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Bordercollie lover

Agression in 1.5 year old male towards puppies

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I have a 1.5 year old desexed male bordercollie and we have a daily dog group who meet after work and let our dogs play off leash at the local oval. My dog has been going since we was 14 weeks old so knows a lot of the local dogs. Recently we have had a huge increase of dogs including a lot of puppies ranging from 16 weeks to 11 months. Recently, my dog has shown aggressive behaviour towards the puppies who constantly lick his face and jump on him. He will tolerate the first few times but then all of a sudden he will snap and lunge and bite them. He hasn’t injured any but I am worried it might get worse. He doesn’t seem to have any patience with younger dogs of any breed and I want to correct it. Is my dog ok with telling the puppies to back off or should I be doing something to fix it? Any advice would help. 

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I'm not an expert at all, but here are my two cents -

Can you describe his behavior a bit more in detail? You mentioned he hasn't actually injured any young pups - maybe he is just getting very annoyed at their behavior (licking his face and jumping on him), and is telling them to back off? From what I gather, a lot of the time this kind of "correction" from an older dog isn't necessarily indicative of aggression, but is rather just a telling off of sorts. Which is understandable, and shouldn't warrant a correction from your end. If a puppy is harassing him, it makes sense that he would tell them to "stop that". Again, it depends on what he does exactly. If he turns around and snaps at them, then goes back to what he's doing, but doesn't actually harm them at all - I would venture to say that he's probably simply communicating to them that he wants to be left alone. Are the pups interfering with something that he's doing? Are they bothering him incessantly? Maybe your dog just doesn't want to be around this large group of dogs and would prefer to play independently without being bothered - in which case, why keep taking him there? If he's not happy playing with other dogs, find something else to do with him that he enjoys more. Being in a large group with other dogs isn't for every dog, and doesn't necessarily mean your dog is aggressive. Just that they don't really want to be there. 

If, however, his behavior shows signs of real aggression (that is, more than just a quick and benign correction to a persistent youngster), then it's extremely important that you stop taking him right away. If this is the case, him checked out by a vet to rule out medical problems (if this is a recent development especially), and then by a behaviorist... If you suspect that your dog could actually injure one of the other pups, it makes no sense to put him in a situation to do so. There have been some other recent posts about dog aggression, and I'd suggest you look over them. In short, aggressive dogs should never be left off-leash - it's a disaster waiting to happen and it your job to protect a) your dog, b) other dogs, and c) humans who could be involved in separating a dog fight, should one break out.

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I work from home. This affords me a lot of time to hang out on a bunch of various dog-centered message-boards, forums, and facebook groups.
 
For quite I while I’ve seen uptick in people who are distressed when their somewhere between 1 and 4 year old dog stops enjoying playing with dogs they don’t know, or being less happy about being pet/loved on by strangers. Maybe, sometimes, they give a growl while they do it.  Heck,  maybe they even snap  at another dog for ‘trying to play’ (usually physically or by being in their face).
 
The dogs are usually breeds or mixes not particularly known for being ‘loves-everybody’ types.  The dogs, per the typical description from the distressed owner, doesn’t ‘go after’ another dog, doesn’t seek them out, is happy to ignore other dogs. They just want to maybe give a quick sniff for a greeting (if that), then get on with minding their business and doing other stuff.
 
In the past few months, the number of people I see turning up looking for advice in how to ‘fix’ their ‘suddenly dog aggressive’ dog has become an absolute flood.
 
Y’all, that’s not a problem. That’s not aggression. That’s a dog that has become or is becoming a DOG. I liked playing with all the other kids on the playground when I was 6, hanging out in nightclubs when I was 18, and when I was 30 I was much happier meeting up with a few friends for dinner, too. That’s *part of maturing* in almost every mammal in existence.
 
It really leaves me wondering what’s going on with our societal expectations of our dogs. It is the prevalence of dog parks and people who rely on them to be able to exercise their dogs? Is it, more generally, just that more dogs are living and working and playing in closer quarters to ‘strange’ dogs, now? Is it just that more dogs are in our homes, share more of our lives and a tendency to anthropomorphize? Is it because the more we understand about the science of training, the more we believe we have the ability to ‘make the dog’ what we whatever we want? Is it because more dogs are spayed and neutered? Or related the the newer swing back to leaving more dogs intact for longer?
 
Some of all of the above? All of the above, plus some things I haven’t thought of? I don’t know.
 
Is there some kind of solution? I don’t know that either. Not beyond people needing to be more aware what a socially and physically mature dog *is* in their given breed (or mix, or just in general, depending), and adjusting their expectations accordingly.
 
I just know that it feels more and more to me like we’re expecting dogs to stay, at least socially, puppies for their entire lives. That strikes me as unfair, and more than a little dangerous.

 

^ I wrote this and, yeah, I'm quoting myself.  It applies. 


He's an 18 month old herdy thing.  They tend to grow out of wanting to play with a bunch of strange dogs, and definitely grow out of willingness to put up with rude puppies who are *in their face* or physically jumping on them, holy crap.  He doesn't belong in a dog park.  That doesn't mean you have a problem on your hands, but if you don't respect what he's telling you and he's forced to handle these situations on his own, you're going to.  A big one.


He doesn't want to be there.  He doesn't want to deal with puppies.   Don't ask him to, let him decompress and get on with your life - AWAY from dog parks.

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To further elaborate, when my puppy was 3 months old, he loved everyone and was super into playing with other dogs and strange people.


By the time he was 12 months old, the shine had worn off.  He'd play a little bit and he was pretty tolerant, but he'd really much rather be working or playing with me. So he tended to play for 2 minutes, the work around the other dog.  Like I have a picture somewhere of him being humped by a corgi but focusing on me because he wanted to play with me and whatever.


At 18-20ish months old?  Yeah, no.  A dog gets in his face is going to be growled at, and if that doesn't do it air snapped at.  Physical contact with him uninvited (like climbing up on him or whatever) is going to result in a pretty LOUD but non-damaging correction.    My guy's not going to start things,, ever.  He's not aggressive.  He's there to work with me and all about that and he's perfectly polite to dogs who are polite to him.  But he has moved out of the age of being completely socially open.  Rude dogs get told to piss off.   Unless he's poking holes in dogs or chasing them down while they're minding their own business --  It's NORMAL.  It's maturing.   It's fine. 

 

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A lot of people have no clue their dog is being rude. I don't understand how people can get a dog without researching a little bit about how dogs work and communicate. 

I think a lot of people see a typical Labrador as how all dogs are. Whereas I see the typical Labrador as a very rude and not well trained dog :) and my dog does too. 

Sadly, most people think my dog is rude or grumpy when she is just saying she doesn't want the other person's dog in her face. And sadly, some rude dogs do not listen to her correction and the clueless owners do nothing about it and ignore my dog's discomfort.

 

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13 hours ago, CptJack said:

He's an 18 month old herdy thing.  They tend to grow out of wanting to play with a bunch of strange dogs, and definitely grow out of willingness to put up with rude puppies who are *in their face* or physically jumping on them, holy crap.  He doesn't belong in a dog park.  That doesn't mean you have a problem on your hands, but if you don't respect what he's telling you and he's forced to handle these situations on his own, you're going to.  A big one.

This.

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