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Do you think German Shepherds as a breed belong in dog parks?

And here's why I ask, last week a friend of mine sent me a text message saying that she was going to the dog park and asked if I wanted to meet her there, I said sure (she has 2 Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs). So when I got there she was there along with 2 other dogs -

I walk in and turned my dogs loose, Tex didn't know what to do because of course all dogs come up to him at once -(this was his first time I had taken my dogs to the dog park) all of his hackles from his neck to his tail was up and he ran. And after a bit he did settle down enough to where he was kinda mingling but still staying close to Roxy my other dog or myself. I haven't been back since.

Do you take your German Shepherds to a dog park? And if not why? I was told from another GS group that GS don't belong in dog parks because they're a herding/protection dogs...

Thoughts?
Brandi
 

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A pack of strange dogs running up to a new dog can be overwhelming. It's understandable and normal that your dog reacted the way he did since he doesn't know the common rituals of being a new dog entering a pack of already established dogs.

The problem with GSD's and dog parks and generally speaking because there's always an exception to the rule, is the way they play and interact with other dogs. They play rough. They growl. They herd. They nip. It almost looks like they're fighting. A lot of dogs just don't appreciate that type of play and fights break out.

But I really don't like dog parks for any dog of any breed. Too many stupid owners out there.
 

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Small enclosed "dog parks"? I'm not a fan of those in general, regardless of breed. Large open space off leash parks? Well, see for yourself:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/pictures-pictures-pictures/185225-gsds-take-over-beach-photo-dump.html

It really depends on the dog and the park. We're lucky that we have good off leash places for play, exercise, and swimming. The dogs at our parks tend to be fairly well behaved and well socialized for the most part. But even so, not all dogs are good candidates for that kind of environment, and your friend is right that often herding breeds have a play style that other dogs don't always react well to.

The problem with the smaller fenced parks is that pack behavior can develop - the dogs already there can turn on the newcomer, rushing the gate, as you observed. Where we go it's more like we're going for a walk with our dogs and they just happen to be off leash, and all the other people there are doing the same thing. The only time we're standing around in one spot is if we stop to chat with someone or our dogs hit it off with another dog and they romp around together for a minute. Otherwise, we're moving and our dogs can either ignore passing dogs or greet them with sniffs if they choose to.

Also, in the open space parks there's plenty of room to observe the interactions of other dogs. If we see a dog that we don't want around our dogs (typical stuff might be rude dominance posturing such as putting paws on the backs of other dogs or laying a head over their neck, or other behavior that shows poor social skills) then we take a different line and bypass it.
 

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Before I got my GSD I was a member at the dog park. My experiences were never what I considered great, unless it was only my dogs there. My golden was attacked by a Rott, my lab was mounted by a husky(he wouldn't give up), and my oldest spent all of her time greeting and kissing all the people at the entrance. Little dogs that belonged on the little side were on the big side, people brought food in and had a picnic with dogs everywhere(they didn't even own a dog):mad:, and people just gathered and didn't pay much attention to their dogs. Other then that it was okay:D I will not bring my GSD there, only because I'm familiar with the dogs that are there and she plays way differently then them. As mentioned in another post, most dogs will not tolerate the kind of normal play a GSD has and a fight will happen...I can guarantee it. I have a good dog and I don't want her to experience anything that might change that.
 

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This is our usual "dog park", that's the SF Bay, with the Golden Gate bridge in the distance - it tends to be crowded on the path next to the channel, but there's also a grassy meadow along the side where the trees are, and lots of room to chase balls:



As you can see in this picture our dogs are all about us (and each other!), they're waiting for us to play ball:



Other than chasing balls, this is the main reason we go - to swim!



Keefer has been going to off leash parks since he was around 4-1/2 months old, Halo since she was 15 weeks old.
 

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I am so jealous:).I wish we had great places like that around here to take our dogs!




This is our usual "dog park", that's the SF Bay, with the Golden Gate bridge in the distance - it tends to be crowded on the path next to the channel, but there's also a grassy meadow along the side where the trees are, and lots of room to chase balls:

 

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At off leash large areas, we have had dogs rushing, bearing down on us at a rapid speed. My GSD not at all cool with us being charged. Owners with no recall. Yuckiness altogether.
 

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Breed is irrelevant. If your dog has a suitable temperament and level of training for a dog park, then yes. If you or your dog are not suited, then no.

Mine are suitable and trained, so we go daily. Never had an incident. I'll repeat it ad nauseum every time someone insists that your dog will be attacked and killed the second you set foot in a dog park: over a decade, over a dozen dogs... never once an incident in my experience. But that's MY experience.
 

