They're heeeere: The ever-growing Dog Whisperer Clones

pkguyNovember 17, 2009

And they're getting darned annoying too!!! Maybe you've noticed them in greater numbers at your local dog park. Who am I talking about? The new class of dog behavior think-they-know-it alls because they've watched Cesar Milan umpteen times. Good grief. In 3 years at my local park I've never once had a nasty disagreement with anyone and now I've had one bad one resulting in salty language in order to get her to take her dogs and leave. Now we've got another one, this time an older gent who now literally emulates Cesar on all unsuspecting new dog park comers. In the past we always had nice chats but I'm just about at my breaking point with him if he "psfffts" my dog one more time. oy

Anyone else seeing a rise in this absurd phenomena?

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Just to further detail the old gent I described above. Two days ago as usual I take my two dogs up to the dog park and while the pups are frolicking and playing with all the other dogs I noticed old gent on his knees across the way holding flat down a black lab while a woman stood beside him. He was speaking to her and ever few moments "pfsssting" the poor lab. This went on for about 20 minutes. He then let the dog up and they continued talking while she held the dog on its lead. Another person I chat with regularly came over and I asked him if that lab had done anything. He replied no, the old guy was just trying to teach her something bla blah blah.. The dog it turned out was just a pup about 7 months old. This guy I was talking to was playing fetch with his lab along with his son.. his son said "old guy" was telling the woman not to let her dog play fetch in a dog park of all things?

They then proceeded to walk the poor pup up and down the dog park on two leashes, dog between them every once in a while the "old guy" giving it a little left heel tap,geesh, right of the Cesar program or what. It was sad. The poor pup, like being a kid at Disneyland and being chained to your parents and not being able to go on any rides or play any games.

A few of us regulars were watching all this in disgust but unfortunately the woman and her lab left the park at the far end so we didn't have a chance to de brainwash her.

If anyone wants to hear the story of my run in with the woman and the salty language used, let me know and I'll tell you what happened to bring that on of all has to do with dogs humping as a teaser LOL

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 9:26PM
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Do Tell!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 9:43PM
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Well the first incident went like this.. My two dogs are playing with a 3rd border collie when a lab and a heeler type cross come over. All 5 dogs now having a grand time playing. A few times my 13 month old little Aussie tries to mount the male lab as is what always goes on in a dog park. Sometimes my two (neutered friendly) males try and hump other males and sometimes they are on the receiving end as well. It's what happens in a dog park all the time. Usually the underdog will turn around and snap or roll over and that's the end of it or it goes on for awhile and eventually it ends.. No big deal, 90% of dog park attendees are familiar with this scenario. They're dogs after all LOL.
Well the woman who owned this lab was getting all upset and pulling and yelling at my pup to get off her lab. I told her to just let them be and it will end itself. She told me my dogs were out of control and I shouldn't have them in the dog park until they're trained? HA. So on it goes until I finally had enough of her nonsense and told her she was crazy which really set her off and then the salty language began and I told her to take her dogs and get the blank out of the park if she couldn't handle her dog being mounted in a dog park of all places. Basically that was the gist of it. Wasn't pretty. I think she really was a nut job. So I go over to a picnic table and sit with some of the other woman in the park who were watching this all unfold as she's screaming obscenities at me.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 5:48PM
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I think I am glad I have never taken my dogs to a dog park!

Of course, I would never take my unneutered male to a dog park anyway. I would hate to see what might happen.

I am curious about the idea humping is a normal part of the dog park experience. Other than a couple pups, I have never had a dog that does that. And they did not hump often. Now, I am not a prude and pay little attention to such behavior, save to be of the opinion it is unnecessary.

