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Ok so I have taken Sasha to Petsmart for boarding and she was never allowed in group play because they kicked her out. I have also gone through Petsmart 1 on 1 training and am just not pleased! So I took her to another location by my house that unlike Petsmart has an acre of land that they can go out an play in instead of having group play in doors. I took her to see how she would do for one day. I was told she did great for about an hour, she was having fun playing with the other dogs etc... But then they let the little dogs into the yard and she would not leave them alone chasing them and pinning them down. She got kicked out of that group play also. The trainer there said she has a high prey drive but only for little dogs. He recommends me to do some training with him, and to also try the clicker training. Not sure if anyone else has ran into this issue or not and how the corrected it. I feel bad for boarding her and her not being able to do group play time. Also when I walk her I do notice she goes crazy when we pass a smaller dog. Its very embarrassing. I have tried everything the petsmart trainer showed me but at $89 every 30 minute session I couldn't keep justifying the price when I saw no progress being made.
 

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Group play is overrated , IMO.

Too many breeds with their own characteristics mixed together...it's most likely not going to go well.

When my boy was a pup following his puppy class they had "puppy playtime"... tried it twice & it was such a headache. He too wanted to chase the little breeds, it was a free for all.

Don't feel bad....GSD don't need friends only you for guidance & strong leadership. Show your pup downtime, chilling out when you can't be with him...he will be fine:)
 

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My female GSD loves little dogs and plays very nice with them. My new one is reactive and I hate it. I have done research, I am in contact with three trainers, and I work him everyday with being around other dogs. I don't care if he ever plays with another dog, but he needs to ignore them. I think that should be a common goal with anyone that owns a GSD. Who wants that liability? Most people don't and I certainly don't. I am taking parts of what every trainer tells me and put together my own game plan and its been working. Today another reactive dog attacked mine and mine walked away focused on me...he did look at the dog like he was crazy and that is what I want. Nothing in life is free...goes for dogs and sadly the cost of training. Good Luck!!
 

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There are some dogs who just aren't safe with little dogs. My Akita mix Crookytail is one of them. He's fine with puppies, but adult dogs are a different story. I can't foster dogs under 25 pounds because Crooky will just smash them into the ground. He doesn't bite, he runs toward them full force and then shoulder tackles them straight into the ground. I don't know if he thinks he's playing or what, but it's obviously unsafe, so he doesn't get to play with little dogs.

And that's okay. He can walk past them on leash just fine, and that's all I need from him.

If you're having issues with your dog on leash, Patricia McConnell's booklet "Reactive Rover" might be a good starting point (and considerably cheaper than $89 for half an hour with a PetSmart trainer -- yowza!). There are lots of other complementary and alternative approaches, though. Some of the focus exercises in Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed may be helpful, and Karen Overall's relaxation protocol is a good foundation exercise that reinforces impulse control generally and so tends to strengthen the other protocols.
 
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