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Took Hampton (5 months) to dog park for first time today. Started off badly but ended well.

I walked over (through trail) without Hampton to check it out before I took him out of the car. Lots of different breeds and sizes. Owners paying attention. Only one barker. I got Hampton out and started walking up the trail with him (on leash). A couple was leading their three dogs in the first gate section. All their dogs were leashed as they left the gate. As they got closer (Hampton is on my left on a short leash), one of the dogs pulled away from owner and charged Hampton. Luckily her husband grabbed the dog as he went to bite Hampton. She clearly couldn't control so many bug digs. Irritated but thankful that he wasn't hurt, we went on. (Found out once inside the park that they left because he was being aggressive.)

In the dog park, Hampton did well. Polite sniffing, no charging, no mounting etc. He was playing very well with a Welsh terrier. As they were running by a weinaramer (sp) that dog nipped Hampton. I think he was scared that Hampton and the other dog were getting too close for comfort. The owner quickly corrected the dog, apologized, and gave his dog a time-out. BUT he didn't leave. I can only speak for myself, but if that had been Hampton, I would have been thanking my stars that he didn't hurt someone and would have removed him. Dog park would be over! What are your thoughts on that? What's proper etiquette?

Hampton steered clear of him for the rest of the time we were there and played nicely. He's still a little afraid of bigger, older dogs, but not so much where he is targeted. I wish he would "check" dogs a little earlier but he does in an appropriate way eventually. I'm very proud of him and how he reacts and reads other dogs. I also stay very calm and positive.

Interested in your opinions! (Attached a pic of him and his friends) ImageUploadedByPG Free1366384638.109292.jpg


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I had a couple experiences like you, before my puppy was attacked. Never went back again, because IMO its just not safe. In reality we don't know anything about the other dogs or their owners. It only takes a second for a dog fight to break out and the trauma sometimes can't be reversed. Hope you never have to experience that.
 

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I've got a couple issues with your story so I'll try to cover them...

The first dog that rushed your dog. Are you sure he was going for a bite? Or was it just over exuberance and he was just going to say hello? I find it hard to believe that a dog that was just running around off-lead at a dog park (which you checked out earlier) would all of the sudden get out of the dog park, and rush a little puppy with the intent to hurt it. The owner also seemed responsible enough as he did correct the dog for the action so they sound like just the type of person you want to be coming to a dog park.

The weinaramer...why would that owner leave? It sounds like the dog was minding its own business when your puppy entered its space. He nipped at your puppy, probably with the intent to correct, and due to your puppy's fear of larger dogs, he probably quickly yelped. I'm guessing this is why you thought the bite was strong. The older dog probably properly corrected your puppy...who was playing with another dog and didn't realize where he was headed, your puppy looked up, saw a larger dog, and freaked out a little as it was a surprise for him to see.

Is there a small dog/puppy area at this park? All the ones I go to have such an area...and for some reason the small dog people and people with puppies still bring their dogs into the large dog area and then expect the rest of us to "protect" their dogs. Large dogs play rough with each other...most dogs don't have a sense of small/big and will play the same way with everything. So just because a large dog might play a bit too rough for your dog...it doesn't mean that dog doesn't belong at a dog park.

I frequent dog parks once in a while...my dog is probably like the weinaramer in your story. He likes to play rough, and he also doesn't mind playing with just me and minding his own business. If another dog gets in his space, or there is a small dog that my boy decides to play with, as long as he's not getting aggressive and really dangerous...I WILL NOT CORRECT. If I notice the other owner is uncomfortable...I'll call my dog away and we will try to leave that "area" but if the small dog/other dog follows and asks for more...I really can't help that.

My biggest rule at a dog park is...if YOU'RE not comfortable with the interaction...pull YOUR dog out of it. Don't ever expect that the other owner should leave because in YOUR opinion their dog is being too rough. Play and dog interaction is very subjective depending on the level of knowledge the other person has of dogs and most importantly THEIR dog. I can easily tell when my dog needs a time-out and is getting a little too worked up...I can't tell that with other people's dogs because their signals/signs might be different. Therefore, if I'm uncomfortable, I pull my dog and we leave, I could care less what the other owner is doing or thinks of my decision. I will also never tell another owner that their dog is doing something dangerous unless its clear a fight is breaking out. Some dogs play rough...others really rough...a dog park is a public place that everyone has a right to use.
 

