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For a long time now I've talked about taking my dog daily or nearly daily to the dog park. And for the most part it's always been good. But in the past month or so it's become a bit more trying to say the least!

Nyx is now 22 months, and has gone through her second heat recently. She seems to have emerged from that a little more aggressive toward 5-7 month old puppies for some reason, and it has caused some issues recently.

First, about 2 weeks ago I was contacted by Animal Control because a lady with a 5 month old huskie had complained about my dog's aggressive behavior. I freely gave this woman my dog's name and my contact info, but was a little shocked to get a call from A.C. the very next day!

My dog was simply schooling her puppy, which I saw several other dogs do that same day, and to their credit the A.C. officer who contacted me totally understood. But it happened!

Tonight, the same thing happened with a different puppy, but this time the owner confronted me directly. Good for him! We discussed it, I completely understand where he's coming from, so we were able to talk it through and parted on good terms.

The thing is, it's partially a dog thing that none of us can control or dictate, and it's partially my fault for not watching more closely. I promised to do better in the future, but at the same time explained why totally squashing this behavior might be counter productive in the long run...

My dog isn't hurting his puppy, just schooling it. The rough stuff will end of its own accord if we let it...I promised to curtail it somewhat in the meantime, and as I said, we parted amicably so it's all good...for now. But I am going to have to watch my dog more closely for a bit...

It has been interesting to watch my dog's behavioral changes over time. It's totally clear that just because a dog has been going to the dog park for many months, it doesn't mean that today will be the same as it's always been...maturity changes things.

I sincerely hope we can continue to go so my dog can run around off-leash, but time, and her behavior will dictate that. Not my wishes...
 

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I'm going through the same thing with Mei since her first heat. She's more vocal when she's playing now with other dogs. Dogs her size I dont mind too much but the little puppies, I dont like it. So far, I just say her name sternly and it stops.

I don't really have any advice. Just going through a similar situation. Just keep a close eye on her at the dog park.
 

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The day someone else's dog corrects my puppy, we are going to have issues. I'd never allow my dog to correct someone else's puppy, nor allow my puppy to be corrected.
1. I dont trust you to be dog savvy enough to know anything about dog behavior. Ill assume you are a fur mom.
2. Things can escalate quickly. Especially at a dog park.
3. I'd be mortified if my dog hurt some unknown puppy, or if I was making some other owner uncomfortable because I claimed to be dog savvy, because I read it somewhere.
 

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Tim it were me I'd make plans to get together elsewhere with a couple of the friends you've made at the dog park along with their dogs.Don't wait for a serious situation to befall you and Nyx.
 

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I have no advice, just moral support. I watched Sabi teach dozens of pups and young dogs, I trusted her judgement, but I can see it freaking people out.
I can tell you that several of my more experienced friends had commented that specific to GSD's the females show a notably higher tendency to dog aggression then other breeds. In most breeds the males seem more prone. I have to say that my experience lends support to this, but since I am not that smart take it for what it's worth.
 

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I wish you luck but I have to say it's about the same age I decided that dogs parks were no longer a good thing in our life. We stopped going and haven't looked back. I should have made that decision sooner to be honest. Just to many variables that can't be controlled.
 

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Unfortunately for you Tim, you and your dog have been reported to the authorities. So he's in the system now. If something happens again and you're reported, your dog may have problems with the county or state in the future. (You've been warned.) In some places, worst case scenario...your dog will be put down. I would never have given my information to the other party if my dog didn't cause injury.

On another note, we've all talked about this ad nauseum...the dog park debate. This is exactly why I don't take my dog to the dog parks anymore. Incidents like these are bound to happen. And you may view it as harmless dog behavior, but there are always (uneducated/uninformed/unknowledgeable) people out there who don't see it that way. There are also people out there with GSD prejudices. It doesn't matter if your dog started the fight or not, because of the breed you will always get the blame, unless there are fair minded witnesses.

