I have a 1yr old black lab, Lucky, who is totally submissive etc...had her since she was a pup
~ 6 weeks ago, we got a rescue dog (~1yr old)...he's some type of lab mix..possibly with rat terrier....so our new guy (Blaze) totally tries to dominate...well with lucky its not a big deal cause lucky doesn't care
but at the dog park, Blaze keeps trying to fight be snipping at other dogs..especially when other dogs come near me, then he goes right up to them and snips at them and growls....today there was almost a fight cause blaze didn't stop and the other dog showed his teeth
so what do I do? I want to socialize him, but I don't want to bring him and cause problems with other dogs...
He just recently started obedience classes (which I hope will help) and that trainer said to distract him with food....which works, but at the park I'd have to constantly feed him...otherwise he'll eat it and then go back to snipping/growling
Lucky has been in obedience since we got her, so I try to keep training Blaze at home
what else can I do to end this dominance issue? It's gonna end up being really bad if this continues, I can just sense it...
I think you are doing the right thing by working on obedience. There are others on this board that can give more advice and they should be along shortly. You *might* want to post this in Lab Chat though... I say this only because in practice, most of the stuff in this board is more for puppies and in Lab Chat there are a lot more people that can probably offer some advice and their experiences.
First off, stop bringing this dog to the dog park, that is not the place for working on socialization issues. Maybe you'll be able to reintroduce him to the park situation later on, maybe not. Obedience class IS the right place to work on this, so keep up with those classes Next, you say he's a rat terrier mix. Are you familiar with terriers as a whole? Many of them are not dog park canidates and have a bit of "short man syndrome". For now, stick with the classes and maybe invite doggy friends over to your place where you can control the interaction a little better.
I agree...You want to minimize those situations where a fight could start, else your dog will only become more territorial. Go to training and work on your dog in a sit and have other owners and dogs walk circles around you, BUT at a distance where your dog is not upset. As time progresses the other dogs should be able to move closer as they do circles around your dog. The second your dog becames uneasy, have the other trainer move out slightly to calm your dog. If the dog becomes agressive, have the owner walk away completely until you have your dog under control again. Once under control repeat this process. A good way to start is to have the trainer walk their dog on the outside of the circle they are walking, thus creating a barrier between the dogs with a human. Over time you should beable to switch from your outside to your inside.
If you allow your dog to get upset, you will be working from ground zero everytime. You need to minimize the growling and focus him on the command and you.
If growling occurs, a stiff correction should be given. If your dog is doing great, give a nice praise, but not a distracting praise. You want to maintain the sit...
You could try to muzzle him at the park. He isn't going to start anything that he can't back up. I would also put him on a leash and have other dogs on leash walk around him with their owners while he is lying on the ground. While your doing this don't allow the other dogs to interact with him and if he gets up at all give him a correction and make him lay back down. This will desensitize him to other dogs being around.
thanks, all good ideas...i will try these...i guess blaze will be staying at home unless the park is empty (which it is many times, luckily)...i like the walking in circles with a distance between the dogs, and maybe the laying on the ground thing too...will muzzles really help, or will it just make him more frustrated etc
im so curious on what his history was like...i got him from a rescue group here and all I know is that he's from south carolina...they said he was 5 months, but there's no way I believe that...he hasn't grown since we got him (~6wks ago) and he's already neutered...I thought they have to be a least 6 mos...
Lucky was so easy to him, maybe cause we had her since she was a puppy and we trained her since then....Blaze must have picked up bad habits along the way...but he is getting much better
I answered you in LC. I would not recommend muzzling him. Muzzling can make reactivity worse--if the dog feels threatened he cannot (in his mind) protect himself. As for putting him in a down-stay and desensitizing him, you would want to be very careful about this and work with a trainer; again, a down-stay is a very submissive and vulnerable posture, and if you are enforcing it and correcting him a lot you can actually build more resentment rather than reducing it.