Someone called Tessa dominant today-LOL -blows my mind-but have questions

Discussion in 'Tibetan Mastiff' started by Catia, May 19, 2014.

  1. Catia

    Catia Well-Known Member

    So Tessa & I went on out evening walk. So some toddlers made her sit so they could pet her, she said hi to her Papillion friend, watched a few pugs bark at her, let some more kids say hi, gave a hello to the chow who's owner stays 10 feet away because his pooch isn't friendly, but seems to like Tessa. She watched some people doing yoga, & we headed to the football field, & all was fine in Tessa-land, we were alone & I let her off leash.

    A man shows up off a trail with a golden retriever I have never seen before. Female. I leashed Tessa & put her in a sit while trying to ask if his dog is male/female & if friendly with other dogs, but he just lets her loose, & in retriever fashion she comes running to Tessa face 1st, but his girl was showing some stress signs & was older & a little raised hackles.

    Tessa loves golden retrievers, & is in total puppy love with the one male up the street.

    I kept hold of the leash, since females have not been nice to Tessa at all & after a minute all seemed fine.
    Usually Tessa is the one who goes down & belly up when playing, but it didn't work that way today.
    His dog kept trying to check me out & did a lean on me a twice--and growled & got snappy with Tessa when Tessa tried to get in between the other dog & me.
    Tessa then got full on top of the pooch pushed her over, retriever submitted, was on her back & at 1st it appeared they were wrestling...
    but then Tessa got too rough--looked kind of like Tessa was trying to thrash her & I got in there & pulled her off (two fingers), because one of them was growling, & well, it was Tessa.

    Man says to me "your dog is pretty dominant--I think we better go"--As if I did something wrong??? He did just totally let his dog come at my pooch & ME before we even established sex/friendliness of the dogs....Granted I wasn't pleased with how Tessa just behaved either, but I have enough sense not to just let her run up to another dog.
    I put Tessa in a sit at my side, he had his pooch & Tessa was completely calm, even layed down- but right against me.
    I told him my girl isn't dominant, she's usually the one belly up, it just didn't work that way today.
    I got a 'looks pretty dominant to me' remark.

    I wanted to correct him about how he allowed his dog loose before they even met each other-but I didn't. I felt bad. Tessa was a total bitch.
    Usually I'm the one on the other end worried someone else's dog is gonna hurt Tessa, so I get it.

    Now what is the deal with her 'thrashing' the other dog? I saw her do this once or twice before when she was maybe 16-20 weeks old.
    I pulled her off as soon as I saw it.
    I didn't like how it looked then, & I don't like it now.

    Before today-Tessa has NEVER growled at another dog-not even during play. She has always been a silent player-even if the other dog is vocal.

    What I mean by thrashing is she gets full body on top of the other dog & just starts thrashing her head info them & going for the neck/throat area.
    There was heavy mouthing but no biting, but I feel that is because I pulled her off.
    I was able to pull her off with 2 fingers, & she calmed immediately. Sat/layed perfectly while I talked to the guy for a minute or two.
    Showed no aggression towards his dog, more indifference if anything.

    10 min later, people walking their old female mix off leash approach us while we are walking up the trail. Tessa was fine with that female, but that female didn't approach me. We actually walked with them for 1/2 a block--not my choice after the incident, but there was no other way to go--& they weren't going to listen, they love everybody.
    these are some friendly old people & they carry treats for every pooch they see, so Tessa was cool with it & their pooch.

    What is the thrashing thing??? Doesn't look good at all.
  2. Iymala

    Iymala Well-Known Member

    Both of my two do it during play and they play fairly. Both take turns on bottom and top. Granted, unlike Tessa they are both vocal players, but the pitch of their growl is different during play than in anger.
  3. Doggyhelpplease

    Doggyhelpplease Well-Known Member

    Catia its just a one off probably. There is something that she doesn't like there (The dog, The Man, The energy, who knows). I wouldn't worry too much unless you keep noticing it and it bugs you. She was back to normal it seems after. Honestly, though she positioned between you and the other dog after she leaned on and you and got snappy and growled? It sounds like Tessa was doing her job. Some people say leaning can be dominant, maybe she was like back off Bitch this is my mom! lol :p
  4. ruthcatrin

    ruthcatrin Well-Known Member

    Tessa didn't like the retriever, whether because of the retriever's appoach to her, or the way the dog approached you, or for some other reason, and took offense and did something about it.

