Lina is spayed--the other dogs are generally neutered. She has a more negative reaction to those dogs that she doesn't know well. Some dogs she will just let go to town on her because she knows them (there is a female dog who is spayed and a male dog who is neutered that I am thinking about in particular). Her behavior has escalated pretty suddenly. Her interest in play slowed dramatically around age 2, but she was never aggressive until dogs started mounting her at about 2.5. Even then she didnt show aggression unless another dog was trying to tackle her while the first dog was mounting her and she felt cornered. But even so she has only been aggressive 5 times in her life, all within the last 10 months or so, and twice of those 5 times in the last two days! And these past two times were more extended behaviors where she really got in the other dogs face, not just a small snarl to get her point accross.
I am very satisfied with your response, and I appreciate your honesty. I'm nervous that the other owners will not see Lina's response as a normal behavior. She loves the dog park so much in actuality. She tells me when we don't get on the road by sunset and she actually is more likely to try to escape the house if she doesn't go off-leash. I run 25 miles/week, but when I take Lina she does not get the exercise she needs because I run too slow for her. I unfortunately do not have a fenced in yard for her to play in. The freedom of the dog park has been the solution to that so far. She loves to see all the people and will play with the regular dogs in her "pack". I have noticed her anxiety with new dogs more, so I think I will choose to continue to go later at night and remain mindful of her play. I know this is naive but I will try to find an alternative venue for her play in the meantime.
I do absolutely appreciate your response. It was complete and much lengthier than expected. Thank you for your time. Best,
You're welcome, Jill. I understand about other dog owners. They don't see their own dogs initiating the problem with pushy behaviors, but when another dog stands up to theirs, they immediately think, "Aggression." If they are people who will listen, you could try explaining it to them. We see the same thing among children in schools. I taught junior high science for a number of years. I always tried to be aware of subtle bullying. The bullies were smart and quiet about what they did. When no adult intervened, eventually the bullied child would strike out. Then they got in trouble for being aggressive. So the problem doesn't just occur in dog parks.Since Lina has a pack she feels comfortable with, I think your solution of going to the park when they are present is a good one. I hope you'll both be able to enjoy your time there.Anna
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I'm just following up on our conversation. How is your plan working out so far?