We have been instituting a gradual reintroduction program to the dog park for Tierce and I’m happy to say that it’s working so far. The neutered Tierce is a lot calmer and less aggressive than the testosterone filled Tierce.
I started with bringing Tierce to the dog park and allowing him to meet the dogs from outside the fence. This didn’t provoke any aggression. Neither did having him run loose in the small dog run adjoining the bigger dog park when there were no dogs in the small run.
A week ago, I tried introducing him into the dog park with a bunch of bigger dogs. Tierce has been a bully in the past, so I thought bigger dogs would be able to handle themselves should any tendencies towards this resurface. I’m happy to say that they didn’t.
Tierce is now much calmer and more able to react positively to the different personalities that can be found in the dog park. I noticed the second time that he was getting stressed by a dog that kept following him and barking at him, so I called Tierce over and told the other dog to go play with some of the other dogs. Tierce seemed to calm right down and the other dog didn’t bother him again, but we went home soon after, just so Tierce didn’t get too stressed.
Tierce was playing today with some other dogs and didn’t show a lot of temperament, even when a couple of bigger dogs were targeting him for some rough play. I did call him once, but while he did head towards me, he didn’t show too much stress. I’m hoping to get him to the point where he realizes that the best thing he can do if he is stressed or if a bigger dog is bullying him, is to head to me.
He is also making strides in the toy aggression area. While he is attracted to sticks and balls, he isn’t as insistent that he have them and can deal with another dog grabbing them. And, in the case of Riley (above picture), he was reminded that some dogs have ‘their’ ball and woe betide the dog who thinks it’s up for negotiation. (Riley has an impressive roar!)
I’m really happy, because this gives us the opportunity to chisel a couple pounds off of the 27 that Tierce has some how managed to get to. 25 or thereabouts is probably ideal for him; 23 is on the thin side, but I do not want him to get fat and it’s getting hard to feel his ribs. On that subject, walks are probably not a bad thing for me, either.
Congrats to you and Tierce! Good that you are able to go to dog park again.
Sukoshi and I have such a great dog park here–don’t know what we would do without it.