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I have a 9 month old female GSD puppy that submits (ears down, body down and sometimes belly up) to most of the higher energy older dogs at dog park. Is that a puppy thing that fades away as time passes? What can I do to improve her confidence? At home, I've been trying lots of positive reinforced obedience training and she is doing great. But what do I do for her to stand her ground in front of other dogs. (First time dog owner here, please guide me)
 

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I have a 9 month old female GSD puppy that submits (ears down, body down and sometimes belly up) to most of the higher energy older dogs at dog park. Is that a puppy thing that fades away as time passes? What can I do to improve her confidence? At home, I've been trying lots of positive reinforced obedience training and she is doing great. But what do I do for her to stand her ground in front of other dogs. (First time dog owner here, please guide me)
I’ve had 9 shepherds over 50 years my current one ( female 1 1/2 yr old ) was the same way at that age and still drops to her back now on occasions.... she was attacked minding her own business at 14 months by an aggressive 8 yr old lab( became worse to train immediately) my breeder noticed the overnight change and warned me again about the dangers of the dog park...
Unfortunately they don’t have doggy defence classes for dogs( I wish they did...lol)
The BEST thing you can do is stay away from parks unless you’re walking with other non aggressive dogs you know and work on your dogs recall so she comes to you immediately when you call her( keeping her close when strange dogs approach)
At my dog park(it’s over 100 acres) I notice many unfixed males and many are mastif or put bull type breeds I stay clear of unfixed males because their hormones could trigger aggressions in other dogs even otherwise non aggressive dogs(czar Milan)
Be careful and stay safe not all dog owners are responsible like you are
 

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Maybe stop putting her in the position that she feels defensive. She doesn't need to interact with other strange dogs.If she enjoys playing with dogs with compatibile temperments try to set up play dates with one or two other owners and their dogs.
 
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I have a 9 month old female GSD puppy that submits (ears down, body down and sometimes belly up) to most of the higher energy older dogs at dog park.
But what do I do for her to stand her ground in front of other dogs. (First time dog owner here, please guide me)
Every dog who gets another dog, (especially a younger one) to submit isn't necessarily a bully and submitting doesn't always mean the dog on the bottom is afraid. You need to know what you're looking at.

What's the general atmosphere when that happens? Does she pop back up and go back for more, or does she run away and try to avoid the other dogs?
Do the other dogs quickly let her back up or are they trying to hurt her?
Is she initiating the interaction or minding her own business and being "attacked"?

What do you mean when you say you want her to stand her ground?
 

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I read up on the subject of "dog parks" and most experts discourage it. I took my now 1 year old pup twice to a dog park and it did not go well. He kept running to me away from older dogs. The problem I read, is that at dog parks, there is already an established "pack" with leader and so on. So they see your dog as an "outsider' and potential threat! So, I stopped taking him. He has enough friends when we walk around our neighborhood and my kid's dogs, that he gets enough interaction with other dogs.
 

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Yes! Positive reinforcement and obedience training is great for confidence. Keep at it.

Personally (and probably contradictorily) I'm happy that mine is mostly submissive with other and older dogs. She will let another dog know if she doesn't want to play, but only warning signs and not aggressively, so she is not too submissive that she will be pushed around, but she doesn't start any fights. I've always been there the few times to step in when she has shown these signs. Is your dog able to give at least warning signs that another dog is making her uncomfortable? Is she generally happy at the park? Are the other dogs bullying her? Or is she just submitting out of respect? Is she able to read other dogs warning signs well? Mine is very confident around all dogs, and wants to greet and play, but she will often greet her dog friends (she is usually the youngest if not the same age) with lots of respect and on her belly and ears back but tail is wagging and she then gets up to sniff the other dog happily and resumes/starts play. Learning your pups language is so important, as its not always as negative...or positive as you may think.

Again, this is just my opinion, but I believe If you want your dog to be type that is socialising at the park, I think a submissive pup (to an extent) is a very smart pup, letting the other dogs know that they mean no harm and they are there to be friends. Otto has never been in a fight (or really even my previous dogs), but I have witnessed lots of dominant dogs (and pups) doing very badly at the park with other dogs...since even before I got her. If when you want her to stand her ground, you want a more dominant dog, then I don't think socialising with other dogs at the park is the right place to be in the first place. As @Bearshandler said, be careful what you ask for! Also If your dog is showing signs that she is uncomfortable, then the dog park again definitely isn't the right place to be.

:)
 

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Yes! Positive reinforcement and obedience training is great for confidence. Keep at it.

