Lady at the Dog Park: *A Rant*

Discussion in 'Puppy Forum' started by antipunt1, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Hey Chazhound; before I begin, I'd like to warn readers that this is 'mainly' a rant... in case you're not into that sort of thing :(

    Though I suppose there is 'some' technical application in this story. The main points in summary I guess are:
    1. The rant about the lady in the park
    2. Question: What to do about Wanta's random/seemingly-irrational barking.

    Basically I'm a little upset at myself for being somewhat sloth-minded. Also, in times of pressure I get really fuzzy-minded, which is also a real bother. But essentially I was at the dog park today, and Wanta got scolded. Or I suppose you could say I got scolded; a little bit of both actually.

    There's a lot I can say I personally did wrong. Wanta started to bark at -something- at the park. I wasn't sure what it was...usually Wanta likes to bark at big dogs (whenever she does that is, which is rare altogether), but today, she started barking at certain people, or a direction, I -don't even know!-. She just kept barking and didn't stop. The politically-correct thing to do was to do what most people at the park do at this point in time: make it seem like you're trying to do something about it. But the problem was I was really 'somewhere else' today so I just slowly walked up to Wanta trying to see -what it was- that she was barking at. Occasionally she does this schizophrenic style of barking (at nothing), but today was the most lengthy/confusing. I mean, most of the time when this occurred in the past -at least- she was barking at another dog to 'go play'. But today just ...'barked schizo-style' for about 2 minutes incessantly. It made no sense to me at all.

    By the 2 minutes mark I started to get a bit nervous (started to register that this wasn't too good of a rep for Wanta). The important thing to note here is that in the last couple of months at the park (and for her entire life from puppyhood), Wanta has displayed minimal aggression towards anyone. She runs from threat, is somewhat easily startled, and is extremely gentle/friendly with children/adults (even more so with children). In other words, I can say pretty objectively that Wanta isn't an aggressive-dog and if anything, leaning more on the weenie-side. This is only bolstered by me joining this forum since she was young, and asking incessant questions to make sure she was socialized properly as a pup.

    But Ms. Lady comes over and says "you know, you really shouldn't let your dog bark at people like that". Already, I was a little peeved, but since I get flustered by confrontation, I tried to avoid conflict and say something like "Well, I don't know what my dog is barking at". In short, I wanted to resolve the problem, and locate the source of Wanta's barking (even now, I still don't know however).

    At this point, she has to add (rather high and mightily too), "Well yeah, You really should tell her to stop, because she'll think she's the boss". At this point, I was upset at two points. a) 'um...tell her to 'stop'? How exactly is that a miracle solution? b) oic...you believe in the dated-alpha-dog theories

    The problem is I got even more flustered and just said something completely-useless like "oh...well..I don't think that's the case".

    Ms-Lady has to go on in a sing-song/pompous voice: "well...just saaayinnng, cause someone once told me the same thingggg...and she turned out to be aggressive".

    Then she goes over to Wanta and makes the most futile move ever....

    *Wanta barks*
    "...No..." <----general situation I expected...
    *Wanta keeps barking*

    My logic was to find the source of the barking, which was why I didn't really focus on 'telling Wanta to stop'.

    At this point I just let out a flustered-silent-ish "well...she's really gentle..she even plays with kids..". Basically a -horrible- comeback. It was only until after I fled the park that I started getting mad in my car. I didn't say any of the stuff I thinking in my head. Nothing about alpha-theory being flawed. Nothing about Wanta's true personality (this was like 2 minutes of barking out of 4 months of dog-parking). I just lost due to wussiness... :(

    It's going to be nerving to have to see her again (which will probably happen because I go almost every day). I hated seeing Wanta looked-down upon with such injustice. There was a kind lady though, and she kept telling me it was ok for Wanta to bark. I told her that even though the other lady was pretty silly about it, she was maybe being -over- lenient, because incessant barking is still a potential problem (alpha-myth aside). She seemed concerned that I was going to 'punish Wanta', especially after this incident. She kept going "Ohh, don't be too harsh with the dear", etc., but I smiled politely and said "Don't worry Ma'am, I'm not that silly" (indirect reference to the fact that I didn't believe in ineffectual punishments, much due to what I learned here)

    Sorry for the mess of text. :wall: I just needed to vent this out to people who would 'understand'. But on a more level-headed discussion, I really need to learn what went wrong here. I can't stop her from barking if I don't even know what was causing it. I can imagine me telling her she was wrong, and then proceeding back to my 'perfect-dog' who would keep dodging me (I don't have an effective recall) and keep barking at.....something back there. (almost every person near that bench felt they were the target, and eyed Wanta with such judgmental-stares).

