For the last 3-4 months I have been taking my baby Henry to a local dog park . Henry is 8 months old today ! About a week ago Henry was playing with this other dog whom we have play dates with twice a week with. The other dog tried to take the ball out of Henry's mouth > and they started to fight I broke it up right away but Henry had already ripped off a little part of the other dogs ear :'( . Is this normal for Lab's to become aggressive toward other dogs that they know ? :-\ Since then I have stopped taking him to the dog park so he gets very little interaction with other dogs now. Instead I take him for long walks . Is that going to make him not good around other dogs ?
It's actually quite assertive for a dog to take an item directly from the mouth of another. A young dog might allow this, as young dogs tend to behave more submissively with other dogs. As the dog matures, he or she may become less tolerant of this sort of blatant disregard for his or her possession of a treasured item. Lucky and Lucy get along great; they don't fight, but they don't take balls from each other's mouths.
If you look at their body language in my signature pic, see how they both have their mouths open and relaxed, their ears back, and are turned slightly away from one another? They are each behaving in a non-confrontational manner toward the other. They live together and have lived together for years, and never fight, precisely because they do not behave in direct confrontation with one another.
Taking any item directly from the mouth of another dog is confrontational. Henry was asserting his ownership of the ball. Taking an item directly from the mouth of another dog does not ALWAYS result in a confrontation or aggression. But, sometimes it does. I would venture to guess that Henry's playmate will not attempt to take a ball directly from Henry's mouth again.
In fact, I interpret this as an evolution of the relationship between Henry and this other dog. They are communicating with one another. In the past, Henry would have allowed the ball to be taken from his mouth in order to avoid confrontation, because that is what puppies do. Now that Henry is maturing, he is setting boundaries. It's possible that the other dog has been pushing Henry around this whole time because Henry, being a puppy, would take it. Now they are learning to relate to one another a bit differently.
At the dog park we go to that is basically an open field, people like to chuck tennis balls. There are a lot of them around on the ground. Dogs pick them up and prance around with them, other dogs try to take them from them. Sometimes this becomes a, 'Come Chase Me', sometimes it becomes a tug of war with both dog's mouths on the ball, sometimes a fight.
I am not an experienced trainer or community organizer. I decided all by myself that as soon as it becomes anything other than a
Chase Me game, I would take the ball away if HK was involved. I comment to others when I see it happening and not involving HK. Well! It has become the standard at that park. Something about balls and any of the retrieving breeds (my observation), although not exclusive to them.
What is interesting is that poeople have brought and left ropes around the park. The dogs grab them, and either a chase me or tug of way happens, but never escalates to a fight.
It is all the balls fault.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
What? I've never heard of this, and in fact, Phoebe does it all the time in play and nothing ever happens as a result. She and Henry (Felicia's Henry from JL) play several times a week and stealing the ball from each others' mouths is like their bread and butter. No fighting is involved. And they are adults.Originally Posted by Lucky.N.Lucy
It is not normal for a dog to bite off part of another dog's ear...your dog is showing toy aggression with the ball and needs some training to undo it. IMO that behaviour is not acceptable. I'm not the best person to give advice about that kind of training since I've got no experience in the area but I'm sure there are others on here who can give you some great advice in that regard.
BTW in our dog park they say "no toys" because of aggression issues. Personally I don't see this as solving the problem and in fact it's completely stupid since I've seen aggression happen over a stick or a bowl of water for that matter. :-\
Becca & Phoebe
I agree. Your dog has a possessive problem. While this is certainly not uncommon (and this is the reason why most dog parks DO NOT allow owners to bring toys) it is not 'normal' behavior for it to escalate into a full blown fight, resulting in injury to the other dog.[It is not normal for a dog to bite off part of another dog's ear...your dog is showing toy aggression with the ball and needs some training to undo it.
First of all, welcome to JL!! Secondly, GREAT name for a lab!!!
Now, about your Henry... like Becca said, both my Henry and Phoebe play several times a week together (Henry is 4.5 and Phoebe is almost 3?) and routinely steal/wrestle/paw the ball out of each other's mouths with no fighting whatsoever. However, Henry and Phoebe are both very laid back labs and have not shown any possessiveness over toys and whatnot, so that could be why they allow the other to take toys from their mouths and not say anything about it.
The part that worries me is that your Henry took off a bit of the other dog's ear... Do you have a trainer that can help you work this out? Hopefully Nancy (kaytris) will see this and offer some advice...
Good luck! (and welcome to JL!)
I'd have to concur...possessiveness and aggressiveness are not things I would want or tolerate in a labrador. My boys play with 3 other dogs (1 lab and 2 goldens) on a daily basis and they are always stealling things out of each other's mouths. None are possessive, and no fights have ensued.
I would have him evaluated by a professional and then work on training with him.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
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My two take stuff directly from each others mouths all the time with no fights. I've also seen Baloo (lab) play tug with all sorts of items ranging from a water bottle to a tennis ball with other dogs at the dog park with no incidents.
I have never tolerated resource guarding/possessiveness at all from either dog from the time they were wee babies. I'd much rather have a dog that gives up and walks away than a dog that gets confrontational and defensive.
BUT, this isn't something that is set in stone, we're talking about an 8 month old pup here. (BTW, when is Henry's birthday? My Baloo is about 8 months. )
You can train him to give up instead of start a fight, it is possible.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
My 6 take things from each other's mouths 24/7. I have NEVER had a fight in my house or yard. My dogs play with other Labs and they've never snarled over taking things from each other's mouths. Two of my dogs are intact males who love other intact males who steal things from each other.
♣ Laura ♣
Okay....I did not say that taking an object from another dog's mouth will ALWAYS lead to aggression. Let me elaborate.
Those of you whose dogs do take things from one another's mouths....watch closely when this happens. Do you see very subtle communication going on? Look at the facial expression; their ears, their eyes, their mouths. I would be willing to bet money that in these instances, the dog in possession relinquishes the ball voluntarily. There is a definite sequence of communication that occurs.
One little squabble over a ball does not mean your dog is "aggressive". But, it does mean that you need to be on your toes looking out for escalating tension BEFORE anything like this happens again so that you can cut it off at the pass, so to speak. Also it would help to know the extent of injury to the other dog. A little nick on the ear is NOT a serious injury, and I wouldn't think anything of it. But removing a portion of the ear is a bit more concerning.
There are two things in my mind that make aggression pathological. One is if the "trigger" or stimulus is out of the realm of ordinary dog behavior. Two is if the response is out of proportion to the actual threat. In this instance, defending possession of a treasured item is not out of the realm of the ordinary. Depending on the extent of the injury to the other dog, that may or may not be out of proportion.
If the aggression is not pathological, that does not mean it's okay and there's nothing to worry about. It could happen again, and it could become more frequent and blossom into a real problem. If it were me, I would either bring no toys or balls to the dog park, or I would bring several, so that The One Ball isn't so valuable.