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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A dalmatian, has bitten my dog twice (they had a scuffle before). Yesterday was the second time.
It was at our pack walk. I am not gonna lie our trainer is not a method guy, he is kind of crazy, but so far for the last months, his ideas had worked for our dog. There are only like 4 trainers in our state, one is super expensive but people say he has been scamming lots of owners around (I have heard this from known people), the second in price is our trainer who is quite a character, then, the the third one is the idiot we had before who put a prong on a 5 month pup for no freaking reason, the fourth one is a guy that we have not yet taken our dog to.



The thing is our trainer is good, we have had great moments thanks to him, he has allowed our dog to have a more social life with the world (he has some fear reactivity and such). He is does this socializations in large fields every week. He is the only trainer that does large field socializations.



But the thing is we have had differences many times. I have taken them in, and not discussed them before, because I never wanted to ruin it for my dog. He has been moving forward with this rutine, at least till a couple of months ago. Odham my dog is around 20 months old.



Most dogs he has no issues with, they all respect his space in our pack walks on saturdays, except for one. A crazy dalmatian with an "always on the phone owner". This dog is a little over 1 year old. He plays with almost every dog, mainly with the females though. He even tries to fight a dog that every other dog is scare of, a Dutch shepherd called Marvin.



But yesterday it was the second time that he approached our dog, we were about to cross a boulevard with lots of cars, and he came after my dog, my sister was holding him. We have taken our space, but the owner of the dalmatian allowed him off leash, and he bit my dog in the neck and ear area, he would not let him go, and my dog was crying a lot. I tried to separate them as fast as could, I freak out, then my dog ran, almost to the boulevard and then to me and my sister. This had happened a time before, but it was not that hard to remove the other dog.



My trainer, like the first time gave a speech with this points:

- This was an accident.
-This was an accident...
- The dalmatian you should not worry about cause his teeth are like a Cocker's....
- The dalmatian you should not worry about cause his teeth are like a Cocker's....
- Odham has bigger teeth

- This was your fault because you over protect him....



(The over protection is not right, I do not do that, I have seen him in the large socializations been corrected and such by other dogs which is not the same as being bullied)



Now, I know and I have read about how the dog that got bitten is probably the guilty. But honestly, the dog came oout of nowhere, between the other dogs around us. We were close to others, just about to cross the street.



Since this was the second time (Third if we count the scuffle in which he bit my dog's ear), I got really mad. I disscussed with the trainer, and even with the other owner. The other owner said as previous ocassions that he did not got to see anything and that my dog has the bigger teeth (hence, if my dog ever fights back I will probably end up with a high vet bill). I got frustrated, my trainer got mad and went from "mansplaining" to telling me that every situation as such was my fault (and that his system is anty system) and that I could do as I wanted with my dog.



The dalmatian usually is called at least 4 to 6 times before actually listening to his owner. My dog has a perfect recall, a not so perfect sit and stay, but would say a 95% on those two.



I really dont know what to do. I feel really guilty, regarding me not doing anything before this situation (allowing much bull**** around my dog), regarding what to do with my pup now or how I acted yesterday. I just do not know what to do. If I leave beacause of this, my dog might not socialize again, and if I stay there, I will be mad and uncomfortable many times, while I will risk my dog to end up in such situation again. Maybe we are being cowards by staying in this comfort zone with him. Probably we should arrange play dates with a dog or two that might agree, I could take our dog with muzzle on if necessary. I am just not sure.



Anyway, I pretty much, I wanted to share it, that's it. I feel bad. Please do not be judgemental against me, not in a hard way at least. I have tried my best for this dog, and I am still doing that.
 

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Get your dog out of there. That sounds like a God-awful trainer. Allowing something like that to happen multiple times and then saying it’s your dog’s fault because he has bigger teeth? What does that even mean? And saying that the Dalmatian isn’t something to worry about because his teeth are like a cocker’s? That’s just crazy. Even a chihuahua can leave a nasty wound. Your dog is just going to be made more fearful and uncomfortable by being randomly attacked. It isn’t doing him any good. Get out.
 

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"There are only like 4 trainers in our state,..."

Is that a typo?

Large Field Socialization calls for anybody, the nearest people, to do whatever they have to in order to stop another dog from bullying or attacking another, even if they have to get more physical than what most people are comfortable with.

"My trainer, like the first time gave a speech with this points:

- This was an accident.
-This was an accident...
- The dalmatian you should not worry about cause his teeth are like a Cocker's....
- The dalmatian you should not worry about cause his teeth are like a Cocker's....
- Odham has bigger teeth

- This was your fault because you over protect him...."

Pure crazy talk.

"Now, I know and I have read about how the dog that got bitten is probably the guilty."

More crazy talk.