I do agree the dogs involved usually handle the situation much better than humans do.:-)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 7:36PM
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If your dog was mounting my dog, I would ask you to please take control your dog.
If you told me to mind my own business (while your dog is mounting my dog) I would tell you a thing or two about controlling your dog when your dog is trying to assert its dominance on my dog, which is not playing.
If on top of that you said I was crazy - I would show you just how crazy I could get.
Yes, one dog showing its alpha tendencies over another happens at the dog park all the time and yes it might lead to nothing, but it can also lead to horrible fights and even start a pack mentality in dogs who are playing. It is not always a benign thing.
I am a firm believer in having dogs leashed for a first meet and greet, and Im not interested in seeing my dog in a fight because someone has decided that they dont need to control their dogs behavior which may or may not result in a fight, which may or may not result in my taking my dog to the vet.
I refuse to pay for vet bills because someones dog is out of control or not being reined in or either dog or owner has a bad attitude.
I have gone after dogs at the dog park who refuse to leave my dog alone _ I will take your dog to the ground if it is not responding to commands and continues to harrass my dog...
The offending dog and its onwer get three chances to make things better, I am always polite but am firm abot asking a person to control theri dog. If the dog in question continues to try and start things with my dog or the owner does nothing then the dog gets to deal with me. I dont care if I get bit.
What I care about is to have my dog in a dog park playing with other dogs in a happy but controlled manner and not to have what happened at least 3 times in the past. Where dog owners have minimized their dogs behavior or denied what their dog was doing and in the blink of an eye my dog is being attacked by a pile of other dogs causing physical and emotional injuries.
Usually the owner continues to minimize what is going on.
Last time this happened at the dog park, a mixed breed dog was mounting other dogs and a greyhound turned to get the mixed breed dog off its back - once the greyhound turned to assert itself the mixed breed dog attacked. The damage was horrible, in seconds the flank of the greyhound was ripped open requiring over 180 stiches. The owner of the mixed breed dogs response..."just put some hydrogen peroxide on that, it should be fine" Of course everyone at the dog park was horrified (except the mixed breed dogs owner). Remeber it may not be your dog which has the initial issue - the outcome can be just as devasting no matter which dog was the aggressor.
At the dog park, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 10:20PM
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Totally agree with you Mazer! Most times when I've gone to the dog park there is rarely anyone there but one time there was a couple sitting on the table/benches watching their dog harrass my dog and another dog. Not once would they call their dog back, even when they saw me keeping my dog behind me since he had no desire to interact with their dog. Lots of snapping from my dog.
Finally I'd had enough and when the dog came bounding toward us again and walked toward him and gave a stern, 'hey, back off'. He stopped in his tracks, lowered his head and walked up to me to be petted.
Owners never did call their dog back.......

He left us alone after that but we decided to just take our dog for a walk outside the park.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:01PM
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Add me to the list of people who would have a problem with dominant displays...and owners who permit them.

I would at least have used salty language if I was told "dogs will be dogs" when your dog was clearly engaging in inappropriate behavior. I do not tolerate mounting behavior or other displays of dominance in my dogs and would expect you to control your dogs as well. It's a good thing that I do not go to dog parks. Ever. Of all my dogs(3 ASD/Akbash, 1 BC, 1 Dane and 1 GSP), I only have one who might possibly enjoy that type of atmosphere and I have other, better, ways for him to socialize and exercise.

