Dog Park Blues - the people need the prongs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Dog Park Blues - the people need the prongs

We tried the dog park yesterday, first time in about a year. We originally wanted a quiet walk on top of our local community college. They have a horticulture center on top of a large hill with excellent views of the ocean. It was fenced and locked, maybe due to recent increase in agricultural theft in our area. So we tried the dog park nearby. We took a walk on the outside first, it seemed mellow and Molly showed a big interest to go inside. The first 3 minutes were OK, until a couple with a GSD mix made a big deal about leashing their dog inside the park. Molly went to investigate, saw it was GSD, got excited and wanted to play (which is very growly). That set off some people who made awful comments. I calmly and quietly called Molly away and told her to lay down. She did that. The GSD mix left, then Molly found a medium sized pit mix, she did a little chasing and her play voice is usually growly so it's owner and about 3 other people really freaked and over reacted, saying this park has been awful the last half hour, we need to move away, blah, blah, blah, over dramatic like they owned the park. Not wanting to escalate the mood I again calmly and quietly called Molly over and had her lay down, she did so immediately. One woman was very kind and greeted Molly nicely and gave her a good rub down. But we decided to leave, after about 5-10 minutes.

My daughter lives near the dog park, so we visited her afterward. She said, Sundays are the worst, and she avoids the place. She's seen dog owners call the Sheriff on each other twice there. It's too bad, as we've been working on Molly's social skills and she's been doing very well. I was seriously considering going in the small dog area, she plays well with them, but there was an elderly, frail man there and thought it best not to go in. On the positive side, at least I know Molly will obey commands under distractions.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 01:36 PM
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Ugh. This is one reason I'm so grateful my trainer has a "socialization field day" once a week, where about 40 of his current clients and alumni basically take over a dog park very early in the AM on Saturdays. The deal is we have to arrive a few minutes before the start time so that everyone can walk in on leash and spread out; then at the appointed hour, we all unleash together upon the trainer's mark. There's a platoon of at least 15 GSDs who play the way they are supposed to play, and no one gets mad. Two trainers are in the middle of the field, supervising and correcting any behavior that is beyond the pale, and the owners all walk continuously in a circle around the perimeter of the park, so no dogs get territorial. We almost never have issues. The shy and reactive ones learn to relax and mimic the body language of the well-socialized ones, the energetic, high-strung ones blow off some steam, and everybody goes home tired.

If you've got a training group, I highly recommend it. It's way better than dealing with know-nothing dog park people.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 01:37 PM
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Thats why I don't even bother taking mine to the dog park. I'm happy she has two to play with at home I am positive that people would say stuff about the way she plays and I would not be as nice about as you were. Mine plays very well with small dogs, I would have asked the older man if he minded if you joined him.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Ugh. This is one reason I'm so grateful my trainer has a "socialization field day" once a week, where about 40 of his current clients and alumni basically take over a dog park very early in the AM on Saturdays. The deal is we have to arrive a few minutes before the start time so that everyone can walk in on leash and spread out; then at the appointed hour, we all unleash together upon the trainer's mark. There's a platoon of at least 15 GSDs who play the way they are supposed to play, and no one gets mad. Two trainers are in the middle of the field, supervising and correcting any behavior that is beyond the pale, and the owners all walk continuously in a circle around the perimeter of the park, so no dogs get territorial. We almost never have issues. The shy and reactive ones learn to relax and mimic the body language of the well-socialized ones, the energetic, high-strung ones blow off some steam, and everybody goes home tired.

If you've got a training group, I highly recommend it. It's way better than dealing with know-nothing dog park people.

This is a very nice idea

Misty- Samoyed Mix, Tannor- Golden Retriever CGC
Robyn- GSD CGC, TC, Midnite-GSD CGC,TC, Brennan-Golden Retriever CGC, Batman-Husky/Greyhound , Apollo-GSD
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Ugh. This is one reason I'm so grateful my trainer has a "socialization field day" once a week, where about 40 of his current clients and alumni basically take over a dog park very early in the AM on Saturdays. The deal is we have to arrive a few minutes before the start time so that everyone can walk in on leash and spread out; then at the appointed hour, we all unleash together upon the trainer's mark. There's a platoon of at least 15 GSDs who play the way they are supposed to play, and no one gets mad. Two trainers are in the middle of the field, supervising and correcting any behavior that is beyond the pale, and the owners all walk continuously in a circle around the perimeter of the park, so no dogs get territorial. We almost never have issues. The shy and reactive ones learn to relax and mimic the body language of the well-socialized ones, the energetic, high-strung ones blow off some steam, and everybody goes home tired.

