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Help. I have a 15 month old female GSD. She has never been afriad of anything and still has no fear. We have been going to the dog park since she was a puppy every day. She has always played very rough with the other dogs. Now that she is really big she is playing really rough. The first thing she does when she sees a dog is the hackles go up and she runs up and puts the dogs neck in her mouth. I do believe she is playing. But she really scares the other dogs and their owners. She is growling while doing this, she has always been very vocal while playing. I would like to stop this rough play if I can. At night when I go to the dog park she plays with the only other dogs that go at night and the 3 of them all play very rough. Sometimes though she provokes a fight because she is too rough. She also has issues if she sees a dog from the window at home or while in my van, she goes into attack mode. Her parents are both from Germany and trained in Shutzhund, I wonder if this is what makes her so high strung? Any advice anyone can give me would be very helpful.:)
Thank you,
 

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Sounds like she's a bully. Even if it's play, the other dogs are probably not having much fun, and she should not be allowed to continue practicing this behavior. Not all dogs are great candidates for dog parks, and if she were my dog I would stop taking her. It's just not fair to the other dogs to let her pick on them. Rough play between consenting dogs is fine, but bullying is not, and you aren't able to control her if she's off leash.

My dogs play very rough with each other - they bite each other's necks, they slam into each other, they hump each other, they bark and growl and sound like they're killing each other, but they do not play that way with other dogs at the park. If they had tried, I would have stepped in immediately and put a stop to it.

At 15 months old this has been going on a long time and she's not going to stop unless you take her out of that environment so she's no longer able to bully other dogs. Has she been to any obedience classes?
 

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I agree with Cassidy's Mom, your pup is becoming a big scary bully to the other dogs in the dog park. Best if you'd step in immediately to get in between the 2 dogs (facing YOUR dog) so she takes a chill. No interaction with the other dogs until she calms and lowers her energy.

If you have any problem with her immiately backing off and down from the other dog when you try to split the dogs up (and I'm betting you will be ignored by your dog :) ) I'm thinking going to some formal dog classes will really really help with the balance in the relationship between you and your adolesent pup. It's not about you being a big scary Alpha dominant thing... more about the calm leadership role we ALL need with our dogs and sometimes struggle with.

You need to stop with the dog parks though, unless the blocking thing works 100% right away or there's a good chance there will be a dog fight with all the issues and dramas that involves. No one likes when the bully shows up in the playground, and that's what's now happening with your dog.
 

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What THEY said. Please don't continue to be one of THOSE dog owners who aren't sensitive of others. "My dog is just playing!" Nonsense.
 

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I'm in the same boat as you currently. My 11 month old GSD male has been getting a little too rough with other dogs. He's especially keen on squaring off with other unfixed males. The best advice I can give you (as I'm currently looking at alternatives myself) is to either:
1. Stop taking him to the dog park - some dogs are just not dog park dogs. My dog for example doesn't like it when other dogs get in his face without a proper "doggie" introduction.
2. Go at off-hours. If I go at 7am / 11am-4pm / 9pm or later I usually find the park much quieter
3. Take her to a small area in the dog park and keep her on a long line

I know it seems dramatic but the truth is GSD's (especially working lines - which you mentioned yours is from) are "hard", alert, confident, and can be - well - reactive and therefore may not always be suited for dog parks. It also doesn't help that every single dog owner freezes as soon as we walk into the park. I'm sure the dogs sense it and sometimes it can feel like walking into a war zone...

It would also be helpful for you to see the thread I started on this very same issue -
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/aggression-good-bad-ugly/150557-dog-aggression-dog-park.html
There are some great ideas in that thread for people like us.
Hope this helps!
 

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I'd also suggest going at odd hours. I take Frodo to neighborhood park at night and on rainy days when I know no one will be there. He used to be fine at the city dog park til the day a few bully dogs picked a fight, Frodo was scared and didn't know how to react. After a few more visits, he was charging dogs coming in, that would frighten the other dogs and sometimes cause fights. I decided it wasn't worth the risk and stopped taking him. My advice to you would find some dogs that she gets along with and schedule playdates.
 

