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In the past month I've seen what I can only call a miracle. In our previous residence, Zeb would bark at/bare teeth at most dogs. I've been working on it with him for months and we just moved a month ago into a new apartment complex that allows all kinds of dogs.

In our building alone 3/4 apartments have dogs. Zeb, an older lady with a shitzu and a medium sized lab mix. With each meet and greet I was so scared that he wouldn't react well, but he's become best friends with them both! Anytime he sees them he greets them with a playbow and trying to get them to play. He even licks their muzzles and gives kisses :) It's such a huge turn around and I'm so proud of him!

Anyway, I've been also walking him as always, and alot of people have dogs and walk them at the same time. He's met so mnay different sizes, etc and has been GREAT with all of them! Actually pulls on the leash in happiness and excitement to see them! 3 months ago he would try to walk away and become anxious if he couldn't and growl. The whole point is he's come so far and this guy was walking a lab mix the other day (not our neighbor) and Zeb wants to say hi, so I think it's a great opportunity! He was in the middle of playing with his neighbor friends Bella and Bessy and they were doing great. Zeb goes trotting up to this new dog to say hi. The guy grabs his dog, pushes Zeb away with a foot :)mad:) and says if I don't get control of my dog he'll call the police. I told him he was playing with two other off leash dogs and the guy says "yeah, but they are ok." The two owners come to my rescue and say he's a great dog and listens and plays well. I just couldn't believe it! Luckily Zeb has great recall and I just called him back to us and told the guy that he was not being fair because of the breed. Not a hackle, tooth, or sound from zeb. Mouth was open, tongue out and body totally relaxed. Was even getting into a play both towards to newcomer (who looked like he wanted to play, btw). I don't understand.

Should I just not let Zeb off leash to play anymore? I don't know how I should feel except mad. Am I in the wrong?
 

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i dont think you're in the wrong to be mad about it but thats me. I'm the kind of person who takes the opportunities i have to train and socialize and have a pretty well behaved 8 month old pup who is still a pup who gets does still get excited. All she wants to do is be friends and play but we still get flamed for it because like most kids, she does occassionally forget her manners. It sounds like you've done a great job with Zeb and i dont think YOU should be penalized for someone else being an ignorant oaf.
 

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I live in an apartment building as well and also allow my dog off leash in on-leash zones (school yards, a park near my home), everyone does - doesn't make it right.

Because I allow Stark to be off-leash in on-leash zones, I have taught Stark that he is NOT to greet ANYONE who comes through the park. He is to interact with me or the people we came with (the dogs he knows). He is NOT to approach anyone or any dog unless I give him permission to do so.

This took A LOT of ON-LEASH training to get to this point.

Not everyone is okay with certain breeds of dogs, I understand that a GSD is a scary sight to some and so I try my best not to play into those fears.

I would really teach Zeb not to approach strangers/strange dogs. This will take a lot of patience and leash training as well as you keeping a very close eye on Zeb when he is off leash.

Stark can be in a group of dogs (usually our nightly training/play date group is 4-10 dogs, sometimes more in the summer/warmer months) and will not leave that group to go and greet another either approaching us, walking by or standing on the sidelines.

One fun thing you can do with the new group of doggy friends and their owners is work on impluse control.

Have 1 dog/owner team sit on the side lines in a stay. Allow the other dogs to play, chase a ball, whatever. Then rotate dogs/owners.

We are at a point in our training where Stark can be one of 15 dogs all playing, chasing, playing ball, etc. I can pull him out, put him in a down/sit/stay and have the others playing right by him. He knows not to move, not approach anyone until released.

I know I don't appreciate strange dogs (no matter the size, age, breed) coming up to me or my dog so I wouldn't want Stark to do the same. JMO.

It's great that you have a group to play with, I would ask the group if you all wanted to try some training techniques too. Our group has been training nightly since Stark was 10 weeks old (he's 21 months now) and it has been sooo benefical! We each use our own methods but working amoungst one another really helps!

Good luck!
 

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I would be mad too, but i could see where my Mom (and 83yr old woman) walking her Shitzu's (3 of them) would be terrified should a GSD or any medium to large canine came running over to them. I could hear her saying the same thing to a owner of any dog off leash in public areas. Unfortunately most owners of smaller breed feel our medium to large breeds are nothing but trouble. I might even pull Brewski should one come running over out of no place (so to speak) as I don't know the GSD/dog coming and how it will react once next to Brewski therefor I can not know 100% Brewski's reaction to it....
 

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Zebsmommy,

the sight of your Zeb rapidly approaching him and his lil buddy probably scared the crap out of him and he was in fear for his dog's safety. His reaction wasn't the greatest but I can understand where he was coming from. You gotta admit, an off-leash GSD running up to you can be a very unnerving situation.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the advice. I agree. Didn't really think about how he might react and will definatley be working with him on learning not to approach anyone without being allowed. I will talk to the others and see if they are interested in training together. The only thing about it was that se wasn't running towards the other dog, more slow-trot. I can understand it might still be scary but I just wanted to clarify that he wasn't running at full tilt towards them.

I am going to absolutely work on meet and greet on command and not just willy nilly now that he has gotten to that point :) Thanks for everyone's help!
 

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Running, walking, crawling, troting - all the same. ;)
 
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