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This is more a comment than question.

My wife and myself took Cruz (5month old GSD) to the dog park for the first time over the holiday weekend. It was an enlitening experience to say the least. We went twice a day for two days.

First trip was nice. Not to many dogs and the ones there were pretty polite for dogs. Second trip in the evening was alittle different. My dog is just ;looking to have fun. He's pretty non agressive towards other dogs. This bird dog shows up as well as a long haired female yr. old GSD we knew already. This bird dog's owner new the LH GSD's owner and basically let his dog run without paying any attention to him. Of coarse my dog decided to play with the bird dog and wound up in conflict with it. Basically the bird dog would ride the back of my dogs neck not biting but open mouthing his neck scaring the **** out of my dog. This happened several times and each time I was going to step in, his friends long haired Shepherd would swoop in on the birddog driving him away from my pup. All this really messed with my dogs ego. But he still went out and played some more. The birddog got so bad he jumped on a small boy and scared him. The owner of the shepherd told the owner of the birddog he should go see how the boy was. The birddog owner was just going to leave and say nothing, not even sorry. Needless to say, Cruz will outgrow the birddog in no time. I won't forget the birddog if and when the situation arises later on.

Second day we went, went really well. He's still alittle intimidated when the dogs pack together. I try to keep him away from larger dogs that act overly aggressive with other dogs. Other than the birddog experience, everything else went fine.

The dog park is a different expeience for sure.
 

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This is more a comment than question.

My wife and myself took Cruz (5month old GSD) to the dog park for the first time over the holiday weekend. It was an enlitening experience to say the least. We went twice a day for two days.

First trip was nice. Not to many dogs and the ones there were pretty polite for dogs. Second trip in the evening was alittle different. My dog is just ;looking to have fun. He's pretty non agressive towards other dogs. This bird dog shows up as well as a long haired female yr. old GSD we knew already. This bird dog's owner new the LH GSD's owner and basically let his dog run without paying any attention to him. Of coarse my dog decided to play with the bird dog and wound up in conflict with it. Basically the bird dog would ride the back of my dogs neck not biting but open mouthing his neck scaring the **** out of my dog. This happened several times and each time I was going to step in, his friends long haired Shepherd would swoop in on the birddog driving him away from my pup. All this really messed with my dogs ego. But he still went out and played some more. The birddog got so bad he jumped on a small boy and scared him. The owner of the shepherd told the owner of the birddog he should go see how the boy was. The birddog owner was just going to leave and say nothing, not even sorry. Needless to say, Cruz will outgrow the birddog in no time. I won't forget the birddog if and when the situation arises later on.

Second day we went, went really well. He's still alittle intimidated when the dogs pack together. I try to keep him away from larger dogs that act overly aggressive with other dogs. Other than the birddog experience, everything else went fine.

The dog park is a different expeience for sure.
And yet you continued to stay? And even returned several more times? Dog parks are a hodge podge of who-knows-what kind of personalities, training, etc...and that's just the owners! Not a good environment to expose a growing, impressionable, puppy, to. There are COUNTLESS threads on here about dogs being attacked,permanently affected(behaviorally), and/or physically injured from the unpredictable behavior of dogs and their owners in an off-leash, out-of-control, area.

SO, you think because you know THIS dog is "dangerous" you're more prepared....there will be others....Your dog may outgrow the bird dog in size, but that means nothing....if I let things "play-out" in my house, my 34lb Cardigan Corgi would,without a doubt push around my 80lb German Shepherd...the corgi is older and was here first....it was MY training, with both dogs, that prevented that from happening. Your dog's size is not going to do anything.

Sorry to be short, but on this forum there are SO many owners who start out like this, and all too often they are back several months later, with a fear aggressive or dog-aggressive dog, and they "have no idea why." Work now to prevent it later...good luck ;-)
 

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I don't take Mia to dog parks because of things like that. You never know what kind of dogs and people will be there, and you can't do anything to change poor behavior on their part. It's just a mash-up of different problems waiting to happen. :sick:
 

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And yet you continued to stay? And even returned several more times? Dog parks are a hodge podge of who-knows-what kind of personalities, training, etc...and that's just the owners! Not a good environment to expose a growing, impressionable, puppy, to. There are COUNTLESS threads on here about dogs being attacked,permanently affected(behaviorally), and/or physically injured from the unpredictable behavior of dogs and their owners in an off-leash, out-of-control, area.

