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Canine Behavior/Dog interation with dogs


Recently brought home a one year old female from the pound. It is important that my pup gets along with other dogs. All my family members have dogs and we socialize often. The other day I passed a dog park and stood outside the fence wondering if I should go in. The longer I waited the more excited my dog became to the point of displaying agression. What is the best way to introduce my dog to other dogs?

Socialization (in the true sense of the word) occurs prior to approximately 14 weeks of age (give or take).  After that, it's rehabilitation, counter conditioning, positive reinforcement training, etc.

Standing outside the fence for a long time was not a good idea.  You don't really *know* that your dog was "displaying aggression" because you may have misinterpreted the body language (quite common and not your fault.)  An over excited dog can present in many ways: barking, even mouth watering, lunging, hackles raised, etc.  This does not mean aggression.

You can't take this dog into a dog park right now.  You and she have not sufficiently bonded and you know little or nothing about her past, including training (if any at all, and what quality). In NJ there are many credentialed trainers who belong to national organizations (not just dues paying, check credentials). Some of these must have training venues.  Start with your veterinarian, ask if s/he knows of any such places. Then go and WATCH and LISTEN.  ONLY positive reinforcement should be used, no exceptions.  Best to go into a novice obedience class and observe a few before deciding if it's for you.  In a situation with an educated, experienced positive reinforcement trainer, your dog will be assessed as she learns to "work" for reward and praise and you'll have a much better idea of who she is and how she interacts with other dogs.

Not all dogs are a candidate for a dog park.  I personally don't like them much because so many dogs acquire problem behaviors due to the dogs of other owners who have little or no control or care less.  Start with a supervised, structured environment and then go from there.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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