    But I have to be fair. I -should've- at least made it -at least look like- I was saying "No Wanta! No!" for the sake of face....but I didn't. I also need to 'understand' what happened, because I still don't. Why did Wanta bark at seemingly-nothing for such a long period of time? Why does she sometimes bark off into the distance at 'nothing' at home (but not for long periods of time). Her eyes kept shifting from target to target like she was struck with paranoia (and it started out of nowhere). I suppose I should dig this problem from its roots by trying to make sure Wanta's schizo-bark-streaks stop before they become habitual. Or according to the Lady, 'make Wanta feel like she's boss'. :wall:

    Thx in advance
     
  2. sisco16

    sisco16 koda bear

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    fish, birds and 2 dogs
    Location:
    Fond Du lac, Wisconsin.
    I personally only have one dog that is okay at dog parks but ive found that if the best thing is giving the dog a time out on the leash and walking away from the people in the park bothering me, or if the problem keeps going i remove the dog from the park and we leave. Its hard alot of people at dogparks do not understand normal dog behavior.
     
  3. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    55,144
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    ^^^^^^^ Best Advice EVER.
     
  4. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Just Miss Lucy-fur, my wondermutt!
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    It always amazes me how many people expect dogs to come pre-programmed to understand commands. Sorry...doesn't work that way!

    Lucy likes to bark at other dogs at the park. She wants them to run so she can chase them, so if they are just congregating and not going anywhere, she'll run circles around them barking like mad. Luckily, the normal dog park crew is okay with it for the most part! If it continues for too long I'll usually go over there and do the PC thing of petting her and shushing her (which works for about 2 minutes!)
     
  5. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    40,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    :rofl1: If she's bothered by barking dogs at a dog park A) WTF is she doing there and B) she would HATE Sawyer.

    Most doxies I know are loud-mouthed little things and if there's another non-herding dog barking in the park, it's usually one of them.
     
  6. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    55,144
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I wouldn't be upset if someone's dog barked at mine. AT the same time i am not going to allow my dogs to do that to someone's else's for the biggest reason that barking annoys me to no end and i don't want it to start a habit. If they did, i would leash them until they figured out that barking was the end of playtime.
     
  7. drmom777

    drmom777 Bloody but Unbowed

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    5,480
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    6
    Location:
    new jersey
    What is wrong with a dog barking at the dog park? Uncle Fred howls at the dog park all the time. He enjoys it. This is his park where he is supposed to be having fun. The other dogs do not mind.

    I think this woman needs to go somewhere else or get ear plugs, unless Wanta's barking was causing all the other dogs to get upset.
     
  8. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    55,144
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    IT depends on how much in your face the dog is barking. IF it is non stop and beginning to stress the others out it is over the top.
     
  9. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,308
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs at home, 2 dogs with the parents 6 peacock
    Location:
    Connecticut
    while i agree that if its causeing stress in the other dogs it needs to be stopped i also feel no problem with it otherwise (as long as the dogs not barking directly at someone and is doing it in play)

    the barking into the distance/at seemingly nothing...
    i hoenstly dont have an answer for you as to why, every dog ive met will do this once in a while, we have to remmeber their senses are much keener than ours, mabe they see/smell somthing in the distance, mabe somehting in the distance looks wrong to them...mabe a bag blows across a feild and they see it as something not right and spook, there could be any number of reasons.
    ruby for example will wake from a dead sleep and stare off down the hallway with a low growl...jasper will stand there staring at "something" for a few minutes before suddenlybarking at it, but in reality theres nothing there, least nothing visible to my eye.

    if her barking is getting long winded or seems to be agressive or spooked id simply put a leash on, walk her away form the situation and distract her for a few mins, get her mind off whatever shes focused on then let her go back to playing.

    one of my BIGGEST pet peeves are people who try and disaplin or correct other peoples dogs...
    its one thing offering advice or an opinion, its a complete other to walk up to a dog and person you dont knwo and TELL them there doing it wrong then tell your dog off...
    (this also bothers me with people who asusme they can pet your dog without permission)
    its not only common sence to NOT get in the face of a dog you dont know...but common deacency...just plain rude. (not to mention dangerous, the moemnt someone gets in my dogs face, ill happily put myself in theirs...

    in this case id just shrug it off, shes obviously "one of those people" and next time she offers her opinion say "thanks but i dont use those methods, they dont work for us" and walk away...she has no rights to tell your dog what to do.

    ruby is one of those dogs that is typically stubborn with selective hearing...in general if someone other than me tells her to do something she kind of looks at me, if i give her the go ahead shell listen, if not youll be lucky lol.