    Now it COULD be her resource guarding you, but if she normally doesn't freak at you interacting with other dogs then I doubt it.

    I will say that most TMs play hard and violent. And even the more submissive TMs tend to be unapprecative of rudeness.

    But yah, basically she was guarding you from a percieved threat.
    Last edited: May 19, 2014
  5. Catia

    Catia Well-Known Member

    That's what I'm thinking-Back off my mum!--Plus a strange man coming from an odd direction from a trail at dusk.

    Nothing about it seemed playful once the thrashing started & I was fast to pull her.

    Tessa was fine it seemed--until til the other dog gave a growl/snap--like the retriever was trying to correct Tessa when the retriever was was trying to approach me-
    then the retriever leaned on me.
    I KNOW I'm Tessa's...I moved immediately, I saw Tessa didn't like it.
    Then it all happened.
    At 1st I thought it would be OK-once I was out of the way.
    The thrashing could've been a LOT worse-looked awful--she had the other dog fully pinned.
    That dog submitted & was trying to get away & Tessa was sending a message that was a little over the top.

    I'd say Tessa gave that girl a full correction, but that it is the owner's fault.
    I wish though it had not gone that far, but maybe it had to.
    No one got hurt, just the guys ego.

    With the other off leash dog a few min later-also a female, the introduction was better, even though the dog was off leash. Tessa even layed down & rolled over for a belly rub & a treat from that dog's owner--with the loose pooch right there.

    Tessa has a 140lb rottie male friend who is a solid boy. He likes to lean on me cuz I give him back rubs & Tessa gets a little jealous & starts to antagonize him to move & will push her head in between us-I move when it starts, if I can, because 240lbs of dogs leaning on me is not comfortable.
    It seems sometimes they lose interest in playing with each other & it becomes a game of who can lean on me/be closest-but never gets mean.
    I think he tests her territory just for kicks & she knows it's play.
  6. ruthcatrin

    ruthcatrin Well-Known Member

    She sounds like she's got it under control then. And yah, I'd call the other owner at fault.
  7. Catia

    Catia Well-Known Member

    I'm actually a bit proud of Tessa-now that it's over-certainly not for what she did, but for how she listened & calmed herself immediately once I got involved.

    She really maintained her composure quite well & didn't let it move on to the next loose dog.
  8. elastigirl

    elastigirl Well-Known Member

    Completely agree with all that has been said - that retriever needed a correction and Tessa gave it to her.

    Sounds like the owner needed a correction, too.
  9. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a near-perfect encounter with an impolite over-excited retriever, to me.

    I can totally picture the retriever... all wiggles, not a clue in her head... and then Tessa finally saying "ENOUGH", and taking her down - Mastiff style! WhooHoo! :)

    If I could think fast enough on my feet, I would have responded to the guy with something like, "yeah, she doesn't really like high-energy dogs" or "I think she thought your girl was a little too pushy" or something of that nature. I never can think of something witty in the heat of the moment, though.

    That she responded to your two-finger pull is awesome! and then just relaxed. Perfect. What a good girl!!

    Too many lab and retriever owners think that a friendly, happy, excited dog is welcomed by everyone and let their over-excited dogs spin all out of control... and thus, the need for leash laws... of course, the same ones that need to obey the leash laws are the ones with the "but my dog is friendly" retrievers... so they don't abide by them, anyway... sigh.
  10. elastigirl

    elastigirl Well-Known Member

    Our trainer that teaches the (positive!) class I love was talking about this recently in her blog ... she said that when you own a dog-reactive dog (which she does), the worst thing ever is the over-exuberant dog and owner ... owner unclips dog's leash without asking, calling out "My dog is fine!" as the dog barrels toward your dog-reactive dog. She said there's nothing like the expression of shock and horror on an owner's face when she calls back, "But my dog is not!"