Personally (and probably contradictorily) I'm happy that mine is mostly submissive with other and older dogs. She will let another dog know if she doesn't want to play, but only warning signs and not aggressively, so she is not too submissive that she will be pushed around, but she doesn't start any fights. I've always been there the few times to step in when she has shown these signs. Is your dog able to give at least warning signs that another dog is making her uncomfortable? Is she generally happy at the park? Are the other dogs bullying her? Or is she just submitting out of respect? Is she able to read other dogs warning signs well? Mine is very confident around all dogs, and wants to greet and play, but she will often greet her dog friends (she is usually the youngest if not the same age) with lots of respect and on her belly and ears back but tail is wagging and she then gets up to sniff the other dog happily and resumes/starts play. Learning your pups language is so important, as its not always as negative...or positive as you may think.

Again, this is just my opinion, but I believe If you want your dog to be type that is socialising at the park, I think a submissive pup is a very smart pup, letting the other dogs know that they mean no harm and they are there to be friends. Otto has never been in a fight, but I have witnessed lots of dominant dogs (and pups) doing very badly at the park with other dogs...since even before I got her. If when you want her to stand her ground, you want a more dominant dog, then I don't think socialising with other dogs at the park is the right place to be in the first place. As @Bearshandler said, be careful what you ask for! Also If your dog is showing signs that she is uncomfortable, then the dog park again definitely isn't the right place to be.

:)
Just to reiterate, I am not an expert even in slight comparison to most the guys here ...and I'm going through my first GSD journey right now (very different to my last dogs), so its just an opinion as learning as I go and sharing as much as I know/think!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I’ve had 9 shepherds over 50 years my current one ( female 1 1/2 yr old ) was the same way at that age and still drops to her back now on occasions.... she was attacked minding her own business at 14 months by an aggressive 8 yr old lab( became worse to train immediately) my breeder noticed the overnight change and warned me again about the dangers of the dog park...
Unfortunately they don’t have doggy defence classes for dogs( I wish they did...lol)
The BEST thing you can do is stay away from parks unless you’re walking with other non aggressive dogs you know and work on your dogs recall so she comes to you immediately when you call her( keeping her close when strange dogs approach)
At my dog park(it’s over 100 acres) I notice many unfixed males and many are mastif or put bull type breeds I stay clear of unfixed males because their hormones could trigger aggressions in other dogs even otherwise non aggressive dogs(czar Milan)
Be careful and stay safe not all dog owners are responsible like you are
Thank you for the insight. I understand the dangers of a dog park and try to make sure that my dog isn't under threat at any time. Dog park is a necessity for me because I stay at an apartment and my puppy doesn't get enough exercise at home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Maybe stop putting her in the position that she feels defensive. She doesn't need to interact with other strange dogs.If she enjoys playing with dogs with compatibile temperments try to set up play dates with one or two other owners and their dogs.
Thanks for the advice. I've been trying to do that off lately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Every dog who gets another dog, (especially a younger one) to submit isn't necessarily a bully and submitting doesn't always mean the dog on the bottom is afraid. You need to know what you're looking at.

What's the general atmosphere when that happens? Does she pop back up and go back for more, or does she run away and try to avoid the other dogs?
Do the other dogs quickly let her back up or are they trying to hurt her?
Is she initiating the interaction or minding her own business and being "attacked"?

What do you mean when you say you want her to stand her ground?
So she loves going to the dog park. She likes to go up to every dog at the dog park. If the other dog is dominant, she submits to them and greets them. Then there are some bullies which give her hard time and chase her. She cries and runs away from those kind of dogs. However, she does seem to enjoy the dog park with a lot of other non-bully dogs and she always looks forward to go back to dog park.
She is usually the one initiating the interaction with every dog.
So, whenever she is being chased down, she cries and runs and eventually falls on ground submitting entirely. By standing her ground, I mean her not doing that and being confident enough to say to other dogs that she won't be pushed around (again, this doesn't mean her being aggressive. I have zero tolerance for that)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I read up on the subject of "dog parks" and most experts discourage it. I took my now 1 year old pup twice to a dog park and it did not go well. He kept running to me away from older dogs. The problem I read, is that at dog parks, there is already an established "pack" with leader and so on. So they see your dog as an "outsider' and potential threat! So, I stopped taking him. He has enough friends when we walk around our neighborhood and my kid's dogs, that he gets enough interaction with other dogs.
Thanks for the advice. Seeing all these replies, i've been reconsidering taking her to the dog park. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes! Positive reinforcement and obedience training is great for confidence. Keep at it.

