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Discussion Starter #1
I just need to vent and get some support - I feel like a horrible irresponsible dog owner.

Ezra just turned 3. I began socializing him young both at dog parks and with play dates. Right around a year, he got a little cocky with other dogs but that was easily brought under control with training. When he was about 2, I got sick and stayed sick for a year before finally being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Trips to dog parks waned, but we still did frequent play dates with dogs we knew.

This weekend, I decided to take Ezra back to a park that we used to frequent that has a pond (swimming wears him out!). It's several acres large with walking trails and there's rarely a large group of dogs in any one place, so I took my 4 year old grandson with us.

Well, what do you know? Ezra is protective of my grandson. An intact male pup of about 10 months old came up to Michael and Ezra came out of the pond with teeth bared and chased the dog away. There was no contact, but the owner of the other dog was upset and reported the incident to the park owners and we have been "expelled".

Here are my errors as I see it: 1) Ezra hasn't been to a dog park in a long time (probably 10 months) so I shouldn't have assumed that he maintained his "social graces" from before; 2) I shouldn't have taken Michael - it's reasonable to think that Ezra might act differently around "his child". I should have anticipated that.

I feel like a heel and an irresponsible pet owner which is really hard for me. Maybe I'm fooling myself and I really can't handle a GSD (I tried to adopt another rescue a couple of years ago and had to give him back because after a year, he was still dog reactive and even attacked a neighbor's dog). Obviously, Ezra isn't going anywhere...I don't mean to suggest that I would EVER send him away. Public with the kid isn't a good idea, dog parks may not ever be a good idea again...back to training? HELP!

Dee
 

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Dont kill yourself over it. Its ok. He didn't do ANYTHING to the other dog but tell him to back off. Was it rude? YUP! However, he was protecting his pack. I would slowly return to the park and re-teach manners. Additionally, you have been sick and he knows it. I am sure he feels like he has to protect you too.
 

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When Ezra came out of the pond with his teeth bared, did you call him to you and did he come?

I think that taking a young dog who hasn't had much dog-parkexperience in a long while and a 4-year-old kid was too much. Live and learn.

I don't see the fascination with dog parks. In most of them, it is only a matter of time before you are involved somehow in a serious incident. Lots of them have rules that forbid children, toys, and other distractions. Maybe it is just as well that you got expelled. Take your dog and your four year old to a people park and leave your dog on lead. Work with him. Do not have him interact with other dogs. It is totally unnecessary.
 

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Not a fan of dog parks, so from my perspective ;), Ezra saved you from future encounters....
 

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Most of the dog parks near me don't even allow young children in them.
Don't beat yourself up over this, nothing bad happened and it was an eye opener on what could have.
 

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Don't beat yourself up. We all make mistakes. Luckily no one or dog was hurt.

To commiserate with you, I had my 2 GSD hiking, middle of the day, middle of work week. Not expecting other hikers. My dogs on leash, come around a corner and run smack into another woman with 3 Danes. Lena, my female loses it( she can be reactive) and pulls the leash out of my hand and charges the poor woman. I find myself yelling " it's okay, she's friendly" ( which she is,off leash), but as I am hollering it, I feel stupid. How many times has that been said. I felt like such an idiot. This poor woman. To come across some crazy lady with out of control GSD on a nice peaceful walk. But trust me. It's a mistake that I have never repeated. I hate being the "bad owner". But many of us had been there. Learn and move on.

So believe me. I get it. Hind sight and all that.

I have worked diligently with my female to extinguish her reactivity on leash. She is much improved. But still has her moments. So use this as a learning experience. Work on the issue and move forward.


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I think taking a kid is worse then taking a dog who hasnt been in a while. Occasionally this one dummy will bring her two small children to the dog park I frequent and the kids run around like crazy. The women acts bewildered when dogs chase her kids and they get scared. I leave or avoid the park if they are there. I dont need my rambunctious puppy getting herself into a situation.
 

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We've all been there, or if not, we'll all be there someday.

My Akita mix Crookytail terrorized not one but TWO dogs before I finally admitted to myself that he was no longer the uber-friendly, flawless social butterfly he'd been before hitting social maturity. He didn't hurt either of the dogs he scared, but he did scare them, and I was a stupid irresponsible owner in letting it happen. Especially the second time, because by then I knew he was growing into a bully and I still created the opportunity for things to go wrong.

Nothing you can do about it but apologize to the other person, learn from the mistake, and share your experience to hopefully prevent others from doing the same.
 

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Was there any danger to the grandson. You may have to show your dog you are capable of protecting the child. It may be just simply body language but if another dog comes up to you you need to show the grandson is protected and the other dog is not welcome interacting with you or else your dog will assume the role and chase the other dog away from you.

Try to be one(or 2 or 3) step ahead of your dog. In this instance you mentioned I'm sure your dog gave away the signs it was uncomfortable with the other dog going near to you and your grandson but you didn't pick up on it. If you did you could have defused the situation before it escalated and thus earning your stay in the dog park.

It's kind of reassuring that some dog parks try to enforce some kind of discipline inside it's boundaries but it's unfortunate for you and your dog. Ask to be left back with a muzzle on if you wish to go back there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate everyone's responses. To answer a few questions - I never felt like Michael was in danger. He was standing right next to me and the dog that approached was a 10 month old Spaniel pup. The reaction from Ezra came out of the blue (to me, at least). Ezra and this dog had been playing together on a walk for at least 30 minutes prior to the incident.

Regarding calling him and him coming: Yes and yes. I immediately walked away from the group and called Ezra to follow me and he did. The whole incident lasted maybe 10 seconds and then it was over. Things were complicated by the fact that another patron (not the Spaniel's owner) started to yell first at Ezra and then at me. This kind of threw me for a loop. Even though she was right in what she was saying (This behavior isn't acceptable) having someone who doesn't know me or my dog walking toward me yelling felt...well, threatening? Inappropriate? At any rate, I found myself dealing with a reactive HUMAN rather than Ezra's behavior.
 

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Well, as others have said, children do not belong in a dog park but you know that. I would be concerned over the reaction Ezra had to the other dog going up to your grandchild which really has nothing to do with him being in the dog park.

Being possessive of your grandchild (this was not protective as the child was not in danger) is not acceptable and would be something I worked on with him until he understood that people and dogs can approach your grandchild when they are friendly. Sounds like you have a good relationship with Ezra and good that he was easily called off; now to change his mind about dogs approaching "his" boy.
 

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What happened is over with, now you just need to focus on where you want to go.

We've all been in bad situations, Delgado was attacked at a dog park for doing nothing more then sniffing another dog that the attacking dog felt was part of his pack. A few months ago Delgado scared the crap out of a little dog that the owner let run up to us on a flexileash by barking loudly because it scared my other dog Jazzy. He was on a prong so he couldn't take a step but it sent both the owner and dog running away

As others have said, we learn from our mistakes and get smarter :) I would continue to work on the issue of guarding and keep moving foward from there.
 

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you got kicked out for a 10 second incident where neither dog connected? Wow. I would walk away and not give it (the park) a backwards glance.

But I would take your grandson on walks with your dog under leash control, and I would correct the dog if he does anything possessive of your grandson. Or at least I would keep my eye open for that.

This may have had nothing to do with your grandson or you. But up your training and watch and see. It may be nothing, but those things cannot hurt anything either.
 
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