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Hi there, I recently rescued a 4 year old dog (1 month ago). She was on the red list at a kill-shelter. I thought I hit the jackpot, because she is the SWEETEST and most beautiful purebred, long coated black GSD.

I know nothing of her past, but she appears to have been trained. She walks next to me unleashed, she has good recall, listens, great with people, etc.

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Now, she is a big dog and I know that GSDs can play a bit rough, but today she bit another dog - and shook it like a toy. She was playing with 2 dogs, no problem, then another one ran up and she chased it and grabbed it by the neck and shook it. Now I am so fearful that she'll continue to do this. I have watched her carefully and I know that she can get 'mouthy' when she roughhouses - tries to nip at dog's thighs or necks. However, I have always told her to cut it out and she listens immediately. I was with two other people - owners of the dogs she was playing with, and they were both a little concerned, as well, but they don't have german shepherds.

I can't imagine why Molly would have gone after that dog - it came nowhere near me, so I don't think she was being protective of me. She also spends many hours every day with her 'pack' (seen in the photo). My dogsitter says she plays rough sometimes, but nothing that causes him concern.

Could someone please give me advice on this? Is it just prey drive? Is this regular behavior? Can I never take my dog to a dog park again?

Thanks!
 

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Since you don't know her well, I would certainly stop the dog park. As a dogsitter I would also be hesitant tp allow her free reign especially with small dogs. Our Shepherds play rough but I monitor it and they are the same size. I would never allow them to rough play with a small dog.
 

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Dog parks are just an accident waiting to happen in general.

Your dog is beautiful and thank you for giving her a home!
 

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I agree with the others. Spend more time working out games together, hiking together, searching for things, doing dog parkour, etc. German Shepherd Dogs often don't do well in dog parks.
 

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She sounds like an amazing find--congratulations. Assume for now that she is not to be trusted with small dogs, and choose her play companions wisely. Dog parks are not for everyone, no shame in not having a "dog park" dog, or not being a "dog park person", there are so many fun things you can do with a dog like her.
 

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I've never took any of our dogs to a dog park but I can see the attraction, esp my own dogs socialization with his own kind.

They are risks but if you know them you can take measures to mitigate them.

ie. put a safety muzzle on Molley the next few times you take her to the park.

bty Molley sounds like a real treasure.
 

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You say recently, how long have you had her? There is generally a honeymoon phase that may be nearing an end and she is beginning to reveal her true colors. I would look for other outlets for her and skip dog parks.
 

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What a gorgeous dog. Kudos to you for giving it a home.

I can only speak to my experience with my GSD. Jupiter was a great dog park dog until about 8-9 months. Then we had several incidents in a row where he would chase other dogs, give them a nip on the back (which must have been really hard, because they would yelp and then be traumatized). He didn't shake them and he didn't prioritize chasing smaller dogs. It was usually young dogs or puppies, as he seems to hate them running around and acting chaotic.

At that time, I gave up on the dog park because it seemed wrong to let him hurt other dogs. Plus, the other people were getting tired of him. I decided I needed to get out of there until the time when I had a good enough recall to prevent such behavior.

Jupiter is also a black GSD, not that I think it has anything to do with the behavior.
 

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What you described is a kill shake. It is what predators do to snap the neck of their prey.
Everyone was lucky that she didn’t kill that little dog.
I wouldn’t trust her around small dogs and I agree with everyone that dog parks are bad news. Yes, dogs are pack animals, but what is in the dog park is the opposite of a pack: it’s a bunch of random dogs running wild. In addition, if large and small dogs are allowed to run wild together, it is a very dangerous situation.
You’ve only had her a month.
Concentrate on bonding, training and integrating her into her own pack.
 

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Since you don't know her well, I would certainly stop the dog park. As a dogsitter I would also be hesitant tp allow her free reign especially with small dogs. Our Shepherds play rough but I monitor it and they are the same size. I would never allow them to rough play with a small dog.
Yes stop the dog park, or at least keep her on leash but she would probably hate that. Beautiful dog, to bad this happened.
 

