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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I had a horrible experience this past weekend. As we were entering the off leash park, a dog bit my dog and I rushed her to the vet. The bite was so bad the vet asked me if a coyote bit her and I explained it was another dog. My question is, has anyone had anything similar happen? If so, how did you handle re-socializing your GSD. I will obviously not be going back to that dog park, but I have a dog ranch whose owner practices Cesar Milan's "Dog Whisperer" practices. Any suggestions for re-socializing my GSD?
 

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WOW! I hope your dog is going to be ok from that bite, it sounds like it was pretty serious! One of the things you'll hear from a lot of the board members is that dog parks are NO place to socialize a dog. Things like this happen because irresponsible owners use these parks to wear down their dogs energy. So these "friendly" dogs come into the park unobedient to their owners, and they are running around restlessly trying to burn off energy. This is not a good combination. Most of us here would agree that we dont use dog parks for this very reason. There are just too many risks to bring my dogs there.

How old is your GSD? Has she been around any other dogs since the bite? If so, how did she react?

Socialization from this point is going to have to be slow and steady. Does the owner of the ranch have safe, calm, reliable dogs? If they do, i would start with one dog, along with yours and slowly see how she interacts just being in sight of another dog. Then i would proceed from there after seeing how she reacts.


When i first got Bear he was 12 weeks old, and my 3 year old GSD tackled him pretty hard. He wasnt hurt at all, just shreiked out of fear. Immediately after the incident we ran into my neighbor and her yellow lab (extremely well behaved social dog). The two were running around playing as if nothing had happened. So i think it really depends on the individual dog how they will react to other dogs after a bite.
 

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I previously served on the founding committee for a dog park where I live. Under dog park rules and regulations we formulated, the owner and owner's dog that bit your dog would be asked to leave and not come back. No refund on membership fee either. You might want to check on your park's rules and regs. Also, hope you got the name of the person who owns the dog. I would ask for some reimbursement for vet bills.
 

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I personally am not a fan of Cesar Millan. I would find someone with a good, stable, non-reactive dog to do some conditioning with.

You didn't say how old your dog is, so the impact of this attack may or may not be significant.

Parallel walking -- you walk your dog next to the other person walking their dog, like the two of you were out for a leisurely stroll and just happened to take your dogs along.

"Cookie time" -- this works best if you already have a foundation for positive-reinforcement training, such as clicker training. Everybody gets cookies when they're sitting next to each other and being calm and appropriate.

Keep a leash clipped to your dog's collar whenever another dog is around to give you something to get hold of if he/she begins to react. Watch for the body language -- stiffness, ears back, hard eyes are warnings that your dog is NOT enjoying the other dog's presence.

If your dog begins to stiffen or react, PROVE that you will be there to protect him/her. By you letting him/her get attacked, you have let him/her down. You need to rebuild his/her trust and confidence in you by showing that you are capable and willing to be the protector. If he/she begins to show stress or reaction at another dog, STEP BETWEEN THEM (put your dog behind you -- preferable in a "sit") and make the other dog go away.
 

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Hi All,
Sorry, my dog is approx. 4-6 y/o & I adopted her from a GSD rescue 2 yrs. ago. I feel completely devastated, but I do hope to get her rehabed emotionally so that she can safely and comfortably be around other dogs. The gentleman that owns the ranch does have a well-behaved pack. Thank you so much for all of your responses. I really needed some ideas on how to successfully negotiate this uncharted territory.
 

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Did she have problems with dogs before? If not she may not have any problems. Your biggest challenge may be working on your own reaction around other dogs. Be careful not to channel fear down her leash!
 

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i am one of those people that DO NOT like dog parks. if it were a perfect world and everyone were a responsible dog owner it would be different.
there are many other ways to socialize your dog. preferably in a controlled inviroment.
i would definitely work on setting up only positive encounters from this day on.

debbie
 

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I took Sierra to a dog park for a few years, and thankfully never had this happen. I wouldn't hesitate to take her back. At your dogs age I honestly don't think this well affect all that much.
 

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Thank you so much for your honest, kind, and supportive words. It is true that once we even entered the park (right after it happened) she did act as if nothing happened, smiling at me in the car all the way to the vet. I do believe I will never take her to another dog park again and that I will take her to the dog ranch where I know Thomas (the owner) screens all dogs and never has aggressive dogs, or dogs who show the slightest bit of aggression at his dog ranch. Thank you so much again, I needed to hear this positive reinforcement : ))
 

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In addition, she never has had any problems with other dogs before. When on-leash she does get a bit excited when she sees small yip-yip dogs, but off-leash never once showed any aggression, just wanting to say hello (i.e. sniff everyone's butt).
 

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At her age and prior disposition, this one incident is probably not going to affect her as much as it will affect you. As Ruth said, you need to be careful that your anxiety, fear and angst isn't communicated down the leash. If you stay calm and relaxed, she probably will, too.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSD
I'm not saying anything about dog parks.

Find people with dog friendly or at least neutral dogs to socialize her with. Only under supervision, and only in a controlled setting (on leash).
Agreed.

So sorry to hear about your dog. Hope he has a speedy recovery.
 

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Thanks Stig. She is at home doing well. 1 more week until sutures come out. I live in San Diego also....this happened in La Mesa.
 
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