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Author Topic: proper dog beach etiquette?  (Read 32554 times)
iheartstella
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« on: October 28, 2008, 06:27:20 PM »

I had a situation this morning that I'm interested in hearing feedback on...
I took my german shepherd to a dog beach.  We were the only ones there for about 5 minutes.  Another person came in with 2 dogs, each about 30 lbs or so--smaller than my dog.  My dog immediately ran up to the dogs and they all sniffed and introduced themselves.  Then my dog tried to initiate a chase (same thing she does at any dog park) to which one of the dogs responded, but soon grew bored and trotted back towards his owner.  My dog kept up and began to run circles around the other dog, barking at it, though not in a constant, agressive way.  They ran around a bit, then my dog mouthed on the other dog, causing the dog to whimper.  The dog owner became very upset at this point, and began kicking sand towards my dog (who didn't react, she didn't have a clue, and her tail was wagging the whole time).  I approached the owner and apologized, but explained that my dog was not being aggressive and was playing.  The owner was UPSET; he told me that my dog had attacked his dog, and that if I didn't keep my dog away from his dogs, he would break both her legs.  Needless to say, with no one else around, I left to find a cop.

I guess since my own emotions were running high at the time, I'd like to hear whether my dog (and myself) were out of line, or if the other guy was.  None of the dogs were on leashes, since the area is a designated dog park, but I was watching them the entire time (as was the other owner), though our versions would be wildly different I suppose.

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Pyr Heaven
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 03:34:46 AM »

If it was just a little wimper, then your dog was probably just playing a little more rough than the other dog was used to. The way the other dog's owner talked to you and threatened you is what would upset me the most. Even if your dog did start up a little fight, the reaction of that person was TOTALLY uncalled for. And kicking sand? Wow. haha I suppose if the owner thought their dog was really being attacked, they thought that would be the best way to break it up. If you take your dog to the dog park, you should know that an "attack" could happen. I certainly do NOT think you were in the wrong here.

Now what does upset me while I am at the dog park (Miles gets picked on sometimes) is when another dog will be bullying him and bullying him to the point where they will be pinning him down sometimes and he can't get up. And the owners don't do anything. I have to end up getting their dog off mine. Angry
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*~*~Samantha~*~*
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vmimom2006
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 03:46:34 AM »

That guy sounds like a first class jerk. If your dog really was agressive did he not think that kicking sand might bring on an attack?? (either by dog or owner??) I agree with gr8dame that a large can of whoop a$$ would have been in order. But I must admit I have trouble controlling my mouth. Controlling my dog - I'm OK Grin Cheesy
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Tonda
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 04:00:43 AM »

Sounds to me like you were dealing with a newbie owner who knows VERY little about dogs (and isn't open to learning, so he'll likely remain the park jerk, right up until he decides the world is just too dangerous for his precious babies and makes them thoroughly neurotic by never letting them leave the ‘safety’ of the house). What a sucky end to a walk on the beach.  Sad
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AudgePadge
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 05:09:03 AM »

I don't think you were out of line. Undecided

People with smaller dogs tend to over-react when they hear so much as a whimper, big dog owners are so used to rough play it makes us seem like we don't care...

I think when you bring yourself, and your dogs to the beach/park, you just cant assume that all people are going to be understanding, or all dogs are going to be nice an playful.  One thing is for certain at these kinds of places, dogs will be dogs, and some people don't understand that.

Seriously though...no one should ever talk threaten you like that!  If someone told me they were going to break my dog's legs...I'd let him try- I'm with Stella... never mind the cop.


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maxsmom
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2008, 06:24:30 AM »

I would have lost it, if anyone threatened my dogs.  Sorry.  They cannot defend themselves, from idiots or their behaviour, without being labeled dangerous dogs, that is my job.  You were definitely not wrong.  HE was. 

As far as the whimper, it may just have been that the smaller dog felt intimidated by a larger dog and wasn't even hurt a little bit, just scared and whimpered due to that. 

I don't take my dogs to the dog park anymore, just because of situations like this.  Max was running and playing with some dogs, the last time I took him.  2 lab mix dogs ganged up on him.  Their fur was up, teeth snowing, growling and snarling, one on each side of him.  He was dancing and jumping around, play bowing like crazy, because he is used to this, from our other dogs and wanted to play.  The owner had a fit.  Max was intimidating his dogs.  Are you kidding me or are you just a moron? 

I had Cody on a leash the same day, and had a little dog following us around mounting him.  He growled at the dog, when it wouldn't stop and I grabbed the other dog by the collar and pulled him away from Cody, saying no loudly, to make him stop.  I had moved Cody away from him, numerous times.  The owner came up and was upset that I had "manhandled" her dog.  I explained that if she was monitoring her dog's actions, instead of socializing and ignoring him, I would not have had to intervene.  Her take was that if I was keeping Cody on a leash, he must be vicious and shouldn't be there.  I explained that he would not be on a leash if everyone could control their dogs and not let them bully other dogs and attack other dogs.  He feels like he needs to protect the underdog and I am not willing to let him do that.

Unfortunately, a lot of dogs are so entrenched as being the only dog and alpha to their people, they do not understand how to submit to anyone or to other dogs.  They do not have any social skills whatsoever.  They feel intimidated by larger dogs and have to put on their little doggy macho act.  It is really humerous, but can be dangerous for them.

