GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 04:26 AM Thread Starter
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GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

I am a little confused.

I read Ed Leerburg's website, http://leerburg.com where he fiercely argues against family dogs being near the family kids. Another thing is that he insists that one person becomes the pack leader and discourages anybody else even touching the dog.

Does his view really make sense? I do respect his experience, but if my wife and kids cannot even play with my dog, what's the point of having a dog not a stuffed animal?

also his dog park thing really throw me off. where else do I socialize my dog? subway station?

My opinion is for entertainment only, that is if you find it entertaining; otherwise, it's just plain stupid.

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 05:36 AM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

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Originally Posted By: Stupid
also his dog park thing really throw me off. where else do I socialize my dog? subway station?
absolutely the subway station - and any and every place else you can think of in which your pup would be allowed. socializing is not just limited to "dog play" at the park... its socializing them to people, places, dogs and other animals in controlled and uncontrolled environments.

i only take my dogs to the dog park occasionally because its easy for them to think that seeing other dogs = play play play, which can result in pulling and barking and jumping around on leash in public places. especially for puppies because "playtime" is what they want to do naturally. there is a play date that my young male is involved in a few days a week but he has to earn his play by walking calmly on the leash near the dogs and a short obedience session. at most its 15 other dogs... i try to avoid designated dog park situations unless its a continuous walk or hike where we are merely passing other dogs.

even the most solid nerved puppies need to be introduced to things like crowds, bikes, cars, roller skates and skateboards, children, horses, wheel chairs, and anything else that they may come in contact with later. reason 1 being for training purposes - having an obedient dog around distractions. and 2 is so that they arent fearful of these things later in life and become shy or aggressive.

but aside from all that - to answer your question in short - the number one place to socialize your dog with other dogs (or pup with pups) is training classes.


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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 05:55 AM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

Everyone has an opinion and Leerburg is where you find Ed Frawley's.

Both kids and dog parks are potentially tragic. Play dates and classes are much safer venues.
Supervision with YOUR kids will eventually not be constantly necessary, but is only prudent with strangers some kids are sadistic morons.
Dog parks have too little supervision, and even some totally ignorant handlers who have no control or even encourage bullying, probably the parents of before mentioned problem kids.

You can google this site for threads and find stories of these tragedies if you need further validation of these tragedies, or learn the hard way, which is what Ed was cautioning against, albeit in his own unique way.

Kids can become prey items with there little size and darting about ways. Herding dogs have plenty of prey drive, and will nip and herd,
as they are hard wired to do. Do the math.





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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 06:01 AM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

What Calone said. Really, training classes are the place to let your dog see other dogs in a safe, controlled environment. As for the kids and wife interacting with the dog-- of course they should. BUT, not until they are ALL on board with how the dog is to be rewarded... yes, rewarded... because eye contact, chatter, touching, attention of ANY kind are all rewards and reinforcers.

Example: Buster paws at little daughter. Both little daughter and Mom immediately give eye contact (look directly at) Buster and chit-chat at the dog: "Hey! Cut that out! Don't do that, Buster! You don't jump or paw at us!" The dog has just gotten rewarded for pawing: Eye contact, chit-chat, and the biggie: ATTENTION.

See how easy it is for family members to UN-train a dog into bad/dangerous behaviors? Yes, the family MUST be on board with the training rules before they can interact daily with the dog.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 06:04 AM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

Leerburg's training method is different and you have to understand his background (police dog unit) and the type of dogs he mainly train(protection dog/working dog). Meaning, his methods of training is to develop to have the dog see you and only you as the leader, and therefore to obey and follow your command. For example, if a police dog is going after a suspect, how good will it be if the suspect is able to tell the dog sit down instead of taking him down. That is where Leerburg's method is coming from.

As for a family pet, I don't see there is any point to go as far as leerburg's method. However, I do agree with Leerburg that in your household between you and your family, you need to set the pack order and leader. That person should be the one that is able to spend the most time with the dog out of everyone in your home and that person should do most of the training. But it does not mean your dog can't be approached by other family members. Infact, in my training class with my boy, our trainer recommands us to bring out family members to participate. That way the dog will learn to accept commands given out by other family members. Or else my boy will think he can only listen to dad.

As for kids and dog, you just gotta be careful and understand your dog's temperment. If your dog like to play rough and do everything at 100mph, then I would not let your kids be alone with the dog. However, on the other hand, if your dog is gentle then is fine.

As for dog parks, just be careful when you take your dogs there. You can't predict what other dogs will behave and react with your dog. One dog can be perfectly gentle with another dogs but can also be very aggressive towards yours. There is nothing wrong dog parks itself, but just becareful and keep your eyes on your dog at all time. Personally, I carry some form of object (a stick or one those tennis ball launcher) in my hands when I take my dog to the dog park. Because if some idiot owner who doesn't care or doesn't know their dog is aggressive and doesn't step in when their dog is being aggressive. By that, I mean if another dog is going after my and their owner isn't doing anything about it, then I will step in and do anything and everything to protect my boy. If i have to kick another dog then so be it. I know it sounds mean and harsh, but bottom line is I much rather pay that vet bill than having my dog to suffer. Leerburg is against dog park is because again, he want his dogs to look up to him for everything in their lives. Also he got a massive farm land for his dog to run, play and excercise but most of us don't have that.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 08:11 AM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

There's alot of good recommendations in our puppy forum for socialization (click here)

My personal favorite (and you should bring your camera along so you can add you photos...) is this one (click here)




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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 12:19 PM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

Quote:
Originally Posted By: StupidI am a little confused.

