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I haven't found anything in the forum that gives me a good answer to what I am looking for. It is kind of multiple questions as well.

I have an 8 month pup who is normally really decent with other dogs. She does get a little scared at the dog park when meeting the new dogs. It is usually when they first meet or when they run up at her full force. Most of the time when she first meets a dog she barks, calms down, and then sneaks up to sniff them. For the most part she relaxes, but can still seem unsure about the dog. At my apartment it's almost similar, when she meets a new dog she barks at sight and then calms down to sniff. Normally she does better at my apartment because she isn't surrounded by so many dogs.

Today was different I took her to go to the bathroom and another girl was taking her German Shepherd out at the same time. Normally mine does really well with other shepherds. Both dogs went off barking like crazy at each other. Normally mine calms down and is good to meet them. She would just not stop barking at the other dog. even when the other girls dog calmed down. When both got closer to each other they would show teeth, growl, and bark. It took 20 minutes for them to calm down enough to sit next to each other. I had muzzled my dog with her leash so there wouldn't be problems.

I just don't know what would cause this or what I should do about this. The other girl seemed to think it was a territorial thing. I don't think mine was being territorial. Normally mine does not have a problem meeting new dogs at my apartment. I just don't know if both saw the wrong body language or what. There have been a couple times at the dog park, where she will randomly run up to a dog and start barking at them in almost an aggressive manner. I don't know why she does this. It seems some dogs takes this as aggressive behavior themselves and some want nothing to do with her afterwards. It has never really cause any problems such as fights. Most just walk away from her.

I just really have no idea what is going on with her behavior. I can't really tell if she is being aggressive or not. She normally just barks and her hair stands up. I don't know is she is aroused by meeting a new dog and wants their attention or if it's aggression. When she barks at other dogs it is deeper than the happy squeaky bark she has when playing with me. We have been to obedience classes and I haven't gotten any good advice from the trainers I have talked to. Any advice would be helpful.
 

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She sounds insecure and I think the dog park is the wrong place for her. I understand you want to exercise and socialize her but if she barks at the wrong dog then you may very well have a fight on your hands. One bad experience to a pup, especially an insecure or fearful one, could create aggression and then you'll spend her lifetime managing that. It's not worth it to me. For the record, I'm not against all dog parks but I think some dogs just aren't the right fit for them and right now I think she'd be better off not going. I would try to arrange playdates with stable dogs you know or join a class with her so that she's almost guaranteed to have a positive interactions.

As for what happened with the dog in your building, I really couldn't say what triggered that. Could have been the slightest thing that you and the other owner didn't notice.
 

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Sounds like she is simply fearful. Only more good experiences will increase her confidence, and a bad one could easily make things worse, make the journey a longer and more difficult one.

When you meet another dog, position them nose to butt, first one, then the other.
It lets them get a whiff and figure out who's who without any staring or teeth. Do this on neutral territory for both and avoid that issue.

I agree with others, dog parks are not the best place for socialization. If everyone would socialize there dogs to others before entering, it could be better, but you don't know who's in there, how their health, level of training, or attitudes are, which is why there are so many horror stories about dog parks.

Also...expect good behavior, rather than dread misbehavior. Worry is like praying for what you don't want. Be vigilant and prudent, but not fearful of failure. They read us like a book, and the pictures we send should be what we want.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have tried most of the the stuff mentioned below since for a while, but none of it has really helped her. She gets play dates with a couple of dogs we know and she is good when playing with dogs she knows. We also did obedience classes which kind of helped her when meeting new dogs. She normally doesn't bark at dogs in the store. She only barks when meeting a new dog at my apartment and occasionally at the dog park. The other day we went for a walk and this little dog was going ballistic. She just looked at it and kept walking. So far for her the dog park has helped her the most.
 

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German Shepherds generally are not great dogs to play problem free with dogs outside of their pack. Sure there are some of you that have German Shepherds that want to play with every dog in the dog park....but it is not the norm and I don't recommend it. Most German Shepherds are not built to go to dog parks and be a social gadfly...nor should they. They are aloof by standard, and also by standard they will not subject themself to submissiveness.
 

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i think your dog needs some/more socializing. find a dog
that she can play with without showing aggression. i would
stay away from the dog park for now. don't force your dog
to be near other dogs.
 

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I agree also that you should avoid dog parks. My GSD does not enjoy being expected to play with a lot of strange dogs. In training situations where he is expected to focus he is fine with other dogs, but he is too much of the "sheriff" in a dog park atmosphere. He gets all the socialization he needs with the other family and a few friends dogs he considers pack members.

Most GSD's I have had were like this. They are not meant to be social butterflies.
 

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Yep, I agree with everyone, sorry, but I would stay away from dog park, at least for now. I understand the wanting your dog to be a dog park dog (been there, tried that), but a lot of GSDs just aren't. My GSD, Heidi, has some dogs she likes and some dogs she doesn't, has always been that way. But maybe that isn't so strange, as I have some people I like and some I don't. We have to be real careful.
 

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never push your dog into another dogs face like that again, also do not clamp your dogs mouth shut ever again with her leash

your dog is a pup and sometimes is not going to be social with every dog, exactly what cliff said.
 

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Forget the dog park...seriously. GSD don't need other dog friends. Set this pup up for success. Expose her to all kinds of things but that doesn't mean she's on display like an animal at a petting zoo, pets by strangers are fine but teach her control by ignoring some distractions as well. Again, ditch the dog park.

Build a strong bond with her. Start training and allow this pup to be part of your every day life when you do chores, run errands..whatever. It's also important IMO for them to accept down time, start crate training if you have not already done so.

When you bond with these dogs and you start to become their WORLD it's an amazing partnership;)
 

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It's so strange to listen to how very differerent each of our dogs are. I used to take my dogs to the dog park at my shelter (before I had a fenced yard) My shepherd loved every other dog that I brought out of the kennels to meet him. Never had an issue. Just loved toplay.

My lab on the other hand was much more aloof and occasionally a little hateful. Just opposite of the stereotype isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
never push your dog into another dogs face like that again, also do not clamp your dogs mouth shut ever again with her leash

your dog is a pup and sometimes is not going to be social with every dog, exactly what cliff said.
I am not that dumb. I did not force my dog in the others face. We both would walk the dogs up to each other when they were calm. When they weren't we would stop. Since my dog has never acted like I thought using the leash for a muzzle was appropriate to prevent any major problems.
 
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