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Hello,
I recently got a Malinois Shepherd Mix puppy (9 months old) about 3 months back. I find it hard to walk him (still working on leash training) and I am currently 7 months pregnant so I cannot be super active like him. I have been taking him to the dog park but recently, its become very stressful to go. Random people keep labeling his playing as aggressive, like biting the neck, jumping on the dogs, barking, rough play, chasing. I don't see his behavior as aggressive and their dog is not showing signs of fear or any negative body language, and I'd like to think the other owners are just misinformed/babying their dogs. It is becoming stressful and unpleasant to go to the dog park because I never know who will yell at me and give me a hard time. People who frequent the park and who know my dog don't get upset. It's only those who I do not see on a daily basis or out of town people who do not know my dog who give me a hard time. I have talked to other dog owners about this while he is beating up their dog and they say it looks normal and is totally normal, they know when to jump in and help their dog.
There was a recent Facebook post on the dog park page about people complaining about aggressive dogs coming to the park and how to handle it, like call the sheriffs ect. What do I do? I don't want to go to the park anymore but he is very high energy and playing fetch and walks is never enough.
 

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My first answer is always, don't go to the dog park. I personally don't like them. But if you have to go to the dog park, could you go very early in the morning before other people get there? Could you make friends with some of the other owners (whose dogs get along with yours), and arrange play-dates with the dogs in a private, fenced setting?
 

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Hello,
I recently got a Malinois Shepherd Mix puppy (9 months old) about 3 months back. I find it hard to walk him (still working on leash training) and I am currently 7 months pregnant so I cannot be super active like him. I have been taking him to the dog park but recently, its become very stressful to go. Random people keep labeling his playing as aggressive, like biting the neck, jumping on the dogs, barking, rough play, chasing. I don't see his behavior as aggressive and their dog is not showing signs of fear or any negative body language, and I'd like to think the other owners are just misinformed/babying their dogs. It is becoming stressful and unpleasant to go to the dog park because I never know who will yell at me and give me a hard time. People who frequent the park and who know my dog don't get upset. It's only those who I do not see on a daily basis or out of town people who do not know my dog who give me a hard time. I have talked to other dog owners about this while he is beating up their dog and they say it looks normal and is totally normal, they know when to jump in and help their dog.
There was a recent Facebook post on the dog park page about people complaining about aggressive dogs coming to the park and how to handle it, like call the sheriffs ect. What do I do? I don't want to go to the park anymore but he is very high energy and playing fetch and walks is never enough.
It sounds to me like your dog is being a jerk. Probably not a dog that should be frequenting dog parks.
Frankly I'm a bit confused as to why you would have gotten this dog at this time. And allowing him to jump on other peoples dogs is not cool. If he did that to my dog he would be getting up close and personal with me. We have a few forum members who frequent dog parks and I don't know that any of them would be ok with the behavior you describe. Further to that dog parks usually require that your dog be in control, if people have to rescue their dogs then clearly you cannot recall yours.
 

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It's public property. It doesn't matter whether or not other dog owners are being over protective, the only thing that matters is they have as much right to be there as you do, and you're responsible for making sure your dog doesn't become a nuisance.

If you feel like playing with other dogs helps to get rid of some of his excess energy make arrangements to meet up with the dog owners who like your dog. Go to someone's backyard so they can play without bothering other dogs/people.
 

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If you think you have a problem now, wait until after your baby is born. If he is truly a Malinois X the issues will only increase if he can't get what he needs.
And yes, stay out of the dog parks; it's these dogs that are the reasons people don't go anymore.
Can you post a picture of him? If he comes from a rescue, 1:he can be anything as they are often pretty casual about breed identification/mislabeling and 2: he is probably neutered which doesn't make it easier in dog parks.
 

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My dog is an intact male who does not try to mount other dogs much anymore, but he will *not* let them mount him. When other dogs jump on my dog and bite his neck, or vice versa, they are not playing. He will just scramble away the first few times a dog tries, but if the other dog persists in trying to mount him after the first 3 or more tries my dog will snarl and air-snap to make his point. Once he had to actually chase another dog away - the other dog tried to mount Beau for like the 5th time that hour, and while I was leashing Beau to leave. Beau lost it and for a brief moment looked very serious, but that’s what it took for that other dog to get the message.

