Dog etiquette

canberryjam 29 December 2011 11

I’m a first time dog owner. Got my little 4 month old pup from the animal pound. This tiny pup has turned into Godzilla in 4 months. We thought we had it all covered (taught her to sit and fetch) but it turns out that she needs some obedience classes. She’s a gentle giant and does not attack/nip/bite at all. She just gets very excited when she sees people and/or dogs. She tries to run to them (I don’t let her) and if they come to her she will lie down with all 4 legs in the air but if they start to leave she will jump on them. With dogs she is more meek and will back off if they bark or growl. She got along well with my friend’s dog right from the start.

While we’re waiting for her to start her obedience classes, I would love for her to socialise with other dogs. Should I wait for her to complete her classes? Or, since she isn’t dangerous, should I take her to a dog park? Would other dog owners be uncomfortable with a dog who doesn’t know her boundaries?

Thank you

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11 Responses to Dog etiquette
canberryjam canberryjam 7:36 pm 31 Dec 11

Thank you for the replies. 🙂

Mumbucks Mumbucks 12:41 am 31 Dec 11

Take your pup to puppy school first then obedience training.

madamcholet madamcholet 1:02 pm 29 Dec 11

You could try Bark Busters if you want to do solo training before going out and about. Might give you more confidence in dealing with her behaviour when she runs to other dogs. if dogs are trained properly you should be able to stop them doing something without a lead on. We used Bark Busters for behavioural training for our older dog when our son came along. Works a treat but you do have to keep practicing. The good thing about BB is that the $400 fee lasts for the lifetime of the animal as long as you prove you are working on it. Not sure how that stacks up against puppy lessons – but you get individual attention and it’s tailored to you and your dog, not just generic obedience.

taninaus taninaus 12:31 pm 29 Dec 11

I also would caution on the dog parks with a preference for less intense areas such as walking trails etc. But it is possible – just pick the non-peak hour times so that there are far fewer dogs there and less activity. As an owner of a small dog I wouldn’t want your puppy jumping on me or my dog as I entered the area – you never know the issues the owner or dog might have.

But there are strategies you can use – stay away from the main entrance as much as possible, work on a signal to get your dog to come to you (call, squeeky toy), allow it to meet others but in a controlled way rather than random excitement. If you let your dog jump on others then you are setting yourself up for a lot of work to undo what you have essentially given it permission to do.

Re Obedience classes – there are quite a few options in Canberra:
– ACT Companion Dog Club, Narrabundah
– Belconnen Dog Obedience Club, Mitchell
– Tuggeranong Dog Obedience Club, Tuggeranong
They are all good clubs and membership usually gives you access to the training and the grounds for a period of time (pretty sure it is 12 months for all). This will give you training for that full period of time with a progressive set of exercises designed to help you and your dog form a good team and enable your dog to be well behaved and under control in all situations. Contact details for clubs can be found at

matt31221 matt31221 11:48 am 29 Dec 11

Yeah you gotta watch your dogs at the dog park it can get nasty sometimes but doesn’t stop me from taking my dogs they love it.

My submissive Beagle got chased down there by a Bull Terrier about 6 times her size and it started to bite my dog on the back of the neck. I started running over screaming and luckily the Terrier understood my screams and disengaged from my Beagle and ran away because if I got there I would of snapped the Bull Terriers neck.

As long as you keep an eye out there are no problems.

yoyo23 yoyo23 10:38 am 29 Dec 11

Jimbo311 said :

I’d recommend taking her to the off-leash dog parks (Diddams Close at Lake Ginninderra is a good one), however, initially I would recommend having her on leash whilst in the off leash park, that way if she gets too excited, you have better control over the situation.

I would have to disagree with leaving your dog on leash. It is my belief that when one dog is leashed and another isn’t, it creates a huge power distortion that the dogs pick up on and you are more likely to get aggressive behaviour. Remember, if dogs are fighting and you grab one by the collar, it makes the situation much worse and you and the dogs are more likely to get hurt. That part is from experience 🙁

Jimbo311 Jimbo311 10:36 am 29 Dec 11

Jethro, sorry to hear your pooch had a bad time of it at the dog park. I’ve been to the Diddams Cl park dozens of times and have only seen one attack which was stopped by both owners as soon as it occurred.
I agree with your comments that as a young pup the dog park is probably not best for younger dogs, but the dog in question is almost an adolescent and appears to be submissive rather than dominant.

Canberryjam – you might find this link interesting:

Not sure where you have your pup enrolled for classes, but I highly recommend ACT Companion Dog Club at Narrabundah, I recall they have a great secure paddock at the back of the complex which is leash free and great way to have the dogs expend energy before classes as well as a bit of socialisation.

It might also be a good idea to go with your friend and their dog (who your pup has already met) to a leash free area, that way if the park doesn’t suit you then you can continue with both dogs for a long walk together.

ddesire ddesire 10:36 am 29 Dec 11

I am with Jethro on this one, the dog park is not a good place for a dog that does not understand boundaries just yet.
The RSPCA and ACT Companion Dog Club both have puppy classes that lead into obedience classes, so I highly recommend trying one of them out. Your pup will get to socialise and learn a thing or two at the same time. Best of luck 🙂

Jethro Jethro 9:44 am 29 Dec 11

I would do the opposite of Jimbo311 and recommend against a dog park.

There are too many lazy owners who take theirs dogs to those places, let them off their leash and seemingly absolve all responsibility for their dogs. On the few occasions I have taken my pooch to one he has been harassed by other dogs (bailed up in a corner, etc), with no intervention by absent owners. There have been a number of maulings at Canberra dog parks over the past couple of years, including some that have resulted in the death of people’s beloved pooches.

If your puppy is still learning boundaries, etc, I would worry that he will jump all over the wrong dog and get a good bite taken out of him. At this stage, I would recommend lots of long on-leash walks. You will meet plenty of other dogs while out, but with the advantage that they are usually leashed. Still plenty of chance for him to learn how to interact with other dogs, but without too much worry of him getting in a dangerous situation.

john84 john84 9:42 am 29 Dec 11

as someone with a 7-month old vizsla, she’ll get better; she just needs to learn some manners.

take her to the large dog section of the yarralumla dog park a few days a week to socialize (I imagine she’s a bit too rough for the small dog section). as she gets older, you’ll likely notice a behavior change.

Jimbo311 Jimbo311 9:24 am 29 Dec 11

I’d recommend taking her to the off-leash dog parks (Diddams Close at Lake Ginninderra is a good one), however, initially I would recommend having her on leash whilst in the off leash park, that way if she gets too excited, you have better control over the situation. Once she has gotten use to the environment and to a certain extent the boundaries in dog & people socialising then you could start by taking her off leash for parts of the time you are there, gradually extending the time each visit, dependent on her behaviour. She should learn pretty quickly.

I think other dog owners that are there are fairly easy going souls and we have gone through the same situation you’re in and would understand/sympathise 🙂

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