I also advise my obedience clients that they are not a good idea - far too many out-of-control dogs and clueless owners.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 1:51AM
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Sorry but I disagree. There are far too many woman especially these days at the dog parks who seem to take a personal shame or embarassment in seeing dogs mounting another dog. I'm not talking about my dog continually harassing another dog by mounting it non-stop and not leaving it alone but you have to give the underdog a chance to learn how to nip it in the bud itself. Not you the owner dragging the offender off each and every time. Eeach situation is different and requires monitoring. What I'm talking about are people who fly into a tizzy and/or don't give their dog a chance to learn.
Then there are the helicopter dog owners who are jumping in and pulling their dogs out of a playful fray for of all things "time outs" when all their dogs and othe others are doing is have a boisterous time and enjoying every minute of it.. They can't seem to differentiate what is play and what is viscious agression.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 8:56AM
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Mazer I'm sure from the sounds of you we would have words. You need to get over this "dominance" thing.. More Dog Whisperer Clone talk. In the course of hard playing nearly all neutered male dogs try and mount each other for one reason or another and the dogs sort it out themselves. You sound like a helicopter parent to your dogs.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 9:00AM
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Anyways, to sum up because obviously we are not going to agree it is my opinion that there is an ever growing number of "dog experts" all of a sudden who seem to think they know everything about dog behavior just because they've watched so many dog related tv shows or been giving advice on here figuring their the resident expert and/or taken their dogs to some dog obedience classes where who knows what they've been told but take everything as gospel.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Tell those people to get a life!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 9:53AM
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Who says one dog humping another dog is "innappropriate behavior" anyways and also that it is an innappropriate show of dominance? I don't think the dogs understand that, it's instinctive and it's natural. Where is this written on whose authority other than your own or some misguided information you were previously taught? All male dogs mount each other given the opportunity when they are playing. It is that way, it has always been that way since time immemorial and it will continue to be that way long after all the "dog experts" are planted in the ground.
It's laughable really and thankfully at our dog park the vast majority of people still have common sense and don't buy into all that crap and let their dogs play like they are wired over thousands of years to play without repressed "experts" interfering because they think they know better. I would advise anyone who went to a dog trainer that told them to avoid dog parks to find another dog trainer.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 11:21AM
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Humping behavior is instinctive and it is natural. But it is a show of dominance... the appropriateness of which, depends upon the situation.

One or two humps in a dog park probably wouldn't bother me, but more than two, after the hierarchy has been established, is a problem. I would leave if there was a dog in the park going around humping all the other dogs.

As Barbara Woodhouse said "There is no such thing as a difficult dog, only an inexperienced owner."

Most long time dog owners found Woodhouse techniques and explanations successful, long before Milan was trimming nails in the pet shop.

You may want to read Woodhouse books. Humping isn't necessarily bad in every situation. A good dog owner would be able to stop their dog from humping on command, for those occasions when it is bothering someone else.

Respecting other peoples opinions is polite behavior in a civilized society. Our dogs can learn how to be polite too.

Here is a link that might be useful: No Bad Dogs, The Woodhouse Way

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 12:04PM
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And what I'm saying Joe is pretty much that, that it is appropriate for males to try and hump each other when they are playing and the owner doesn't need to keep jumping in and yanking the dog off and getting all upset. I have been going daily for years and there has never been an incident because of this with either my dogs or other dogs doing much the same amongst themselves. How in the heck does a dog learn how to turn around and tell the other dog "off" if mommy keeps interfering and pulling the other dog off.
When my Aussie was about 9 months old there was one dog that wouldn't leave him alone and I could tell the owners were sort of embarassed and didn't know what to do but just keep yelling at the dog to stop and try to pull him off. In that instance I wanted it to be a learning lesson for my pup and I told them to let their dog continue be because my pup needed to learn how to tell him off himself when he'd had enough, and he has. Just as all my other dogs have with never an incident.
Now if my dog runs across the dogpark and for some reason ran up to a dog being walked by its owner across the dog park (unleashed etc) and sniffs and started to try and hump that dog I'm not going to just sit there and do nothing. Of course I'm going to get him off. But not if the dogs are heavily engaged in playing together because that's all part of their play.
And that's exactly what happened in the case I stated, this womans dogs are playing agressively and excitedly with my dogs and another one and all 5 are having a good time and it is only natural that one tries to hump another and vice versa all amongst themselves. She should have just left them alone instead of interfering and telling me my dog was out of control and shouldn't be allowed in the dog park.

Besides why are so many of all these purported "experts" on dogs equating dominance as a negative or a viscious behavior that needs to be eradicated or at the least always subdued, that's what they're doing. I don't think they really understand the concept at all but just think they do because they've watched umpteen highly edited tv programs and attended lord knows how many obedience classes being taught by someone who printed a diploma on their pc and call themselves an expert.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 1:36PM
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Outside the sexual and health reasons(irritation in genital area), humping is basically a dominant behavior.

I've never had a dog that humps, male or female, neutered or unneutered. I feel the reason is because I have always been the undisputed Alpha or pack leader, and trained my dogs that welcome humans are also dominant. When that kind of training is done from early age, the unwanted behavior seldom occurs.

