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Our 3.5-month old puppy loves playing with other dogs in parks, but I get worried that she is too rough with other dogs, especially small and/or older dogs. The moment she sees other dogs, she would get into a "down" position, looking very submissive, then as other dogs approach, she would jump and chase, getting into a very rough play mode. She does roll over on her back from time to time, but likes to chase other dogs. When she was with a large Kelpie, it went well as the other dog was very active and could match up to her energy, but this doesn't go well with quieter dogs.

This is the first dog (and certainly first puppy) we have, and we are not sure whether this is normal behaviour. Shall we hold her back from playing too rough? Would older dogs teach her what's appropriate play?
 

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Normal behavior for a GSD pup. It will back fire one time when an older dog doesn't put up with her or a dog aggressive dog attacks her, possibly scarring her mentally for life. There is plenty of dog park info on this forum and you probably will see that it is not recommended.
 

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The self down before approach or being approached means I want to play rough but am not aggressive.
I'd be very careful which dogs you let your puppy play with. Mine got bit bad requiring stitches at 5 months by a rescue cattle dog, didn't affect her temperament one bit though, still bold and in your face which requires my controlling what she engages with. I'd avoid dog parks for sure. You don't want your puppy getting ganged up on or mauled then becoming a fearful nerve bag.
 

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Thank you for responding. We were encouraged by our vet and a trainer to let our puppy socialize as much as we can, so are torn what we should do. By dog park, I mean just a normal park with quite a few off leash dogs - is this the kind of park we should avoid?

I'm new here, and will look through the rest of the forum for advice on how to socialize our puppy.
 

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We are doing free puppy socialization sessions offered one night a week by a local trainer. All pups are required to show proof of vaccinations and two handlers work the room during the session to intervene when the more intense pups (especially my brat right now) are making the meek pups uncomfy.

His behavior during these sessions is much improved after a few weeks. He has even started to pass on opportunities to instigate my old rottie (healthy, but no play interest and very jealous) without being told first.
 

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Thank you for responding. We were encouraged by our vet and a trainer to let our puppy socialize as much as we can, so are torn what we should do. By dog park, I mean just a normal park with quite a few off leash dogs - is this the kind of park we should avoid?

I'm new here, and will look through the rest of the forum for advice on how to socialize our puppy.
Hi beib,

I've been doing this for a year and so far we haven't had any problems. I think socialization is very important, especially if you live in an urban area. It's true that a few times things have gone a bit awry between my dog and another, but luckily nothing further than barking or growling. With time you'll get to know the other dogs and your dog, and you'll be able to identify situations that can potentially go wrong and avoid them. Most of the owners I've met are responsible people who don't want dogs hurting one another, and so the unpredictable/aggressive dogs are leashed.

What I think it's really important is to work on obedience training and gain your dog's trust. Make sure that when you call your dog she will come and you'll have half a battle won. You could also learn about dog body language. There's a book written by Brenda Aloff on the topic. The pictures are all B&W and some are not that great, but I believe it's really good anyway.

Another thing you could do is try to tire her out before taking her to the park. She'll then be tired and perhaps less likely to engange in behaviours that the other dogs dislike.
 

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Thank you for responding. We were encouraged by our vet and a trainer to let our puppy socialize as much as we can, so are torn what we should do. By dog park, I mean just a normal park with quite a few off leash dogs - is this the kind of park we should avoid?

I'm new here, and will look through the rest of the forum for advice on how to socialize our puppy.
but that is not socialization !!

check out

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/400690-rethinking-popular-early-socialization.html

the dog needs to be socialized to the human world he is joining - and that is very complex

the way your going he'll stay in his doggy-zone that he is "expert" in and has lots of fun and you will become a source of frustration and an impediment to getting to that fun

dog will tune you out , lunge and get all anxious and excited , possibly angry when you prevent him from going to join some canine buddies
 

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Socializing doesn't mean having the dog meet and play with a bunch of dogs. It means getting the dog used to different environments and being able to be calm and behaved. Like maybe walking down a busy area with people/dogs and being able to be calm and walk nice w/o being nutty. I would take Tasha to different places and put her in a sit and have her watch people coming and going, praising her when she would stay in sit position. Now I can walk her past people without her going crazy. I'm currently working on her with ignoring dogs when we would see one. She wants to play! Taking a dog to dog parks teaches them that they can play, chase, or what ever when they see dogs. Makes it harder to teach them to ignore when your walking. Not to mention dog parks is just not a good idea all the way around!
 

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but that is not socialization !!

check out

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/400690-rethinking-popular-early-socialization.html

the dog needs to be socialized to the human world he is joining - and that is very complex

the way your going he'll stay in his doggy-zone that he is "expert" in and has lots of fun and you will become a source of frustration and an impediment to getting to that fun

dog will tune you out , lunge and get all anxious and excited , possibly angry when you prevent him from going to join some canine buddies
Exactly what I experienced due to 'socializing' my puppy. :frown2: Very hard to undo.
 
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