Also, I've never had a female dog so I don't know anything about heat cycles. But isn't that when they're "hormonal?" Is that the right time to bring her to the dog park? Not criticizing...just a legit question/concern. If it's not a an actual thing, then just ignore this last paragraph.
 

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The day someone else's dog corrects my puppy, we are going to have issues. I'd never allow my dog to correct someone else's puppy, nor allow my puppy to be corrected.
1. I dont trust you to be dog savvy enough to know anything about dog behavior. Ill assume you are a fur mom.
2. Things can escalate quickly. Especially at a dog park.
3. I'd be mortified if my dog hurt some unknown puppy, or if I was making some other owner uncomfortable because I claimed to be dog savvy, because I read it somewhere.
Good points actually. Can I assume that you don't and never have taken your dog to a dog park?

Dog savy or not, there are certain things that are sort of universal for all dogs...and one of these is dogs schooling older puppies. And by schooling I mean sort of putting them in their place rather roughly. I've seen lots of puppies go through this "hazing" and come out of it more confident and carefree around the same dogs that put them through it...

Be that as it may, I will say that some people are uncomfortable when any dog does anything with their precious baby other than licking it in the face...but that just isn't reality. Dogs have a way. I don't claim to fully understand it, but they do, it's universal, they all get it. So as long as nobody is getting hurt, I'm more inclined to watch and let it go.

That being said, I recall how it felt when my pup was 6-7 months old and got picked on...so I'm definitely sympathetic to these puppy owners, and will do whatever I need to to make sure their puppy is not harmed in any way!

But I agree with you completely, I'd be mortified if my dog ever hurt a puppy also! I won't let that happen...
 

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I have no advice, just moral support. I watched Sabi teach dozens of pups and young dogs, I trusted her judgement, but I can see it freaking people out.
I can tell you that several of my more experienced friends had commented that specific to GSD's the females show a notably higher tendency to dog aggression then other breeds. In most breeds the males seem more prone. I have to say that my experience lends support to this, but since I am not that smart take it for what it's worth.
Funny you mention the training older dogs do with puppies. Right after this happened, one friend walked up and offered to "beat the guy up for me", and another couple of people commented on how much they appreciated my dog putting some schooling on their puppies.

It's a mad mad world folks, everyone has a different level of experience...it's all good. I also trust my dog's judgement...to a point. And I'm also sensitive to the feelings of others. It's all good. I'll watch my dog more closely for now, but I am confident she won't ever hurt a puppy...it's just not in her temperment. An adult dog....not so much...given the "right" provocation in her mind...bad things could happen. But not with a puppy...
 

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I'd be mortified if my dog ever hurt a puppy also! I won't let that happen...
This^^^^

As much as you will try you can't guarantee it won't happen.

Our story...

We were actually leaving the dog park and about 40-50 feet away from the exit. A woman and dog I knew pretty well was entering the park. About 7-8 dogs rushed the entrance (as was common) to see the newcomer. Her dog got stressed and broke through the pack full of nervous vengeance. Barking, growling and baring teeth to get the pack off her. Now this was normally a calm dog that didn't cause any trouble that I had ever seen in the past. Then it happened in a split second. The dog veered and just attacked my girl, who was not part of or near the offending pack that had rushed the incoming dog.
The attack was short and was stopped by a stern command from the owner and myself.
We immediately left the confines of the park and I looked over my girl. She had a bleeding bite between her shoulders. Information was exchanged and off to the vet we went. Fortunately she only needed 3 stitches. The other dogs owner offered to pay my vet bills. Being a fair minded person I only asked for half as I took on part of the responsibility of such an incident just by being in the dog park (and I knew her dog was acting out of fear/stress not true aggression). So I was out $150 and so was the other dogs owner because a dog got stressed by a pack of other dogs we weren't even engaged with in any way. Wrong place, wrong time.

