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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I just wanted to ask for some opinions/insight on my 3.5 year old male GSD's behaviour with other dogs. He's fixed (since 6 months old).

Our big boy is described as a "gentle giant" on most occasions. He has a dominant personality, but he's also calm, confident and lazy (he has very little prey drive, gives up chasing the ball after about 3 throws). He's well balanced, and has helped GSDs and other dogs that have aggression issues. He can be incredibly patient, especially with puppies. He's also a certified therapy dog and goes on weekly excursions to nursing homes.

However, lately he's pretty much stopped playing with other dogs at the dog park (we go to the off-leash park everyday). He enjoys saying hello and playing next to dogs, but has really toned down the playing "with". Is this a normal behaviour for a male GSD? The one thing he still likes to do is chase, but it's turning into more of a predatory chase than a play chase, which I'm not a fan of. Altercations with other dogs have also started to become more frequent. He has never sought out or started anything, but he's begun reacting when another dog goes for him. He'll stop immediately and go back to his relaxed, panting and happy self when we tell him to, but what I'd really like is for him not to react at all in the first place. But maybe that's asking too much? It just seems like some days he doesn't have as much of that patience and calm confidence as he used to.

We're definitely going to try to tone down the chasing and pinning, but I just wanted to put the feelers out there to see if anyone had any other suggestions for a so-called "dominant" male?

Thanks!
 

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Some dogs just don't enjoy the company of others outside of their "pack" and maybe it's time to stop going to the dog park? Or switch to a different time, if you need this space, to when other dogs aren't inclined to be there? You don't want your dog chasing and pinning other dogs - it's bound to lead to trouble some day. Lots of people here have had puppies that fit in well, but once they matured their dog park days were over.
 

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Thanks for the input Blanketback. That's exactly what we're thinking. He loves his sister and his buddies that come around for a play or a hike, but he's just become less tolerant of other dogs at the park, particularly those with high energy. Some days it's fine, it all depends on who's there. That's the other thing that's frustrating, not being able to control which dogs/people are at the park. He was so playful and social as a pup, so this is definitely a transition for us. And he's our first, so we have nothing to compare him to, nor previous shepherd experience. Just 6 months ago he was patiently wrestling with younger males pup at the beach, but I can't see him doing that anymore. Maybe on a day when "all the starts are alligned perfectly". He just seems to have lost interest, and tolerance. He's perfectly happy playing next to other dogs and even watching, it's just the interactions that are becoming more frequently less friendly.
 

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You can Google "Dog Parks" and you will find a lot of articles on how bad they are. Good intentions but just bad. I wonder if you go to the Dog Park for his benefit or yours? If you do it for him I would say stop. No need to have your Dog in a area that could potentially lead to trouble either by bad mannered dogs or incompetent owners.
 

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We definitely go for his benefit, with the intention of "healthy socialization", and to keep him socialized and used to being around other dogs. I much prefer going on solo walks/hikes/runs with my dogs, or playing fetch and other games. This time of year the parks just get worse, and BUSY. Definitely thinking of steering clear now...
 
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