I have a male German Shepherd. He is very sociable with people and other dogs. I have no control or other problems as a rule.
At the age of one, he started mounting other dogs. He does not practice this on a regular basis, but going to a dog park, another dog may start and he in turn makes it part of a play session.
The other day, an owner of a year old female Great Dane, got very vocally vicious with me because of this sort of play.
I would like to know if I can control this to avoid a confrontation with another owner should the occasion arise.
I suspect the owner of the Great Dane spends a great deal of time getting vocally vicious with people when it comes to her dog. Some people confuse dog behaviour with human behaviour and people that get all worked up as a result usually stop going to the dog park. Dogs aren’t going to stop being dogs to satisfy someone’s confused sensibilities.
Mounting comes second only to butt sniffing in a dog park. My dogs have been involved in the odd conga line at the dog park now and then but it’s usually over and done with once everyone finds their placement in the group. If a dog is getting obsessive about it then the dog’s owner should of course call their dog off.
If your dog pulls his Prince Hump-a-lot act and won’t stop when you tell him, you need to teach him the “Out!” command. It just means “Stop what you’re doing right this second, right now!” Of course the dog has to actually take your place in its life seriously as far as who’s the teacher and who’s the student and understand just as with important commands like, “Stay”, “Come”, and “Heel” you’re not asking, you’re telling.
This is one of the reasons I’m such a big believer in using both encouraging and discouraging signaling when training a dog. Just as in a child’s “You’re warm/You’re cold” game, they are going to figure things out faster and remember it better than if you trained with only “You’re warm!” or “You’re cold!”. Equipped with that kind of natural communication experience, it’s in situations like this when you send the “You’re cold” message the dog knows from past experience that it’s a sign it’s on the wrong track. It may not know precisely what the problem is, but sometimes that’s simply not possible.
My dog knows from the sound of my voice that he should bare-minimum “reflect” a little before he continues with what he’s doing. He may not know precisely what, but he does know it’s worthy of some focus. I recall in my married life finding myself in a similar state of mind upon hearing a certain tone in my wife’s voice. It’s a normal part of any relationship.
Sure, I’d like my dog to know precisely what it is he’s doing wrong but in order to do that it requires a fair amount of controlled exposure and repetition. Somehow I can’t imagine asking someone, “I’m teaching my dog not to hump other dogs do you mind if we practice on your dog?” Sometimes it’s better for the dog to take your word for it.