If you really like the progress your dog has made and want to continue with these classes, I would be 100% prepared to introduce the bully Dalmation to Jesus if he were to attempt to bully again. Be prepared for the owner to be angry. Evidently they like the bullying behavior and they will be upset if you prohibit it from happening. Be prepared for the trainer to be angry. Tell him it was an accident.
 

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Can I ask a question?

What do you want for your dog with respect to socialization? I mean, at the end of the day, what do you need for your dog to function well within the scope of your life?
 

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This is NOT your fault. It is the fault of the Dalmation owner. And the trainer needs his head examined for thinking otherwise.

Personally, I don't need my dog to socialize with other dogs. In your case, continued attacks will do the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.
 

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Do not use that trainer again. He has no idea what he is talking about. Dalmatians don’t grab on and not let go. I would bet that it’s mixed with a fighting breed. I don’t do that kind of loose socialization either. I’m curious why you were not all over the owner of the other dog? I would not have gone away quietly without everyone knowing what happened and who is at fault.
 

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@MineAreWorkingline the op is located in Mexico where good trainers are evidently few and far between.

What the trainer told you is 100% incorrect.Don't go back ever.If your dog truly enjoys playing with other dogs play dates are a good idea.If he really does not,there's no reason to bother with it.It's much more important for your dog to focus on you and your sister and trust you both.
 

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How we conceive of pets is sometime erroneous. We think of them as family, as children, with fur. We know they are not. But we love them, we are loyal to them. We want for them to be happy.

The only problem is that we are approaching what makes our pets happy from a human perspective.

Our children need to grow up, move out, be self-sufficient/independent, have a moral code that he lives by, and function in the world interacting and having relationships with other humans. So it would not only not make them unhappy to be isolated from other children all the time, but it would be abusive or at least neglectful to do so.

At the end of the day, with your dog, you have a critter who is totally dependent on you, and needs to be managed all the time.

If you were on a desert island with just your dog, your dog would be totally happy, and you would not be. Because your dog has all of his relational needs met in you. Your family is his family and like his pack to him. Predators outside the pack, in the wild are attacked, driven off, or killed. Your dog does not look to strangers to fulfill any need. Yes, they can enjoy romping and playing with other dogs. Sometimes. But they would rather romp and play with you.

At the end of the day, unless you are raising up a service dog, what you need is a dog that doesn't go wacko when he sees another dog, and the only place he has to go is the vet. So you don't want to have to muzzle or sedate your dog to take him to the vet. Everything else is a bonus. Taking the dog to the park, hiking trails, walks around the neighborhood, the pet store -- these are for you, and dependent on the chemistry between you and your dog as well as your dog's temperament moreso than early experiences.

What your dog needs is to be in situations where other people and dogs are present and under control. Like, a dog class where everyone has a leash on. Then, your dog learns that other dogs exist and are allowed to be, and are under control. When you allow free-play between strange dogs, there is always the possibility of a dog attack, and there is also at best, the idea that when your dog sees another dog, it is play time. This is not what you want. It is far easier to have a dog ignore outside dogs. Then you can take them anywhere, and do anything with them.
 

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I think taking your dog places and letting him explore and enjoy his surroundings are a part of meeting a dog's drives as well as enrichment.
@LuvShepherds, I would pay good money to see you on that soapbox.
 

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I agree with the other posters...
what is "socialized" to you? A dog that can play with any other dog, or a dog that can coexist calmly and peacefully with other dogs in the area? I think that as a breed, GSDs are not usually cut out to be that "dog that can play with any other dog".

Every thing your trainer said sounds nuts! I'm glad you came to ask the forum. If her dog has bitten another dog, the owner should not be letting her dog offleash....size of teeth has nothing to do with it. It may be an 'accident' but it could make your dog aggressive towards all other dogs, which is the opposite of what you want from "socialization"!?

Rather than having your dog run around offleash with other dogs, I'd sign up for the kind of class where your dog is on leash and paying attention to you, even with other dogs and owners around. And I'd set my goal to be, that your dog could walk calmly down the street and pass another dog without barking/lunging/growling/pulling. He should be willing to give you his attention or be in a "heel" position even with another dog nearby. To me, that's enough!

We learned to pass other dogs calmly using treats, "Look at Me" and "Heel." He didn't have to play offleash with other dogs at all, to learn how to do this. In fact, other dogs get a lot less interesting if he knows that we probably will NOT be saying Hi or playing with them just because we happened to pass by.

And I'm sorry your dog got bitten! :-(
Hopefully, no puncture and he didn't get hurt.
 

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I agree with the other posters...
what is "socialized" to you? A dog that can play with any other dog, or a dog that can coexist calmly and peacefully with other dogs in the area? I think that as a breed, GSDs are not usually cut out to be that "dog that can play with any other dog".