    i took her out to the park at once and she was sniffing around at the end of her flexie...
    and some guy comes up and tells me i Cannot let my dog pull me where it wants to go (id stopped and was LETTING her sniff around...) and before i could resond he yells at her "COME!" she looked up, looked at me and then whent back to sniffing.
    the guy stomps his feet and tells her to "get here now" she didnt even offer him a glance this time...
    he tried a coupel more times and by attempt 3 (and in between each me trying to tell him i had told her it was ok) im already giggling at his obvious frustration over her paying him absolutly no attention. (he was also next to me and not remotly close enough to touch her in anyway...)
    he eventually turns to me and goes "what breed is it anyway?"
    i responded with "chinese crested" and his responce "no wonder shes not listening, she only speaks chinese"
    the guy was deadly serious, and i just about FELL OVER as i blurted out, "no sir, there only called chinese cresteds, the breeds actually from africa"
    his responce "wow then it must be even harder for her to understand people!"

    he then insisted i make sure to "show her whos boss" because dogs that dont speak english are even harder to train" and he walked off...

    sometimes im just amazed at how stupid some poeple can be.

    the moral of the story...laugh at them, its good for the soul!
     
  10. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    lol, so true...

    to be honest, I don't think it's that she's necessarily bothered by barking dogs. It's more like...she's one of 'those' that likes to correct others to boost her ego whenever given the chance. :eek:

    lol, I can pretty much guarantee it was not upsetting the other dogs. Her, on the other hand, may be a different story. I think she felt she just really needed to correct me. You know...to prevent Wanta from 'becoming boss'.....

    As I've said, Wanta wasn't barking at any dog or person. She was barking off into the distance kind of randomly (still don't know why). Also, she was at least more than a small room's diameter away from anyone, including Ms. Lady. Yet...Ms. Lady tells me Wanta is 'barking at people'. Clearly, Wanta wasn't. The closest person Wanta was barking towards was the nice lady who encouraged her to keep going :rolleyes:

    I know this is kind of off-topic, but could you give me some advice of how to do this? Wanta likes to avoid me when I reach for her, it's practically impossible now for me to re-leash her at the park. This is only a recent phenomenon, I think she's learned that when I pick her up, it's the end of fun time.

    Amen :hail:

    I -wish- I was this level headed. Sometimes I just get so mad :(

    Haha, great story :p. I have to admit...your story sounded -even worse- than mine. I wish I could laugh, dang it. I really need to learn to be less irritable.
     
  11. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    Grab her collar and give her a treat and release her to play. Repeat that a few times, always grabbing slowly and from the side/underneath. Then work on grabbing from over her head. Then work on grabbing faster. Always with a treat, always releasing her to play afterwards. Then grab her collar, leash her, give her a treat, unleash her and let her play.
     
  12. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Thx CP
     
  13. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Just Miss Lucy-fur, my wondermutt!
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Make sure you grab her and THEN treat. It sounds like a "No duh" kind of thing, but if you try to treat first or do it simultaneously, she'll learn really quickly to grab the treat and duck out of reach.
     
  14. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    OMG, Wanta has -totally- been doing this to me :eek: (in the past)
     
  15. FoxyWench

    FoxyWench Salty Sea Dog

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,308
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs at home, 2 dogs with the parents 6 peacock
    Location:
    Connecticut
    ive noticed many dogs, particularly smaller dogs, will have 1 of 2 issues with leashing
    #1 issue is "hey this is fun" and they turn it into a game, you try to grab them, they run away, this of oten followed by play bowing as every time you get close enough they bounce off again.

    #2 is fear of things over their head, fight or flight kicks in and they bolt.

    the method thats worked best for me is to take a small peice of treat out, and show it to the dog, let it have one or 2 to get a taste.
    then with purpose and without too much thought reach down and try to clip the leash on/grab the collar...if the dog bounces away...STOP, with the treat in hand cross your arms and say no, turning away helps with the realy bouncy ones, you want to use your body language to essentially say "im not playing"
    once the dog comes close, offer treat again, this time not giving the treat unless the dog allows you to touch the collar/leash it, the moment that leash is on or you have the collar tell the dog its good and treat.

    i woudl practice this in a low stimulation area, a back yard, heck even in the house.

    ruby knows that in order to get the leash clipped she HAS to sit, it took practice because shed get so exiceted shed be all bouncy around, so i started reinforcing sit, then id practice the ignore untill you get it right and she got it in about 15 mins, she realized that if she kept moving away she didnt get leashed and if she wasnt leashed she wasnt getting that treat.

    be repetiitive but keep sessions short.

    Practicing sit/stays also helps with dogs that like to avoid leash, least it has for me.
     
