Aaah, a trip to the dog park. Sounds fun, right? But what if there is an ill-mannered dog who bullies and their human pack-member is clueless? Here's how to handle tricky canine social situations like a pro.
- No Bad Dogs: First of all, there are no bad dogs, just clueless human handlers. As soon as you recognize the signs that your own dog is uncomfortable (no tail wags or play bows), step in. With a firm "No" directed at the bully, along with a motion indicating it should move off, you communicate that your dog is off limits. Lead your own dog away in a calm, controlled manner.
- Identify Responsibility: Locate the owner of the bully and inform them that your dog is not interested in playing with their dog. Be polite, explaining that you would appreciate cooperation in re-directing their dog away from yours. But don't expect much. Understand that bully-dogs are often shaped by their human. It is still important, however, that they be made aware of their dog's unacceptable behavior.
- Monitor: Remain close to your pet and monitor any interest by the bully-dog. Ward off any approach before it comes too near. Guide your own dog toward other companions that are more agreeable. Sometimes simply breaking the line-of-sight between a bully-dog and the source of interest is all it takes.
- Breaking Things Up: If bullying turns full-scale scuffle, of course you want to intervene. To break things up without getting bit there are options. Try dousing involved parties with water or a loud noise distraction, like a training whistle.
- Rewards: Referring back to number 1, the "no bad dogs" rule, brings us to the final solution. Rewarding good behavior. When the bully-dog backs down and minds its own business, offer a treat. In other words, convert the bully to a friend.
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