXTREMELY prey driven. He's murdered all sorts of poor little critters in our yard.
 
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#7
I would quit taking him to the dog park until you get the behavior under control. Maybe quit taking him altogether.
 

Barbara!

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#8
It's not the reactivity towards other dogs that I'm worried about. I don't find him having issues with 3-4 dogs out of the 6 months we've gone there as an extreme enough issue to stop going altogether. Although I do plan to go less until I work on his threshold. It's the redirection that has me worried.
 
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#9
I second getting Control Unleashed and Click to Calm - both are wonderful. I cannot stress management enough - do not put him in situations that you don't have control of. This means no dog park - you can't control what people and dogs are there, or what their behavior will be like. When you are working on appropriate behavior with other dogs, go slow, and use family and friends and their dogs, so everyone involved is informed of what's going on.
 
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#10
It's not the reactivity towards other dogs that I'm worried about. I don't find him having issues with 3-4 dogs out of the 6 months we've gone there as an extreme enough issue to stop going altogether. Although I do plan to go less until I work on his threshold. It's the redirection that has me worried.
But the reactivity is what leads to the redirection.
 

Barbara!

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#11
Yes, and it needs to be worked on... But I don't find it extreme enough to forgo the dog park completely. (3-4 times in 6 months.) We go every day. But we are going to go less (2-3 times a week) and I am going to work with him.

Would neutering him help with this behavior at all?
 

JessLough

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#12
Is this the same dog park that kids run around and accost the dogs?

An obviously bully looking dog biting a kid at the dog park is the very last thing the world needs.
 
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#13
Yes, and it needs to be worked on... But I don't find it extreme enough to forgo the dog park completely.
The point of not going to the dog park is not that the behavior itself is currently extreme. The point is that you need to manage his encounters with other dogs to prevent him from practicing the reactivity and prevent him from ever getting over the point where he may redirect while you address the reactivity in controlled situations. Otherwise it may become more extreme with time, and then you are left looking back at what you could've/should've/would've done.
You can neither manage nor control what goes on at the dog park.
 

Muttkip

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#15
Isn't one of the number one rules of owning a bully breed or bully breed mix is to NOT go to dog Parks. Seeing how you've been on APBT forums you should know this.
 

Barbara!

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#16
Isn't one of the number one rules of owning a bully breed or bully breed mix is to NOT go to dog Parks. Seeing how you've been on APBT forums you should know this.
I don't see it as a rule, I see it as an opinion. And an extreme one at that. Lots of breeds have the ability to instinctually form animal/dog aggression. That doesn't mean that you should avoid dog parks just because your dog MIGHT develop this behavior. So yeah, I see it as a preference... But definitely not a general rule. ;)
 

Barbara!

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#17
The point of not going to the dog park is not that the behavior itself is currently extreme. The point is that you need to manage his encounters with other dogs to prevent him from practicing the reactivity and prevent him from ever getting over the point where he may redirect while you address the reactivity in controlled situations. Otherwise it may become more extreme with time, and then you are left looking back at what you could've/should've/would've done.
You can neither manage nor control what goes on at the dog park.
We will have to see. It is just a difficult decision to make because it is something we do every single day and he really enjoys it and so do I. He has "doggy friends" there. I may keep him away for the time being while we work on the reactivity issues. If it seems to be a problem that may be unfixable, then we won't go again. I already have one dog we have had to do this with.
 
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#18
The point of not going to the dog park is not that the behavior itself is currently extreme. The point is that you need to manage his encounters with other dogs to prevent him from practicing the reactivity and prevent him from ever getting over the point where he may redirect while you address the reactivity in controlled situations. Otherwise it may become more extreme with time, and then you are left looking back at what you could've/should've/would've done.
You can neither manage nor control what goes on at the dog park.
Thank you for explaining that to her. That is precisely what I meant when I posted quit going to the dog park.

Isn't one of the number one rules of owning a bully breed or bully breed mix is to NOT go to dog Parks. Seeing how you've been on APBT forums you should know this.
It's ok, he's a mix...*insert sarcasm here*

I don't see it as a rule, I see it as an opinion. And an extreme one at that. Lots of breeds have the ability to instinctually form animal/dog aggression. That doesn't mean that you should avoid dog parks just because your dog MIGHT develop this behavior. So yeah, I see it as a preference... But definitely not a general rule. ;)
The point is that you call the dog an APBT or Am Bully mix. Dog parks are a RECIPE for disasters in most cases. You have posted over and over about the problems with the one you attend, yet you keep taking your dogs there. You just posted not long ago about Baloo having a bad encounter with some kids there, now he is redirecting on you regarding small dogs. It seems to me from your posts, the dog is getting worse behaviors, not better from attending the dog park.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for responsible play groups, supervised etc. Just not letting your dogs run willy nilly in the dog park. Obviously Baloo has some issues, work on training him then worry about taking him back to the dog park.
 

Barbara!

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#19
RedChrome, what happened to the idea in the PM you sent me?

Once again, not going to a dog park with a bully breed or bully breed mix isn't a RULE, it's an opinion. The funny thing is the only people that ever see any bully breed in Baloo are usually bully breed people. Either way, I don't agree with avoiding dog parks just because you have a pit bull or bully breed. I think it's a tad extreme and over the top. Lets just hide my pit bull in a closet.

The only problems I have had with my dog park is the kids... And like I said, that issue has been solved.
My dog park is very small and we all know each other and we all know each others dogs aside from the occasional newcomer. I said this in my last thread, as well. It's not a big city dog park where there are dozens of dogs at a time. The most dogs I have ever seen at one time is about 10-12. And that has only happened a couple times since I have been going and I have been going for well over a year.

As I said, I am considering keeping Baloo home until this can be solved. I was only considering bringing him less often, during low traffic times, when it would be unlikely I would even see anyone at all. I wasn't going to continue to go to the dog park full time. I'm not trying to be rude, but I don't like the insinuation that I am somehow incompetent or unintelligent for having a hard time making the decision to keep my puppy home from something he has been doing daily since he was 11 weeks old. It's not an easy decision to make and not one I'm just going to immediately bang the gavel on.

It's ok, he's a mix...*insert sarcasm here*
I also take my pure bred APBT to the dog park... Oh, the horror!
 
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Muttkip

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#20
It shouldn't even be an opinion it is a rule. You screw up its not just your dog that pays it's everyone's dog that does and the breed's already fragile reputation is hurt even more and more BSL might follow after your dog hurts or kills another dog, all because you say its an opinion. I own a bully breed mix myself and bothers me you see no problem with it and continue to do so.
 

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