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.
Lab mix with Blue Heeler - Frankie - December 12, 1994 to November 8, 2002. R.I.P
Yorkshire Terrier - Bailie - 2 years
GSD - Maximus - 7 months