I have had friends who had small dogs(as a rule) that humped. When they asked me to help, I most often found the dog was actually alpha, as the owners had little idea how dog society was structured. Many 'cute' things like jumping up, licking faces, toy play, and so on were treated as fun things to do. When, in actuality, the dog was establishinf a benign dominance ane came to treat the humans as submissive pack members.

Sometimes I could help, if the owners would recognize which behavior was dominant and which was not. Other times I could not, simply because the humans did not want to treat Fluffy like a dog.

My neighbors have a Shih Tzu---cute dog, well mannered naturally. I say naturally because Andy is the pack leader and the family has no clue. Which is fine for them as Andy really is a nice well behaved dog and causes no problems.

My male does not like him, neither does my female. He is to unbalanced and that is foreign to them. However, on a walk, which Andy does well, Max and Molly treat him as any other normal dog---no aggression at all.

Proof to me that when dogs are treated like dogs, most unwanted behavior is non existant.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 2:27PM
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handymac I was unaware that jumping up and licking the face is dominant behavior. Makes me feel a bit better. My female is always jumping on my DH and licking his face. I was so I know its because she thinks he's not dominant. LOL...kind of amusing. Can't wait to tell him. She does not do it to me at all :-)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 3:19PM
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At first I was not going to jump in here, but I have to say something since I think this is really a question of respecting another person's rights no matter how looney or how wrong you believe they may be.

First of all, yes, many dogs do hump one another (although some dogs a heck of a lot more than others) and like someone said, one or two times ok, but if a dog persists I can see possible problems. Our one lab didn't like it when a friend's lab wouldn't stop trying to hump him, and it became a dog fight with a ripped ear and open lacerations on both before we could break it up. Perhaps that is what the woman you had words with was concerned about. But the big thing I see here is no matter what your opinion on the humping subject, whenever your dog is out in public, dog park or no dog park, you are still reponsible for your dog's actions and I think it would be rude to not control your dog whenever that other person thinks he is bothering theirs. (No matter how wrong you may think that person's thinking is! No matter how "looney" they may be!)

It is normal for my dogs to bark when they are in the yard and hear a sound or see something, but after a certain period of time in which they have continued barking, I have to put a stop to it just to respect my neighbor's right to peace and quiet. If I had no neighbors I would let them bark all night if they wanted to since what they are doing is normal and what dogs do! If I had a 3 year old child it is normal for him to hit another 3 year old over the head when fighting over a toy, and if the other child is also mine it is my right to let them settle it, but if it is someone else's child, you better believe it is my responsibility to stop him. And respecting others has nothing to do with those looney people who think they are all dog whisperers, or whether you think humping is normal or not. It just comes down to respecting others, something which seems to be in short supply in our society any more.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 3:36PM
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Mounting is dominant behavior. It is not sexual and is not limited to males. Insisting that all males hump and that humping is limited to males is incorrect. My female Akbash will most certainly mount another dog IF she is given the opportunity. Since there's only room for one alpha (ME) in my household, she is not given the opportunity to practice inappropriate behavior. Inappropriate paly-time reinforces inappropriate behaviors; i, therefore, do not permit my dogs to engage in what I deem to be inappropriate play. YMMV of course - I'm sure we have different goals in mind and a different idea of what good stewardship is.

Dominance theory was out there long before Cesar Milan. I certainly admit to admiring Cesar and the work he's done. Joepye mentioned one of my favorites - I grew up using the methods of Barbara Woodhouse and Bill Koehler. Both of them also understood that dogs will be dogs, and it is up to the human in the equation to step up and eliminate behavior that is inappropriate. Biting, growling and resource guarding are also natural dog behaviors - should we sit idly by when these behaviors are exhibited as well?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Well Mac, my dogs never hump a person either. But I will bet you dollars to donuts that if you did take your dogs up to a dogpark (you say you haven't) and they engage in some fun roughhousing, rassling, chasing with some dogs they really get along with well they will be so excited that they will play hump with the other dogs and vice versa. You as their "pack leader" aren't even entering into their thought process at the time and besides if it is "dominant" behavior they're still not trying to dominate you or another person but a dog. And so what, as I said, that's what they all do, it's no big deal. Your chances of having your dog in a scrap are far greater when he's on a leash and you go into PetSmart or cross paths with another leashed dogs than is ever going to happen at a dogpark.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 3:46PM
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Pkguy, the risk you are running is this: if your dog ever runs into a dog who disagrees with the humping behavior, your dog will likely get bitten. Biting is also a natural response from dogs. IMHO, you should not allow the humping behavior because you are risking serious injury to your dog. And, let's not forget that biting often escalates into a fight. I think you should consider yourself lucky that you have never had a bad reaction from a canine before.

