Dog parks are a super no thanks for me.
Lyka actually does great at them, until an annoying dog gets up in her face and won’t leave her alone. I’ve shouted to the owner who was on their phone and not paying attention to their dog at all (looked like a chow mix of some sort). Again, I yelled out for him to come get his dog, it was harassing mine. He got up slowly, started walking towards us, and said “it’s no big deal, I don’t know what you’re so worked up about.” At almost that precise moment, Lyka had had ENOUGH and mouthed the dog. Didn’t apply any pressure, not punctures, just slobbering fur on the other dog. The owner starts freaking out that my dog attacked his. Sigh.
Crios does great, but he isn’t neutered, so it can case problems with larger males instigating fights with him.
Now we go to the dog park but stay on the outside of the perimeter or the park and use it to train with distractions on a long lead line. Awesome place for training outside the fence, horrible place to to let the dogs play inside the fence.
If there is no one there, I’ll let them in and let them run around with each other, but as soon as I see someone coming, on the short leash they go, and out the gate we go.
It’s a liability thing, and we have enough to handle with these breeds without adding to the panic when our GSD’s finally have enough of being pestered and snap or bite another dog. Just my 2 cents.
As for recall, I use a dog whistle. I can’t project my voice enough over a long distance, and they come straight back as soon as they hear that whistle going off. Even if they are mid chase of a rabbit, bird, or squirrel.
If it’s just at home, I say “far enough” and they come right back to me. I wish I could tell you how I did it, but I don’t have any special tricks. It was literally just repetition, and high value treats when they came.
Before the dog whistle, they didn’t have a recall at all if they were far from me, so they always had a long lead. My neighbor (elderly vet with a Shilo Shep, so gorgeous I wanted him all for myself) gave me his whistle when I took over walking his dog for him. He had him for PTSD, but it was an apartment complex, and he was too much dog for my neighbor to walk. He would pull too hard and drag my neighbor down. Inside, he was a perfect fit, outside, he was just too big and too strong. So his shilo was trained to recall on the whistle, because my neighbor had a very slow shuffle and a hard time holding the leash. When Riley took off on him, the only thing that would bring him back was that whistle.