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To make a long story short, my puppy was attacked by a food aggressive dog (family member), and he's now afraid of larger dogs. During his first day of class, he kept barking at a Labradoodle when she only tried to get close to play.

The trainer deemed my puppy to be aggressive towards her, and he was fine with all the other small dogs in the class.

I took my puppy to the dog park as she recommended, and he did not bark at any of the large dogs, but he also would not leave my side to play much either. He just seemed scared.

He ended up playing with a Doberman, a Boxer, 2 Rottweilers, a Siberian Husky, and 3 Pit Bulls. However, one of the Pitt Bulls was playing too rough (it wasn't aggression) and my puppy cried for a long time.

My puppy is 15 weeks old, and I don't know what to do to keep him socializing without traumatizing him further.
 

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When I took my 4 month old puppy for the first time to the dog park she was attacked by pitbull after that she was terrified of big dogs but before was playful with every dog.... I am not an expert but what I did is I didn't take her back to dog park probably for 3-4 weeks... and I took her to the small park area to help her get used to different dogs in general.. she is now 7 months and no more fear of dogs. Although I don't take her there as much lately, last time I was at dog park she was attacked by a boxer and a very stubborn lab but so far so good she is not scared... at that young age dogs are scared of many things. give her time don't be forcing her to socialize.
 

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Personally, I would stay away from the dog park. You really have little to no control of that type of situation. Do you have any friends in your neighborhood or close by with dogs that you could set up one-on-one 'play dates' for managed socialization sessions? We did this with Baron and I really targeted different dogs based on Baron's current size at the time. He started with the neighbor's Chihuahua when he was just about 10 weeks old and moved on to a boxer and then recently a small female Rottweiler. All supervised interaction, which has been great for his socialization. This strategy seems to have worked well for us....and kept him safe.
 

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I would find another trainer ASAP.
It is unbelievable that she would recommend you take your puppy to a dog park when she already was attacked by a large dog.
 

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I would find another trainer ASAP.
It is unbelievable that she would recommend you take your puppy to a dog park when she already was attacked by a large dog.
Agree!! Locate another trainer.

Op, with your pup having issues, a dog park is the last place you want to take him. It is overwhelming for the pup, and to many out of control owners and dogs.

Set up play dates with CALM pups and dogs, not many dogs at one time, just 1 or 2. Monitor the play, but don't coddle your pup. If he tries to hide behind you, don't push him from behind you, just step to the side so he isn't behind you.
 

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I would also find another trainer. Your dog is deemed aggressive at 15 weeks?? The dog park is the worst place to take a dog that is in your dog's condition. Other dogs will sense the fear and it can turn into something ugly quick. My puppy was attacked at the dog park....I never brought him back. But I did keep taking him to his puppy classes, on controlled walks to the park, and even to the pet store. 2.5 years later my dog is fine. You have to keep moving forward or the dog will not get over it.
 

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for now keep him away from groups of dogs. set
up play dates with one (maybe two) calm dogs
that he can play with. find some dogs his size
that he can play with and maybe his age.
oops, didn't see Twyla's post.
 

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Another vote for a new trainer and never going to a dog park.

Do you know anyone with stable adult dogs your puppy can spend some time with to help boost his confidence back up?
 

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Bringing a pup to a dog park is like setting the situation up to fail. I know there are many that have had good experiences with the dog parks, but then there are those horror stories that flood this forum and others of dogs getting attacked from other dogs. A good trainer is essential, if you get a bad feeling from one just move onto another. there are many people out their that think they are trainers but go about things like a rookie would. What works for one dog most likely won't for others. Find a stable adult dog for your pup to play and learn from and most important is that he gets his confidence back.
 

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The trainer deemed my puppy to be aggressive towards her, and he was fine with all the other small dogs in the class.

I took my puppy to the dog park as she recommended, and he did not bark at any of the large dogs, but he also would not leave my side to play much either. He just seemed scared.
Wow, definitely new trainer. Your puppy is not "aggressive", that's fear reactivity due to being attacked. Taking him to a dog park is not a good idea, you can't control the situation and you don't know that he won't be attacked again, which would make things even worse.

I have some great multi-acre off leash parks near me, and I've been taking my dogs to them for play and exercise for over 10 years because we have a tiny little yard. But my local parks are not like many other parks, and not all dogs are good candidates for dog parks, even good ones like I have access to. With a 15 week old puppy you need to be especially careful that his experiences with other dogs are a positive experience for him. If he's scared and not having fun, then it's not a positive experience.

Also, socialization does not mean that your puppy needs to interact with everything, it's more about exposure to new experiences. My dogs don't play with other dogs when we go to the park, they play with us and each other.
 

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See if you can find another training group that runs a puppy socialization class. These are great for puppies, as the playgroup will be supervised and moderated, and if a pup gets too rough someone will step in.

Do keep socializing, but avoid dog parks. If you have friends or know anyone with pro-social dogs that your pup can play with, you can organize playdates that will be safe for your pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't know anyone, so I took my puppy to the smaller dog section yesterday and he played mostly with a 4 month old boxer, and he did fine.

I want to keep my dog socialized, so I'll only come when there are fewer dogs in the park until he's old enough to play with the dogs that play rough.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Disregard the post above.


I don't know anyone, and the only friend I have with dogs basically said " they have to slowly be introduced before playing with my dogs" which is the same thing my cousin told me, and he ended getting attacked over food aggression, so I'm not risking it this time.

I ended taking my puppy back to the park with the intentions of going to the small dog section to keep him socialized, but since the park was nearly vacant, I took him into the large section in which he mostly played with a 4 month old Boxer and a 8 month old Boarder Collie without any incidents.

So the way I'm approaching this is just taking him when there are fewer dogs so I have more control on who he plays with.

I want to keep my dog socialized, so I'll only come when there are fewer dogs in the park until he's old enough to play with the dogs that play rough.
 
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