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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, I was bitten while breaking up a skirmish between my 6 mo GSD and a 6 mo Doberman at a public dog park. This is the second time I've been in this situation in about as many months. In this case, the other dog didn't take the cue that Ezra had enough and though I tried to move him away, the other dog pursued him until he was anxious (owner didn't catch a clue until it was too late).

At the private dog park we belong to (all dogs are temperament tested when they join), many of the owners are freaked out by Ezra's vocalness, puppy energy & play style (he likes to wrestle). There are MANY small dogs that go there and their owners are always on high alert with big dogs (understandably). I always monitor his play and ask the other dogs' owners to let me know if their dog is getting overwhelmed, but it's hit and miss on how it goes. I love letting him play with other dogs and the benefits that come from socialization but frankly, I'm about done with the dog park thing. Ezra would like it just as well if it were just the two of us, I think.

What do others do to ensure that their dogs are well socialized? Do you do dog parks, play dates with other dogs, what? If we went to the dog park once a week and just did hikes and play time with the two of us the other days, would that be enough?
 

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I take Deuce out in public...walks, stores, school to drop my son off at Pre K (we walk). We've been to the dog park once and Deuce barked and growled at all of the other dogs. I took him off of the leash and he was fine.
 

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Ask one or two of the owners of other dogs Ezra gets along with if they'd like to have a playdate(go hiking or take them for a swim if you can).
Or go to the park when it isn't busy.

I don't really want to socialize my dog with other strange dogs. It isn't necessary if the dog isn't reactive, socializing (dog/dog) is a bit over-rated. Though I have three at home to play together/wear each other out, a single dog probably gets pretty bored, fast!
If your dog is of good temperament, don't worry that he'll become reactive if he isn't socialized around other dogs, in fact the reactive behavior may start because he's getting bullied or bitten by strange dogs!

I do walk Karlo with a friends pup on a trail, 6 mile circle and the dogs really aren't allowed to play, but they do get exercise in that walk and are pretty tired out when we return.
 

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I think dog parks are a bad idea for the reason you described. One bad experience and your dog has been negatively socialized and could become dog aggressive. I'd rather have supervised playdates with dogs I know.
 

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We do play dates, trips to pet stores, walks, basically everywhere we can go. Dogs parks we go MAYBE once every couple of months and its ONLY if we go by and there are mostly puppies or GSDs at the park which is often. We havent been in a couple of months though.
 

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We have play dates at the place where Brody did his puppy training. I like it because the trainer is in the "ring" with them. She does a pretty good job of explaining their behavior. Plus its always the same dogs for the most part. We also bring him to public places. He plays with the next door neighbors dog as well!
 

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my dog went to the dog park when he turned 6 months old (park rules).
i had many play dates at our house and we had play dates
at other peoples homes. i also invited family, friends and neighbors
over to help socialize and train.
 

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We go to the dog park about once a week. Usually no one's there and I like it that way. Frag comes with me to daycare about once a week, too, an gets to play with other dogs for a few hours.

We go to the pet stores about every other day, and he gets to play on a long lead every day in the yard. Sometimes we take him to a public park or the beach and walk trails/swim. We have met up with a user here once as well and Frag got to play with her GSD and we walked a loop trail a couple of times. He loved that.
 

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Sinister goes to the Dog Park once or twice a month now.

I also take him with me to go see my mom and her GSD/Husky mix.

He plays with the English Bulldog and Pug next door.

I take him to my best friend's house to play with her 2 Min Pins and her Australian Cattle Dog mix.

His GSD buddy and his Akita buddy come over to play once or twice a month.

He plays with my GSD/Husky mix and my cousins Rottweiler that lives with me.

I also take him to parades, birthday parties, my mom's salon, my hospital and carnivals.
 

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I take Jake to busy shopping centers and sit outside, to TSC, to busy walking trails....anywhere and everywhere I can except dog parks.
 

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Well, after a year of my dog hugging my side at the dog park and running from other dogs, she found her inner German Shepherd and came out of her shell. We had been to the park at least a dozen times over the past year and she was totally intimidated. But a couple days ago she ventured away from me and started playing.
Since then, she has become a nuisance just like all the others. She is very fast and agile and runs down other dogs but stops at that .... then she gets them to chase her and doesn't understand why some of them use their teeth. Where's the fun in THAT?! So we shall see how it goes. I have no problem stepping in and/or letting the other dogs' owners know my feelings if theirs crossed the line.
Or just walking away.
 

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We do dog parks. Iska has learned that some dogs are not so friendly. She can easily avoid the dogs she doesn't like and play with the ones she does like. We hike with other people and their dogs and Iska seems to just enjoy being around all the people and dogs. Not usually much playing on hikes. We're trying to meet the dogs in the neighborhood but she's a bit bossy so close to home.
 