That dog’s owner understood what was going on, and apologized for losing track of his dog. I did, too, for my dog’s fierce response - mine’s a GSD, so I try to be nice. Another time when a dog persisted in trying to mount Beau and Beau finally snarled and snapped, the other owner scolded me for coming to a dog park because my dog didn’t want to ‘play’. No. My dog didn’t want to submit. That stuff is not playing.

I do not allow Beau to mount other dogs, or allow them to mount him. We go to the dog park rarely, and when we do go it’s at dawn or 11 a.m., when very few people are there. He only tried to bite a dog’s neck once, to force him to permit the mount, and I stopped both behaviors. Like I said, he rarely tries anymore, and if he does, we leave. That kind of behavior can provoke a fight, and I won’t take that chance.
 

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Yeah, at 7 months into your pregnancy, congratulations by the way!, what would you do if your dog were to get into a real fight with another dog?

I'm one who does utilize the dog park almost daily, and because my schedule has changed over time, I've gone at different times of the day. The number and even types of dogs that come varies drastically by time of day, so choosing off hours might work for you.

But in any event, even dogs that are normally good with other dogs can be idiots at times. And as others pointed out, other people have just as much right to be there as you do! So it falls to you to control your dog whether you see his behavior as aggressive or not. If it's making another dog owner uncomfortable, call him off and leash him for a bit or leave. I know a lady who either goes at 5am, or very late in the evening because her BIG male Dobe doesn't play well with older puppies. And I've seen her leave many times when too many other dogs show up...

That being said, I saw a new lady just the other day come in with a skittish Golden Retriever on leash. As usual some dogs came up to sniff her dog, but her dog snapped at a big bully breed dog, and he responded in kind. She pushed him away and that was that, but minutes later she came back complaining that the other dog had attacked hers. And when that didn't get the sympathy she thought she deserved she claimed that the dog bit her, and proceeded to call animal control - who BTW politely declined to come out (no scratched skin, no blood, and no damage to either dog). So yeah, it goes with the territory that you'll encounter people like that at times...
 

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Oh, and all the dogs that tried to mount Beau were neutered males. We’ve only ever met 1 other intact male at the park, when Beau was 20 monthsish. He was a 9 month old pit bull. Oddly, they got along fine.
 

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Oh, and all the dogs that tried to mount Beau were neutered males. We’ve only ever met 1 other intact male at the park, when Beau was 20 monthsish. He was a 9 month old pit bull. Oddly, they got along fine.
So true. Spayed females often annoy Deja (intact female) who is just interested in fetching from the river and has never even snarled at a dog. I unfortunately have to cross a dog park to get to the river.
 

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Huh, that’s kind of Beau’s deal, too. We go to play fetch. He does like to greet dogs when they arrive, and he seems to like them as background noise. But other than that he just wants to fetch. No playing, no bothering other dogs, nothing else, just hello and back to fetch. But boy, some dogs do like to try him on.
 

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I frequent a dog park with my 16 month old non-neutered male. He engages in very rough play with some of the dogs around here. He is very respectful and socially intelligent about it though. There's never any doubt that it's consensual and it comes from a positive place. I think it's important to keep yours dog's personality in mind and to be sure the rough play is really just that and not actual aggression. It's very easy for an owner to delude themselves about the nature of their dog. Be objective and ask yourself what the dog's frame of mind is. Is he thinking "oh this is my friend i want to have fun and be wild" or is he thinking "I'm a badass and I'm better than all these other dogs and I should **** them up because I can".

Just be objective about it. If he's biting at another dog and the other dog isn't really responding or reciprocating, you should put a stop to it immediately. If they are biting at each other and seem to be getting along, then the other owner is in the same position as you.

Often when my dog wants to play he'll go up to another dog and softly bite their front leg. Sometimes they reciprocate with similar and it escalates to rowdy play. Sometimes they don't really respond and he just drops the issue.

My gut tells me your dog is being a 'jerk' to others and you need to discipline him better and put a stop to the aggressive behavior immediately. Whether this comes from a place of true aggression or poor social skills I can't say.
 

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Can you go to the park at dawn to wear him out when no one else is there?
How practical is that in late pregnancy or after several night feedings? I would consider re-homing him and focus on the baby's arrival and consider it a lesson. Sorry, pretty blunt but I have had clients, both as dog trainer and birth doula, with this issue.
 