  16. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Thx for the input. Recently, I've been trying something similar to what you suggested. I do the command + pick her up + treat maneuver. I think I've basically become the disciplining unfun Mom that the child tries to avoid :(

    She's probably associated being picked up with the end of fun time, and yes, like you said, the end of a 'game'. I'll try teach her that getting picked up ain't so bad :eek:

    (this is especially apparent because she lets my Mom pick her up :wall:)
     
  17. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Excuse my verbosity, but I'm a bit confused.

    Why is it that when I flash the leash/harness, Wanta runs away from me even then? I thought the leash was associated with good things (dog park and walks). There is nothing bad about it, and I'm pretty sure she's intelligent enough at this point to associate the leash to the walks/park (simple Pavlovian conditioning)

    So why does she keep dodging me? It's kind of frustrating to me, because I really don't understand it (logically nor emotionally). :(It's hard to take my dog to the park (essentially her equivalent of Disneyland) when she keeps dodging me. I tried slow pick up. Fast pick up. Treat bribery (been practicing the above post's procedures -all night- yesterday)/leash flashing. I got upset today and just decided not to go. All this does is set me up for another "Lady at the park" incident where I'm mocked because my dog won't leave when I say it's time to go (I've been foolishly up to now just chasing her for like 10 minutes before we leave the park, and chasing her for around 2 minutes until I corner her to leash her up -to- go... it's downright embarrassing).

    People who know me relatively well will realize that I'm not mad -at- my dog. I'm not that silly. Also I know the whole 'but a dog doesn't "know"' type thing, but the thing is I'm just kind of disheartened (this lady at the park incident admittedly was the thing that started getting me short on temper). Going into 'confession-mode': there just doesn't seem to be any notion of sacrifice/loyalty/love in this relationship, and sometimes, it's just the opposite (where she's incredibly selfish (I'm saying this line in a 'matter of fact' kind of way, I know she was programmed via animalistic-behavior)). Also, I (rationally) expect too much from Wanta probably (taking into account that dogs have no concept of right/wrong), but psychologically, that's what happens when you love someone. I raised her/loved her/did everything right theoretically/stressed over her, and now, she won't even come when she -knows- she's supposed to (the rationale here is that clearly, she 'knows' -I- want her to...but she chooses not to because the more pleasurable-choice is probably to ignore me).

    I've never even -dreamed- of laying a finger on Wanta for rebuking, and I struggled for the kindest ways possible to teach her what it was that she had to know. I took scars on my hands to teach her bite-inhibition and searched frantically for social-partners/parks so that she would grow up well. And yet of the simplest commands, Wanta sits there eying me, waiting for that treat, so she can snatch it and ditch. If I have no treat? Ditch. (and no, I have not been training her with visible treats, she figured this out on her own).

    And ultimately, I can hear that Alpha-male-theorist Lady at the Park laughing at my failure, telling me of how this was all because "I let Wanta become boss", whereas all she has to do is rebuke her dog. Man, I can't fire guns with empty ammo. I'm literally so ashamed at myself (and saddened by Wanta), that I can't go to the park today.

    AUGH, I embarrass myself with this post. Thank you/sorry if you read this in its entirety, but I'm getting so tired, and I don't know what to do :cry:
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
  18. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    First thing you do is take a deep breath. Then another.

    The whole loyalty in dogs idea is very much overrated. Dogs are selfish and opportunistic. Dogs do what is the most rewarding for them.

    Here's how it typically happens - owner reaches for dog, dog bolts, owner chases dog, dog decides bolting is fun because it engages owner in a game of chase. Owner catches dog and restrains dog (physically or with a leash), dog decides being caught isn't fun. Or, owner catches dog and rewards dog for being caught, dog decides running away is good because he was just rewarded for it.

    Dogs love a good game of chase. :D But they don't tend to care if they are the chaser or the chasee. What I do is I run away from the dog, and then reward heavily when the dog is coming to me. While the dog is on the way to me, I cheer him on and I might get down on the ground too. When he gets to me we have a party - lots of treats, toys, petting, playing, praising. Then we do it again.
     
  19. antipunt1

    antipunt1 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Thx CP. I enjoyed your post because you didn't try to sugarcoat anything, and just said it as it was.

    I need to adjust my expectations, but most importantly, figure out a -system-. I think perhaps, I need to start thinking of Wanta as a business-associate rather than a friend (or 'something' like that). :confused:

    (Crap AM I DOING THIS?! :eek: man I'm going to BE SO ***** IF I WAS)

    I have to admit, that the 'diversity' of responses and 'should-dos' are confusing the bejeezus out of me; especially in this case, because they're contradictory! :wall:

    Though I will add, given your advice, I'm going to stop this -right away- until further notice! :confused::confused::

     
  20. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    antipunt, quit being so hard on yourself!!

    You ask great questions and you do a wonderful job of applying the advice that's given. It takes time and there are always mistakes along the way. It's a rather large learning curve. :)
     

Share This Page