I read Ed Leerburg's website, http://leerburg.com where he fiercely argues against family dogs being near the family kids. Another thing is that he insists that one person becomes the pack leader and discourages anybody else even touching the dog.

Does his view really make sense?
To me, no. I got a dog to be - first and foremost - a good companion. That means the dog must be social in any circumstance. We take the dogs to parks, outdoor festivals, friends houses for parties, etc. I want my dogs to be able to interact with strangers - of ANY age - without any issues.

Many of the people that frequent his website and follow his teachings are people that got a dog - first and foremost - as an object. They want a top competition, prize winning dog and are willing to go to any lengths to get it. Even to the point of dumping the dog at a very young age if it doesn't show the "right stuff".

This happens in EVERY sport - from the show ring to obedience to agility and on. To these people the dog is not a family companion, not even a pet - the dog is a personal possession. If it doesn't work right get rid of it and buy a new one.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 12:38 PM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

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Originally Posted By: Lauri & The Gang
Quote:
Originally Posted By: StupidI am a little confused.

I read Ed Leerburg's website, http://leerburg.com where he fiercely argues against family dogs being near the family kids. Another thing is that he insists that one person becomes the pack leader and discourages anybody else even touching the dog.

Does his view really make sense?
To me, no. I got a dog to be - first and foremost - a good companion. That means the dog must be social in any circumstance. We take the dogs to parks, outdoor festivals, friends houses for parties, etc. I want my dogs to be able to interact with strangers - of ANY age - without any issues.
Me too, and that includes being social with other dogs as well. Not necessarily to play with them, (ours would play with each other and us at the park not the other dogs), but I do want them to be comfortable being around strange dogs and capable of EITHER ignoring other dogs as we pass, or of friendly greetings - butt sniffs, tail wags, muzzle licks, whatever. Now that Dena is gone, Keefer will interact with other dogs more than he used to, but usually that's just accepting a blatant "chase me" invitation by another dog, he doesn't really initiate. And that's because he's been used to having doggy companionship his whole life.

We go to the kind of parks where we're walking continuously unless we happen to stop and talk to another dog owner, (usually a GSD person), not the small fenced kind where everyone stands around watching their dogs play. We bring tennis balls, a Jolly Ball, and a flying squirrel for Keefer to chase, and two of the three parks we frequent are on the beach and the SF Bay, so he can swim too. Since we have a tiny yard, we go for play and exercise, the socialization is just a bonus, and we also like to use the distraction of the other dogs as a training tool, requiring that he sit (or down, depending on which we command) and watches us until released before throwing a toy.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 01:49 PM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

my last GSD was raised with my 2 children whom were 2 and 4 years old and my wife. from 4 months old to 7 months old we had a trainer. my wife and i shared our duties with the dog. he was a family pet and protector. he was well socialized. our dog was raised with us as part of the family.

i've never raised a dog to think that his pack has one leader. all of my dogs bond with whom they are living with. i don't think a dog really questions who's in charge. a dog doesn't need to be pack leader. a dog might see himself as pack leader because we do everything for them. we feed them twice a day, we make sure they have water, we bathe them, we treat them, they ride in the back of the car, we take them to school (puppy classes or to a trainer), they live indoors with heat and AC. what's there really for a dog to challenge?

i say make your dog a part of the family. you and your wife take care of him and train him. he'll bond with you, your wife and children. as far as that pack leader stuff, i've never had a problem with my dogs. my dogs listen to me and i listen to them. when they want to jump on the sofa with me i move over.

the puppy/dog i have now was raised with my GF and i. i made sure he was socialized with other adults and children. we attended puppy classes at 10 weeks old. i use to hang out in front of the supermarket so he could petted by all of the customers coming and going.

when my boy was old enough we started going to the dog park. we also walked in the woods alot so we were alway meeting other dogs, people and horses.

good luck with your dog. how old is your dog? what are you going to do with your dog?
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 12-14-2008, 02:22 PM
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Re: GSD and kids & dog park - Ed Leerburg

You are going to find a lot of different opinions on the "right" way to do things on the internet, including on this website. Some people will tell you that taking your dog to a dog park is risking her/his life while others will tell you how wonderful they are. The answer lies somewhere in between: some dog parks are great and others are not as great. It depends on the people and dogs that go there. And some dogs do really well at dog parks and others not so well. Without dog parks my Basu, who was extremely fearful from abuse, would never have come as far as he did in terms of building confidence. For my dog, Chama, the dog park was kind of boring.

I also have dogs to be my companions. I have had gsds or gsd mixes for more than 20 years now and when I adopted my first dog I had no idea what I was doing. We made some mistakes together but she turned out to be an absolutely wonderful dog companion and ambassador for the breed. She was fabulous with children and people actually requested I bring her to public events so that she could play with their children.

I take my dogs almost everywhere with me. I train and socialize my dogs for the duration of their lives because I want them to be good canine citizens who are welcome wherever I go. Rafi has been in to work with me the past two days and everyone loved him and are asking when he's coming back. I do let my dogs interact with other dogs and also with children, every chance I get. I have never found that allowing my dogs to play with other dogs resulted in poor behavior when they saw other dogs. In fact, it's been just the opposite. The more dog-dog socialization and play time they've had, the less reationary they've been on walks, etc because the mystery/excitement goes away quickly when you get access to it all of the time.

I recommend reading books like Patricia McConnell's "The Other End of the Leash" to get a better sense of who dogs are, what they need and how they can best fit into our lives.

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