*End Unwanted Sermon*

All that being said, I do agree that some people are very overprotective of their dogs while at a dog park and that some owners may be parroting Cesarisms without fully understanding his methods. At least these folk are trying to be good owner and if they do not want their dogs engaging in humping behavior, that is their choice. I assume you have also seen the reverse type owner, who lets his dog off leash, parks his derriere on the nearest park bench and commences drinking his Starbucks while calling everyone on his mobile to catch up on the week? These people bother me more!

You should probably consider training your dogs to ignore other dogs on command. This is what we do and it really wasn't a difficult skill to train. That way, if you run into an irate or overprotective owner, you can simply call your dog off and go find someone else for your dogs to pal around with.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 4:14PM
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I don't go to dog parks and my dogs at home get discouraged by me for humping and rarely do. But after reading this I have visions of this dog park with a nonstop frenzy of humping dogs. Doesn't sound very inviting for a new comer.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 4:21PM
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I just, last month, took my dogs to PetSmart. First time. Molly is a rescue that was so scared she did not lead or even stand when we brought her home last fall. Max is also a rescue that was way too uncontrollable to be safe to be around. People aggression and dog aggression were what defined him.

Molly did lock up twice in the store. We simply stopped and waited for her to regain confidence and went on. She has few pack skills, which leads me to believe she was a lone stray early in her life. She loves other dogs and usually scares the other dogs due to her exhuberant play.

Max is unneutered and should therefore never let free in a dog park(My decision---regardless of rules.

My point is this. Dogs are all different and need individual treatment. I have kind of specialized for the last 20 or so years in rescuing dogs that ordinarily would be put down, so getting them to the point that folks can visit and the dogs behave are what I have focused on.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Cindy. I'm not referring to non-stop humping behavior. I'm saying that when dogs are playing one or another usually tries to quickly mount one of the others, gets punted off somehow or the other dog rolls over and they carry on frolicking, then maybe another dog tries it on another all during the course of play. It's not like a dog is attaching itself to the other dog and and getting anywhere. Well actually sometimes a dumb dog doesn't realize because it is so busy playing. This is what I'm referring to and how this woman got all bent out of shape because my dog dared to try and mount hers while all 5 of them are playing. For as quick and short as it was happening (perhaps 10-15 seconds) her dog didn't even seem to notice and just kept on rassling with one of the other dogs. But she was right there hovering and interfering when she should just let them play as they were doing. If she can't handle it then she shouldn't bring her dog to the dog park.

Beegood: It isn't a park full of non-stop humping by all the dogs in fact it's a very seldom thing, amounts to nothing except in some peoples minds who seem to have control issues or problems separating human sex from dog issues. The dogs are there to play and run and do dog stuff and sometimes that's what they do and no harm is done.

Just to show how two people can have totally different reactions there is a guy comes up daily with his bassety type mix. A friendly thing that likes to get involved in everything going on and certainly not shy. The owner parks himself on his lawnchair and off goes his dog doing his thing and having a grand time with many of the dogs there including mine. Lots of roughhousing, yapping, barking etc.. After about an hour or so he up and goes home..his pups had a great time and is pooped.

