How to find some kind of dog boot camp for my dog? - Mothering Forums
Pets > How to find some kind of dog boot camp for my dog?
Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 01:10 PM 03-24-2012

**UPDATE** Please see last post...


I have been googling and am not having much luck. The only real issue is that my dog is not socialized with other dogs. He becomes dominant right away and has no dog to dog manners. I can't trust him with other dogs. I want to send him off somewhere for a few days where he can become socialized with other dogs with a professional in a controlled enviornment. This would be in the north bay (CA).

starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 11:28 AM 03-25-2012

please do not send your dog to boot camp, there are way too many horrifying stories of abuse and neglect.


It is really important for YOU to train your dog, sure you can send them off for someone else to train but they will be in a different environment and there is no guarentee that your dog will continue to behave when sent home and there is no guarentee that they wont come back emotionally shattered from abusive practices.


Dominance is an overused term and is very misunderstood, it sounds like he is either a pushy dog or doesnt know how to behave around other dogs. Your very best bet is to hire a certified behaviourist to give you a hand with his socialization skills. Remembering that dogs dont need dog friends! Not all dogs are social and need to be around other dogs.


You are in North Bay Ontario? Try searching on

or contact James O'Hare who is in Ottawa, he may know someone in your area.




Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 01:18 PM 03-25-2012

California. :)


While I agree that dogs don't need doggy playdates and such, dogs are pack animals and I do think they prefer to be with other dogs and I do think it's an issue when they are dog aggressive. He's not out for blood, but he does set off other dogs by not knowing anything about dogs and how to act around them and he does get dominant and aggressive and I always end it before it's a full blown fight.


I did not know that about dog boot camp. The thing is, because of his history with dogs and my anxiety surrounding it, I know he needs to be around someone else while he relearns how to be with other dogs. Once he's acting more appropriate around them, I will be totally relaxed and I can take it from there.


I'm worried about hiring just any dog behaviorist. I know a woman who is a dog trainer and her dog is horribly behaved and growls and bites people! Anyway, it's hard to know who to trust.


Thanks for your input. :)

starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 02:26 PM 03-25-2012

A lot of dog breeds are prone to dog aggression, its a normal trait especially in bull and terrier type dogs (no idea what kind you have lol). Dogs absolutely dont need friends, yes they are pack animals, but YOU are their pack, wild dogs dont associate with dogs outside of the pack they live with.


Check out this website for behaviourists (these are people with degrees in animal behaviour, not your average random person):


I have no idea where North Bay is in California lol however I do have several contacts with behaviourists there who are exceptional and can ask who they recommend.


About doggie friends


ChitownTracy 06:57 AM 03-26-2012


starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 09:52 AM 03-26-2012

they dont need doggy friends period. If a dog develops dog aggression or intolerance it will not in any way shape of form hurt them to be kept away from other dogs for the entirety of their lives. Coming from someone who owns bull and terrier breeds and is involved in several communities, I have seen many dogs who are not able to co-exist with other dogs live full and happy lives. As long as they are getting the required mental and physical stimulation they need as well as time with their people they will be fine.


Originally Posted by ChitownTracy View Post

well i think the other poster was suggesting they don't need to be "friends" with every dog,  But they should be able to co-exist in a space together.  This is way many Large corporate pet stores hold Puppy Hours.  Socialization early & often is very important.  Lack of socialization is a pretty big reason many dogs are re-homed.  It's those re-homed dogs that sound like what you are saying OP.  We have had dogs in our rescue that do not know how to be a dog.  They don't know how to intergrate into a pack, they don't know how to read dog signals/language etc. 

OP Has the dog been with you since puppy hood?  I agree with the other poster's suggestion of a behaviorist.  Sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of your dog & his/her needs. 


ChitownTracy 03:34 PM 03-26-2012
Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 11:22 AM 03-27-2012

I really appreciate all the input. I do understand what you're saying and honestly I think it's strange when people think dogs need to have constant playdates arranged. 


His dog aggression is a problem for me because I can't just relax when other dogs are around and people always try to bring their dog up to "meet" mine. They always think I'm rude when I say no. It would be nice to not have to worry and to be able to trust him more.