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i started taking my dog to the dog park when he
was 6 months old. before the dog park i use to
meet with a group of people in the woods. sometimes
there was 25 dogs running around. i don't think it's a
breed issue whether Shepherds should go to dog parks.
i think it's how the dog is socialized and the temperment
of each dog.
 

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We do not go to dog park any more. It was so much fun and is still so tempting. But it is so easy to pick up parasites from dog wastes in the dog park. It is a health risk. He had Giardia from I don't know where. It is miserable for him. So I can't take the risk.

Personality wise, after he became a teenager, he would chase female dogs in the dog park. Maybe he thought I took him there to find a mate. :( He was also once instigated by a very aggressive dog after he tried to chase a female boxer. He tried to figure out what was going on. The act of the three attracted a pack of dogs in the park. I found myself alone in a middle of about 12 dogs breaking up dog fights and tried to drag him out of there while a pack of dogs trailed us all the way to the gate. Very dramatic memory of our last time in the park.

When he was a puppy puppy (before the era of chasing girls), dog parks were fun. He was friendly yet easy to be bullied. So I stepped in to show my protection over him. He likes playful and friendly smaller sized dogs and knows to avoid bullies. He would circle around the table with his play mate non stop. You can also see his drive and personality you may not see in other places - intensely driven in chasing and fetching balls, never tired of it.

Nowadays I only take him to the park and stay outside and do distraction training with him. Dog parks are perfect training distraction and huge temptation for both of us.
 

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I have seen dogs who played together for a very long time have issues when a bitch recently in season came near the play group. Whoopppeee, that a rounder of a fight for a bit. Temperament, socialization, history playing together....they are still dogs and doggie things can go on.
 

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i Take Triad to this dog park its about 40 mins only reason i take him is so he can swim the park is 7 acres with a lake. all the owners are friendly dogs are too. i been taking him 4 times since last yr i only had one problem this once with this owner and his poodle the poodle was being aggressive toward Triad and wouldnt let him pass the owner was on his cell phone letting it all happen.

Triad enjoys going there. he gets waay excited when he pull in the parking lot.

VIDEO0011.mp4 - YouTube
VIDEO0010.mp4 - YouTube
 

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sadie went to a dog park 3 times, i made sure there were only a few dogs there, and all the owners kept tabs on their dogs which was good. its been a while since we were there, sadie likes to run around for a bit then she is done. the park i go to all the owners pick up the dog poop, no one leaves it there which is good
 

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Breed is irrelevant. If your dog has a suitable temperament and level of training for a dog park, then yes. If you or your dog are not suited, then no.

Mine are suitable and trained, so we go daily. Never had an incident. I'll repeat it ad nauseum every time someone insists that your dog will be attacked and killed the second you set foot in a dog park: over a decade, over a dozen dogs... never once an incident in my experience. But that's MY experience.
Personally I never said mine weren't suitable and trained, its the other dogs that are the problem. I still went back, just to a different park, after my 3-4 month old golden was attacked. I've seen my GSD play and I've seen the personalities of the dogs at the park, its no match. And my GSD is wonderful with dogs, cats, and people..it is really more based on the other dog being able to handle what I will call normal GSD play.
 

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Breed is irrelevant. If your dog has a suitable temperament and level of training for a dog park, then yes. If you or your dog are not suited, then no.

Mine are suitable and trained, so we go daily. Never had an incident. I'll repeat it ad nauseum every time someone insists that your dog will be attacked and killed the second you set foot in a dog park: over a decade, over a dozen dogs... never once an incident in my experience. But that's MY experience.
this.
 

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I don't bring Stark so much because he is not a fan of unruly dogs in his face or on his back - wouldn't end well for the other dog.

My dogs don't run up to other dogs or really care to mingle with others to be honest now that they are older (Zef never really did at all really). Stark will sniff around and Zefra just wants to play ball or fetch whatever it is I have.

This is our version of a "off leash dog park".


(The male GSD is my friends pup Hunter)





As you can see, both our dogs (the sables) don't care about the other dogs there - they just want to interact with us.
 

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Dog parks really depend on your dog. Mine has been there since a young age and he's fine at all of them. I have kind of stopped caring about the other dogs there because I know my boy can handle them (even in the bad sense) and if the other owner wants to allow their dog to do something to my GSD, its their choice. I usually will keep my boy away from certain dogs because of his playing style, but I'm not going to go out of my way to "rescue" a dog that is clearly asking for it or being the aggressor.

If you can find a place to take your dog off leash that doesn't involve other dogs, or just involves dogs that you know (like some of the pictures the others have posted), it would probably be best, but if a dog park is your best option for letting your dog get some time off leash then it shouldn't be an issue as long as their temperaments are fine for that park.
 
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