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I've had alot of problems with dog parks, two incidents that ruined it for us.

The first one was when he was about 4 months old. A man brought an unsocialized 6 year old GSD that had never been to a park before or around other dogs. Irresponsible owners like this are the reason why non-GSD owners have a bad opinion of GSDs. Anyway, the older dog comes up to Zeb and they start playing fine, but it quickly gets more and more rough till Zeb is not running to give chase, he is literally running to try to get away! The older dog gets more aggressive and chases him as hZeb makes his way for me and the protection of the picnic table. Just before he gets there the dog lunges at his hindquarters and bites his left hip enough that we needed to go race to the vet for stitches. The whole time I'm screaming at the guy to call off his dog and he says "they're playing!" I called the cops and the man was told not to bring his dog back (which he never did thankfully!) But ever since then that hip gives Zeb serious problems. :(

The second was an attack from a pit bull that was used to hunt wild boar and he attacked a boxer (one of Zeb's best friends).

We now bring him to the beach to let him run around and he loves digging and "getting away with it"! Also plenty of walks in stores, neighborhood, car trips, etc. Sadly he reactes with fear aggression toward some dogs (not suprisingly mostly shepherd he doesn't know). I've been working with him on that alot and he's finally starting to get better. One thing I love though is he LOVES all boxers.
 

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They are just playing !!

Ya, sure they are.
 

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I've never taken any of my dogs to a dog park, nor will I ever!

I don't feel the need to have my dogs play with strange dogs. I want them to view strange dogs as just part of the scenery, NOT as a playmate.
 

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I take skylar to the beach and baseball games, the boardwalk, hiking, obedience class, shopping malls (outside) and just sidewalks in town. We've never been to a dog park and will never set foot in one.
I have "play dates" with my friends dogs that i know are nice, and go visit the ladies at the vet office. I don't trust other owners with their dogs, and after skylar was attacked by a dog on it's leash, i really don't trust dogs off leash.
 

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Dogs don't need group play to be socialized. Often group play "socialization" offers the chance for dogs to learn undesirable behaviors such as bullying, fear, reactivity and to ignore their owner in favor of other dogs. For me socialization for puppies means that anywhere the puppy can go with me, the puppy goes. Group classes are great for teaching dogs to be calm and focused around other dogs, which is far more important than a dog who is willing to play with every dog he sees.
 

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I've never taken any of my dogs to a dog park, nor will I ever!

I don't feel the need to have my dogs play with strange dogs. I want them to view strange dogs as just part of the scenery, NOT as a playmate.
Interesting point of view. I guess I bring my dog to the dog park so she will overcome her shyness by playing so that she will eventually see other dogs as no big deal. It seems to be working because now when we encounter another dog on the street she does not shy away and if they approach she is self-assured. The playing only occurs in the dog park under supervision.
 

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i take mine to pet stores family's houses to play with boston terriers, beagles, and daschunds. we go to the dog park, but not as much as we used to. my pup is very submissive and the other dogs run after her and she is trying to get away and they just knock her over and she yelps. this has also caused problems with one of her legs and possibly a hip problem. the last time we went, a lady had rescued a pit bull pup. i dont mind the breed, but i am weary. she said it had been resuced from a bad situation. well jasmine went up to her boyfriend brody and the puppy that had to of wieghed 10lbs to jasmine's 60 went up to her, snarled, and jumped on her, knocking her over and grabbing at her throat attacking her. the owner of course did absolutely nothing and i had to break it up hoping i wouldnt get bit. this happend 3 more times before the lady finally took the puppy away even though she tried to blame us because our dog is bigger so she must have caused it. the other people there told us her puppy had attacked other dogs that day and had been kicked out of the small dog section of the dog park
dog parks could be a nice way of socializing on paper, but there are better places. pet stores, the vet, neighborhoods etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks to everyone for their input. The bruise on my inner thigh from the bite looks like a giant purple infinity sign and the day after, a similar smaller bruise popped up on my OUTER thigh. I thought the other dog just got pants leg, but apparently she made contact too. Not something I want to experience again, so I really appreciate your comments.

I work from home and Ezra goes everywhere with me except client sites. He's even gone with me to meet my husband for lunch (Ann Arbor has lots of dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating) and sat quietly under the table where people were walking by with kids, dogs, packages, etc. We go to the pet store at least once a week, farmer's market, to the kids school to drop off forgotten lunches, etc. and I try to go on a hike with him at least once a week.

In addition to all that, we've been going to the dog park most every day. So what I *think* I hear you all saying is that you don't think Ezra would suffer from not being around other dogs every day. I can easily replace the exercise aspect of the dog park by adding more hikes and trips to the regular park to play ball. Maybe once a week at the dog park at an "off hour" if I'm feeling particularly brave.

Thanks, again!
 
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