SO, you think because you know THIS dog is "dangerous" you're more prepared....there will be others....Your dog may outgrow the bird dog in size, but that means nothing....if I let things "play-out" in my house, my 34lb Cardigan Corgi would,without a doubt push around my 80lb German Shepherd...the corgi is older and was here first....it was MY training, with both dogs, that prevented that from happening. Your dog's size is not going to do anything.

Sorry to be short, but on this forum there are SO many owners who start out like this, and all too often they are back several months later, with a fear aggressive or dog-aggressive dog, and they "have no idea why." Work now to prevent it later...good luck ;-)

Very good points. Thinking about it, your right about the size also. It's just the way I felt and the way the other shepherd came down on the birddog that made me think that way. I guess thats not thinking on my part. It may not be that dog next time, but a worse dog. Not returning has crossed my mind, don't think it hasn't. Keep in mind, this was my first go round and was a feel out process. other than the birddog, all else went good. He still had fun with other dogs, but I guess it only takes one wrong interaction. My pup doesn't need that, let alone myself or my wife. Love my dog too much. Thanks for puting things into perspective for me. I'm glad I started this thread now.
 

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I don't take Mia to dog parks because of things like that. You never know what kind of dogs and people will be there, and you can't do anything to change poor behavior on their part. It's just a mash-up of different problems waiting to happen. :sick:

Your both right. I keep thinking more about it. I can excercise and interact my pup other safer ways. Thinking, there is also no way to determine what dogs have had thier shots either. Another risk. Yeh, I think I'll skip the dog parks from now on.
 

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Very good points. Thinking about it, your right about the size also. It's just the way I felt and the way the other shepherd came down on the birddog that made me think that way. I guess thats not thinking on my part. It may not be that dog next time, but a worse dog. Not returning has crossed my mind, don't think it hasn't. Keep in mind, this was my first go round and was a feel out process. other than the birddog, all else went good. He still had fun with other dogs, but I guess it only takes one wrong interaction. My pup doesn't need that, let alone myself or my wife. Love my dog too much. Thanks for puting things into perspective for me. I'm glad I started this thread now.
Hey, I made the dog park mistake myself. It was joining a SchH club, training with top-dog trainers, and discussing those points that made me stop going. It really only does take one bad thing happening. Your guy is still a puppy. He is learning every minute right now, the last thing you want is for him to learn to fear other dogs, of any size/shape/color/breed etc...Right now just focus on building confidence by exposing him to new things(only things he can handle), obedience, and having fun. He needs to trust that you have got his back, that way he doesn't feel he needs to take things into his own hands. You'll get a confident dog this way. If you really want him to be around other dogs, make sure they are older, dog-neutral, dogs. You working with a trainer at all?
 

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And by exposing I mean, on leash, in only controlable situations. So many people throw their dogs into overwhelming situations (aggressive dogs at dog parks, being pet by strangers when the dog is showing fear...etc). All these situations are teaching the dog is that it needs to defend itself, out of fear, because it knows it can't count on you. This can often develop into pre-emptive strikes by the dog (attacking other dogs/people, immediately showing dominance by growling, hackles, etc) to ensure the thing it is scared of won't get it first.
 

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I stopped going to dog parks when my girl was jumped by 5 dogs in a pack. Their owner stayed sitting down while I literally kicked her dogs off of mine.

This was 12 years ago. I don't trust other people to contain their dogs and monitor their interactions. So I find better ways for my dogs to socialize and get exercise.

So many people use dog parks as the only exercise the dog gets. Find friends with well behaved dogs, join a dog club, get out and about. But fit your puppies sake, stay out of dog parks.