Yup my girls wound healed without complications. However, her temperament was forever changed that day. She pretty much dislikes female dogs now. She wasn't they way before the attack.

So you will try but you probably won't be able to prevent an incident if it's going to happen. Dogs move fast.
 

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Good points actually. Can I assume that you don't and never have taken your dog to a dog park?

Dog savy or not, there are certain things that are sort of universal for all dogs...and one of these is dogs schooling older puppies. And by schooling I mean sort of putting them in their place rather roughly. I've seen lots of puppies go through this "hazing" and come out of it more confident and carefree around the same dogs that put them through it...

Be that as it may, I will say that some people are uncomfortable when any dog does anything with their precious baby other than licking it in the face...but that just isn't reality. Dogs have a way. I don't claim to fully understand it, but they do, it's universal, they all get it. So as long as nobody is getting hurt, I'm more inclined to watch and let it go.

That being said, I recall how it felt when my pup was 6-7 months old and got picked on...so I'm definitely sympathetic to these puppy owners, and will do whatever I need to to make sure their puppy is not harmed in any way!

But I agree with you completely, I'd be mortified if my dog ever hurt a puppy also! I won't let that happen...
That's not exactly true, that dogs school other dogs or puppies in dog parks. I have been taking my dogs to various dog parks for about fifteen years now, and no, people do not let their dogs school other peoples' dogs/puppies, nor do they let them work things out. That must be something specific to the particular dog park that you go to. I don't let my own dogs school my other dogs or work things out. Once there is one dog fight, that is usually only the beginning. There most likely will be more of increasing intensity.

You have repeatedly stated in the past that your dog plays rough and you let her because other dogs are playing with her rough. It has been mentioned in the past that excessive rough play will only escalate. Is that what you might be seeing? I wonder if you may be experiencing a couple of things with her. Is your dog's corrections actually over corrections because of this? Is this why people are that upset with her behavior that it is becoming problematic? Or perhaps your dog is weary of other dogs hurting her and when she meets a strange dog, she feels compelled to school them before she gets hurt again?
 

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That's not exactly true, that dogs school other dogs or puppies in dog parks. I have been taking my dogs to various dog parks for about fifteen years now, and no, people do not let their dogs school other peoples' dogs/puppies, nor do they let them work things out. That must be something specific to the particular dog park that you go to. I don't let my own dogs school my other dogs or work things out. Once there is one dog fight, that is usually only the beginning. There most likely will be more of increasing intensity.

You have repeatedly stated in the past that your dog plays rough and you let her because other dogs are playing with her rough. It has been mentioned in the past that excessive rough play will only escalate. Is that what you might be seeing? I wonder if you may be experiencing a couple of things with her. Is your dog's corrections actually over corrections because of this? Is this why people are that upset with her behavior that it is becoming problematic? Or perhaps your dog is weary of other dogs hurting her and when she meets a strange dog, she feels compelled to school them before she gets hurt again?
I find your comments funny, because as I stated, my dog gets along with ALL dogs..if not friends she just gives them a wide berth. But she's very adept at reading and reacting to a newcomer. Whoever establishes themselves as the "boss". It's all good, they all do that initially.

The funny thing is, my dog is not at all being dominant or aggressive! Just a normal dog growing up with normal puppies!

But hey, it's all good...
 

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I think dog parks in general are just an interesting dynamic. One of the dogs in my club does NOT tolerate other dogs well, especially females, and yet she's apparently just fine at a dog park, which I find weird. My girl tolerates other dogs well enough given they don't get in her face and loves little happy dogs, but she is not a dog park dog. It puts her on edge because males constantly believe they have the right to try and mount her, and I've never once taken her to a park close to her heat in either direction.

