Is it alright for your dog to wear a basket muzzle at the dog park? My german shepherd hasn't been to the dog park in 9 months because he got into some fights. There would be days when he would get along with everyone and then some when fights would be started(no injuries). When a new dog would enter the park, he would run/charge the gate to meet newcomer, that would scare the other dog, that wouldn't always start anything but how do you get your dog to politely great other dogs when there not on leash? My vet said if he is aggressive to one dog and then it should be to all dogs, its not. My neighbor recently got a female gsd, 1 yr younger and my dog barked like he was going to kill her through the fence, after a week and they were fine, now they love playing together, I think mine might actually be a little scared of her sometimes. But back to original question, would it be bad dog park etiquette for the muzzle, I don't want to keep him from playing at the park. I would apprciate any advice.
I've seen people come to the local dog parks here with basket muzzles on. I don't mind it, but it's almost guaranteed to scare some people away. Best thing I could say is to strike up a conversation with some of the people so that they'll be a little bit less apprehensive about it.
I would give it a go though...nothing to lose.
Did your dog get proper socialization classes as a puppy?
I wouldn't. Not so much because I might have an unpredictable dog that needs muzzling, but if another dog gets aggressive with my muzzled dog, my dog would be unable to defend herself.
It would be like bringing a declawed cat into a room with a bunch of other cats which had claws intact. If there's a scuffle, the declawed cat is relatively defenseless.
No. I wouldn't recommend using a muzzle at the dog park. This is for several reasons.
First, you are masking the problem with a quick fix instead of working on the core issue.
Second, if your dog was to get into a fight with a dog while wearing the muzzle he would be free game to any of the other dogs and not be able to defend himself if needed.
What I suggest you do, speaking from experience, is to not go to overcrowded dog parks like the one you used to take him to. I personally don't like them, for many reasons. Especially the small ones that have one entrance that all the dogs gather around to greet the "new meat." My dogs would run up to say hello in the same manner as your dog, and every once in a while would start a fight. You just never know who is going to show up and how they will react to their dog and to your dog. I have had people try and abuse my dogs...not ok. I don't go to these parks anymore. I take them to a bigger (hundreds of acres of land) off leash park and keep them far from the entrance, if there even is one really.
If you do go to these parks, you MUST gain control of your dog every single time a new dog comes into the park. Get your dog on leash and in a sit/wait until you can do a polite greeting with that new dog. It is just too risky to not do this 100% of the time, because you never know when a "harmless" dog fight will turn for the worse...not worth your dogs well being or even life. Consistency is key when working on training and behavior modification. I use a command when greeting other dogs, which is "go say hi" and when I say that, its like my dogs know that it is ok to go and say hello and that dog isn't a threat to the family/pack.
My guess is the behavior is going to elevated now since its been so long since you've taken him to the park and he is going to be more sensitive to other dogs. Be extra diligent and keep him in control.
It sounds like your dog may be showing aggression out of fear. If this is the case you may want to consider that going to the dog park is not the best way to handle his fear. Start small with just one on one dog contact- like with the neighbor's dog. Make positive relationships with several other dogs to build his confidence.
Wearing a muzzle may keep him from biting another dog but his overbearing stance may still provoke a fight and HE could still get bitten. Plus, being in another fight is only going to reinforce his fear of other dogs.
Just my 2 cents... I also have a (sometimes) dog aggressive boxer. She is ok with some dogs she meets and really goes after others, usually larger dogs. I also think her aggression is out of fear. Sort of a "I'm going to get them before they can get me" attitude. Like your dog she gradually accepted a neighbor's dog on the other side of the fence and they would play together through the fence. She does NOT however go to the dog park.
I think your vet is partly right, if he has shown aggression to dogs and caused fights he shouldn't be trusted in an uncontrolled environment like a dog park.
I've been ninja'd! :-p
Last edited by g00dgirl; 05-18-2010 at 12:25 PM.
He didn't take puppy socialization classes(I know better now) but he has been walked twice a day since he was 11wks old, he would meet all kinds of people and other dogs almost every day and he was fine, he went through obedience class at just over a yr old and he did great, no problems with other dogs in the class. It wasn't til he was about 18 months old that the problems started. He has had about a dozen instances where we have encountered loose dogs chasing us on walks, that may have added some fear. I wish there had been a dog park where we lived when he was a puppy so he may have had a better start. Good points about the dog park. I guess he may not be able to go back but the neighbors dog does sometimes come over and play, I guess thats better than nothing. Thanks for the advice.
He was neutered at six months.
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