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Hi all. I have been reading these forum since I got my GSD, Sable, a couple of years ago. Sable is a spayed, 80lb and 3 year old. I have since added a 45lb. Golden named Dalyla. I don't know what happened today and can't figure it out. I took my dogs to the dog park today to get pictures with Santa. It is usually a busy park most times I have gone. There were about 40 dogs there which is normal. I have taken them there like 30 times with no problems. Today, within the first minute Sable was in a group of dogs and one of them attacked her. Just as I got her under control, couple of seconds, another dog came up sniffing behind her and she nipped at it. The woman who owned the dog that attacked her started yelling at me to leave the park. I took Sable to the other side of the dog park. It is a large park. In two separate times different dogs came at a dead run from at least 20' away to attack her within a couple of minutes of each other. Sable was not the aggressor in any of these attacks though she is able to defend herself. Each time she somehow manages to put the other dogs on the ground almost instantly and holds them down with her paws when attacked. She kind of stands with her front paws between their front shoulder blades pinning them to the ground until a human arrives. She does not try to bite them.



Sable has been called the gentle giant many times by the staff here. Her typical behavior at the park is to walk/trot calmly, greet the other dogs and then go try to get pets from the humans. I finally left without the Santa pictures as there seemed to be a pack mentality toward Sable today. I am kind of distraught as I always felt like it was a treat for them to go to the dog park to play with others. Now I don't know if I should even return though I probably will just to see if it happens again.


I would appreciate and questions or suggestions.
Thanks
 

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I’m sure the dog park and anti-dog park folks will answer you soon.

Personally, I would not return. I used to take Miika, but she like to be in charge and maintain her standard of order. Normally was not a problem. As long as they chased her and didn’t squabble with each other she was happy.

However, she would not back down from a fight (if I came and said something she would stop) and I never saw her aggress/attack anyone or any dog. She was young and a GSD. That was enough to scare people. I knew that if anything happened, whether she was just defending herself or not, would not bode well for her.

Better safe than sorry for me.
 

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I get that depending on where an owner lives dog parks may seem to be a good place for socialization and exercise...there are folks here that are pro dog park and folks here that are anti dog park it all depends on the individual dog park.....what makes some dog parks great?....the people (dog owners) who frequent them......what makes some dog parks suck?....the people(dog owners) who frequent them....IMO it truly all depends on the individual park you go to....in your case sounds like your dog wasn't at fault at all....I agree with the previous post...when you own a GSD-you own one of the breeds that's always perceived as being at fault.....in your shoes I wouldn't return.
 

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That's just horrible, poor Sable!

I don't go to a dog park unless I'm glamping, those are usually quite but for the occasional yappy lil dog, which we pass the park those time. We have one here where i live, but i just don't trust the people who bring their dogs. And i cannot image it being safe with 40 dogs off leash at the same time... i myself right there would say NO, that's just not safe for me or my dogs.

I understand the need however to want to let them play and run around... it's so fun to watch!

As mentioned above GSDs have a sort of reputation as does a pit bull, and most always will be looked on as the aggressor. If there are other ways to socialize and exercise your dogs that's what i would do and stay away from where there are packs of dogs.

There is one area you may want to work on with Sable and that's the nip when a dog sniffs her. In therapy dog testing that is one thing they must pass without the nip. And absolutely no hair raising or show of aggression when being sniffed or meeting a new dog. She may not be a therapy dog but it's a real good personality to have when surrounded by 40+ unleashed dogs. As for the other times you mentioned it seems like she was just holding her ground and did a great job.
 

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Sable has been called the gentle giant many times by the staff here. Her typical behavior at the park is to walk/trot calmly, greet the other dogs and then go try to get pets from the humans.
I'm totally against dog parks and others will focus on the actual issue you asked. I just wanted to comment on this.

Does Sable actually play with the dogs? Run around? Or does she just check things out and her thing she finds the most enjoyment in is greeting the people?

