bad behavior/agressive behavior at dog park
My husband and I have a 2 year old female german shepherd. As a puppy she was socialized quite a bit. She went to the dog park, dog beaches, dog hotels etc and pretty much ignored other dogs or was the submissive one. We never had any issues in regards to her becoming aggressive. She always has always been friendly with meeting new people. Biggest complaint is she would jump on them , demand to be petted, or act like a complete crazy dog bc she was so excited.
We moved a year ago to northeast Fl. About 8 months ago we stopped taking her to the dog park due to illness running rampant....people did not clean up after their dogs etc. so she wasn't being socialized as much. She is the only pet in our household and quite frankly is spoiled. About 2 months ago my husband was put on orders with the national guard and I am in charge of her care. I have started to notice some issues with her behavior that concern me and I am not sure if this is something I can correct with training or if I need to hire a professional.
1. Barking. She has always been very vocal and I didn't mind that much since she always let me know if someone came to the door ect. however, now anytime we are out and someone approaches us she barks ( and not a nice high pitch bark, a loud deep one) which ends up startling them and making them afraid. I have watched her body language and her tail still wags while she does it, but it sounds vicious. Last week she had a vet check @ banefield (petsmart) for skin issues. She barked at every single person and dog in her immediate path and once in the room barked quite loudly at the vet tech so much, that they made me muzzle her during the exam. I have never had to do that before. I was also given "teaching" pamphlets on aggression when we left which is something new as well.
2. Aggressive behavior at the dog park. Yesterday my husband was home and we took her to the dog park. She was the only one there in the beginning and played pretty hard. Then a younger male (8 months) came and she sniffed him and then tried to fit all the toys in her mouth and tease him ( not super polite, but she wasn't being aggressive yet). He played for a bit and when she became too hot we took her to get water and cool her off. At this point when the other dog approached, she growled and showed teeth twice. I have NEVER seen her do that. My husband immediately corrected the behavior and said it was probably bc she was hot and became possessive of the water and was telling him to go away. A short while later a greyhound tried to play with her and was very hyper, jumping around etc. She did the same growl/teeth showing/snapping at that dog. Again was corrected and then we left bc the greyhounds owner was not happy with us.
My main concern is she used to be so friendly and it seems that since she has gotten older, her personality is changing. I trust her to never bite me.....but have concerns regarding other people. This is an issue, as we have 2 children ( ages 11 and 13) that will be staying with us this summer. In the past she has always been great with them, but I worry more so about their friends coming over, my family, neighbor etc.
Also its disappointing she cannot play with other dogs anymore without becoming upset. She is now 80lbs ( a big female) so I no longer think she would be submissive as she was when she was a puppy, but I would like her to play nice.
I need some help/advice as I am now solely in charge of her care. I work 3 12 hr shifts a week and after doing some research I read that maybe I am not exercising her enough. Also, it is possible she is mad my husband has been gone and is acting out? Even at age 2? Advice or help is greatly appreciated. I am not extremely experienced with dogs so I am not sure whats normal and whats not.