Please define aggression
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Thread: Please define aggression

  1. #1
    Lab Dad is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultPlease define aggression

    Jack and Buddy like going to the dog parks. Buddy loves to chase and be chased. He sometimes barks, and occasionally tries to hump dogs he plays with. If dogs are involved with fetching he runs after them, but has little interest in the object. Sometimes he is like a defensive back but seems to enjoy the run out and back.

    This morning we went to one of the parks and Buddy would chase after running dogs, he would play bow and take off running from or after other dogs,and other than humping (which I interrupted), thought Buddy was having a great time. There were maybe a dozen dogs at the park. One woman came over to me and said "That big brown dog is very aggressive."
    At first I thought she was talking about another dog, then I looked around and saw Buddy was the only brown dog in the park. How is he being aggressive? I asked. "Well, he is chasing other dogs." That is playing. I said and she walked away. We left shortly after. I was fuming inside. I decided I had not said the right things.

    Buddy tried to initiate play. He did not bark, growl, bite, or nip any of the dogs. To me, humping is another issue we are working on. He is neutered, about 6 months ago. he is about 3 1/2 years old. If the other dogs he tries to play with growl, snap, or otherwise stomp him, he is submissive and tries to play with another dog.

    This afternoon we were at another dog park. Only one other person with two larger dogs, and she was delighted Buddy was chasing, and boxing, and being chased by her two. She thought he was a great playmate to have for her dogs. Everybody had a good time.

    Relating an incident does not provide a lot of information about what happened. How would you define his behavior if he was at your dog park?

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    I don't think anything your dog did was aggressive but I am not an expert by any means, just a dog owner/lover.

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    georgie is offline Senior Member
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    I am no expert but we have our two around other labs all the time. Kate & Abby chase each other all the time. Our friends, who have two labs, always let the four of them play together. We have gone on vacation with them & we have never had any issues. There never have been any bites or mouths on each other, but they can get noisy.

    Aggression, to me is when a dog goes after another without any provocation. There is no play bowing, no interaction between the two dogs, just one going up to another to fight. Some dogs are just aggresive with other dogs, and I am not talking about food aggression or toy guarding. But the aggression can come from a variety of reasons; fear, dominance, food etc.

    I wouldn't call Buddy's behavior aggressive. My two can sound pretty vicious when they are playing, but there is never a mark on either one.
    Last edited by georgie; 10-08-2011 at 10:05 PM.

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    if he is just chasing that isn't aggression. it is normal for a dog to run with other running dogs.

    if he were nipping and running INTO other dogs that would usually be "bad play style" more so than aggression. lots of chasers also nip (particularly some breeds like the herder's).

    Aggression would be to pin a dog and not let them up (unprovoked) or to bite aggressively (I hesitate to just say bite as lots of dogs bite in play). Even growling can be play or aggression or fear - depends on the situation.

    with any dog behaviour you have to look at the whole (each part of their body as well as context) and the intent.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    zoesmom is offline Senior Member
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    I agree w/what Georgie said.

    chasing, playing bitey face is not aggression, IMO

    I would define his behavior as wanting a dog to play w/him. I witness this at the beach all the time, and there is no aggression, not growls or snarls.

    Zoe does the air snap or a quick leave me alone growl if a dog tries to body slam her in the water. The dog gets the message and leaves looking dejected (but sometimes comes back for more, and Zoe will again do her "leave me alone" warning. None of the dog owners see this as aggression, and they allow Zoe to tell their dog off, so to speak.
    Linda and Zoë, the Umlaut
    Honolulu, Hawaii

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    Sophiesmama is offline Senior Member
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    Dogs that are defensive and agressive will take a posture that is almost stone still. Many will have their hackles up. They will growl. Your boy sounds like he is playing. Also, humping is often not about sex, but dominance. My female does it. She did it today with a neighbor's dog. She does it with dogs that are close to her size. Small ones or really large ones she just plays with.
    ~Pam



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    Sophie 15 months, with Skye

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    amazongold is offline Senior Member
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    Buddy was just playing and that woman hasn't got a clue about dog behavior. If he were truly being aggressive, the other dogs would have reacted in a manner much different than chasing and playing. If you happen to see her again, suggest that she get a book on dog body language and behavior and study it.
    Jackie, Champ, and Buddy

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    HersheyK's Dad's Avatar
    HersheyK's Dad is offline Senior Member
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    I think you have your answer regarding your dogs behaviour. What you don't have is an answer regarding humans behaviour and how we assess others. Very possibly the person that addressed you has no clue on animal interaction. I wouldn't worry about it.

    Some folks do to the dog park so they (the human) can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Others go so their dogs can enjoy it, can play, can burn off some energy, can socialize with other animals.

    I prefer the second group.
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

  11. #9
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by amazongold View Post
    Buddy was just playing and that woman hasn't got a clue about dog behavior. If he were truly being aggressive, the other dogs would have reacted in a manner much different than chasing and playing. If you happen to see her again, suggest that she get a book on dog body language and behavior and study it.
    THIS^^^ You should not be upset over this other person's ignorance of dog behavior and body language. It's not Buddy who is wrong here.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

  12. #10
    Samson is offline Senior Member
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    Nope - just playing ! Jasper humps and he knows that he shouldn't so drops it as soon as he is told but it doesn't stop him from trying. His "chat up" line needs a little work as he shoves the other dog with his paw to get a reaction ( which succeeds )

    He gets snapped at too because of his approach and one day he will get nipped by an unappreciative suiter but to date it hasn't happened and fortunately it only manifests itself with dog park friends dogs ( the also sometimes have undesirable habits )

    I would fume too and have in the past - most recently by somebody bringing an on leash dog in and wondering why the dog felt threatened when all of the other dogs were running free.

    Your common sense tells you that you are right doesn't it ?

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