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Irish Ryder

collie222 in positivelydog

Someone posted a comic about dogs needing their space on DIT. It made me think about a recent puppy socialization class we attended. My pups have been socialized with other dogs, but those meetings were one on one, and the other dogs did not exhibit any rude behavior. At the puppy class there was one male puppy, 13 weeks old, who was rude and repeated the behavior for almost the entire 45 minutes. Kori responded by trying to get away from him, hackles raised and warning him with growls to back off. He completely ignored her. She never went beyond growling, as she was too busy watching the older puppies run and play on the other side of the x-pen. Her herding instinct was in overdrive, watching all the older puppies playing and running, so she mostly ignored the male puppy.

So I thought I would post a short video showing the behavior and ask what you all thought of the body language be exhibited by the puppies in the class. I would also like to hear any suggestions on how to help your puppy deal with another pushy pup. The pup in question, BTW, was super-sweet and friendly with people, lavishing everyone with kisses. I think he was responding to Kori's excited reaction to the older puppies, as he didn't treat any of the other puppies this way. (But I'm no expert)


He was playing typical to his breed/kind, but I think more should have been done to redirect him. Since he wasn't listening to Kori's back off signals (you mentioned hackles and growls), then a human needs to step in. If he listened and left Kori alone then all is good. But if the male pup is allowed to keep pestering another pup who is saying "no" it sets the male pup up for a lot of trouble later on and also could make Kori a lot more defensive even if a situation doesn't call for it.

In this video he isn't too over the top, but I (as the trainer) would have tried to steer him to a pup would wanted to engage in that way. What did the trainer who was there say about the situation?

I'm all for socialization and think it's critical, but, I don't feel that means just plopping pups down together. Some pups are just not a good fit and they learn bad play habits or get overwhelmed. If he kept going for Kori (even in a friendly way) and Kori wanted none of it quite clearly then if redirection didn't work I would have removed one of them from the pen and would have found better playmates for each of them.
I pretty much agree with miss_teacher. I wouldn't allow that behavior to continue. Only b/c I've seen that go from playing to serious danger in a flash.
I agree with miss_teacher: I spent the whole video thinking to myself, "Why isn't the trainer intervening, or instructing the male pup's handler to intervene?" I would've given them a few seconds to work it out peacefully themselves, but when it became clear that Kori was giving appropriate "please don't" signals and the male pup was ignoring them, I would've gently removed the male pup and refocused him on his handler or redirected him to a rowdier pup or a toy.

Since that wasn't happening, next time I'd suggest that you calmly walk over and feed Kori a treat while gently restraining the other pup (briefly) so Kori can get away. If the other pup's handler is okay with it, you could let the male pup sniff a treat, then toss it away from Kori so the male pup chases the treat and gives Kori a break. (This could backfire into male pup thinking that pestering Kori makes treats happen, so I'd suggest talking to the trainer or the male pup's handler and asking them to be more proactive.)

April 2014

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