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i'm home from work today and took Madeline to the dog park at lunch.  she was having the best time with the other dogs and was getting really tired.  i was giving her a few more minutes and all of a sudden there's a commotion and we all look and see her and another dog (a big male wolfhound of some sort) fighting.  we all rushed over to break them up and it took me yelling and trying to get between them, another guy, and the wolfhound's mom to separate them.  she wouldn't listen to me at all.   :(

having grown up with yards for our dogs, i'm new to dog parks and want to know if this is normal (i.e. during all the excitement is it normal for dogs to sometimes get pushed too far) or do i have some aggression building in my boxer?  we've been going regularly on the weekends and some week days so she's familiar with the dogs (not these particular ones--there were two, a bro and sis) for about 2 weeks.  could it be that she was just too tired at that point and he ticked her off?  by the way, we don't know which dog started it.

if this is aggression, what do i do to control it?
 

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Without seeing the whole thing it's really hard to say if Madeline has an issue or not. But you say she's been around other dogs before and was fine? Generally, and I may be wrong on this, but if they are dog aggressive it will be towards all dogs...No surprise that she didn't listen to you when that happened..Their focus is gone at that point....It very well could have been excitement, or fatigue on Madeline's part, there are a lot of factors...When we go to meetup, there are have been scrapes, they happen, and the boxers in question get put in time out. Samson doesn't go with us as he does have issues with other dogs especially in that kind of enviroment, but that doesn't sound like what is happening with you..I would just keep a very close eye on her, stay close and read the sticky about watching your dogs body language it could give you a few tips....
 

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Probably the worst thing you can do is take your dog to the dog park and not watch it.  I see it all the time and I really think it's rather neglectful on the owner's part to be honest.  You don't know which dog started it?  You really should keep an eye on your dog at all times...besides, you don't know what kind of worms are floating around in other dog's poop out there or what your dog might get from being there.

The best thing to do is make a few good friends, walk your dogs together, let those dogs build up a good relationship, and just stick together with them.  This helps your dog to be more friendly instead of getting attacked by random dogs at all times, which makes them learn that other dogs may attack them.

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Anyway, back to the paying attention to your dog thing.  You should watch your dog's interactions with the other dogs.  Typically, the dogs will go up to eachother, and will give some type of welcoming sign.  The less-dominant dog will turn and allow the more dominant dog to sniff it's butt first.  Then the more dominant dog will sniff the butt, and turn around to let the other dog get a brief sniff.

Be on the lookout for warning signs such as either of the two dogs not giving the proper gestures when meeting.  Be on the lookout for a dog that goes to sniff but doesn't let the other dog sniff afterwards or immediately tries to put his paws on top of the other dog.

After sniffs are exchanged, this is the time where they should start playing and "vocal" behavior would be accepted...but you still need to keep an eye on your dog(s).

Be weary of labs...as they are normally considered one of the more "rude" breeds when it comes to meeting other dogs.  They tend to create a lot of scraps because they just don't follow the "dog rules" ... maybe because they're so domesticated these days.

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Anyway, good luck, luckily things didn't turn out worse, and no dogs were seriously injured.  Maybe next time just pay closer attention and look for warning signs and make sure that your dog is not the "rude" one that is starting a fight.

And remember, the dog park shouldn't be a place where people gather to shoot the breeze about everything under the sun while their dogs run around unsupervised and not payed attention to until a fight breaks out.
 

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I agree with willow- it may not be aggression. Taking into consideration the fact that you have no idea who started it i wouldnt have too big a fear of aggression at this point. i hope madeline is ok :)
 

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I can tell you this from my experience. I used to take the boys every weekend until one night going through the parking lot to go home Zeus got attacked by an adult Husky at about 6 months old. So i thought it would be okay to take hime to socialize him so we went again and this bull terrier  just jumped on Zeus and started biting him so we went to seperate them and Dante started getting into it with a Great Dane and a Greyhound, so we left and went to the little dog side and everything was good but we dont go anymore because Zeus is very insecure after these attacks. Good luck with whatever you do, just try to keep her socialized so she doesnt think every dog is mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
first, i do pay very close attention to my dog when i take her.  i don't know any of the people there so i'm not off chatting it up.  what happened happened while i was watching them and within steps of their playing.  they had been playing a while (the dogs had been interacting for about 10 minutes already) and to me, they were just a tangle of bodies--kinda hard to see exactly what was going on there.  on that note, i do not recall the sniffing exchange other than it having happened.

but thanks for the tips on the exactness of the sniff greeting, i'll pay more attention to those details next time.  usually i just watch to make sure i don't see snipping or bullying when they greet.

[quote="deapee\";p=\"31130":1qsodn78]Probably the worst thing you can do is take your dog to the dog park and not watch it.
 

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ok, so after really watching her every move at the park this past weekend we think it's the growling of other dogs that get's maddy going.  a lot of dogs, of course, play growl when wrestling or playing and having watched her play with dogs that do this she seems to get into it but then maybe too much.  there were no fights this weekend but we kept very close to her so that if her growling got too vicious sounding we pulled her away from the situation.  of course all the other owners there kept reassuring us that "oh, it's ok, they're just playing" and "oh, growling is just part of it", etc.  but we kept explaining that she's still young and we want to discourage growling now so it doesn't get out of control.

so, i'm not sure if this is what started the fight last week or not but it's a possibility.  sometimes her play growl can get very mean sounding but behind it is still a light touch.  i think it's due to the way she plays with my husband and he realizes now that he's going to have to stop allowing it when they play.
 

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A good way to tell if it is your dog that starts it or the other dog is how your dog is greeting others.  Are the ears at attention?  Is the tail up erect?  If so your dog is presenting a dominance over other dogs - which can cause another dog to attack.  You may want to watch and try to correct your dog if it is the one displaying these characteristics - a squirt bottle works great - they also work great on breaking up fights.  

Don't ever try to get between two dogs - that's how people end up with bites!
 

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There's definitely a risk-reward that comes with dog parks.  I go to a HUGE dog park, I believe it's 378 acre's.  There can be 40 dogs there and you can walk for 10-20 minutes without seeing another one.  I go somewhat often, I went twice this weekend but it had been a couple weeks since I was last there.  Almost every time I go, I see signs (i.e. dog behavior) that make me nervous.  Typically I just stop it before it starts with a loud "hey" or a hand clap and continue walking away.  I believe some dogs just don't get along with every size, shape, age, personality, etc.. of other dogs.  I haven't had any serious incidents with my dog but twice during "boxer bash's" I've pulled dogs apart which is not something I'd recommend to anyone else nor is it something I am all that comfortable doing (I don't want to get bit!).  I do find the dog park highly rewarding for Lola though.  The socialization is great as is all the running and interacting with nature she gets to do as we go through fields, trails, streams, woods, etc...  She typically meets about 10-15 dogs during a 1 to 1.5 hour walk.  I like that this dog park doesn't have a lot of dogs in a small space.  The more dogs there are in a small area the more careful you need to be, and the closer you need to watch them.
 

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[quote="ssimmons99\";p=\"31957":3p1qu8i7]A good way to tell if it is your dog that starts it or the other dog is how your dog is greeting others.
 
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