If it's greeting the people, perhaps, instead of thinking she needs to play with other dogs, consider certifying her as a therapy dog. Then she can meet all the people she wants and give joy as well as getting it :)
 

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Santa at the dog park for pictures? I can't imagine why the dogs might have been excited and out of sorts LOL! THAT would have been a good day not to go!

But, Santa or no Santa, dogs are like people in that they have days when they're grumpy, days when they're more excitable, days the feel playful, or days when they just want to be left alone. Dogs are not like people in that they seem to have collectively grumpy days. I joke about there being something in the water on days like that, because it is really evident.

The dog park I go to has a pretty stable clientele. But even with no new dogs in the mix there are days when multiple squabbles occur, and other days when all those same dogs get along famously. Everyday, even with familiar dogs, I watch very very closely for the first 15 or 20 minutes to gauge the vibe of the park that day. And I never let my dog crowd around the entrance as new dogs arrive. But, even with those precautions, I watch my dog closely when she's meeting individual dogs, and call her away from any packs of dogs until I've had a chance to gauge their mood that day - my own dog included!

Just the other day a gal who's been bringing her 2 bully mix dogs to the park for many months without incident came into the park, and her male was having one of those days. When he and my dog went to sniff each other he started showing teeth. When my dog was younger she would have just walked away and left him alone. But now that she's older, she's more inclined to respond in kind, seeing that I called her away and all was well...for about 5 minutes! This male, who again is typically pretty amicable and playful, grumped at another GSD who sort of snipped at him to run him off, and the fight was on. And in typical fashion at a dog park, the GSD owner panicked and waded right into the melee trying to grab collars and or shove them apart. At one point he slipped and fell with his arm over one of the dogs and his head and shoulder very near the action...it was a pretty tense minute or two, from which I'm happy to say all parties escaped unscathed!

Yesterday my dog was viciously attacked by a 5 lb terrier of some sort with a Napoleon complex just for trying to say hello. It happens...Nyx just shrugged it off and walked away. But if that kind of thing upsets you DON'T TAKE YOUR DOG TO A DOG PARK! Because honestly, it's not a matter of IF it will happen, it's a matter of when! There simply are no fairytale parks out there in which all of the happy-go-lucky, social, friendly, well-behaved dogs don't have bad days.

OP, was your dog or any other dog injured?
 

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Sable has been called the gentle giant many times by the staff here. Her typical behavior at the park is to walk/trot calmly, greet the other dogs and then go try to get pets from the humans.
If it's greeting the people, perhaps, instead of thinking she needs to play with other dogs, consider certifying her as a therapy dog. Then she can meet all the people she wants and give joy as well as getting it /forum/images/smilies/smile.gif
This is a great idea, and I would look into this.

I'm not against dog parks. Actually about to head to the one we frequent now. Like someone mentioned, it's the owners that will ruin your experience there. Hopefully this was just a one time thing. But if all your Sable likes to do is sniff around and be around people then maybe the dog park isnt for her.
 

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I think the biggest problem is that most dog owners in the dog parks aren't paying attention to their dogs. I took my puppy, Cassie, (5 months) for a walk in the park last Sunday (not the dog park portion). It was sad to see that approx. 75% of the people I passed were glued to viewing something on the phones: people walking dogs, fathers with a young daughter in tow, people on bikes or skateboards and groups of people.

The preoccupation with cell phones is sad. Part of the benefit of going to the park is to enjoy the day, the scenery, the wildlife, etc.

I haven't decided if I will take Cassie to the dog park area of the park we will frequent. I quit taking my prior dog, because owners weren't watching their dogs and my dog was ganged up on by a group of dogs on multiple occasions. At that time, I could only go on a Saturday or Sunday.

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER
: If your schedule/available time is flexible, you can try the dog park on different days/times. You could, also, try different dog parks. I'm, also, thinking that things can differ from community to community.

I think that a lot depends on the combination of how responsible and attentive the owners are on a given day/time at the dog park and the personalities of the dogs that are there.

If you dog gets along with certain dogs, maybe it's possible to meet the dog & owner at the dog park on certain days/times.
 

