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Cobalt is a 13-month-old male GSD. We got him when he was 9 weeks old from a breeder. We met his parents and was told that his grandfather was a police dog. We started a new round of vaccinations per vet suggestion, so we didn't take him out to socialize until his vaccination was up-to-date. He was mouthy when he was a little boy. When he was 16 weeks old, he went to a professional trainer for obedience training. After his training, we sent him to daycare several times and he was a very good puppy and didn't cause any problems.

After 6 months old, he didn't go to daycare anymore due to the fact that the daycare doesn't allow unneutered/unspayed dogs over 6 months of age to attend group play. We sent him back to daycare recently after he got neutered. However, he was expelled from the daycare after two tries. Please see the following report cards: "The afternoon Cobalt was a bit more overstimulated and snipped at one of the new pups in daycare." "An Attendant was working with another pup and Cobalt came over to see what was going on. When Cobalt got close enough, he jumped on the other dog and started to growl and nip." "We gave him some time to sniff around and then I let the first pup in. As soon as the dog came in the yard, Cobalt went after him."

Today, I took him to a different daycare for the enrollment evaluation. The owner said Cobalt did very well at the beginning until the dog wanted to leave. Then Cobalt jumped on the dog and nipped the dog on the back. She introduced another dog to Cobalt and the same thing happened. Therefore, Cobalt is not allowed to go to this daycare anymore for his and the other dogs' safety.

Cobalt is friendly to our family members. He does show signs of separation anxiety. We walk and exercise him regularly. He wears an E-collar and is on a leash when he is on a walk and has never interacted with other dogs physically during them.

I don't know what is causing his behavior towards other dogs (jumping on them, nipping, and growling). Thank you!
 

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I have had a number of male GSDs. As a general rule, I never allow them near strange dogs. No day care, no dog parks, no meeting other dogs on the street. The odds of something bad happening are just too great. Also, they all seem to take offense at any other dog being near me.
 

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GSDs are big, strong dogs and they have aggressive tendencies. It probably is just easier for the doggie day cares to drop a dog who shows any aggression rather than give them the benefit of the doubt.

In my Obedience 2 class, there is an older GSD who is, apparently, dog aggressive mainly toward other GSDs! This dog jumps up and snarls whenever my Jupiter stands up suddenly, even though Jupiter is not aggressive and is well-socialized. There is also this husky that bit Jupiter and snarls at him--supposedly he likes all other dogs. Yet Jupiter doesn't fight, bully, or attack other dogs. He is even gentle toward small dogs.

Yet the owner of my training center offhandedly said that something to the effect that Jupiter maybe should be neutered earlier because of his temperament. Seemed strange to me, since his normal trainer seems to think he's great and my personal, biased judgment is that he is pretty mild for a GSD.
 

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While there are outliers, GSD's in general haven't proven to be good doggie daycare or dog park dogs once past puppy age (under one year). It's not part of their genetic make up or temperament to want to indiscriminately play or hang out with strange dogs. By standard they are supposed to be aloof.
That's not to say they can't or won't play with other dogs. Just not strange dogs in a daycare/dog park environment. This breed is not the happy-go-lucky lab that loves everyone and every dog.
If you are using a doggie daycare because you feel you dog needs play time with others dogs...no need. He would be much happier spending his time with you. Just my two cents.
 

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I took my first GSD on some play dates but after 8 or 9 months or so he just didn't care about other dogs anymore and rather wanted to interact with me. He even shrugged off annoying (neutered!) males while he was intact and never showed any DA. After him I never took the others to dog parks, except to cross through one on my way to play in the river.
 

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if you bring your dog to Day Care because you work long hours, you might be better off hiring a dog walker. But make sure they understand how to handle a large strong dog. You'll need someone who is fair but firm with your guy.
 

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I took two rescues to daycare regularly but they didn’t really like it much. They only interacted with each other and with the employees. I did it so I would have a place to leave them when I went on vacation. My younger dog now didn’t care for it when he aged out at 6 months I didn’t neuter him and haven’t bothered to find one that would take an intact dog. A good daycare can address behavior problems but it sounds like he isn’t adapting well. I would look for another solution.
 