One day I see this dog racing round playing as usual and hear a woman calling the dogs name to stop and/or keep going over and grabbing him by the collar and holding him sort of scolding him. So we get to talking and I say oh that's ???? who's usually up here with the guy with the lawnchair. She replies, yes that's my husband. I said oh, well he's usually up here everyday and ???? just runs around like that having a great time. She replies, oh I know but I just can't stand to see him getting all roughed up like that and barking and whatever. So I told her well he's up here everyday when your husband brings him doing just that and loving it. It took her awhile but she finally got over it and lets the dog play like it wants to, not how she wants or thinks it has to.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 6:16PM
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I need to quantify my answer to specifics. I wrote I give each situation 3 times politely in asking a dog I feel out of control (humping or not) to either control the dog or suffer the consequences. My first would probably be - could you please get your dog, and I would just become more insistant with each plea.
Next - I believe each instance should be individually assessed. Not all dogs engaging in humping are being dominant or aggressive -although many are.

There are other reasons for humping than just pure dominance....
For instance in young canines, humping is part of a developmental phase that's fueled by hormonal changes and plain old growth. Both male and female dogs exhibit humping behavior. Many dogs will stop this behavior when they are given training and live in a balanced environment or are neutered.
HOWEVER since mounting is a natural sign of dominance, assertion with other canines can become a huge issue. If the dog has not been trained properly or has issues with dominance it might be looking for a chance to be dominate at any opportunity not only another dog but people as well and in any situtation. This can lead to aggression problems not far down the road.
Although some dogs dont seem to mind being mounted, the dog asserting its dominance should be controlled if the behavior starts happening more frequently or the dog being mounted is showing signs of stress or aggression. Then again other dogs might have a huge issue with being mounted and if it is your dog doing the mounting, then it will be your dog that is considered the aggressor if a fight starts.

Humping can be a response to stress as well. Sometimes dogs in stressful situations can respond to stress by displaying dominant behaviors not ususally seen in its everydaqy life - this has been observed with dogs who have survived life threatening situations like Hurricane Katrina.

There is also the unneutered male dogs where their drive to mate which can be over powering, so much so that dogs have gone for days without eating, and have put themselves in dangerous conditions in order to mate. Male dogs that hump may have increased testosterone levels. Studies have found that neutering stops humping in 60 percent of the cases.
In some cases, humping is caused by hormone imbalances that may indicate serious conditions, such as hypothyroidism. So if your dog is humping alot it may be time to see the vet.
My answer still stands. I dont think it is over-reactive to ask an owner to please control their dog if another dog owner is not comfortable with the way your dog is behaving with their dog humping or some other unwanted behavior.
Vet bills are exhorbitant and some people are just not willing to see their dog go through the stress and pain of being in a fight which could have been prevented.

I am not going to the dog park to control other people or their dogs, but like I wrote, Im not going to have my dog mauled or put in a place where it feels it must defend itself when all he wants to do is to play and socialize.

The post I have issue with is that apparently this womans wishes to have her lab not mounted was ignored, she should be able to have her dog at the park and have other dogs not mount her dog, as a dog owner you should have your dog trained enough to be able to call your dog off another dog and not have it go back.
It should not matter why this woman has an issue with her dog being mounted (assuming she thinks it is a sexual issue or if she had been told by her vet that her lab might have signs of hip displyasia or some other health issue). I mean instead of ripping into her why not just call your dog off her dog, and try and find out why she is being so protective.
I mean really how hard could it be???

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 9:58PM
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thks for the response Mazer and I understand what you are saying. I suppose this was a case of you really had to be there to understand/see what I'm talking about the woman was definitely over reacting to a benign dog play situation. And I might add it was her dog that came over and engaged in the play with my dogs and the other who were already having a great time and she's telling me I shouldn't have them in the park. I can tell you honestly that everyone else witnessing this figured the woman was a nut case. As another for instance when she left I was told by another regular coming up to the park that she told her there were two viscious dogs up in the park, meaning mine, she (the regular) repeated this to me when she got up into the park and said the woman appeared to be a little psycho or something.
So back to my topic header. What I'm saying is that it appears to me over the last year especially that there are an increasing number of people showing up who purport to be all-knowing dog behaviorists and the only thing I can think of is that they're watching too much tv.