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Random people keep labeling his playing as aggressive, like biting the neck, jumping on the dogs, barking, rough play, chasing. I don't see his behavior as aggressive and their dog is not showing signs of fear or any negative body language, and I'd like to think the other owners are just misinformed/babying their dogs.
The problem with dogs with high prey drive is they tend to play very rough with other dogs, it's just their style of play. Like you said, some people won't understand that. But some people who know the dog will be okay with it. When going to a dog park, I pay attention to the dog owners as well as the dogs, because dog owners are able to speak up and represent their dogs. I personally am very laid back when it comes to it, I think each dog has their own style of play and I don't mind it. My GSD plays rough, and there are plenty of other dogs who can match him, and the owners are like me: laid back and don't step in unless needed to.

I know my dog well and I will step in if the situation prompts me to. ie. If my dog cries, I step in. If my dog is helpless, I step in. Same goes to other dog owners. There's a line between being excited and being aggressive, and not a lot of people understand that. Once, there was an owner with 2 pitbull puppies, 3 months old couldn't be more than 25lb, in the big dog area. Anytime a dog approaches them the owner will freak out. My dog approached them, sniffed them, play bowing, barked, and the owner said, 'Your dog is aggressive.' I literally didn't say anything because I don't know how to speak to people with that level of stupidity so I just walked away and sat with one of the people I know at that dog park and we had a good laugh.

8 out of 10 times, I walk my dog for 20 minutes or rollerblade with him for 2-3 miles before entering the park. Structure before he can go off leash. It helps calm him down and he rarely ever hump or overwhelm another dog. The thing is a lot of people think going to the dog park is better when the dog is at its peak of his energy so he will be more playful and active, but it is wrong and it is misinformation! Do NOT enter the dog park when your dog is super excited - that's a recipe for disaster! Enter when he is calm enough and collected - a certain excitement is ok, but not super excited.

Perhaps you can walk your dog before entering? Calm him before playing, is my point.

But to be honest though, a malinois x gsd is a super high energy dog, especially being a puppy. What made you decide on getting this puppy while you are pregnant? I'm an active person in my 20s and my 13 month old is a good match for my energy level. But I can't imagine having him if I weren't as active as I am right now.

And yeah, watch out for the owners. Not the dogs.
 

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How practical is that in late pregnancy or after several night feedings? I would consider re-homing him and focus on the baby's arrival and consider it a lesson. Sorry, pretty blunt but I have had clients, both as dog trainer and birth doula, with this issue.
Let's just say your dog was a dream at the dog park...once you have the baby how are you going to exercise him?He will be a 10 month Mal mix (if he really is) and that is the worst possible time to drop off focus, bonding, physical activity with a dog of this breed mix.

If I were you.... and keep in mind we only can picture what is going on, and your details were only in the dog park. How is behavior at home, what makes you think he "needs" the dog park?....I would either consider rehoming to a good active family that is known to you (or one you can properly vett to be a good home)if possible, if that isnt an option to safely rehome him, start reading up a ton on engagement games you can play in your house so he at least gets the stimulation he needs mentally.

Is he a rescue? How long have you had him? Sorry if you mentioned that already, but I cant scroll back to your original post.
 

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I just reread your post. ( months old and you have had him for 3 months. Did you adopt him?

If you are happy with him in the house and are just concerned about his dog park behavior I would really suggest getting a working line dog breed savvy trainer in asap to help you negotiate raising these dogs especially with a new baby coming. And don't feel guilty if you think a better more active home, maybe with older kids, that you know of would be a better life for him.
 

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I personally have no experience with Malinois or Malinois crosses, but I have heard they're very drivey and energetic. I can't even imagine what a 9 month old Mal must be like. I feel tired for you!

Physical activity is a need, but so is mental stimulation. How much does your dog get? Are you training? How often and how long? A couple of fairly short sessions in your own backyard can perhaps do as much to calm your dog as physical exercise, although he will need plenty of both.

You might even consider training the dog to run on a treadmill. A lot of trainers do this to help with a dog's conditioning and while it isn't meant to be a substitute for social interaction or outdoor play, it could help you burn off some of the dog's energy while you rest or tend your child nearby. A flirt pole can also exercise the dog well while giving you less of a workout. Can you take him swimming anywhere?

I have never taken my GSD (male, intact 8 months) to a dog park and probably never will solely because I dislike how other people often neglect to train and socialize their own dogs. I know if I went to a dog park and saw people absorbed in their social media feeds while the dogs ran amok, I'd leave.
 

