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No hate from me, I just know that my big pointy eared shepherd is going to be blamed for anything that happens where they are involved. People don't pay attention or can't read dog signals and fights happen. My dogs are able to co-exist with other dogs. They can ignore them in public, which is what I want. They can play in a small get group, which is what I want. Blackthorn just had a party a few weeks ago with some of her puppy buyers. I think there were at least 30 dogs there including my three. Not a single fight.


I know my male can be considered too much for some people and their dogs, so I don't put him in that situation. My shiba and female GSD are much more fluid with their energy and don't come off as intense. I took them to the park in the past, but I can fulfil their desire for fun on my own. It's better for my relationship with them. Different strokes for different folks, I say.
I hear you, lucky for us most of the dogs at our park are big dogs, currently bigger then our puppies. There is 1 older male shepherd that is vocal but he does well with the other dogs, I can see what you mean though. When he does get vocal everyone watches more but we do have a good group of people who understand dogs are dogs... If the puppies got to the point where they just didn't want to be around other dogs, we would stop taking them. We hope to not have that happen though.
 

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Why the hate on Dog Parks?? GSD's don't have to be unsocial dogs, they can love there people and love other dogs to. We take our puppies to 1 dog park that we love.... good people, good dogs. We stay close to our dogs though, very involved with who they are interacting with and both our dogs have good recall. Our male loves to run around with the other dogs (big or small) but our female tends to hang with the humans, sits with the ladies like she is a housewife :) lol
I know there are dogs that have that type of dog park temperament, but whether my dog does or not, I own dogs for me. My time with them is mainly for me and them. We're each others entertainment.
 

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Yup, Steve says it like it is- my dogs are for me to do stuff with. They aren't furry babies to take to play dates. Not my dogs, anyway!

As for rock solid recall.

I use here for urgent, immediate recall.

I also use "no" as a marker for unwanted attention or behavior.

No means something to the dog as I follow up with correction. No means stop what you are doing and pay attention to me. If you say "no" when the dog is just thinking about chasing, you are in their head and that is the best time to redirect or call the dog.

So - I see dog fixated on, say, a deer. I say "no". Dog stops and looks at me- if he doesn't, I correct him. Then I say "(dogs name) here" Dog comes running to me. If dog does not immediately come I mark with "no" and correct.

That's just how I do it. Works for chasing, but you need to be able to have a dog who understands the "no" marker, and correct immediately and in a meaningful way- I use e-collar. Hard to deal with chasing behavior in a high drive, prey driven dog without one.

I correct my dogs very rarely once they are proofed and trained. The description sounds like corrections are common, they are not. I do reward, but infrequently, with treat or toy. Their reward is to run with me off leash in beautiful, wild places. I couldn't do this if they did not have a solid recall.

You don't have to mark "no" prior to recall, but I often do when it is a wildlife or chasing issue, it just seems to work best for me and my dogs. It's basically a "stop and listen" type command.
 

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Using/proofing with the e-collar has worked for me! Rollo coming when I call "Here" is something I can count on 100% which relieves a lot of stress. Keep working on it and don't give up!
 

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Not a big fan of dog parks. GSDs are a working bred and can have (and supposed to have) higher prey and civil drive. This often does get them into trouble, with the chasing of other dogs (when they start to run) and when the dogs stop running there can be nipping (which equates to the GSD taking the prey). A sold recall can be trained; as mentioned before best through positive re-enforcement and don't get angry at the dog when he will not recall while on the chase. The dog's focus is on the prey and not anything else, so training is necessary to get the dog's mind to focus upon you and not distraction around. Training a sold focus and recall is best done with a very good trainer that knows GSDs. I would not recommend it on your own, unless you are very versed on it, it will take time and effort!!!

Recalling off prey is done a short distances with a long line to communicate the desire for the dog to recall and rewarding the recall with a very high value reward (meat). Then increasing the distance where the recall is applied, until the dog does recall at a distance where you are comfortable with him. Then there is maintenance, the training goes away after time, so maintenance training is needed to keep the dog sharp.

Back to dog parks, I don't use them because of the free-for-all nature, chance of very aggressive dogs being there, deceases, and the main reason is that it maybe fun to watch fido and fluffy run with the pack and be a dog; but usually that isn't what people want. They want a dog that is focused on them, mannered, good in varying environments, and a companion. Being at the dog park doesn't help people achieve any of those goals.
 

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Couple things about a recall.

A dog should never be off leash if his recall isn’t reliable. I know, but it’s a fact. I have acreage and right now, two of my dogs are always on long lines. It’s inconvenient as heck, but if they don’t come when I call them, I can’t enforce the recall cue. If they run the other way, I’ve trained them “come” means “ignore my human.” It’s basic training.

Recall is the most important thing I train my dogs. I start training it the day I get them, whether puppy or adult. It’s what will keep a dog alive. We can’t undermine our own critically important training.

A longline at an offleash dog park sounds like a recipe for injuries, human and canine. To be blunt, don’t do it. Train your dog elsewhere.

GSDs play in a way that most breeds don’t. As one of my old trainers used to say, “the body slamming, the nipping and that big paw on shoulders, it pisses other dogs off.” Some offleash parks are fine. Some aren’t. But our dogs don’t play like most breeds. Some dogs adapt to it. Many don’t. In my GSD pup’s puppy class, he and another GSD play happily together. They tend to freak other pups out. And the way the labs play, with no regard for personal space, that kind of bothers them. So I find it’s best to find other shepherds or dogs that live with/play with GSDs to socialize with.