If you've got a training group, I highly recommend it. It's way better than dealing with know-nothing dog park people.
I think this is an excellent idea. I've wanted to mention something like this to our trainer, his field is about the same size as our dog park. Thanks for sharing.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 01:52 PM
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I have had a similar experience once and it sounds to me like your dog did very well under the circumstances. Some people just don't understand dogs and get particularly irrational about GSD. Don't let them get to you.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 02:09 PM
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I think this is an excellent idea. I've wanted to mention something like this to our trainer, his field is about the same size as our dog park. Thanks for sharing.
You can point your trainer to D. Russell's website (when he was still alive, he started the socialization field in Baton Rouge, and it's been copied in several other big cities...there's currently a documentary being made about him): Socialization Classes . Your trainer can also follow the "contact" links on that site to get in touch with the guys who still run the Baton Rouge socialization field, if he wants a run-down on how they manage it.

That weekly hour is seriously one of the best parts of my week. As everyone there is very dedicated to their dogs (why else would you get up that early on a Saturday?), the group is super-welcoming of people with new dogs who are not yet well-socialized (a lot of folks in the group once had dogs like that too!), and dogs who are "works in progress" (none of ours are perfect all the time either)--everyone "gets" that well-socialized dogs don't fall out of the sky and the field time is part of how dogs with "issues" can be helped by the pack. We also love seeing the platoon of GSDs running together--they totally recognize their own kind and love being able to be rough-and-tumble with each other.

That level of tolerance and understanding is the difference between a bunch of people who do or have done dog training, and random "play" people at the dog park.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
You can point your trainer to D. Russell's website (when he was still alive, he started the socialization field in Baton Rouge, and it's been copied in several other big cities...there's currently a documentary being made about him): Socialization Classes . Your trainer can also follow the "contact" links on that site to get in touch with the guys who still run the Baton Rouge socialization field, if he wants a run-down on how they manage it.

That weekly hour is seriously one of the best parts of my week. As everyone there is very dedicated to their dogs (why else would you get up that early on a Saturday?), the group is super-welcoming of people with new dogs who are not yet well-socialized (a lot of folks in the group once had dogs like that too!), and dogs who are "works in progress" (none of ours are perfect all the time either)--everyone "gets" that well-socialized dogs don't fall out of the sky and the field time is part of how dogs with "issues" can be helped by the pack. We also love seeing the platoon of GSDs running together--they totally recognize their own kind and love being able to be rough-and-tumble with each other.

That level of tolerance and understanding is the difference between a bunch of people who do or have done dog training, and random "play" people at the dog park.
Thanks, I've already printed the link and the description of how class takes place. A professionally supervised socialization would be perfect. Hope our trainer will consider it. So no more dog park woes!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 10:10 PM
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I feel your pain. I get the evil eye when I take mine to our local kid park. Parents tell their kids to get away and they just look at me like I'm so awful for bringing her. All she does is lay down while I sit on the bench. Well, she also keeps a watch over her human brothers. One man kept telling his son to get away because the boy wanted to pet her. Than the little boy started throwing MULCH at her face! The dad didn't say anything to the child. Yea, you're worried the dog will bite so let's allow your kid to throw mulch at the dogs face! But no one was freaking out about the shi zu that was sitting right on the steps of the child's playscape, directly at eye level. I understand peoples fears with big dogs. I get it. But people also cannot act "afraid" either. If a big dog isn't right for you, fine, but it doesn't mean all big breeds are horrible. When I take my bassett mix for walks people ALWAYS want to pet the cute dog yet she's very mean and will growl so I cannot take her walking around people. GO FIGURE!
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