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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello! New member to the board but lurking for 4 months since I brought my pup home. Learning a ton from this forum so thanks for all who take time to contribute. This is my first dog so I'm trying my best to educate myself about the breed and teach good lessons.

My GSD, Sky, is almost 6 months old and she is usually really friendly to all humans and dogs. There is a park (not dog park) near my house that we frequent (at least twice a day) and I've recently noticed a behavior change in her with certain dogs. Sky is still very clumsy and typically slower than the other adult dogs which I think is normal. When the other dog plays rough by running her over or try to intimidate her, she has started to snap, growl and bark at them! I can't tell if she's developing aggression or standing up for herself now she's getting bigger and stronger. I don't want it to escalate down the road and become a problem where she could possibly bite another dog. When she reacts like this I pick up her upper body from behind for a time out to cool down. When this happened at a younger age, she would yelp and tuck her tail in and hide between my legs so I know she was scared.

When the other dog(s) are gentle and playfully chase or wrestle (which is 99% of the regulars at the park), she's completely fine and never has a problem. Right now it's only 2 regulars at the park that give her problems. I realize all dogs don't have to like each other but I want to understand her behavior. If I need to simply avoid those two dogs and that situation, then I will and go home with her.

Thanks!
 

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stop with the park play...even if it isn't a 'dog park' it is a dog park. She is too young to be bullied by other dogs. She is protecting herself with her snapping, growling and barking. She is appropriately warning them. Remove her when this escalates. You are her keeper and need to protect her. To allow her to hide behind you tail tucked is not going to help her confidence level. You want a dog with confidence, not submissive. Back then, you should have taken a cue and not allowed her to be put in that situation.

She could also be physically harmed if they roll her hard. Hips and elbows are still being developed and she doesn't need to be injured permanently.
Instead of allowing these dogs to randomly play without structure, try doing group obedience sessions so she can learn to be neutral to other dogs in her presence. If there is one dog she gets along well with, then those two can have play dates.
 
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yes, she's attempting to defend herself, which, to put it simply is your job. it will absolutely escalate as she gets older. you're stirring up some nice ingredients for a fear based leash reactive dog.

focus on keeping her engaged with you in the presence of other dogs rather than seeing them as playmates (ingredients for excitement/frustration based leash reactivity) and when the 2 dogs that give her trouble arrive - leave ;)
 

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She is very cute, by the way! Try to teach her to be neutral to other dogs...it is the best thing you can do for her now.
 
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I know you said it wasn't actually a dog park but from the description it sounds just like one lol. I like what onyx said. I'll tell you from personal experience so you can learn from my mistake. When I got my first GSD I would take her to the (dog) park starting at 4 months of age and think it was the right thing to do to for her to learn to play, defend herself, socialize with other dogs etc. Big mistake. I stopped going to the dog parks and being so casual about any human or dog interacting with her before we had anymore terrible experiences.


You have the best, strongest and most powerful breed on your hands. You need to protect her and only let her interact with dogs you know well and make sure you are supervising. Don't let other dogs bully her, always stand up for her especially at that age, learn dog body language...

Luckily I realized my mistakes while I still had time to change things cuz she was young. I applied what I learned when I got my second GSD and he is exactly how I want him to be.
 

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Thanks DMS92 for sharing your experience. It is very enlightening and I will do better to be her protector. I also thought it was important to let my dog learn from other dogs and to socialize properly, but it's from the right dogs that matters.
 

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I would let her continue to play and have fun with the other dogs that play nicely but would not let her play with any dog that is known to play rough or begins to play rough.

Parks are a great bonding experience to enjoy with your dog and the presence of other dogs can lead to an awesome recall with your dog.
 

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When the other dog plays rough by running her over or try to intimidate her, she has started to snap, growl and bark at them! I can't tell if she's developing aggression or standing up for herself now she's getting bigger and stronger.
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It is for all intents and purposes a dog park !
You are allowing her to be victimized .
You are creating changes to her behaviour with other dogs, with bonding to you , and physically to her body.

when those other dogs , friendly or not , play rough and run over her , body slam , you could sustain damage

you don't need injury to growth plates , elbows or hips --- or injury to soft tissue ligaments .
Is the dog's left elbow a little larger , swollen?