As for recalls, throughout your day, all day long, you should be practicing your recall. Just telling him to wait in his crate then calling him across the room, calling him to dinner, calling him to bedtime, etc, make recalls part of your routine. Reinforce those recalls with praise, petting, play and treats.

The dog should come instantly & enthusiastically to you, front and center, with no fly-bys. If he consistently isn’t doing so, you may have burned your recall word (let him ignore it so often that it means nothing) or you may have poisoned the cue (called him but you were angry or then did something he didn’t like). Pick another word. If you use “come,” you might use “here” or “front.”

If you have kids, a partner or roommate that calls him without follow up, don’t tell them the new word. Burned and poisoned cues are more deleterious to training than many people realize.

If you call the dog once and he doesn't come, go get him. Take his collar (using a tab is even better) Don’t touch him. Don’t make a big fuss (attention and touch are reinforcing), just get him. Obviously, you don’t want to have to chase him (being chased is fun!) that’s why he needs to be on a leash or long line until his recall is reliable.

He’ll quickly learn that ignoring you doesn’t do him any good. Complying with a cue gets happy cheering, play and treats. Ignoring gets a boring escort to where you wanted him to go.

Meanwhile, keep working actively on your recalls. I don’t use correction (other than an “ehhh” or a soft “nuh-uh” as a nonresponse marker). The instructions above are generally good otherwise.

One more note, if you have a dog that has excellent handling skills, particularly if he’ll drop to a down instantly for you, work on that. Increase your distance. Get your dog trained so that he will down from anywhere. Work on a rock solid down and a rock solid wait.

I have a beagle and a Samoyed/GSD mix (Samoyeds and beagles are both known as runners). Both of them I can call their name and hold up my hand, they stop and wait. If I drop my hand, that means down, right there regardless where they are .

If I squat down, they run to me. Or I go get them.

With the Samoyed mix, the deer &elk on our property compelled her to chase. At first, I couldn’t proof a rock solid recall as I was working against her genetic instincts. But I could get her to stop moving after the deer. Once she stopped, I had her attention to call her to me.

I was able to convert that into an actual recall over the course of about a 6 months.

There are times when we want a dog to just stop anyhow, like if he has run across a busy street. We don’t want him running back to us.

Anyhow, that’s an approach for a dog that’s super focused and needs a break in focus before being recalled. It’s easier for a dog to stop and wait then recall. You just have to hold the dog in the wait. If he dashes off when you approach, he must be on a leash.

But I don’t see that that particular dog park is the right venue for him, at least not in the near future. Remember, positive training is fun and works his brain. You probably don’t need the dog park.

Good luck.


4K9Mom
Formerly 3K9Mom
 

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No matter how stupid and irresponsible the other owner is, it will always be your fault because you have that dog in all the photos with the Nazis or in the video pulling someone out of a car and eating their face. You can not win. These people are not joking, they are trying to politely tell you to stop bringing your dog to the park.

I took my GSD to the park 1 time when she was a pup. She chased every dog, and briefly, I recognized that I was the only person left in the park. She is exceptionally obedient, perfectly trained and I would trust her with my life around infants (she just ignores people as she doesn't see them as threats, I guess), but around small dogs, I do not trust her. Now at 9 1/2, she befriends some, although others she still wants to eat, and until her hair goes up on her back I can not tell which way that is going to go. Small white dogs she will always go after. I believe she thinks they are ducks.

My advice. Realize that your GSD doesn't really care about playing all that much with other dogs anyway. They want to be with you. Dog parks are a major no for me. Like I said in the beginning. No matter how irresponsible the other owner is. It will be your fault and everyone will look at you. Every Saturday I walk on the lake near my home. Saturday nights are filled with people not from my 'hood. Not the people I pass every other night of the week that know my dog. These people bring little dogs on long leashes and for some reason think it's cute to let their Lil 3kg pup walk right under my dog's nose. This is my time to turn the table and play off their fears. Look at the with fire from my eyes, tell them they are irresponsible morons, and lucky to still have a dog. Then walk away indignant.

Did I mention that no matter whose fault it is, it will always 100% of the time be yours?
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Found this old post I started and wanted to follow up.

Soon after this post, I stopped going to the dog park. I may have not even gone back after these incidents. As I stated above, it was getting "hot," and it wasn't even just the social pressure, it was just obvious that Jupiter's instincts and behavior were not a good match for a dog park.

He has become a calm, friendly, and happy dog with family and, surprisingly to me, people in general. I have done a lot of socializing, in the sense of showing him around and taking him everywhere, and it seems to have paid off along with a relatively gentle temperament.

On the weekends, I go to the elementary school with a 100' line and play fetch, which is still his favorite activity. There are other dogs off leash there, but it's a big space and they generally stay on the other side of the large grounds. The dogs do come up when we're leaving, but Jupiter does fine with them (except when there's a puppy, I can tell he doesn't like them so I keep him away).

Unfortunately, I got a little lazy about training so I am currently getting back to that, building up the repetitions in the house and yard for now.
 
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