He's not a breed that is prone to dog aggression, he just never had enough exposure. The other huge problem is that I can never leave him anywhere. If he could get along fine with other dogs I could actually go away for a few days. As it is, unless I can come up with huge money to pay for boarding I am trapped at home for the rest of his life. And even those boarding situations I know would have a bad effect on him. He'd come home fearful and hyper and I'd have to bring him back to normal.


So, these are my two huge problems with his dominance with other dogs that really do cramp my lifestyle.

Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 11:33 AM 03-27-2012

And to clarify, I'm in the San Francisco bay area, north bay.

(any other parts of the bay area would be too far for me because my car is not great)

starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 12:55 PM 03-27-2012

ok! i will get back to my contact and let you know :)

starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 02:44 PM 03-27-2012
starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 05:58 PM 03-27-2012

there is also this person

Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 11:12 AM 03-30-2012

Thank you! That one in San Rafael looks very promising. :)

starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 12:46 PM 03-30-2012

I hope it works out :) if you need more suggestions just let me know.

nd_deadhead's Avatar nd_deadhead 07:51 AM 04-02-2012

My dog acts aggressively toward other dogs, but we realized that he isn't so much a bully - he's afraid of other dogs, and his response to that fear (since he's on a leash and can't run away) is to raise his hackles and growl. We have been able to help him overcome his fear a bit by praising him and giving him treats when he gets near another dog without growling.


Another thing that seems to have helped our dog is to do a lot of training with him. I've taught him a bunch of tricks, and it seems that learning new things not only gives him more confidence, but he trusts me more, so he is less afraid of thinks in general, and knows that I will protect him when we're out on walks.


We do board our dog, but our kennel is terrific - they always put him on an end, so there's only one dog next to him, and they make sure that dog is as non-threatening as possible. We've had him for 6 months, and he has definitely gotten better.


Dogs are pack animals, but they pretty easily accept humans as their pack!

Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 05:35 PM 04-06-2012

Well, Leaps and Hounds said she couldn't help me. :(  She referred me to another place that is way too far away for me. I checked out their website and my dog does not fit any of their categories:


They would come all the way to my house to find a dog that does not jump or bark and is good with the kids and cat and mellow in the house. They'd find a dog that not only does all they "train" them to do (sit, stay, lay, come, etc.) but would be on a downstay for the entire time they were there if I asked him to. I can leave him home all day free roaming in the house and he does not do one bad thing. He is not dog aggressive either, he is dog dominant. And just today he encountered a few mellow dogs at the mark and, while I was cautious just in case, there were no issues. He was very good. If a dog is not a totally calm, mellow, stable dog, that's when there can be an issue and the majority of dogs out there are not that unfortunately (including mine, I realize). What I'd really love is to just let him go in The Dog Whisperer's pack for even a day. I swear, that would do it. Oh well...


I think what I really need is some willing owners who will not be scared for their dogs and will trust me to discipline him and deal with his behavior so he can get through it and over it. I know I could do it, but he gets his head on top of the other dog and does this little growl and starts playing way too rough and they get scared, which I totally understand.


Anyway, thanks for listening.


ETA: I just don't agree with their philosophy that they will only be able to discover all your dogs problems in their own home. He's perfect at home. It's when he's out in the world that any of his issues start coming out. Maybe they'd bring a dog in? It didn't sound like it and anyway that seems like a weird way to do it.

Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 05:47 PM 04-06-2012

I know I referred to him as "dog aggressive" in an earlier post but that was because a poster had said that dominance is an overused term and I wasn't sure if I was making it clear that it's more than him just trying to be the boss of another dog. I do believe it would be classified as dog dominance. He's not out to tear another dog up. We see all kinds of dogs out on walks ripping at their leashes, lunging, barking vicously at every dog they see. He would never do that. He doesn't pull or make any noise. It's more when he's meeting a dog and it looks like he's playing but it's VERY rough and his hackles are raised and he's trying to keep his head over their neck and puts his mouth there and does this weird little growl that almost sounds like a play growl but I can tell it's just beyond that. He starts acting a little predator-ish. Hopefully I'm describing his behavior well enough. It's hard to say in words. :)

starrlamia's Avatar starrlamia 10:44 AM 04-08-2012

dominance is an overused term, dogs arent usually vying for gaining the top position.