The other day while we were at club, one of the club members had his dog out who is a total sweet heart. Just a love bug of a shepherd. Ryka was nearby, and he has a profound interest in her.. she must be a babe in the dog world or something. He sniffs her and she sniffs back, and then they move on and it's fine. Until he comes back and sniffs again and then tries to put a paw on her shoulder. Ironically during this whole thing, I told my other club member that Ryka would not tolerate inappropriate behaviour, and that she would end up snapping at his dog if he didn't pull him back. To which he replied, "Ah he'd never do that!"

2 seconds later his dog pushed Ryka's comfort levels, and just as I was about to remove her since he wouldn't, she gave him a nice air snap by the face and scared him so bad he rammed into his owner and hurt him.

It's good that you know your dog, but I'd definitely keep a closer eye now. You just never know the other dog.
 

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First, about 2 weeks ago I was contacted by Animal Control because a lady with a 5 month old huskie had complained about my dog's aggressive behavior. I freely gave this woman my dog's name and my contact info, but was a little shocked to get a call from A.C. the very next day!


Tonight, the same thing happened with a different puppy, but this time the owner confronted me directly. Good for him! We discussed it, I completely understand where he's coming from, so we were able to talk it through and parted on good terms.
I find your comments funny, because as I stated, my dog gets along with ALL dogs..
First you said she is having problems to the point of her being reported to Animal Control and then she did a repeat performance with another puppy. Then you say she gets along with ALL dogs.

Umm... not sure what this thread is about any more.

The funny thing is, my dog is not at all being dominant or aggressive! Just a normal dog growing up with normal puppies!
She seems to have emerged from that a little more aggressive toward 5-7 month old puppies for some reason, and it has caused some issues recently.
Okay she is more aggressive towards puppies but she is not at all aggressive? See my previous comment. Just out of curiosity, have you ever heard of a puppy pass?
 

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Okay she is more aggressive towards puppies but she is not at all aggressive? See my previous comment. Just out of curiosity, have you ever heard of a puppy pass?
Yeah, I was just going to mention that! I saw a film on Nat Geo Wild a few years back about dog behaviour. Obviously the all-positive crowd had something to do with it, because it tried to debunk that dominance exists. It showed a younger dog, a half-grown pup, humping an adult dog, and used that as proof that humping was not about dominance, because the older dog tolerated it.

Well anyone with an ounce of knowledge about dog body language would have noticed how stiff the adult dog's posture was. It clearly said, "I'm just putting up with this nonsense because you are a PUPPY! Give it a few more months, buster, and you are going to find out this is NOT polite behaviour!"

But the clueless idiots that put the film together had NO IDEA... :(
 

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Hey Tim, you're in Colorado, don't you have access to public lands to run your dog? We use national forest, Blm, and state land often, my dogs love it and come home exhausted both physically and mentally. Oh yeah, much less drama too, lol!
 

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Most gsd's don't make good dog park dogs. They tend to play a little to rough. Tasha loves all living things and would never attack or intentionally harm another animal, but, she can play rough. That tends to scare alot of other people who aren't familiar with the breed. It would scare me if I wasn't familiar with gsd's! Her looks alone scare people, that's the protection part for me! It might be a good idea likes been suggested and have play dates with other dogs matched to your dog's play style. Keep in mind that you are dog savy, but alot of other people aren't. Good luck!
 

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I think with the two incidences and your girl's maturity, it's time to reassess the environment. I'm sure you know that at about the 5mo-6mo old mark pups begin to lose their puppy shenanigan license.

I have recently all but stopped walking my boy in my neighborhood due to new neighbors and their dogs. He and I both love walking around town. I miss the basically carefree walks that took so long to make it carefree (i.e. training him to ignore and not react) but the two new wild cards that moved in makes it just not worth the risk that both dogs and the attitudes of the neighbors create. I can keep my guy well behaved and in control, I can minimize possibilities but when the environment and the chances and risk probability changes, reassessment was needed.

You work hard with your Nyx to give her what she needs and I think right now, she needs your good judgement in keeping her safe, maybe not from other dogs but from the owners who don't see things as you do.