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I can't imagine why Molly would have gone after that dog - it came nowhere near me, so I don't think she was being protective of me. She also spends many hours every day with her 'pack' (seen in the photo). My dogsitter says she plays rough sometimes, but nothing that causes him concern.

Could someone please give me advice on this? Is it just prey drive? Is this regular behavior? Can I never take my dog to a dog park again?

Thanks!
You are correct. This was not protecting you. This was straight up prey drive and that shake you describe is what a predator does when killing their prey. So the other dog owners were right to be concerned.

I would not put her in a situation where she is being ramped up in excitement with small animals. it doesn't make her a bad dog. It just makes her a dog. From your description, she is great. You DID hit the jackpot. You just can't take her to a dog park and put her in a situation that she will fail. Besides, if she spends hours every day with a dog sitter and a "pack", why would she have a need to go to a dog park? Dogs really don't need to go play with a bunch of animals that aren't in their pack anyways. So take her places that she can bond with you. Hiking, swimming, train her in a fun sport like agility. And don't worry about taking her to have doggy friends.
 

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If I’m correct in recognizing the Presidio in the background of the photo - it isn’t uncommon for dog walkers to take their ‘pack’ to this area which isn’t a typical dog park but a 1,500 acre park comprising of hiking trails, large lawn/picnic areas, bike paths, beaches, cafes... all of which are off leash / dog friendly. Everything from your teacup dogs in clothes to dog walkers unloading packs of 10+ dogs... tourists, cyclists, etc. I will say that it’s surprising how few negative altercations I’ve seen there, which speaks volumes, but it’s more stimulation than I’d prefer my dog to have on a daily basis, especially if it’s unstructured and without me. I get it tho, it’s tough to have a dog in the city!

I think that there is promise in her being able to return, in moderation, at some point in her life..... but for now, I’d be strengthening your relationship and control over this newly adopted dog....

Again, not entirely sure of your location, but if I’m correct, I can PM you some options for training / classes.

Congrats tho, she’s beautiful and indeed a score!!!
 

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Hi there, I recently rescued a 4 year old dog (1 month ago). She was on the red list at a kill-shelter. I thought I hit the jackpot, because she is the SWEETEST and most beautiful purebred, long coated black GSD.

I know nothing of her past, but she appears to have been trained. She walks next to me unleashed, she has good recall, listens, great with people, etc.

View attachment 557673

Now, she is a big dog and I know that GSDs can play a bit rough, but today she bit another dog - and shook it like a toy. She was playing with 2 dogs, no problem, then another one ran up and she chased it and grabbed it by the neck and shook it. Now I am so fearful that she'll continue to do this. I have watched her carefully and I know that she can get 'mouthy' when she roughhouses - tries to nip at dog's thighs or necks. However, I have always told her to cut it out and she listens immediately. I was with two other people - owners of the dogs she was playing with, and they were both a little concerned, as well, but they don't have german shepherds.

I can't imagine why Molly would have gone after that dog - it came nowhere near me, so I don't think she was being protective of me. She also spends many hours every day with her 'pack' (seen in the photo). My dogsitter says she plays rough sometimes, but nothing that causes him concern.

Could someone please give me advice on this? Is it just prey drive? Is this regular behavior? Can I never take my dog to a dog park again?

Thanks!
I have 4 White German Shepard’s and 7 puppies of the same breed . They all came from the same parents. This is normal behavior they show it after 3 weeks old. I thought they were killing themselves in the beginning but I learned that their mouth is the equivalent to our hands. The Black Belgian Shepard as mine is White Swiss are used to hunting in the past but we domesticated them . Therefore it runs in their Genes. My female runs or attacks anything that moves even a car . I always keep her on a leash the others are more calm towards humans but not dogs it’s their nature they are guard dogs . You should bond with him first before you expose him
 
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