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Hey, I made the dog park mistake myself. It was joining a SchH club, training with top-dog trainers, and discussing those points that made me stop going. It really only does take one bad thing happening. Your guy is still a puppy. He is learning every minute right now, the last thing you want is for him to learn to fear other dogs, of any size/shape/color/breed etc...Right now just focus on building confidence by exposing him to new things(only things he can handle), obedience, and having fun. He needs to trust that you have got his back, that way he doesn't feel he needs to take things into his own hands. You'll get a confident dog this way. If you really want him to be around other dogs, make sure they are older, dog-neutral, dogs. You working with a trainer at all?
Oh yeh. Started a week ago. Would have started sooner but vet recommended he have all his shots first. So thats what we did.
 

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And by exposing I mean, on leash, in only controlable situations. So many people throw their dogs into overwhelming situations (aggressive dogs at dog parks, being pet by strangers when the dog is showing fear...etc). All these situations are teaching the dog is that it needs to defend itself, out of fear, because it knows it can't count on you. This can often develop into pre-emptive strikes by the dog (attacking other dogs/people, immediately showing dominance by growling, hackles, etc) to ensure the thing it is scared of won't get it first.

I totally understand. Cruz is my fourth shepherd. I've had GSD's almost all my life. All my previous dogs had never been socialised with other dogs and turned out highly aggressive towards anything with four legs. They all had good temperments with people though because they were exposed to other poeple alot. This was the main reason for even considering socialising at a dog park. I would not even consider doing this with any of my past dogs.

With new perspective, he should get plenty of socialising during traing classes in a controlled enviroment.
 

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Dogs do need some socialization, maybe just make notes of dogs that play well and take your dogs at those times. nothing is perfect. You could be walking your dog one day and a dog aggresive dog runs up to you and attacks your dog. Ive seen it happen. Check for meetups in your area that are dog friendly at meetup.com. I go to meetups that have responsible owners so our dogs can play together. Some we have attended are even held by dog trainers for free. For example we meet up at dog beaches, the rose bowl at a dog park. We stay together in a group and everyone there has to have to their dog under control or you are asked to leave.
 

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I kind of want to add that you have to remember that YOUR idea of "over-aggressive" is different than MY idea of "over-aggressive." Many (most) people at a dog park do not really care about displays of dominance unless it leads to a fight breaking out. I don't frequent dog parks as much as I used to...mainly because my dog will show dominance and I don't like to be "that" owner, but as long as my dog isn't starting a fight...he's really not crossing a line IMO.

I'm not saying I don't call him off of dogs when he gets a little too rough...but there are plenty of people that wouldn't even think about calling their dog off for playing what YOU might consider too rough. It's like when small dog owners bring their dogs into the large dog part of the park and expect you to protect their little dogs from your dog that likes to play rough...they don't realize that most dogs do not really see size and will play with a 5 lb chihuahua the same way they would with a 200 lb mastiff.

Truth is...fights happen. Dogs have disagreements and have to work things out. You have to be extra vigilant because YOU own the GSD. My dog generally only defends himself...from dominance displays (like humping) but the fact is, if I'm pulling him off a lab...the GSD is the one that will be looked down on (no matter how long the lab has been trying to hump him). As your boy grows...he is more likely to finish the fight...and when he finishes it, it probably won't be a happy sight, and because you own the shepherd, you'll have a lot of fun explaining to whoever that your dog didn't start the fight.

Dogs don't need a ton of dog/dog time. I have an extremely social dog, and he's just as happy playing fetch with me as he is at a dog park...but the dog park adds extra risk, and a lot of stress while I'm there making sure I'm not an irresponsible owner.

The young boy situation...I don't believe small children should be at dog parks. Again, not the job of everyone else to protect YOUR kid when they're at a park designated for dogs. If you want to go to a park with your kid, go to a kid park. Kind of the same situation as with the small dogs. I probably wouldn't apologize either if my dog accidentally or purposely knocked a kid over at a dog park...as long as its not malicious and its just playful, you can't blame the dog. Sure...its a great training opportunity (and my dog knows better) but other people don't care as much about those things.