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Doggie day care and dog parks have been introduced in the last decade or so to people who buy into the doggy-parent baloney.

Your dog is a dog, not a furry kid. He is a canine, in the same grouping as a wolf or wild dogs. These are domestic dogs and there are some differences. But the species is the same. Now, what do we know about wolves and wild dogs? They are pack animals. You will say, but of course, I know that. Of course you do. But lets look at a pack.

Dog/wolf packs usually begin with a pairing of a dog/bitch. She separates, often with the young male to have a litter of puppies. Those puppies grow up into adolescents and she is pregnant again. And again. The most independent/dominant pups move out of the pack and form their own packs with a strong bitch. Middle of the road dogs, run and hunt with their dam and sire, and the omega pups, grow into being the babysitter-type dogs.

But the point is the dogs run, hunt with, play with dogs in their own pack. Order is established and then forgotten about. Only in times of change, injury/illness is there a disruption in the pack order. The male marks his territory, and other dogs stay away. If another dog comes into the territory there is generally going to be a fight. It depends on who's who in the pecking order. Makeshift packs of semi-domesticated dogs, might incorporate outsiders into the pack.

Dogs who are alpha, walk around like their poop doesn't stink, and every other dog just accepts that that dog is the king of the mountain. Few if any fights. Beta dogs, are the wanna-be alphas. These are the dogs that fight for status and to keep their status. Like if the alpha dog dies, a beta dog may be put into the position of leader, and that dog, because of his lack of confidence, will be challenged and dethroned most likely. Beta dogs fight. Omega dogs often are like welcome mats. Many dogs will attack an omega-type dog. These are like the kids that are bullied wherever they go. Something about them, just makes them targets.

In the pack structure, there is a place for alphas, betas, and omegas. And when the pack is stable, there is not a lot of fighting.

Now lets look at doggy daycare. Daycare is for pre-school age children, because throughout life, children have to function with a variety of people all the time. They will have to function with peers, with teachers, employers, customers, professionals, etc. So to socialize them, and help them thrive as a member of society, we send them to school, and often pre-school. When we go to work, we cannot put them in a cage, they need constant supervision, while hopefully learning/exercising their mind, body, and social skills. It is imperative for children to grow physically, mentally, and socially if parents want to get them out of the basement and on their own someday.

Your dog is never going to be "on his own someday." This is why you are an owner and not a pet-guardian or pet parent. His instinct is to pack up, and his pack is his family. It can include Grandma who doesn't live with you, but who sees him all the time, all the humans in the household, other dogs he lives with, and maybe the cat or the bird or the guinea pig. Maybe, your dog decides to protect the old lady across the street's home too (Princess did.) And maybe your dog is fine with the two little dogs or big dogs next door.

But unless the doggy day care is properly staffed (unlikely), with people who understand dog-psychology, body language, etc., and the group of dogs is stable -- that is not changing all the time, it is an extremely stressful situation for young dogs. And neutered dogs often have as many, if not more problems than intact dogs. Not sure why that is, but over and again, the dog in the dog park that causes all the problems is a neutered dog.

The good news is that your dog does not need doggy day care or dog parks. And, behavior can improve without doggy daycare. On the one hand, the dog's brain and body are exercised during the day while you are working, and he may otherwise be sleeping in his crate or kennel. On the other hand, at best the dog is running, playing, indulged, and at worst constantly stressed for a long period of time. So when you get them back, they may be tired, over-tired, or relieved to the point where they are now able to act out. So sometimes you have really bad behavior when they come home. Or, more likely, you have a dog that reacts when they see other dogs. They either think that every time they see another dog, it is amusement-park-play time; or it is time to bully or be bullied the other dog.

Those of us who show, want a dog that is confident in situations where there are other dogs, preferably neutral. We don't take them to puppy kindergartens where there is free-for-all play times. We do not generally take them to dog parks or doggy day care, because our dogs play with us, and we want them to ignore other dogs for the most part. Which makes us ogres.

The new, improved PETA imposed pet guardianship ideology, tries to make people think that they need to take their dogs to doggy day care, to stimulate them when they are not home. To take them to dog parks, so they can play with other dogs. This is untrue and in many cases unkind.