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i agree with everyone else! My girl plays really rough, but she's not aggressive- we don't go to off leash parks. We just make play dates and play in our fenced yard with dogs that like to play rough. If we're around other dogs that we don't know, She's on a leash at all times, and she isn't aloud to interact with them, because she's rough and big. :)
 

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Well thank you all for your advice. I was really hoping for a way to stop this behaviour, but you are all suggesting I stop allowing her to play with other dogs which is the time she is most happy, she loves to run and play with other dogs. But I do understand the bully thing, no one likes a bully. But I don't think I am ready to give up on the dog park yet. She is still young and I believe she can change. Thanks everyone.
 

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To be honest, and I'm not saying this to put you down because I know you just want your dog to have fun be a dog, but people like you and the dogs you bring in are the reason I stopped going to the dog park.

This type of behavior with unknown dogs are fights waiting to happen. Not all dogs take a stange dog running at them and grabbing them by the neck as much of an invitation to play. Actually, it's the complete opposite.

This may be "just play", but "just play" very quickly becomes a fight that needs to be broken up and some serious dog injuries. I've seen and experienced this more than enough times.

Just as some members mentioned in earlier threads, some dogs are just not meant for dog parks. If you ask me, you're dog is one of those dogs, but that doesn't mean your dog shouldn't be allowed to play with other dogs off leash either.

Are you open to setting up doggie play dates with some of the other owners who bring their dogs at the park and know get along with your dog? This is not only fair to the random dogs your dog is trying to bully, but to your dog as well. This type of behavior might also mean that he isn't as comfortable around strange dogs as you may think he is.
 

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Well thank you all for your advice. I was really hoping for a way to stop this behaviour, but you are all suggesting I stop allowing her to play with other dogs which is the time she is most happy, she loves to run and play with other dogs. But I do understand the bully thing, no one likes a bully. But I don't think I am ready to give up on the dog park yet. She is still young and I believe she can change. Thanks everyone.
Wonder what it will take you to realize what others have stated - some dogs are not well suited to dog park play with strange dogs?

For example, if your dog ran up to mine and tried to bully him or play too rough - I suspect that you would have a dead dog or at least a very injured dog. He never took to that type of play with a stranger dog even as a puppy he would defend himself. That is one reason that we did not take him to dog parks even as a puppy.
 

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I would get in between my dog and yours in a heartbeat if he was to charge into mine. My dog hates when other dogs just run up to him without proper signals (loose body, lowered head, sideways approach) and can get very reactive. Since he has big teeth as well, I would have to get in between them and then confront you about the situation. I'm not saying your dog is a bad dog, but I am saying that unfortunately not all dogs are suited for the park.

Again, I'm not trying to purposely be mean about or anything like that but you should be prepared for some very angry owners if you choose to keep bringing her to the dog park at busy hours.

Some alternatives:
1. Does she fetch? If not, teach her to fetch - it's very simple and there are lots of guides online
2. Does she tug? If not, teach her to properly play a game of tug - again, see other threads here or online material, or ask us :)
3. Can you get a long leash (30-50 feet) and play with her like that?

I promise you that a GSD can learn to enjoy time with you just as much if not more so than time playing with strange dogs. Plus, it brings you to the center of her universe. Once you are at the center and are the source of all things fun (play, food, etc) a lot of things will fall into place - she'll listen better, be focused on you, and look to you for guidance...
 

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But I don't think I am ready to give up on the dog park yet. She is still young and I believe she can change.
How are you planning on stopping the behavior when she's off leash and too far away for you to control her? She's getting over-stimulated at the park and that's not just going to stop without a concerted effort on your part. In fact, because she's been allowed to continue practicing this behavior it's even further ingrained than if you'd seen it as a problem early on and taken steps to stop it.
 

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My dog plays like this - I don't allow it. I have taught him to carry a ball in his mouth when we are out with dogs he knows and we very, very, VERY RARELY go to the dog park. Always in off-hours and I really only take him if our regular spots are too busy to play fetch. And then I play fetch.