Every thing your trainer said sounds nuts! I'm glad you came to ask the forum. If her dog has bitten another dog, the owner should not be letting her dog offleash....size of teeth has nothing to do with it. It may be an 'accident' but it could make your dog aggressive towards all other dogs, which is the opposite of what you want from "socialization"!?

Rather than having your dog run around offleash with other dogs, I'd sign up for the kind of class where your dog is on leash and paying attention to you, even with other dogs and owners around. And I'd set my goal to be, that your dog could walk calmly down the street and pass another dog without barking/lunging/growling/pulling. He should be willing to give you his attention or be in a "heel" position even with another dog nearby. To me, that's enough!

We learned to pass other dogs calmly using treats, "Look at Me" and "Heel." He didn't have to play offleash with other dogs at all, to learn how to do this. In fact, other dogs get a lot less interesting if he knows that we probably will NOT be saying Hi or playing with them just because we happened to pass by.

And I'm sorry your dog got bitten! :-(
Hopefully, no puncture and he didn't get hurt.
This. Almost to the letter. The only thing is that SOME GSDs can be that kind of dog. Which makes it all the more disappointing and confusing. I mean, you see another GSD running around and playing with other dogs without issue, and it is hard not to feel like a failure if your dog is unable to do this. But it has nothing to do with us.

GSDs are so varied as a breed, and there is temperament which is genetic that can play a major factor, and there is what I call birth-order which could be temperament, but I think it is something different. In a wolf pack, you have an alpha dog and an alpha bitch. These walk around lie their poop doesn't stink, and all the other dogs just know it. There are beta dogs that are wanna-be alphas, who fight and jockey for position within the pack, particularly so if an alpha is injured or dies. There are the middle of the road dogs that follow the hunt, happy to be in the middle of the pack. There are the omega dogs, that can be so low that they are removed from the pack, beaten out or killed, but they also can be the dogs that babysit the pups when the pack goes hunting. They are last on the list when it comes to food, but they have a function.

Trying to make an middle of the road pup out of an omega dog unfair to the dog and unkind. These are dogs that if pressed may react or may just be bullied and submit. Not every dog that might react is a natural omega dog, just like not every dog that fights is a beta or alpha dog. It's complicated.

German Shepherd dogs, as herding/working dogs have a higher level of aggression and suspicion than some other breeds. And a dog that would defend the herd against human and animal predators may not play well in an ever-changing pack of dogs. So often they do not do well in a free-for-all group setting, like dog parks and doggy day cares. And some GSDs do just fine in those settings.

I think it is best to know what kind of dog you have and then cater your management so as to provide the best environment for the dog in front of you. Some of it can be affected by how the dog is socialized, but I think we do far more damage by socializing incorrectly, than by not doing enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Can I ask a question?

What do you want for your dog with respect to socialization? I mean, at the end of the day, what do you need for your dog to function well within the scope of your life?
When we started, my dog had not been around other dogs -actually spending time with them-, and reactivity was putting us in a really lonely place. We could only walk at really strange hours and in really lonely sites.

When he started the socializations he was freaking scare of other dogs, but he did not know how to communicate nor how to read the others. Right now he is slightly better at that and that has given him some confidence. He can give some cues now.

But in response to your question, I guess we do not need those socialization sessions, I just want to walk my dog, not even in really crowded places, just a park here and there, or a street, go hiking sometimes (not as safe though, mainly for crime).

Some others mentioned if he likes to play, honestly, my dog does not like to actually engage. My dog does approach the other dogs when they are playing and see them, but he does not get involve in the play itself. He is a wallflower. He goes around, and sometimes likes to get in the middle of the group of dogs, he does some smell here and there, and then goes back to be outside of the group, takes his space, and most dogs respect that. (He used to try to herd small dogs, but not anymore). He is a big dog, around 102lb.

Most have mentioned we should quit. It is scary, because we relied on those meetings, either in the week or the weekends. But sounds like the correct thing to do, there is absolutely no common sense in what we are doing if we stay with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Do not use that trainer again. He has no idea what he is talking about. Dalmatians don’t grab on and not let go. I would bet that it’s mixed with a fighting breed. I don’t do that kind of loose socialization either. I’m curious why you were not all over the owner of the other dog? I would not have gone away quietly without everyone knowing what happened and who is at fault.
I was over them. I made a scene. I was told many times during the final 20 min of the walk that I was making a big deal. My sister and I, we are the only females there most of the time (many owners come and go from those classes). To be completely honest, I did think for a second that they were right and I was not (our trainer mentioned we could end up with a dog worse than when we started if we stopped with taking him to the pack walks, and at times he had been good to us before, thus, it was hard to make a decision at that time).

