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sweetmalia 05-11-2014 12:11 AM

GSD avoidant at the dog park
My 8 yo female GSD which I adopted about 3 weeks ago has been to the dog park a total of 3 times so far. The first time when I let her off the leash she ran straight to the entrance and wanted out. The 2nd time she wanted to bolt for the entrance and tried to get out of her collar. This 3rd time, she was a bit better off the leash but has no interest in other dogs. She whines pretty much the whole time and when other dogs come near her she bristles her back and neck fur and runs back to us. She isn't aggressive, just has no interest in playing with the other dogs. Could this be because she wasn't socialized as a puppy or simply because she is an older dog? I am curious if she will learn to be more social over time.

thanks for the input

DaniFani 05-11-2014 12:23 AM

Stop taking her. She's telling you its scary and she doesn't want to be there. Why force her? Most Gsds aren't dog park dogs. They prefer their pack and really don't care about anyone else. Listen to the poor old girl. Dog parks are notoriously pia places, that are more for the benefit of the humans (most of the time) than the dogs. Are you really going to force this on an 8 year old rescue dog? Enjoy her with your family, go for walks, hikes, car rides.... Play with her, interact with her. That's what she wants, not to be forced into a place she's backed out of her collar at and ran for the door at.

Gretchen 05-11-2014 12:24 AM

Your dog is telling you she doesn't feel comfortable in the dog park. She is 8 years old and may be a bit arthritic, not in the mood for other more energetic dogs. Plus everything is new to her. Let her bond with you and build trust and confidence with you. After a couple months, you can try the dog park again, if she does not like it, forget about it. She also might be one of those dogs that does best with one dog at a time.

Courtney 05-11-2014 01:03 AM

Agree, don't take her to the dog park, please. It's not good for her to be forced in these situations. GSD are not social butterflies.

Sounds like you have a lovely girl. She will be a wonderful companion & will always prefer your attention over that dog park.

Harry and Lola 05-11-2014 01:28 AM

She may have had a nasty experience in a dog park previously, she may have been badly bashed by other dogs.

Please stop taking her to the dog park, she is telling you she doesn't want to be there and eventually other dogs will pick up on her fear and insecurity and attack her.

As someone previously said GSDs are not very social and prefer the company of their own pack. She would be much happier with going for a walk with you as exercise, she doesn't need the company of strange dogs plus she won't be getting any exercise at the park.

There is not need to take her into a dog park.

sweetmalia 05-11-2014 01:44 AM

Thanks for the responses! After reading everyone's responses, it does seem like she simply prefers walks through our neighborhood just me and her. I had thought the bringing her to the dog park was something good for her where she could run around without the leash, but she doesn't seem to care for the other dogs at all. When she is at an area of the dog park without other dogs she seems ok. She really likes the comfort of the jeep where she can look out the window during drives and also the porch where she can view the neighborhood. I guess that's just her personality, and I understanding that makes it easier to see how some situations aren't ideal for her, such as being around other dogs, but I just didn't want her to be like my dads Australian shepherd who gets very aggressive with other dogs because he was not socialized as a puppy. Understanding that GSD's are more reserved is helpful too.

Sarah~ 05-11-2014 01:59 AM

If she doesn't like the dogs making her be around them might make her aggressive, if she just wants to avoid them you are ahead of the game :) Lots of people including me have trouble just getting our dogs to do that. My GSD is only okay with my female dog.

sweetmalia 05-11-2014 02:13 AM

Since this is my first experience I have with owning a GSD, everything is new to me, and since I adopted her as a senior dog, I'm learning a little more about her personality as the weeks go by. She really is very loyal to us and very watchful of other people and dogs that she observes around the house but after a while, she has sorted out who is someone to watch and who to simply ignore. She has been the best of companions and I'm grateful she is with us. I do think her arthritis might be making the dog park uncomfortable for her and maybe that is why she whines there, but on walks though the neighborhood she seems ok. She may have had bad scuffles in the past, because she has some bite marks on the tops of her ears, which might be why she is a little fearful around other dogs. I guess I will never know what situations she encountered in the past but at least its the past and she a new family to watch over now :)

Harry and Lola 05-11-2014 04:37 AM

Sounds like you have a lovely GSD girl that is just wanting a bit of security in a home that wants her. Also sounds like she is trying to trust you but putting her in a dog park situation is stressing her. If her arthritis is causing her some concern you could always give her joint medications, there are many to choose from - human kind or animal specific ones. I have a GSD girl with hip dysplasia and I find by giving her human glucosamine and chondroitin capsules, just open the capsule and sprinkle it in her food, really helps with mobility. With her ears, she may have been beaten up, more likely they are fly bitten which would of occurred because she was left outside, possible chained up and flies attack her ears, unfortunately it is common with dogs left chained up outside. Enjoy her and treat her in a way she deserves and you will have a loyal companion to the end :)

sweetmalia 05-11-2014 08:44 PM

Thank you Harry & Lola, the Vet also suggested supplements, so I purchased some dog food that has Glucosamine in it but it may not be enough concentration. I will be sure to buy some for her!

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