Obviously my experience is much different from yours but the need to reevaluate the environment that we put them in is the same.
 

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There was a comment somewhere back there about adult dogs should school puppies or that was a fact of life or something to that effect.

Here's my take on that-- an appropriate adult can be useful to teaching an adolescent manners. But I would never in a million years want a strange dog doing that to my dog, or would I let my dog do it to a strange puppy. This is something that can sometimes be useful when you know all the dogs involved well. I let an older male put my young male in his place because he was a dog I knew well and I knew i could trust him to do it and it was a useful experience I feel.

My old male who died was near to doing it with my younger male and I would have let that happen because I think it would have been useful and appropriate and I could trust that dog so much. But he died before it happened. So I let the other dog do it because I had known that dog for years and I knew what he would do and why. I'd NEVER want this sort of thing going on between two strange dogs.

My female was sort of appropriate at one time a loooong time ago. Until the day she wasn't. So that was the other caution I wanted to give you Tim--- you say nobody is getting hurt in these altercations but just be aware that one day there may be stitches when there never were before. And my girl is a dog who will NEVER be allowed to "school" anybody because it won't be appropriate. She did some squish and growls to other dogs when she was younger, and she would not do that unless they had done something really stupid to her. But at some point it became I throw you down and bite you. I don't think that had to happen or necessarily would have happened if I had handled her better than I did. I would never in a million years do now the things I did with her when she was young.

My young male had a kind of tactless adolescent phase but I never let him approach a strange dog to be "schooled" in that entire time. I would never have just let him run amok in a dog park situation and be a tool to other dogs because that would either upset the other dogs or he would get his rear handed to him by someone which as much testosterone as he had in his head right then could have led to a dog fight. All things I don't want in our lives.

He has grown up to be socially a really nice dog, I'm proud of how many different dogs he can interact with.
 

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The day someone else's dog corrects my puppy, we are going to have issues. I'd never allow my dog to correct someone else's puppy, nor allow my puppy to be corrected.
1. I dont trust you to be dog savvy enough to know anything about dog behavior. Ill assume you are a fur mom.
2. Things can escalate quickly. Especially at a dog park.
3. I'd be mortified if my dog hurt some unknown puppy, or if I was making some other owner uncomfortable because I claimed to be dog savvy, because I read it somewhere.
This. Any concept outside of ^this is why I do not go to dog parks.

Actually I don't go to dog parks because I see it as a modern socially constructed example of anthropomorphism where people think dogs need to interact with other unknown dogs so they know how to socialize and get along with others ...you know for when they grow up and go to dog college and then live on their own among strangers when they pick their dog career.

Dogs are pack animals, the best thing for them is to be brought up in their pack. An older known dog can be an excellent teacher for a boisterous young pup. But not a strange dog. Puppies that wind up alone and encountering an unknown grown dog not from their pack would be in big trouble in their mind, so I would NEVER bring a pup into a situation where it can experience that kind of insecurity and stress/ For those who insist on applying children's social needs to dogs....would you watch a 10 year old kid push around your 5 year old on the playground because it is natural for an older kid to keep him in his place?

Long ago when dog parks were a new and fun thing and before I knew about the downside of it, I use to bring my super playful and dog friendly Jack Russell to the local dog park. Had my dog park friends, she had her dog friends. THREE YEARS not a single issue. One day (it only takes one day) a new idiot person with a big Malamute (it only takes one day and one idiot person who doesn't know anything about or have control of their dog) came in and the malamute ran over and savaged my dog to the point where I had to kick the other dog in the loins hard enough for it to be circling in pain after the fact. It had my JRT in a death shake.

One day, one incident, and my dog was a mental wreck with other dogs for the rest of her days.

Thanks but no thanks. Just sharing my story to demonstrate how years of "fine" can change on a dime because of one unknown person and dog at your regular hangout, one day.
 
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