Snarky comments or am I truly bad at this puppy raising thing? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Snarky comments or am I truly bad at this puppy raising thing?

So, I am nearly in tears. I left for about 5 days to go home and see family. My pup was boarded which all went completely fine. I come back to my pup acting the exact same way as she did before she left. But now I just got scolded that she is aggressive I should never board her again nor should I bring her back to the dog park. Now, this isn't coming from the place that kept her. The place that had her boarded absolutely loved her. This all is coming from a "professional trainer" who was a trainer back in the states but can't get a job as a trainer out in Japan because there aren't any jobs and she doesn't speak japanese. Here's how it all started:

I take my pup to the dog park. She plays with some friends in the afternoon two times a week. It is the only area that has a large enough area for the dogs to run around in. I play some fetch with her when she gets bored with the two friends or can't keep up with their chase game. She seems completely fine. Well... it is a dog park so naturally, other people will bring their pups. These two ladies brought in their Pug and golden retriever mix. At first the Pug and golden wanted to do the chase thing so after everyone sniffed everyone, they went off. Well the first comment was made that my girl had her hackles raised when sniffing the pug and golden. Both dogs came sprinting at her and she does it every time the dogs come sprinting at her so she immediately laid down in a submissive position and her hackles were raised. This lady got mad at me that her hackles were up because that's a sign of aggression. I told her that my pup was playing fetch and shouldn't bother her dogs who were already gone and playing the chase game anyway.

The second comment was "isn't your dog a little young to be running like that. You are going to destroy your dog's hips and joints if you continue to let her run and chase the bigger dogs. Also her hackles are still raised and now she is adding aggressive barking to her list of problems" My dog is 5months old now. She loves to run all the time. I literally cannot get her to stop running especially when she gets the zoomies.

The third comment came when I was going to bring my pup to the water bowl and to drink. The pug came up to her and did the play stance with butt up in the air. So my pup chased him around. He never let out a cry but she bit him on the back of the neck where the scruff skin is and made him fall down and he wiggled then got back up and was right back in the play stance to play and run again. She then said that my dog was aggressively biting her dog and I needed to take my dog home now.

The last comment was what put me in tears. In trying to get my dog to come so I could take her home, the other two doggy friends and the golden came over to see what the commotion was about. My dog was running toward me when the pug ran in front of her and turned around to nip at her. So she got distracted from my recall to play chase again with the pug and the golden came over to bite at her. The golden was trying to put her in a submissive position which my dog didn't like at all and it started a mini argument. By that point, I was already there and pulled them apart. My dog went to an immediate sit (she usually does when I grab her by the collar and scruff) but was still barking and the golden was lunging. The lady's excuse was "my dog has to be alpha dog and doesn't like any other dogs chasing the pug. Your dog was being aggressive and fighting for dominance so I suggest you take your dog home".

Before I boarded my pup, she acted this way. When she chased other dogs, she was always loud. She would bark at them and have her hackles raised. They would still be wagging their tails and chase her back and she would sometimes run to me and sometimes just run. I didn't think this was a problem. She also has these friends over from time to time and bites at their necks when playing while growling and barking. I just figured that she was a talkative dog. They don't yelp or let out any signs of being upset or in pain. In fact, one of them goes right back to the play stance after they wrestle for a few minutes and has his tail wagging with that big grin. If I try to separate them with baby gates, he will go and paw at my dog to try to get her to play with him again. The other one bumps her with his butt because he doesn't much care for her biting but he disengages her when he's done and she stops and just hangs out with him or naps.
Please don't hold back your comments. If this is truly me being a bad owner and I need to keep my pup from other dogs then I will. I am just not sure if I have been looking at this all wrong from the beginning.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 02:46 AM
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You’re not a bad owner!! Oh man I would have laid into those idiots at the dog park.
Hackles are a sign or arousal NOT just aggression.
Stay away from the dog park. I go sometimes but don’t enjoy it.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 02:58 AM
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Snarky comments! Many, if not most, people on this forum will advise you not to go to dog parks. I'm not one of them. For me, not only is it essential for off leash exercise, I think it's both beneficial and important for a dog to learn how to successfully interact with its own kind. That being said, if it's not an all-out dog fight it's play. And play can and will get rough, if people don't like it, they should stay home!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 04:19 AM
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I stay away from dog parks - the ones I have seen here are filled with little snippy annoying dogs with little snippy annoying owners.
It doesn't sound like you are at fault, but German Shepherds seem to get a bad rap - either they have to 100% perfectly behaved or they are deemed to be aggressive or "out of control"
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 05:43 AM
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I let my two play in my fenced in yard. They do play rough. A good GSD is not a couch potato. As far as fighting for dominance it is not usual for dogs to establish a temporary pecking order in a dog park and a young pup will test its limits. Same as kids. When my big boy was a pup he was so confident he met power with power. If the other dog raised the stakes, he felt confident to raise them also. He didn't start trouble but never backed down either. Being young and immature I had to remind him that Enough was Enough.