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The first dog had to leave the park due to being too aggressive (words of others not mine). All dogs were on leash. If your dog can pull away from you on leash, you have the wrong leash, harness, etc. That's YOUR problem not MINE. I can control my dog and expect others to do the same, particularly when we're on the trail, not in the dog park.

I've grown up with dogs. I can read the difference between playing, excitement, dog checking, etc. This wasn't the case.

My question regarding dog parks was if your dog bites, should you leave the park? It was my first time there. I wasn't the only person who commented on the dog biting and nipping other dogs who came to close. My dog doesn't bite at other dogs who come close to him. The same way that they should have space is the same way that my dog should be not be bit. I'll have to respectfully disagree with you.

Again, I'm happy to not return to the park. If I'm not comfortable, I won't. This was an etiquette question. Nothing more. My dog behaved brilliantly. Proud GSD owner.


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This is not about your dog at all. Its about any other dog that nips or bullies. A split second can ruin your dog. It is not acceptable for dogs to bite in an aggressive manner, but some dogs do nip and some dogs on the other end don't know that its play...that is where the problem starts.
 

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With dog parks, you are putting your dog with various sorts of personalities. If the dog is too young to be confident enough to handle inappropriate behavior, it would be best to keep the dog in a more isolated area or not take to the park. It sounds like your pup handled this well, so it sort of sounds like it wasn't an issue. I have gotten really good at seeing which types of dogs my own would have an issue with, and used a different part of the park. He had excellent recall, and stayed (off-leash) with me in the park until we found an area to release and play. The weimie behavior may have been considered rude, but the behavior was that of a dog/animal, and the weimie didn't hurt any other dog. The weimie may have some space issues, but most dogs will pick up on that and not harass the weimie. The weimie may be a rescue, may be older and not want his back end messed with, or such. But it is kind of like going to a public people park, you sort of pick up on different personalities and find some who like to play, others who want their own space. Most dogs get pretty good at this too. Don't ya think?
 

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Yes Jenne. Agreed!

I guess I'm just curious...one of the huge benefits to dog parks is socialization and space. If your dog nips and bites at those who come too close and won't leave your side, it seems as if they aren't comfortable. If they're not comfortable, as an owner, aren't you putting them in a bad spot of being defensive and wary? If my dog was doing that, is take it as a huge sign that he didn't want to be there and is giving me signals to go.

I definitely don't overreact, in fact, I want Hampton to experience rude dogs too (but not to often-lol) so that he knows what to do... Ignore, stay away, not engage, calm down, etc.

I won't put him in a situation like that again. Saw a few bad reviews on the dog park Facebook page tonight but they were from way earlier in the year. I guess it doesn't matter-- there will always be those owners.

Thanks for the input everyone!


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It only takes one traumatic encounter to make a sensitive dog dog-aggressive himself. It usually shows up later, not as long as he is a pup. Fenced dog parks seems to cause more problems than the ones without a fence (my experience). I would stay away. You shouldn't teach him to get used to rude dogs because it will cause him problems.
 

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Lindy, good point you make. I looked it as the behavior being acceptable, but didn't think about how the weimie felt about being there. It could be that the weimie has a set group of buddies that he or she enjoys playing with, and maybe your pup surprised him or her. But I agree, if the dog always has discomfort being at the dog park, than it isn't the best place. I stopped taking my shepherd when I realized he got grumpy with puppies and bouncy happy dogs. He was getting grumpy because he had pain of arthritis. So, he felt on edge, and it wasn't fair for the puppies to get grumped at just for being puppies. I think they all do learn from each other, but right, you have to think about your own dog's comfort. But if you tale your pup again, maybe just keep him with you until you get space to run, and I bet he will find a fun buddy to play with :)
 

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the dog park we visit the dogs must be 6 months old or
older to enter. you can always set up play dates somewhere
with a few dogs or one dog.
 

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I had a couple experiences like you, before my puppy was attacked. Never went back again, because IMO its just not safe. In reality we don't know anything about the other dogs or their owners. It only takes a second for a dog fight to break out and the trauma sometimes can't be reversed. Hope you never have to experience that.
Same here. That's the problem. You start to think it's OK and go back to the park to see your pup run and play....then it's over before you know it when a pack (or bully) suddenly attacks your dog. Never - Ever- going back to a dog park. I'm happy for all the lucky ones who never had their pups on the wrong side of group aggression. And....this is from a pretty nice park. Albeit, some parks are more closely managed. Anyway, for us, it's not worth the risk.
 

