Disturbance at the Dog Park

Today, I decided to give Tierce a run at the dog park.  Things were normal – a number of dogs running about and Tierce doing his usual run-around to all the dogs and then looking for a place to poop.

The problem started when a Border Collie started following him about.  Now, dogs come up to Tierce all the time and follow him around when he’s looking for a spot to leave something for posterity, so I didn’t think much of it – I was busy following him myself so I wouldn’t have to take a bearing and use a GPS to find his crap.

Suddenly, Tierce decided that he did not like this dog.  I didn’t see the dog do anything to Tierce, but Tierce snarled and snapped at him.  This would have been okay if Tierce had just snarled and gone off on his own business, but the Border was moving away and Tierce was following him with the same jerkish behaviour – snarling and snapping and generally being an asshole.

In an unprecedented stroke of Shiba benevolence, Tierce came after two commands and an unsuccessful swipe at his collar and I popped him in my arms and hauled him out of the dog park tout de suite.

I called an apology to the girl who evidently owned the Border – Tierce didn’t actually bite him, but she was looking unhappy about this turn of events. She didn’t reply to my salutation.

I took Tierce for a turn around the path that loops around the dog park on the outside and returned to station myself and Tierce outside the fence.  He didn’t have a reaction to any of the other dogs, but I didn’t think putting him right back in the dog park was the greatest idea.

I’m going to take Tierce back tomorrow and see what his behaviour is like.  I’m just hoping that this doesn’t indicate that Tierce may have to eschew the dog park in the future.  Maybe I’m just paranoid and it was just a personality conflict.  I mean,  the Border could have dissed Tierce’s mom or something.

Any opinions?

Tierce the Shiba at Beban Dog Park, Nanaimo

Tierce in happier circumstances at Beban Dog Park


  1. When I go to the park with my Shiba Inu, I never know what’s gonna happen. Sometimes he loves to play around with 6 other dogs at the same time, but I never know when he gets grumpy and ‘attack’ an other dog, not sure why he does that though, but sometimes I get the feeling he does this because it’s kind of a Shiba thing to change their behavior whenever they want. I always apologize to people, but most people wont reply to it or get angry at me. It’s kind of frustrating, but I’ve figured something out that helps find out if he’s in a bad mood or if he just wants to play. Whenever I go to the park, I first walk my dog with his leash on, so he can’t attack or play with other dogs immediately. I approach all the dogs I see, and if he can get along with all the dogs, I take of his leash and I don’t have to worry about anything. Maybe you should try this with your dog, so he knows that whenever he wants to get grumpy to another dog, he can’t, because you keep pulling him away from the dog and he knows that whenever he’s in a good mood, he can play around without his leash on. They are smart dogs!

  2. Thanks for your ideas. One thing is that our dog park doesn’t allow leashed dogs because of the increased potential for fights. Of course, one could always keep a dog on a leash outside the park and see how s/he reacts, but I can see how your way can help you figure out problems before they start.

    One piece of advice I read was to feed Tierce before he goes, so that he isn’t hungry and won’t be more stressed because of that. Maybe we’ll try that tomorrow!

  3. My Lab is very well socialized and overall a very easy going and laid back dog who typically gets along with all dogs without territory, food or any issues like that. However there are a couple of other dogs that he clearly does not like. One is another lab and another is a great dane. With the other lab he’ll growl (which is the only time I’ve ever heard his non play growl) and with the dane he cries and sits at my feet or the park gate. With both of these dogs this reaction happened almost immediately, and a long time apart. We’ve never seen the other lab again but the dane goes to the park quite often and every time it’s the same reaction. Usually the next park trip after we see the Dane Scooby is a little jumpy but calms down and gets back to being himself. I know there are certain people I wouldn’t want following me and others I wouldn’t mind…. Maybe this collie looked like trouble! Good luck!

  4. I agree with Mandy – I wouldn’t read too much into it. I have over-analyzed Zuko’s dog park personality and just decided that he isn’t a wimp. He doesn’t put up with rudeness and there are some dogs he just doesn’t like. Considering I am the same way with people, I can’t blame!

  5. Well, I have to laugh because Murphy’s Law (1 of 2 Shiba’s I am fortunate to share residence with) and I have been asked to never return to multiple dog parks in 3 local towns. I am not a neglegent owner, I hav e successfully trained multiple dogs in my life. However, Shiba’s are a different tale altogether. Murphy began his life spending 40 hours a week at a local doggy-daycare with few ill effects beyond teasing new puppies and owning the puppy pool. When we moved we sadly said good-bye to the doggy-daycare but were encouraged by the relative convenience of the local dog parks.
    With doggy-daycare a recent memory we attempted our 1st trip with no success. Murphy did not like western dogs at all. (I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with demographics but who knows.)Our distress was repeated time and again as he proved jerk behavior over and over.
    I have no advice as I finally just gave up with him ever behaving like a well mannered dog upon command. I am simply glad to know others feel my pain. Also, for any non-Shiba owners out there we truly mean it when we say sorry, and we really do not know the outcome so no need to make us feel worse than we already do.

  6. Our dog also Shiba usually does really good at dog parks and will play with anyone which is odd because on leash he is a different dog. On leash he doesn’t want another dog to smell him or get in his face in the slightest. Thankfully he’s never attacked another dog, he just growls like a jerk.

    There have been a few times though that he’s snapped at other dogs off leash. I’ve noticed that they are often intact males… I don’t know if it’s jealousy or hormonal smells?

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