Looks like the dog has pasterns that are soft - ligament , cartilage , can stretch and collapse .
 

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Interesting video. There are several dog parks in my area that I have gone to for years. This kind of behavior would have been stopped immediately by the owners of the victims as well as the bullies. I wonder if this behavior was allowed to happen for video purposes.
 

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That video is frightening. I wouldn't have recognized the more subtle behaviors. I'm glad I don't take mine to dog parks. I tried it and saw too many other dangers.
 

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Yeah the video was upsetting. Dog parks do not look like fun for some dogs for sure. We went over my moms house and her lab mix bull dozed right over max- outside in the yard-when Max was 3 months old. I did not think that was about to happen. She looked like she was excited and running to play but steam rolled right over my pup full speed. Max was crying loud for about a minute I thought for sure there was some kind of damage. For a second my mom's dog looked like she was going to pounce on him when Max was making the high pitched cries but I stopped her before she did. He seemed to be okay afterward but it could of been what led to his dog reactivity.
 

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I wouldn't let that video deter anybody from dog parks. That video could have been just one dog park where people don't monitor their dogs. There is one with that reputation near me and I never go to it. It is not like that in other dog parks.
 

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I wouldn't let that video deter anybody from dog parks. That video could have been just one dog park where people don't monitor their dogs. There is one with that reputation near me and I never go to it. It is not like that in other dog parks.
It can happen anywhere, though. My older dog knocked the puppy a few times in play when he was still smaller than she was. The difference is that I was right there, and I immediately stopped it and gave her a time out. The end result was that they learned to get along better. Now he is bigger than she is and if he is in play mode, she has learned to watch out. But a controlled environment when it's done accidentally is much different than an older or larger dog intentionally body slamming a puppy. That would never happen in our local dog park. I noticed most everyone just stood around and watched in that video. The dog owners local to me are very observant and never take their eyes off their dogs. I don't think the St. Bernard would have gotten off the ground had it happened here. Someone would have observed the crouching behavior and alerted the owner or stepped in first.
 

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Anything is possible but one can't build a bubble around a puppy either. Where I live, the chances of this happening to somebody walking down the street with their dog by an ill contained dog getting loose, by passing a leashed dog, or even in parks in general is much greater than it happening in a dog park.

People who bring giant dog breeds into dog parks such as St. Bernards or Great Danes tend to stay right on top of their dogs where I live.
 

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This happened a week ago at a local dog park. Could have been prevented if the owner of the small breed stayed in the small breed area and the owner of the giant breed had been supervising their dogs.
Shi Tzu attacked and killed at River Oaks dog park - Photo Gallery - MLive.com

I would not ever take a young dog as the one in this thread to a dog park. There are many better options for 'socializing'.
 

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I should clarify that I didn't post the video to draw attention to dog parks. Since the video specifically focused on 'rolling' I wanted to make people more aware of the act. I had never realized that rolling was aggressive. I had probably looked at it more as play. A dog rolling another dog clearly is aggressive and is not a good thing to happen to any dog - especially a young inexperienced dog.

It is true, as others have said, that these things can happen anywhere. When Shelby was a puppy, I was walking her with my, then, 2 year old hound mix. The hound weighed about 25 pounds. Shelby, maybe the same. An owner was playing fetch with his large lab. We were on school grounds. There are leash laws, which obviously this guy felt did not apply to him. Both my dogs were on leash and we were near the far side of the field. The lab ran full force at both of my dogs and bowled them over. it was not pretty. My husband grabbed the lab and told his owner, in no uncertain terms, to get his dog on a leash. My dog were not physically injured, but they were timid around strange dogs for a while. Definitely not an experience I would ever like to have again.
 
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