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eventually all pups seem to get a lashing the gsds just hold grudges till they get older. A pup that gets handled rough when it is young can turn into a real jerk when it is older.
 

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If you are not comfortable at a dog park, your dog is not comfortable. I learned the hard way. If you have a "in your face, happy, energetic dog..." do not go to the dog park. I will never go back to a dog park again. Luckily she is well socialized and has plenty of "dog friends" to play with. $1500.00 later...

pictures speak for themselves

that bump on the left is a broken bone that is sticking out of her face.


after surgery
 

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how old is she and what kind of dog did that to her just curious? She looks so sad in the pic. I always forget that a lot of gsds or gsd mixs arent the fierce fighters that I own.
 

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Gem was about 1.5 years in the pictures. The pictures are from November '12

Irish Wolf Hound (I think). Short hair with long hair around the face. Very tall...long legs. The injury looks worse then the disagreement was. I think the other dogs tooth got caught up in her face so mehow and kind of shaved off a piece of bone that "slivered" out.

Not sure what the fuss was but I was very agitated that day and I know Gem feeds off my energy. I had no business being in the dog park especially when I saw that dog there. I saw that dog get aggressive before but I figured Gem is submissive so there would never be a problem. WRONG!

After the dog bit Gems face (literally) Gem actually had the other dog pinned to the ground and any time it would move she would growl, show her teeth (never saw this side of her) ....this went on for what seemed like an eternity but was most likely only 10 seconds or less until I was able to break attention. Even though my wallet took a hit I was quite impressed with the power and swiftness that Gem had even after being injured.

Dont let the pictures fool you. She didn't miss a step. The only time she was slowed was immediately after surgery when the meds were still kickin.....
 

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GSD's are disciplined dogs. I took my GSD to Dog Park and she wanted to be petted by all humans. Rest of the dogs were WILD. Seems like my dog was very disciplined. She just wasnt running around like crazy. Some dogs tried to mess with her and she got defensive. I wouldnt recommend dog parks as there was poop everywhere, dogs drinking from same water, one dog urinated in the water bowl and the owners thought that was "cute". Also, many different dog personalities. I couldnt play with my GSD with a ball cuz all the other dogs tried to steal the ball. Also, the owners were very disrespectful. Without my permission, a lot of them were taking the ball when it was on the ground. Doggy Park: NOT A PLACE FOR A GOOD AND DISCIPLINED DOG.
 

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GSD's are disciplined dogs. I took my GSD to Dog Park and she wanted to be petted by all humans. Rest of the dogs were WILD. Seems like my dog was very disciplined. She just wasnt running around like crazy. Some dogs tried to mess with her and she got defensive. I wouldnt recommend dog parks as there was poop everywhere, dogs drinking from same water, one dog urinated in the water bowl and the owners thought that was "cute". Also, many different dog personalities. I couldnt play with my GSD with a ball cuz all the other dogs tried to steal the ball. Also, the owners were very disrespectful. Without my permission, a lot of them were taking the ball when it was on the ground. Doggy Park: NOT A PLACE FOR A GOOD AND DISCIPLINED DOG.

Unfortunately not all GSDS are that disciplined. At the dog park I have gone too, they were very hesitant of letting me bring Dexter in because a GSD had recently got away from his owner and mauled a small dog to death.:(. You said your GSD is very disciplined but some dogs tried to mess with her and she got defensive...helllooo you were at the dog park
 

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GSD's are disciplined dogs. I took my GSD to Dog Park and she wanted to be petted by all humans. Rest of the dogs were WILD. Seems like my dog was very disciplined. She just wasnt running around like crazy. Some dogs tried to mess with her and she got defensive. I wouldnt recommend dog parks as there was poop everywhere, dogs drinking from same water, one dog urinated in the water bowl and the owners thought that was "cute". Also, many different dog personalities. I couldnt play with my GSD with a ball cuz all the other dogs tried to steal the ball. Also, the owners were very disrespectful. Without my permission, a lot of them were taking the ball when it was on the ground. Doggy Park: NOT A PLACE FOR A GOOD AND DISCIPLINED DOG.

what you call a diciplined dog may not be what others, gsds are more dominant smarter snarky bullyish dogs to me from what I have seen. JMHO.
 
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