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Do you do any training with him? Does he have a good recall?


I liked [email protected]'s suggestion of flirt pole. I use that at home in the mornings and on days I can't get my dogs out to the park (i.e. we have training in 2 hours from when I get home). Malinois can be crazy high energy. I had initially wanted one but the back of my mind kept telling me it would be too much for me to handle.


Games like Nosework could help around the house if you cannot take him to the park (Find hidden treats around the house, guess which hand/box/cup, etc). We're training for the sport competitively, and Katsu is usually tired by the end of a good session.


At a dog park, it is up to you to make sure your dog is behaving. If someone does not like how your dog is playing with their dog, you should call your dog off. I don't know if you have two sides at your park (we do) - if there is, would it be possible for you to move over?


There are 2 dogs my Shiba does not get a long with, something about their disposition makes him want to assert himself (I'm hearing this is the case with a lot of other males that frequent the park, too). If I cannot get him to leave the dog alone within the first 2 minutes that either of them arrive, we move to the other side or leave. The last few times, my Shiba has left the dog alone when I said "leave it."


Katsu changes her style of play depending on the dog. Her one "BFF" she plays rough with; other dogs she does the play bow - chase/be chased with (no body contact)
 

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I wouldn’t be labeling your dog as aggressive. That’s a normal huh energy puppy who can be a jerk but who is...a normal jig energy puppy.

However.

I would also not be super happy about your dog’s behavior. I take a pretty hand off approach at the park, meaning I hang back and watch before I jump in. If my dog handles it and the other dog backs off and plays appropriately, fin. She can play roughly with the right dog, and if she’s in the mood for it and both dog’s are having fun, great.

If not, then I’m going to expect you to step in. Of course, knowing how this typically plays out, I know you won’t, do I will call my dog and walk off in another direction and will probably give a head up to other regulars, especially if their dog’s are smaller or not into playing rough. It sucks when owners of shepherds or shepherd mixes don’t actually manage their dog’s Athens park, it makes all of us and our dogs look bad. If you aren’t going to manage your dog, we don’t want you or your dog there.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I personally have no experience with Malinois or Malinois crosses, but I have heard they're very drivey and energetic. I can't even imagine what a 9 month old Mal must be like. I feel tired for you!

Physical activity is a need, but so is mental stimulation. How much does your dog get? Are you training? How often and how long? A couple of fairly short sessions in your own backyard can perhaps do as much to calm your dog as physical exercise, although he will need plenty of both.

You might even consider training the dog to run on a treadmill. A lot of trainers do this to help with a dog's conditioning and while it isn't meant to be a substitute for social interaction or outdoor play, it could help you burn off some of the dog's energy while you rest or tend your child nearby. A flirt pole can also exercise the dog well while giving you less of a workout. Can you take him swimming anywhere?

I have never taken my GSD (male, intact 8 months) to a dog park and probably never will solely because I dislike how other people often neglect to train and socialize their own dogs. I know if I went to a dog park and saw people absorbed in their social media feeds while the dogs ran amok, I'd leave.
It's like a mix between a very drivey WLGSD with the personality of a softer ASL of WGSL. It's interesting in alot of ways, the general advice of "don't get one unless you've had a driven WL GSD first" is true in my experience. They need deft direction and won't respond to well to heavy handed correction (and I mean verbal, lord only knows how upset my little buddy would get if I spanked him) or re-learning something you taught incorrectly. But when it's time to work, holy cow, that intensity & focus is a dream. Anything you wanna do, they'll do it, for a ball/tug/treat/praise doesn't seem to matter they'll give you 100%.

Living with them is like having an extremely violent bitey 3 year old with limitless access to a secret stash of sugar. Their life motto seems to be "When in doubt do something, Anything, VIOLENTLY. Don't think about it first, last or ever. Just go do something else, VIOLENTLY. Then once you've spent all day doing that and made Mom/Dad frustrated enough to consider smothering you to death, jump in bed and shower them with kisses and cuddle them till you pass out on top of them. They can't resist that level of sweetness & they'll forget all about how annoying you are and think about getting you a sibling." >:) :rofl:


ETA: Would NOT recommend for a 7 months pregnant lady and/or anyone who's solution to their energy levels is simply take them to the dog park.

Would recommend for anyone who can handle an above average WLGSD and has a job for them, they're no where near as bad as generally portrayed.
 

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