Personally (and probably contradictorily) I'm happy that mine is mostly submissive with other and older dogs. She will let another dog know if she doesn't want to play, but only warning signs and not aggressively, so she is not too submissive that she will be pushed around, but she doesn't start any fights. I've always been there the few times to step in when she has shown these signs. Is your dog able to give at least warning signs that another dog is making her uncomfortable? Is she generally happy at the park? Are the other dogs bullying her? Or is she just submitting out of respect? Is she able to read other dogs warning signs well? Mine is very confident around all dogs, and wants to greet and play, but she will often greet her dog friends (she is usually the youngest if not the same age) with lots of respect and on her belly and ears back but tail is wagging and she then gets up to sniff the other dog happily and resumes/starts play. Learning your pups language is so important, as its not always as negative...or positive as you may think.

Again, this is just my opinion, but I believe If you want your dog to be type that is socialising at the park, I think a submissive pup (to an extent) is a very smart pup, letting the other dogs know that they mean no harm and they are there to be friends. Otto has never been in a fight (or really even my previous dogs), but I have witnessed lots of dominant dogs (and pups) doing very badly at the park with other dogs...since even before I got her. If when you want her to stand her ground, you want a more dominant dog, then I don't think socialising with other dogs at the park is the right place to be in the first place. As @Bearshandler said, be careful what you ask for! Also If your dog is showing signs that she is uncomfortable, then the dog park again definitely isn't the right place to be.

:)
Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it!
She is generally very happy at the dog park, running around and being carefree. Now that you say it, she has similar stance while greeting other dogs. When she is uncomfortable, she cries and runs. It's always like 1-2 dogs out of 40 other dogs that are bullying her. And since she goes up to every dog at the dog park, she always ends up facing the bully.
You do bring up another good point. Being submissive has made sure she hasn't been in any dog fights.
 

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So she loves going to the dog park. She likes to go up to every dog at the dog park. If the other dog is dominant, she submits to them and greets them. Then there are some bullies which give her hard time and chase her. She cries and runs away from those kind of dogs. However, she does seem to enjoy the dog park with a lot of other non-bully dogs and she always looks forward to go back to dog park.
She is usually the one initiating the interaction with every dog.
So, whenever she is being chased down, she cries and runs and eventually falls on ground submitting entirely. By standing her ground, I mean her not doing that and being confident enough to say to other dogs that she won't be pushed around (again, this doesn't mean her being aggressive. I have zero tolerance for that)
I take my dog to the dog park about once a week and he has a great time.

One thing you should do - intervene when your dog is bullied. She relies on you for leadership and to care for her. She will be more confident if she knows you have her back.

If another dog makes her cry and run - step up and get between her and the other dog. Do a body check. Let the other dog know you will not tolerate your dog being bullied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I take my dog to the dog park about once a week and he has a great time.

One thing you should do - intervene when your dog is bullied. She relies on you for leadership and to care for her. She will be more confident if she knows you have her back.

If another dog makes her cry and run - step up and get between her and the other dog. Do a body check. Let the other dog know you will not tolerate your dog being bullied.
Thanks, Shefali. I do intervene when the situation is bad (luckily there hasn't been many). Usually I try to wait it out for her to get up and she has been getting up more often off lately. Sometimes it's also the older dog correcting the puppy behavior that she has and I want the dogs to teach her that. But yeah I try not to put her in danger.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it!
She is generally very happy at the dog park, running around and being carefree. Now that you say it, she has similar stance while greeting other dogs. When she is uncomfortable, she cries and runs. It's always like 1-2 dogs out of 40 other dogs that are bullying her. And since she goes up to every dog at the dog park, she always ends up facing the bully.
You do bring up another good point. Being submissive has made sure she hasn't been in any dog fights.
IF she seems generally confident, happy, well mannered and eager to socialise, I wouldn't worry too much - but I would worry when she cries and runs and I would suggest trying to avoid these characters, that maybe shouldn't be at the park with poor social skills/dominating. I had a similar situation with my pup recently...a couple of pups that were not as fluent in her language and were not reading her warning signs to stop playing and were making her uncomfortable, although I stepped in at the first "air snap" warning signs. I've now completely avoided these dogs and any similar characters that arrive at the park (with help from advice here). Carefully managing who she plays with (dogs with good manners) can only have positive effects. Be there to step in when she shows her warning signs, although avoiding the situations/characters that make her feel like this is recommended. They might be very subtle, but she should know you have her back.

Also never getting into trouble with another dog, probably means she's doing something very right somewhere in doggy language
 

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I'm not sure you have a problem. Duke is 120 lbs, and pulls us around by his leash. He's ALWAYS in the way, being the size of a small horse. He rolls over for a belly rub from everybody, I cannot imagine what he would be like if he was aggressive. He has no problem when Elke gets right in his face and barks her fool head off. He could remove her head with one bite, I'm sure. Instead he ignores her. Considering the alternative I'll take a submissive Duke any day. That is him sleeping on the floor, the second pic is 90 lb Elke and Duke. Think about it.
 

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