We should not be "humane" to dogs. They are not humans. It is terribly disrespectful to treat a dog like a human. They are beautiful, and spectacular creatures, dogs. To try to make humans them, to treat them as humans, is putting expectations on them that they can't and shouldn't realize. If you want a human, make one, adopt one, connect with one. If you want a dog, treat it appropriately to its species. It doesn't mean you shouldn't house train the dog, and train it to walk on a leash and to be comfortable around other people/dogs. But we are going beyond training and living with a domestic animal, and trying to make them little people.


Ok, I know this isn't your fault. It is the fault of the Humane Society of the United States and PETA and the AR movement. We need to take our dogs back.
 

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While there are outliers, GSD's in general haven't proven to be good doggie daycare or dog park dogs once past puppy age (under one year). It's not part of their genetic make up or temperament to want to indiscriminately play or hang out with strange dogs. By standard they are supposed to be aloof.
That's not to say they can't or won't play with other dogs. Just not strange dogs in a daycare/dog park environment. This breed is not the happy-go-lucky lab that loves everyone and every dog.
If you are using a doggie daycare because you feel you dog needs play time with others dogs...no need. He would be much happier spending his time with you. Just my two cents.
+100. My GSD is only 10 months and prefers to only play with dogs she knows very well. She refuses to interact with random dogs. I think the GSD aloof quality is one of the most attractive things about the breed and I prefer it. She’s generally very focused on me all the time
 

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I know a person who owns a day care and their dogs were expelled from it. Some just aren't a good fit for that type of environment.
 
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Why do you think he needs to go to Doggie Daycare and interact with strange dogs?
Cobalt stays at home with us most of the time. I sent him to daycare because I "think" he needs to have a fun time with other dogs not only us (human). :( Obviously, he was not thrilled in a daycare environment.
 

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+100. My GSD is only 10 months and prefers to only play with dogs she knows very well. She refuses to interact with random dogs. I think the GSD aloof quality is one of the most attractive things about the breed and I prefer it. She’s generally very focused on me all the time
Sigh.. my dog is anything but aloof. Would be nice if she was. She's 15 months. I've also just about given up on her ever being very focused on me. There is always something else way more interesting. I just can't compete with the cat. Or squirrels. Or dogs. Or birds. Or blowing leaves. Or... or... or... :p
 

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Cobalt stays at home with us most of the time. I sent him to daycare because I "think" he needs to have a fun time with other dogs not only us (human). :( Obviously, he was not thrilled in a daycare environment.
See, that is putting human emotion onto Cobalt. It's simply not natural for dogs past puppy stage to interact with strange dogs. If you want him to have "dog friends" make friends with another owner who has a dog (or dogs) with a similar play style. Introduce the dogs and have occasional play sessions in a safe secure area.
Make sure that the dogs have plenty of time to get to know each other and be prepared to accept that he may not like the dog that you picked for him. Even dogs who live together aren't guaranteed to like each other. We don't like all other humans do we?
 

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Unfortunately I don't think there's much you can do. By the time dogs are fully vaccinated, most of their window of opportunity to properly socialize them is gone.

It's this tough thing we have to face as dog owners, when to socialize vs when to expose to possibly un-vaccinated dogs. I went with socialization. Stayed away from dog parks and was very diligent keeping her away from feces or bad dogs (more likely, their bad parents). Worked out very well. My dog is extremely social and extremely comfortable in packs of dogs. Knowing her like I do, there's no way she would be like this if I waited until her full vaccination schedule was over.
 

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It is good that you are doing it because you thought it would enrich his life, rather than a need for him to be watched during the day. Because now it is easier to fix- don't bring him :)

GSDs in particular are a breed that do not need and often do not tolerate "doggie playdates"

You're his pack, you're what is important to him. Play relationship games with him, hikes, training, all these mental bonding things will make your dog's life whole and everything a GSD would want out of life. When I need to go away I pay one of our 3 college aged babysitters 50 bucks a day/night to stay with them. They know how to interact with my dogs, the house rules. It is actually cheaper than boarding them and they are more relaxed because they are home.
 
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