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Hi all. I have been reading these forum since I got my GSD, Sable, a couple of years ago. Sable is a spayed, 80lb and 3 year old. I have since added a 45lb. Golden named Dalyla. I don't know what happened today and can't figure it out. I took my dogs to the dog park today to get pictures with Santa. It is usually a busy park most times I have gone. There were about 40 dogs there which is normal. I have taken them there like 30 times with no problems. Today, within the first minute Sable was in a group of dogs and one of them attacked her. Just as I got her under control, couple of seconds, another dog came up sniffing behind her and she nipped at it. The woman who owned the dog that attacked her started yelling at me to leave the park. I took Sable to the other side of the dog park. It is a large park. In two separate times different dogs came at a dead run from at least 20' away to attack her within a couple of minutes of each other. Sable was not the aggressor in any of these attacks though she is able to defend herself. Each time she somehow manages to put the other dogs on the ground almost instantly and holds them down with her paws when attacked. She kind of stands with her front paws between their front shoulder blades pinning them to the ground until a human arrives. She does not try to bite them.



Sable has been called the gentle giant many times by the staff here. Her typical behavior at the park is to walk/trot calmly, greet the other dogs and then go try to get pets from the humans. I finally left without the Santa pictures as there seemed to be a pack mentality toward Sable today. I am kind of distraught as I always felt like it was a treat for them to go to the dog park to play with others. Now I don't know if I should even return though I probably will just to see if it happens again.


I would appreciate and questions or suggestions.
Thanks
Bottom line, when you throw a bunch of dogs altogether this is what happens. If you keep going to the dog park, it will almost certainly happen again. Some people are okay with that. I am not.

Some people have access to dog parks that are better than others with less risk. Some people are better at "reading" the group that day and advocating for or protecting their dogs than others, and may have less risk.

You won't catch me or my dogs in a dog park. One of mine had lasting issues as a result of things that happened not even at a dark park because I knew better---it was just a trail system where offleash dogs were allowed and a lot of them there. I regret taking her there and I've never taken another dog to a place like that in the last ten years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
"There is one area you may want to work on with Sable and that's the nip when a dog sniffs her. In therapy dog testing that is one thing they must pass without the nip. And absolutely no hair raising or show of aggression when being sniffed or meeting a new dog. She may not be a therapy dog but it's a real good personality to have when surrounded by 40+ unleashed dogs. As for the other times you mentioned it seems like she was just holding her ground and did a great job."
I would like to thank you all for your responses. I do understand that squabbles may ensue. My other dog Dalyla has been in a couple of very short squabbles. Not full fledged fighting. She just wants to run with any other dog who will run with her. She runs almost constantly the entire time we are there. After thinking it over during the weekend I believe the first dog Sable squabbled with may have been because Sable was trying to get a pet from the dogs owner and the other dog was being protective. The nipping occurred almost instantly after the fight as another dog approached from the rear. Sable was just protecting herself.

"I'm totally against dog parks and others will focus on the actual issue you asked. I just wanted to comment on this.
Does Sable actually play with the dogs? Run around? Or does she just check things out and her thing she finds the most enjoyment in is greeting the people?
If it's greeting the people, perhaps, instead of thinking she needs to play with other dogs, consider certifying her as a therapy dog. Then she can meet all the people she wants and give joy as well as getting it"
Yes, she plays with other dogs and runs around with them but not like a lot of the dogs who play mostly continuously. Its really about 50/50 with her whether its other dogs or people. To be clear Sable does meet and greet other dogs acceptably and runs around with them. She just seems to like being petted by the other humans a lot. If you pet her she is more likely than not to roll over and show her belly.

I really like the idea of making her a therapy dog but have so little time for something like that right now. Maybe in a the second half or 2019 as I should be done with my home renovation by then.

Thank you all for your questions and comments. At this point I may just lay off of the dog parks. It suddenly doesn't seem worth the risk.

Thanks
Sablesdad
 
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