The first time it happened I also exploded. But I ended up thinking it was an accident. This time, I was not into the accident idea. I told them continuosly that it was a negligence on their end.
 

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Well it wasn't your fault that this happened, but it is now up to you to ensure your dog's safety. Some of why your dog is somewhat better is that he has more confidence in you. So help him out. When you see someone with a phone and loose dog, you keep space between your dog and theirs, go the other way if necessary. If the dog comes near yours, before there is an interaction, say sternly, GO HOME! or GET YOUR DOG! Act before your dog has to react.

But mostly you want to expose your dog to dogs who are under control, leashed, that you do not allow the distance to be near enough for any contact. In fact, you want enough distance so your boy does not react. As he becomes accustomed to seeing under control dogs from that distance, you can get a little more close, but NEVER close enough that the dogs can connect. At the same time, you are working with the dog and having success training a variety of things, like SIT, DOWN, STAY, COME which may work perfectly on your own, but in the presence of other on-leash dogs (i.e. distractions) a little tougher. But these help your dog have confidence in himself and in you. And if you act by telling your dog what you want him to do, before he reacts, he may never react. He reacts from a position of insecurity and not knowing what to do about it. As he trusts you more to protect him, he will feel secure when you tell him what to do, and that will decrease any reactions from him.

Good luck with him.
 

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I'm sorry you dont have better trainers in your area :( I agree with others...get out of there. It sounds like this guy watched Ceasar and maybe Dog Man on Netflix and thinks he knows what he is doing.

The whole pack walk/field walk think is very **** Russell (Dog Man on Prime if you want to see the documentary). But, that guy had a talent and I don't think too many other could pull off what he did.

Good luck, you have received some good ideas here.
 

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Cocker spaniels can give quite nasty bites! If this dalmation is the only problem sounds like that owner should leave, but if that won't happen, don't go back.

Getting attacked is far worse for your dog than not going to pack walks at all. You're lucky that other dogs in the vicinity didn't decide to pile on and then you'll have a really fun pack fight that will result in possibly a dead dog, and injured owners. Stay away!

Try out that one final trainer if you can afford it... but there are plenty of good resources online on handling dog-dog reactivity and dog-human reactivity (which can be linked to aggression but not necessarily). Either way you need to address this issue directly.

I'm sorry. It really does sound like you are doing everything you can for your dog and found a poor trainer who hasn't a clue. Who cares if your dog's teeth are bigger? Dogs don't think like that... humans may but not dogs.

Like Selzer said, a whole lot of this is the genetic hand the dog was dealt. Sure, some GSD love to play with other dogs but plenty of others don't. It's OK if they don't as long a they can be around other dogs and people without losing it. It's not real hard to get there, if you do it right. But finding a good trainer to get you there is often the biggest challenge.

There are some good trainers on here that may be able to help you remotely. Worth a try...
 

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Do you know someone with a calm, dog friendly dog you can walk with or have private play times? It may be a cultural difference in both how dogs and women are treated where you are. I didn’t know your location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well it wasn't your fault that this happened, but it is now up to you to ensure your dog's safety. Some of why your dog is somewhat better is that he has more confidence in you. So help him out. When you see someone with a phone and loose dog, you keep space between your dog and theirs, go the other way if necessary. If the dog comes near yours, before there is an interaction, say sternly, GO HOME! or GET YOUR DOG! Act before your dog has to react.

But mostly you want to expose your dog to dogs who are under control, leashed, that you do not allow the distance to be near enough for any contact. In fact, you want enough distance so your boy does not react. As he becomes accustomed to seeing under control dogs from that distance, you can get a little more close, but NEVER close enough that the dogs can connect. At the same time, you are working with the dog and having success training a variety of things, like SIT, DOWN, STAY, COME which may work perfectly on your own, but in the presence of other on-leash dogs (i.e. distractions) a little tougher. But these help your dog have confidence in himself and in you. And if you act by telling your dog what you want him to do, before he reacts, he may never react. He reacts from a position of insecurity and not knowing what to do about it. As he trusts you more to protect him, he will feel secure when you tell him what to do, and that will decrease any reactions from him.

Good luck with him.
Thanks. I will talk with the last trainer in the list, to see how he handles things, might work to pay him a few one on one sessions with his approach on reactivity and see how that goes.

Most of my family is afraid of our dog, hence, they would not join with their little frenchies or poodles for a walk. But on the other hand, a second cousin has been insisting on having a walk with his Female GSD (6 months) and our dog. So, I might explain things to him and got something that works for both.

For the moment, I think we will drop that class. There were some reasons before, but now, it just does not make sense. I just will have to find the courage to walk him on crowded places again on our own.
 
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