"Back in the day" when people opened their doors and let their dogs out to roam freely, dogs learned to get along. They saw the same dogs everyday and learned who could be trusted and who to avoid. Dog parks are a bit different. Smaller space, changing structure, snippy or neglectful owners. We preferred "play dates".
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by tim_s_adams View Post
Snarky comments! Many, if not most, people on this forum will advise you not to go to dog parks. I'm not one of them. For me, not only is it essential for off leash exercise, I think it's both beneficial and important for a dog to learn how to successfully interact with its own kind.
In theory this is true. The problem is that is dog parks tend to be less playground and more Lord of the Flies even without the actual fights. And then you have the dogs

For interacting, set up playdates with dogs that you know the owners and have a similar play style as your dog. Or, if dog parks are an absolute must, make friends there and arrange to meet at off times when there will be less chance of running into people.

And I'd say that this "trainer" isn't find work in Japan because she's a crappy trainer even more than the language barrier.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 09:40 AM
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I'm sorry you had a bad experience at the dog park. Those people do sound obnoxious. I hate encounters like that, which is why I prefer not to take my dog to the dog park. My GSDs are great on leash around other leashed or under control dogs, but I'm fairly certain that they would push back if they were confronted by a pushy or aggressive dog. And you know which dog is going to take the blame if anything happened--the GSD, of course.

I train my dogs outside the dog-park, and about every other time I'm there I see scuffles inside the fence (never anything serious yet, thankfully). Often a GSD is involved, and I just shake my head. Some breeds are more likely than others to enjoy that kind of setting. I think that GSDs being on the loyal and protective side, have no desire to form numerous indiscriminate bonds w/dogs that they have never met and may never see again. Of course, lots of people go to dog parks. I see a volatile mix of breeds in our park every day, including GSDs, and sometimes there are no problems. I like meeting other dogs, and I admit it looks like fun, and I'm tempted to go in. However, it's a risk I prefer not to take as I can't control all the variables. Fortunately, I have a fenced yard for our dogs to run in. If I had to go to a dog park, I'd probably try to go very early in the morning before other people got there.

Anyway, I'm annoyed also when people say stupid things about my dogs--I can think of a couple examples, but I'll spare you, since my post is already too long. I think when people make stupid comments, it's a reflection of their own insecurities and previous interactions with GSDs, not anything that you or your dogs have done. I just try to ensure that my GSDs are as polite and well-mannered as possible wherever we go so that we can be good breed ambassadors.
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Last edited by sebrench; 02-26-2018 at 09:49 AM.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 12:37 PM
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Hackles up does not mean aggression, it is excitement. So many dog owners have no idea (or even desire, it seems) to learn how to read a dog's body language. That said, dog parks are usually best avoided for all the reasons others have already stated in previous replies.

The sad truth is that many people see a GSD and automatically assume that they are going to be aggressive, so if there is a problem it's almost always going to be portrayed as the GSDs fault, whether it is or not, unfortunately.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 12:49 PM
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Our last foray into a dog park was when our pup was 7 months old. The dog park here is separated into two areas - one for large dogs, one for small. We were getting ready to leave when a woman entered the large dog area with her two chihuahuas. One was very scarred up, missing an eyeball, and already lunging aggressively at our pup who was now leashed and sitting calmly by the exit. The woman explained that it was a shepherd who had done this to her dog so it being immediately nasty to our pup without provocation should be understandable. What I didnt understand was her insistence on continuing to bring that animal to dog parks for one, and into the side for the large dogs for another. It just illustrated for me very clearly that people are clueless and you dont know what you are walking into each time you visit.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 12:49 PM
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They're puppies. You're probably doing just fine. The "professional trainer" sounds like she has problems worse than not speaking Japanese in Japan though.
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