What kind of dog is he? Some breeds play very rough, bully breeds especially. He probably needs some guidance on how to act around other dogs.


Its not unusual for trainers to start in the home, they want to meet the dog and find out whats going on before plunging into the situation especially if there is any risk of aggression involved.


Where exactly are you located? I could try and find more trainers for you.

ChitownTracy 06:27 AM 04-09-2012


Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 11:23 AM 04-11-2012

I don't have a recording device but that's a great idea for showing exactly what the behavior is. I guess I am just trying to explain it in a way that hides nothing and most people explain it in a way that downplays it so they assume it's much worse than I'm actually saying? Just a guess.


Oh, and he is a gun dog, so he should really naturally get on fine with other dogs I would think. He did have a bully friend when he was very young and yes, she played *very* rough, so maybe he just stuck with that way of socializing with other dogs?

CanBoo's Avatar CanBoo 09:50 AM 05-15-2012

I had a retriever/shepherd X. We had her from 6 weeks to her passing at 9.5 years.

Because she had to be adopted early (unhealthy mom and overfilled shelter could not keep puppies together any longer), she never got the benefit of getting socialized long enough with her litter mates. We tried to keep her socialized with other dogs, but it was never enough to catch up on those missed weeks with her siblings. As a result; past the puppy hood stage, she was not nice with other dogs. A lot like what you described. She also had not learned to inhibit biting properly, so even when she did want to play nicely with other dogs, her play bite was too hard and a fight would ensue. However, in time, she calmed down and it became more manageable.


We knew it was worse on a lead because she wanted to protect us. So having a strong recall was a savior. She did better off leash. We learned to recognize the signs that she was getting more aroused. We constantly watched her and called her back before she started scrapping around with another dog.


When she wasn't in a calm mind state to start, I simply learned to tell people to leash their dogs and stay away because mine wasn't friendly.


And we had to be extra vigilant when the kids were around because she wanted to protect them.

Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 11:13 AM 05-16-2012

You hit the nail on the head. He was also a rescue from an over-crowded and high-kill shelter. They took the puppies away from mom very early and I had him and not quite six weeks. I will never make that mistake again (I never knew the consequences until a few years ago). It's too bad to hear that socializing didn't really work out. Thanks for sharing your story.

CanBoo's Avatar CanBoo 03:44 PM 05-26-2012

I still miss that dog so bad though. For the same reason she wasn't so nice with other dogs, she was extremely bonded to us. :( We were her mama for life.

lexapurple's Avatar lexapurple 08:48 AM 05-30-2012

My cocker is similar in behavior to your dog. he was not allowed to play with other dogs because he was raised as a shw prospect and his breeder was concerned about his coat condition. He is fine with dogs who are mellow and respectfull but will get in full blown fight pretty much without warning if other dog gets in his space or acts stupid. There really no way to socialize out of it. dogs who are like that are only safe arund other dogs with super close supervision or dogs that get along well. Owner who is worried is not helping the situation ether. 

Working with regular reputable trainer can help you. If he is 100% obedient and stays still on command, that is something you can use while you explai other owners that you dog is not frienly, and no, he doesn't want to play. 

Mama Soltera's Avatar Mama Soltera 12:19 PM 11-17-2012

I thought I'd post an update. So, we are wanting to go visit relatives for a couple of days for Thanksgiving and I was stressing about the dog. I talked to a pet resort about how he's not well socialized and they said they would still take him, he just might to have to be in a play area alone during the day if he can't get along. When I went for his trial run today they were really supportive and said that it's natural for dogs to be together and he'll probably just have to adjust. They sounded like they don't just kick dogs out for the slightest anti-social behavior and I really liked their philosophy. Well, they took him out right away and within minutes had him with all the other big dogs and they said he was doing well. They are letting me leave him there all day and they have a live webcam they encouraged me to check. Well, he's been there for a long time now and he's doing great! So, I guess doggy daycare/doggy boarding was really all we needed to socialize him after all! I'm so excited. Thanks again for all your help and I'm sure the lady at that in home dog training/boarding place would feel pretty silly when she realized how not of a problem he really is. It's not her fault. I'm sure a lot of people downplay their dog's issues and I was being very honest about them. So she probably thought it was much, much worse than I was saying.