Don't ever expect that people's dogs are as trained as your dog. Many are puppies, and will jump, climb, and not really listen to their owners. It's like if I was at the park and your boy decided to jump up on me, your response would probably be that "he's just a puppy" but I could still look down on you and your training (I wouldn't, I don't expect well behaved dogs at a park). Don't over-analyze every little thing that goes on at a dog park, don't hold grudges towards certain dogs...but do remember to avoid them.

If I'm reading your tone correctly...the fact that you know your boy will be bigger than the bird dog sounded like one day you'll be happy to see your boy put that dog in its place. Don't worry...I used to think like that too. Hooray for my Big Bad GSD! Then you realize the last thing you want at a park is conflict...my boy was super submissive until one year of age...dog parks were fun, stress free, nothing to worry about when it came to MY dog. After one...he started standing up for himself, putting dogs in their place, not afraid to back down from a scrum, and the dog park became more stressful...so now we pretty much don't go unless I'm near one and needing to kill time.
 

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And yet you continued to stay? And even returned several more times? Dog parks are a hodge podge of who-knows-what kind of personalities, training, etc...and that's just the owners! Not a good environment to expose a growing, impressionable, puppy, to. There are COUNTLESS threads on here about dogs being attacked,permanently affected(behaviorally), and/or physically injured from the unpredictable behavior of dogs and their owners in an off-leash, out-of-control, area.
I kind of want to add that you have to remember that YOUR idea of "over-aggressive" is different than MY idea of "over-aggressive."
I just wanted to say to op, the dog jumping on his back with an open mouth is kind of what some dogs do to play, mine does that when she tries to herd some of her friends and wants them to start running away so she can chase, and it's never aggressive. I wasn't there, but if you felt it was aggression I totally understand (I dont know the other dogs body language / hackes? tail? so I dont know if it was also just play), however, if you thought that it wasn't aggression, was just some rough play that was scaring your dog, I do think it's good that you stayed a little while longer. I think if your dog was fine a few minutes later it was good for him to not end on a bad note.

A few weeks ago I went to the dog park and a dog accidentally ran into Lara, and she made a huge yelp and then ran away terrified. I almost packed up and left because she was very shook up, but then I let her calm down and watch the dogs play while she was behind me. She got back in there when she felt comfortable again and then she was fine. She learned that sometimes she gets in the way and can get body smacked if she's not quick, if I would have left right after that, I feel like she would have remained fearful or believed that 'dogs will hurt me', but it turned into a learning experience and she realized they didn't mean to run into her, they were just playing.

I am fortunate that my dog park is a paid (quite expensive) membership with a strict policy on vaccines, dog aggression, and age. They have people there that are board members that manage the park and do not hesitate to kick you out for life if you have an aggressive dog. I also arrive and observe each dog playing before I put mine in there to make sure none of the other dogs are bullies. However, I would not take mine to a public park that has a giant mix of people who can just show up with whatever dog, its a little too risky, so take my 'make it a learning experience' with a grain of salt!
 

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Here are some of my dog park rules:

Observe before you enter, even if it's your 100th visit. Be prepared to leave at any time.

Don't stand around and visit with your back to your dog. I'm playing with her, or very carefully observing her and the lay of the land. Or she's running around with one of my teens, and even then, I am watching carefully.

She's not allowed to venture too far from me. She's not allowed to play with strange dogs or venture anywhere near a pack formation.

We play fetch ONLY if we can move to an empty area of the park. Will not allow her to have sticks, frisbees, balls, etc. around other dogs. Will not allow her to approach another dog with any of those items, either.

I know some folks at the park think I'm paranoid, but this is the only place where she can regularly run off leash. It is very important to me that this park is available to us, so I do everything I can so we can continue.

It does help that I go early in the morning with a bunch of regulars. In fact, one retired gentleman (who has two GSDs) is there 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, give or take a couple of days. Seriously. He knows every dog that comes through on a regular basis at that time, and is a great source of info. :)
 
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