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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I alternate hikes and going to the dog park with my puppy, Snowy. Today was a dog park day.

Snowy's made friends with a Jack Russell mix named Jackie. She's a lot smaller than he is (about 40 pounds) but FEISTY. She loves to play rough, and so they really enjoy wrestling and running with each other. Today another, older, GSD came over. This guy (also an un-neutered male) was about 3 years old, and about 10 pounds heavier than my boy.

Anyway, the other GSD started to bully Jackie. I could tell Jackie was getting upset and kept trying to get away. I was looking for the owner of the other GSD when I noticed my dog's behavior. Snowy just kept interposing his body between Jackie and the other shepherd.

He was totally non-aggressive about it, just every time the other shepherd was going to get assertive with Jackie, there was Snowy, smiling, tail wagging, friendly - but not allowing the other shepherd to bother his buddy. And while he was totally friendly about it, he was also totally confident and not intimidated by this larger, older dog.

Finally the other dog's owner called him to her, so the situation never got out of hand. I'm really impressed by how cool and calm my boy is for only being 9 months old. I think he has a great temperament.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good boy!
I hate to say it but many of the poorly behaved dogs I have seen at a dog park are GSD. Often ball possessive.
So far I've been lucky and most of the GSDs I've seen are well behaved. I like to see other GSDs at the park... particularly black ones, since mine is white. I think they look gorgeous when they play together.

But aggressive behavior is not OK. I blame the owners, though, not the dog. Some dogs should not be going to a dog park, to be honest. Not every dog enjoys it, and not every dog is socialized.

I think if you rescue a dog that has been poorly socialized, the right thing to do is not to take him to the dog park where they are overwhelmed, set up small play dates with one or two other, calm, friendly dogs.

The worst situation I saw was a guy with a Belgian Malinois. Beautiful dog, but poor thing was dog aggressive and the owner was NOT in control. I have a very sad feeling that the poor dog will end up in the shelter because the owner wanted an "impressive" dog without really understanding what that kind of dog needs.
 

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Your dog sounds like a nice confident loyal friend.:)

I love how dogs have complex social lives and communications!
My dog has "friends" in our neighborhood, as well as dogs he isn't friendly with (for unknown mysterious doggy reasons).
 

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My dog, Jupiter, was completely socialized and trained but around 9 months started to bully and scold random dogs--usually puppies at the dog park. After several incidents, I decided to say goodbye to the park. To be honest, Jupiter hardly ever played with dogs, he's quite "working line" and just wanted to chase the ball. It would be nice if he were a little more like Snowy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My dog, Jupiter, was completely socialized and trained but around 9 months started to bully and scold random dogs--usually puppies at the dog park. After several incidents, I decided to say goodbye to the park. To be honest, Jupiter hardly ever played with dogs, he's quite "working line" and just wanted to chase the ball. It would be nice if he were a little more like Snowy!
Hopefully you live in a place where you can let Jupiter off leash to chase his ball... I think working line dogs are amazing, but a more mellow dog like Snowy is a better fit for my family. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your dog sounds like a nice confident loyal friend.:)

I love how dogs have complex social lives and communications!
My dog has "friends" in our neighborhood, as well as dogs he isn't friendly with (for unknown mysterious doggy reasons).
Sometimes I wish I could read their minds, just for a little bit! LOL

Do you also have a white shepherd? Your avatar is gorgeous.
 

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Just remember, one day your dog may outgrow the dog park. I think most mature german shepherds aren't super friendly wit other dogs. They may be tolerant, but most of the the time the older ones I've seen in dog parks have aggression issues. Not that they are necessarily overly aggressive dogs, but they don't thrive in the crowded dog park environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just remember, one day your dog may outgrow the dog park. I think most mature german shepherds aren't super friendly wit other dogs. They may be tolerant, but most of the the time the older ones I've seen in dog parks have aggression issues. Not that they are necessarily overly aggressive dogs, but they don't thrive in the crowded dog park environment.
This is good to know, thanks. I will keep an eye out for this. I do notice that when we first enter the dog park, he is watchful and wary for a few moments, scoping it out. He always then goes and plays and really enjoys himself, but there is always that initial moment of alert caution.

I also never take him to the dog parks on the weekends, when they are super-crowded. I made the mistake of taking him once on a Saturday, and there were a lot of idiots who were not keeping an eye on their dogs. My boy almost got into a fight, so since then... we only go during the week. It's less crowded and, at least at the parks I take him, the people keep track of their dogs better.

I like that Snowy has learned how to handle himself around a lot of different dogs and people. I am trying to expose him to lots of situations to build his confidence. But Covid makes it tricky...
 

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This is good to know, thanks. I will keep an eye out for this. I do notice that when we first enter the dog park, he is watchful and wary for a few moments, scoping it out. He always then goes and plays and really enjoys himself, but there is always that initial moment of alert caution.

I also never take him to the dog parks on the weekends, when they are super-crowded. I made the mistake of taking him once on a Saturday, and there were a lot of idiots who were not keeping an eye on their dogs. My boy almost got into a fight, so since then... we only go during the week. It's less crowded and, at least at the parks I take him, the people keep track of their dogs better.

I like that Snowy has learned how to handle himself around a lot of different dogs and people. I am trying to expose him to lots of situations to build his confidence. But Covid makes it tricky...
Entering a dog park is usually a pretty tense moment. It sounds like you keep a pretty good eye on him. You will know when when/if its time to stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, many dog issues/fights happen at the in and out gate as the bullies test the newcomers. Dog parks are an excellent concept but fail in practice regularly
The problem is the owner, not the dog. Some dogs don't like to play with other dogs even if they don't have fear or aggression issues. So why take them? I take my boy because he LOVES to play with other dogs... but that may change as he gets older. I'll keep an eye on him. If he isn't having fun, we'll do other stuff. I do take him on hikes on alternate days and he loves that as well.
 

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Do you also have a white shepherd? Your avatar is gorgeous.
Aw thanks! He is white, but is a mix. Rescue thinks he is mixed with husky.

( We stopped going to dog parks because every once in a while, he would encounter a dog he disliked, and he would growl at the dog. I always thought he had a good reason (dog trying to hump him, dog barked loudly in his face, etc) but I have a hard time relaxing while we're there, because I don't know if a dog will trigger him. He is also somewhat possessive and would growl at dogs that approached me. So, I just gave up! )
 
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