I personally would not be happy at all if my dog's happiest moments were while playing with other dogs. I want his happiest to be when he's working/playing with me - which, luckily, is exactly what I have.
 

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My dog plays like this - I don't allow it. I have taught him to carry a ball in his mouth when we are out with dogs he knows and we very, very, VERY RARELY go to the dog park. Always in off-hours and I really only take him if our regular spots are too busy to play fetch. And then I play fetch.
Lol.... I do the exact same thing with Lucy. She loves the chase me game. She never lets go of that ball.
 

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My rescue shows the same behavior at the dog park and we stopped going, because it's not fun for other dogs to be subjected to her rude behavior. If you had a kid who really loved punching and tripping other kids because he thought it was super fun, would you find that acceptable? (if yes, then that's equally troubling).
There are many ways to have fun with your dog. Why don't you work on obedience in a group class setting before trying again, or just keep play dates to 1-2 dogs she already knows and likes.
The WORST thing you can do with a dog reactive dog is let her think it's okay for her to go around threatening other dogs whenever she feels like it, she won't 'outgrow' this behavior if it keeps being reinforced.
 

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My dog plays like this - I don't allow it. I have taught him to carry a ball in his mouth when we are out with dogs he knows and we very, very, VERY RARELY go to the dog park. Always in off-hours and I really only take him if our regular spots are too busy to play fetch. And then I play fetch.

I personally would not be happy at all if my dog's happiest moments were while playing with other dogs. I want his happiest to be when he's working/playing with me - which, luckily, is exactly what I have.
Hahaha that's been my newest "band aid" solution to the dog park. I always let him have a ball in his mouth and while he's not resource guarding or being aggressive over it he'll end up with like 3-4 dogs constantly following him to get their "hands" on that ball. Seems to work for a little while but when he sees another unfixed male is the only time you'll hear the thump thump thump of the ball bouncing from his mouth to the ground... :(
 

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Well thank you all for your advice. I was really hoping for a way to stop this behaviour, but you are all suggesting I stop allowing her to play with other dogs which is the time she is most happy, she loves to run and play with other dogs. But I do understand the bully thing, no one likes a bully. But I don't think I am ready to give up on the dog park yet. She is still young and I believe she can change. Thanks everyone.
Frodo also loved playing at the park, and it was extremely upsetting to me when I made the decision to stop taking him because some days, no problems, but other days, I didn't know who he'd pick a fight with. I just didn't want to chance something bad happening. Luckily my neighbor had a gsd puppy and another small dog, and Frodo got to see and play with them every day. Just try a find some dogs to have playdates with. She'll have just as much fun as going to the park.
 

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I have a 15 month old female GSD ~70lbs that plays rough as all **** with other dogs. I'm selective of who she plays with because I don't want someone thinking she's going to kill their dog, nor do I want her playing rough with a dog that doesn't think its play time and responds with aggression as when a dog shows her full aggression, whether she induced it or not, her response is extremely swift and very aggressive and at this point her tunnel vision is in full effect and she's no longer aware of my commands... her current play pals are my male gsd (both dogs are from a long line of schutzhund 3 dogs), and a 110lb cane corso. Most other dogs can't take the abuse. The only dog that puts her in check is my male, who will pin her down and hold her entire head in his maw and this causes her to submit. The cane corso is the same age, so she's not as intolerant of puppy crap as my male is.

There isn't a whole **** of a lot you can do to suppress this... you bought a puppy from high drive, high energy, fearless schutzhund parents and you got a .... schutzhund capable dog. Did you expect something else to happen?

keep a toy with you at the dog park, and direct her attention to YOU and not the other dogs. try to get her winded before you let her interact with other dogs, and if the play gets too much again, separate and bring her focus back to you. be careful though, other people's dogs are not your behavior modification tools so if you are not very confident you can do this then stay out of the dog park and just find a similar dog to play with
 
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