I really dislike stupid dog owners.  They have no clue and do not understand that all dogs need to learn how to interact with other dogs and be corrected when they don't have dog manners.  It is a shame that a few can spoil it for the majority.
Kathy
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Tonda
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2008, 06:49:14 AM »

Wow, Kathy. That really sucks. Sometimes I feel like there should be some kind of evaluation and "pass" for dog parks (of course I kinds feel like there should be some kind of evaluation and "pass" for owning a dog too, totalitarian that I am).

Had the pups out at the dog park this weekend and they were happily meeting lots of little kids . . . most of whom are “dog” kids and understand how to meet a dog (stand still!) and how to tell a dog “no!”. The pups are great with them. No jumping. No barking. They don’t even mouth them. They just wana say hi and be petted. One kid, about 4, had no idea and ran shrieking. The pups, of course, were highly intrigued by this new game and followed. The nanny scooped the kid up and started to shriek herself, while their oopsie-poosie on the extendo-leash ran in yapping circles, tangling her legs. Before she could even open her mouth to yell at me, FOUR other dog owners took her to task for bringing an unsocialized kid to the park, LOL! I tried to get her to put the kid down so he could learn how to meet dogs/puppies. No doing. *shrug* It’s really too bad that she couldn’t see the value in teaching the kid how to deal with dogs. Now he’s going to go home having learned nothing except that dogs are scary and he doesn’t want to be around them.
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GoofyNewfie
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2008, 08:15:44 AM »

Don't allow yourself to get upset-the guy is clearly not playing with a full deck if ya know what I mean... I mean come on, kicking sand?? Was he wearing a tin foil hat?

As far as I know, dogs vocalize when they play to let the other dog know if it's too rough. It's called communication. I think this loony does not know too much about dogs!
 
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Diesel, 6 month old Newf.
Tonda
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2008, 09:14:19 AM »

My Staffie used to make an Ugga-Ugga sound like an Orangutan. And one of my friend’s Rots sounds like she’s gonna rip your throat out when you pet her. Very disconcerting the first time you meet her, LOL!
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AudgePadge
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2008, 09:23:45 AM »

My Staffie used to make an Ugga-Ugga sound like an Orangutan. And one of my friend’s Rots sounds like she’s gonna rip your throat out when you pet her. Very disconcerting the first time you meet her, LOL!

hehe Monty does that too...Who says dogs can't purrr?
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lins_saving_grace
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2008, 01:53:48 PM »

First of all, i'd like to see that guy try to get close enough to your dog with the intention of breaking its legs.  I'm so sure the dog would sense that as an attack and probably react appropriately.  He's an idiot.  if he wanted the fun between the dogs to end, all he had to do was put the leashes back on his dogs or simply pick them up and walk away.  Secondly, dogs will be dogs.  He ought to be flattered that your big dog wanted to play with his little diva dogs.   And threatening someone or their dog...that is crossing the line.  and people wonder why I have a rott.  Not many people even think to threaten me like that.
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GoofyNewfie
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« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2008, 09:26:15 PM »

Please do tape the Chewbaccian wails!

And yes, Chewbaccian is totally a word.   Cool Smiley
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Diesel, 6 month old Newf.
sc.trojans
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2008, 07:34:07 PM »


Unfortunately, it is impossible to evaluate the situation with just this description - it depends on a lot more dynamic between the two dogs to know for sure.

But as someone who frequents dog beaches, I can offer something about etiquette:

-Owners of herding breeds should always be mindful that while their "herding" behaviors are "fun" for their dog, it is not necessarily always fun for the herded dog.  Owners should always inquire with other owners first, or call off their dog and not allow - especially of small dogs who will naturally feel like prey and be defensive.

Given the wimper you describe, I am making just a guess that your dog was treating him more like "prey" than a true playmate - yes this will be offensive to said dog potentially so always something to watch out for.

-I witness at least one case of "bullying" every time I am at the beach.  Owners of bullies rarely realize it (I trust they wouldnt allow the behavior if they realized).  Because bullying another dog is "fun" and reinforcing for some dogs, many owners describe it as "my dog is just playing"......

The most important thing to remember is that "playing" can only occur when two dogs are consenting and participating - my dog having fun chasing, but the other dog running in fear with ears pinned is not "play" for example - that is bullying even when I know my dog's intentions are not "bad".  Play should be an equal give and take.

What I always suggest to people is that the key is not to watch your own dog (who may be having fun) but the other dog - THAT DOG will always show you the true behavior of your own dog.  If that dog isn't wagging her tail and making eye contact....you need to intervene.

So without knowing about your situation, I would suggest that you don't allow a german shepherd (who will naturally have strong prey drive and herding instincts and tends to herd intensely on the rear of a dog and mouthe) to exercise his work ethic at the beach on other dogs unless they show a direct willingness to participate and owners are ok with the behavior.  And consider the body language of that other dog - I am venturing a guess that for the owner to get that mad, he was seeing his dog feeling intimidated long before she wimpered.

As an aside, I had my own altercation with a GSD owner at the beach, and see GSD owners have an unusually tough time at the beach due to this very issue - their dog's natural herding instincts are strong and many dogs don't take kindly to it and owners get upset.  It is all too common and a tough challenge to manage. 

I think GSD owners can do great by these dogs by getting them into herding classes and herding instinct testing - there are events usually everywhere and it can help meet the breed's needs so they can then be prevented from doing it randomly on other dogs.  Managing them at the beach and having them know a cue to call them off herding it a big plus at the beach so you can still enjoy the beach outing.
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