    Just kind of made me laugh, picturing the scene ...
  11. NYDDB

    NYDDB Well-Known Member

    Sorry if this veers off-topic, but this reminded me of something that happened a few weeks ago with me and Mateo.

    I was sitting on a grassy hill in the park with Mateo recently, watching people, and just chilling out. All of a sudden I notice a Golden Retriever to our left, coming towards us, in a slow, stalking manner, head low, eyes completely locked on Mateo. The dog had a leash attached...but no owner.

    Mateo sits up straighter, watching this dog, very alert, but not moving. I am scanning the people moving past, trying to figure out whose dog this is. Suddenly a woman calls out to me, waving, and asks, smiling, "Is he (Mateo) friendly?"

    I just sat there, and slowly shook my head. Ha- you should have seen her scramble up that hill, desperately calling off her dog...I thought she was going to have a heart attack, LOL.

    Which leads to the question: "Why the hell would you take the chance of something happening when you don't know the other dog?!" Besides the fact that off-leash time in this park ended hours ago. Stupid, stupid, stupid...

    By the way, Mateo may or may not have been "okay" with this dog, but based on it's body language, and the fact that it was alone, I didn't want anything to do with it...
  12. elastigirl

    elastigirl Well-Known Member

    Yep. I have only had one dog, EVER, that I trusted 100% off leash, and it took probably 5 years to get to that point ...

    I am very happy that we live in an area where everyone is respectful of leash laws. There really aren't any dog parks where I live. We are quite rural, so dog encounters either need to be planned playdates or take place at kids' sporting events or the local parks, where I have never seen a dog off-leash.

    I do, however, run trails quite a bit and on several widely used trails there are sooooo many overly friendly, exuberant dogs that run ahead of their owners and will run up to any runner or hiker and jump on them. I am tolerant of this (I think it's rude, but I'm tolerant nonetheless) but as a result, I know there are places I won't bring Ivy to hike lest there be an off-leash dog running way ahead of its owner. Lucky we have a very, very quiet state park just behind our house ... very little used, trails are not blazed, so aside from hunting season we usually have it all to ourselves. :)
  13. broccolini

    broccolini Well-Known Member

    Im amazed at the number of off-leash dogs we run into. We haven't had any bad experiences yet though. Most of them are smart enough to stay out of Athena's reach.

    The one time the off-leash dog was an aggressive, yappy dog, it was with D'Argo. I think that dog was lucky. :p
  14. Catia

    Catia Well-Known Member

    Tessa is 1/2 golden retriever,mom was a golden--she gets all happy when she sees a golden, just not that one, for whatever reason.

    Today we got lucky on our walk & got to test some stuff out--she saw her golden retriever male--who is the doggie love of her life--they did their play wrestle mouth thing, & Tessa got on top of him when he was belly up, but no thrashing, just their usual mouthing & it's so cute to watch them. It's like they speak the same language--& her body language with him is different than with any other dog & they totally 'get' each other. She also doesn't do any of the posturing stuff when they are together & she begins to mimick whatever he does.

    Later on the way home, we ran into her rottie boy playmate, & he does test her boundaries--he claims me a bit & does the typical rottie lean on me to egg her on, & he was all over me today keeping Tessa away--Tessa let him go--then when they were playing, she waited til he was down & belly up, jumped full on him & big time mouthing & he yipped. I pulled her. No issues, all was fine, we let them play some more--He is wonderful with her & listens so well. (I mourn I will never have that recall that stops on a dime).

    But I am wondering about this 'move' with her. More worried that she might get hurt if he gets rough, if she gets corrected--he's got 30-40 lbs on her & is a solid muscle.
    This is the 1st time she did that with the rottie...

    She really likes to jump on top when the other dog is down. I can't tell if it is opportunistic & not good, or if it is just play.
    I don't know what it's about.
    With that female retriever--it wasn't play--

    She's always been submissive, but maybe she's testing the water? With other pooches I've seen this testing around 6-9 months.
  15. ruthcatrin

    ruthcatrin Well-Known Member

    She's old enough for it to be a few things.

    She's pushing 1.5yrs right?

    So you could be seeing the early signs of the bratty teenage stage a bit early.