What about my other example, the old guy holding down the womans lab giving her all this expert advice. He really doesn't know sh from shinola when it comes right down to it but he's right there playing little Caesar.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 9:25AM
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I'm also having a difficult time believing that in all cases or the majority of cases a dog especially a pup or very young dog is being dominant when they jump up and try and lick you in the face. That I find is more a training issue for a happy to see you dog, nothing to do with dominant behavior at all.
That's why I find it annoying when people spout these things and others take it as gospel when the truth is that none of it is an absolute one size fits all. Why on earth people take things they hear as gospel I don't understand, I question everything and certainly would never believe anything I read on here or heard at a dog park as factual until I processed it myself thru other sources and my own experiences. And I've done that and the bottom line is that very little is written in stone when it comes to dog behavior

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Humping is dominant behavior, but its not necessarily bad behavior, unless its out of control.

My Mom's female JRT always tries to hump my female lab when we visit. My lab is big and the JRT wants to be the boss. When my lab lays down, the JRT runs over and tries to mount her. My lab stands up, the JRT falls off and we laugh. My lab is a very gentle, submissive dog, but she won't let my mom's JRT hump her. The dogs have the situation under control, I've never had to step in to prevent the behavior.

I think that is what pkguy is trying to say, that we don't need to step in to correct all behavior... usually the dogs will work it out themselves.

Unfortunately, at a dog park, you may not KNOW the other dogs... which dogs may be overly defensive, overly aggressive, overly submissive... so you are taking a biting/fight risk letting the dogs work it out, especially with dogs that you are not familiar with...

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 10:14AM
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pkguy - you wrote - I'm also having a difficult time believing that in all cases or the majority of cases a dog especially a pup or very young dog is being dominant when they jump up and try and lick you in the face.
I dont think anyone here is referring to all cases. There are usually 2 reasons why dogs will jump up to lick you in the face, one is that they are pups and are actually seeing you as the dominant animal in the area and are greeting you as a pup would a returning hunting adult in order to get is an instinctual response left over from wolf days. However if a dog is licking obsessively and it is licking a person or other dog it can be a sign the dog is trying to asserti its dominance over the person. It is not a good idea to let the dog continue in this type of behavior and it usually shows that the dog needs lots more discipline - if you watch these dogs they are usually the ones who will exhibit other aggressive behaviors.
You also wrote:
That I find is more a training issue for a happy to see you dog, nothing to do with dominant behavior at all. In most cases this is true, especially when dealing with puppies.
I think it is great that you question things and it might be a good idea to question everyones assesment of this crazy lady you have heard so much about. Usually all it takes is one person to go up and make contact with that person and a couple of minutes to try and get to know her by listening to her to realize she may be different but is not as crazy as the dog park people may be saying.
I agree in your assesment of people trying to imitate Casear, and the damage they might be doing could be long lasting in that they may be confusing a dog, consistancy in training is paramount to a healthy dog and those who are spouting gospel at the dog park might be doing more harm than good, it is hard to tell without being there.
In my thinking, when someone is trying to help it is better than the opposite.
There are a hundred different ways to train a dog, if someone finds Casears way easier for them, great, hope it works and I hope the dogs life is better for it. Seems a far better bit than ignoring or neglecting a dog which happens more than over training or mis-guided training.
As joepyeweed wrote, it does not matter the size of the dog trying to dominate, and the lab seems to have great patience in dealing with the JRT, but that is in a controlled setting and the dogs know each other, there is not an underlying medical or behavioral condition - the same can not be said for the dog park. Like I wrote, I have seen something seemingly benign turn into disaster in a matter of seconds because either people were unable or unwilling to read their dogs and control their behavior. It takes mere seconds for a situation to turn tramatic and once it does there is no going back. Dogs can be emotionally and physically scarred for life because of situations like the one you originally wrote about. Seems a shame when it can be so easily avoided.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:22PM
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Prevention is so much better than correction.

The problem is that prevention is a lot more work, since the trainer/owner must watch the dogs every move and read the signs. Learning the signs of impending misbehavior is the hardest part of training.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:54PM
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First off, while it's annoying, it is indicative of a real problem that makes dog owners very disliked by the rest of the population: their collective failure to keep their dogs under control. Whether it's letting the dog run free at the city park, jumping up on anyone and everyone, or humping other dogs at the dog park, this is not good dog ownership, nor is it good for the dogs. And if it takes some stranger "pfssst-ing" your dog to get get across to you that YOU, teh dog owner, are the one behaving badly, then I'm all for it.

Too many dog owners are, well, idiots who make the rest of us dog owners look bad. Sorry to be rude, but some of you, including the OP, I suspect are such idiots. I have dogs, and I am *their* owner. They are *my* responsibility and part of my responsibility is that they are not a nuisance to other people and to other dogs. I am not allowed to neglect my responsibility by saying "That's just how dogs are." NO. That is infantile thinking. Running up and jumping on people uninvited is nuisance behavior, and so is humping (which, BTW, is a sign of anxiety and confusion--the dog is trying to establish order where its human has not provided it!). These are "natural" behavior, yes, but so are growling at strangers, biting and killing small prey. With domesticated animals, there are certain "natural" behaviors that need to be addressed because they are not acceptable behaviors within human society. The whole point of domesticating an animal species is so humans can control these unwanted behaviors in their animals. And it is my responsibility as a dog owner to make sure I control my dogs' unwanted behaviors, so they are not a nuisance to other people and other dogs living around me.

As I said, allowing dogs to do nuisance behaviors is not good for them either. It creates a sense of chaos, where every situation is different and uncertain, and they are never sure how to act. That makes them anxious. It's your job to teach your dog how to act in every situation. Trainers like Milan, and those who do not use the pack leader approach like Victoria Stillwell, know this is vital for proper socialization and emotional health of your dog. YOU tell the dog how to act, through positive training and through consistency. No ifs, ands or buts. It's *never* left up to the dog to figure out how to act. If you do, you are creating chaos for your dog that triggers a self-perpetuating state of anxiety, where they do things impulsively to relieve themselves of that anxiety, like jump on people uninvited or hump other dogs.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 11:52AM
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I agree 100% with ccme! I tried to say it with my post a few days ago, but ccme said it better. From what the OP said regarding his shouting match with the woman whose dog his dog was humping, he seems to miss the point that even if HE thinks humping is ok, SHE did not want HER dog being bothered by HIS dog, and it was HE who should have taken the responsibility to control HIS dog! And yes, unfortunately, that is how dogs and dog owners become disliked by the rest of the population---when we fail to respect other people and their pets.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 4:05PM
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No need to start calling posters idiots, ccme. I've known pkguy on these forums for about 10 years, and he's no idiot. You may not agree with him, but then you can do what others here have done, make your argument. Politely.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 5:23PM
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Getting back on topic - My dog is elderly but exceptionally healthy. She is also very well socialized and even tempered. People enjoy having her around, even people that don't like animals. It always amazes me the way certain people will step forward to explain to me some new way of feeding or training or managing a dog that will set my dog on the right course. Most often these folks have just met my dog and haven't spent much time around me or her. What makes them think that I want their advice? Why can they not see that my dog is in perfect health and well behaved? Usually they have a problem pet at home and they have stumbled upon some new training or new way to feed and they think everybody needs to know about it - it just baffles me. These people will go on and on about this "new" thing even after I explain that I spent half my life working professionally with animals. I never say much beyond that and try to politely get away from the conversation. I don't watch cable tv (or much tv at all) so I have no idea what Cesar says or if his show is where these people come up with their ideas... but it makes me want to scream. And I don't mean someone offering casual advice - these people are adamant that they hold the key to good dog health. I could understand it if they noticed a health issue with my dog but their advice usually comes after stating something like "how do you keep her so trim and sleek?" or "gosh, she's 11 years old?" or "wish my dog would pay attention that way", then they launch into whatever new thing they've discovered while I slink away shaking my head. I don't get it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 11:12AM
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Same reason folks tout the latest diet fad.

Or the latest home repair technique.

Or the latest __________________(fill in whatever.)

I have owned/trained dogs for over 50 years. Do I learn something new now and then? Sure.

I raised two boys and now have 5 grandchildren. Do I learn something new now and then? Sure.

Dog pack mentality has not changed in thousands of years. It works much better than what humans try to get dogs to do.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 8:01PM
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