    Or she could be starting to grow into her temp a bit, which could make her less of a "pushover".

    Or some combination there of.
  16. ruthcatrin

    ruthcatrin Well-Known Member

    And like I said above, TMs in general play hard and in an aggressive manor with dogs close to their size. Apollo plays wonderfully gently with the little dogs, but by the time they hit the 50lbs mark to so he figures they can handle it. Its possible thats also coming through as she matures. If thats the case I wouldn't worry TO much, if only because you're keeping close eye on her, and she's quite responsive to you.
  17. Doggyhelpplease

    Doggyhelpplease Well-Known Member

    Yep, mine lays down and tries to invite little ones to play but she is pretty rough with larger dogs. Her GS friend takes a beating and is thrown down constantly but also loves it rough and keeps coming back. When they get to the point that they are both trying to pull collars and don't let go when asked (say after like 40mins), they spend a few mins apart doing OB and then they are back playing again. They never are really fighting but when they get over tired and more stupid which can cause extra rough play we calm them down a bit by calling them back etc. They constantly both grab at the neck etc, but the sec one is at the water bowl the other backs off till they done drinking so they can play more. There is some respect but they do play rougher together than other dogs at our regular playdates and there is one herding dog who is nervous (she will run but never wants to wrestle which make sense) (she is getting better) and my dog only comes up licks her and sniffs to say hi and then runs off to play with someone else...she never lays one tooth on the herding dog because she knows that Bridie doesn't want it (I never had to teach her that they do have a language of their own). They play different with different dogs etc. Maybe Tessa is doing this as well.
  18. Hector

    Hector Well-Known Member

    You can tell when it's dominance and when it's play. I've seen the difference. Hector has pinned another dog that came barging through the living room door. The pin was serious coupled with aggressive roars and thrashing and holding the dog in place until he pissed himself. Play pins are completely different. Body is much softer (soft biting, pawing, soft eyes) and bouncy (pouncing, teasing) and a lot of movement (running, rolling, wrestling, mouthing). Dominant pins are seen with very tense body language with direct stares and intent to harm.
  19. Catia

    Catia Well-Known Member

    I just still am not sure. Met a new male pooch today--a golden--he was a bit more high energy. They played well, but when she gets in top, I'm getting nervous now because she seems to hit point where she is being too--I dunno--what it is--like once she's on top she just really gets off on it & I can't tell if she is pushing too far. She is going for the throat-with her whole mouth. And all she wants is the throat. Now sometimes it's because she is trying to pull the collar off the other dog.
    I explained my dilemma to the pooches owner & we watched them play, I did pull Tessa a few times, the last time I pulled her I got some resistance, but not stiffness. But she was pinning the retriever down with her full mouth embedded around his throat. She didn't bite-but full mouth.
    She doesn't lose contact with reality or get crazy, but I it's like she looses herself in the moment, & I get the sense she is submitting to my requests when I pull her-because it is me, so she is soft.
    I get the distinct impression that if I were not there or if I were out of reach, she'd go all hog wild, & I do not know where that limit is.

    To compare it to something you all might understand, it's like she has forgotten some things she learned while playing with other pups.

    I haven't seen anything too rough yet-but I see the potential for it, a gut feeling & I feel awful pulling her if I am over-reacting, but my gut tells me to pull.
    her signs are subtle.

    My last girl was 110lbs, & could roll/romp/wrestle/mouth with the best of them. I never worried about it. I always knew it was play.
    Tessa is VERY hard to read, she doesn't have a lot of body language to go by. I do not know how to guage the cut off from rough play to the 'too serious' part. It's really hard to see her face when it's buried in another dog & she's got them pinned by the throat. Damn fur! I was trying to get a look....

    Yes, she's about 1 1/2.
    She's been extremely well socialized--socialized to the Nth matter of fact.
  20. ruthcatrin

    ruthcatrin Well-Known Member

    Honestly I expect its a combination of the above things, especially considering her age. It may be worth stepping in periodically to make her sit for a bit to calm down, before letting her go back and play if she's getting overly excited. If you can't gauge her, you may be able to gauge from the other dog's body language, when they feel SHE may be pushing the boundaries.

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