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So Sunny turned 16 weeks today and he got his rabies and other shots and I decided to take him to the dog park! I was all excited and so was he. He was playing around with other bigger dogs just fine and his recall was 99%. Out of all the times I called him back, he didn't come back once because a new dog was coming into the park. And the problem started...

The other dog was a boxer and extremely dominant, he was pawing at sunny and even tried to mount him but sunny just escaped and ran away and no, the owner didn't stop the boxer. At that time, I called Sunny to me and sure enough he came, I gave him a nice yummy (hot dog bits) treat.

Then I saw another white german shepherd come in. Adult, and dominant. Sunny was excited to see him and so was the dominant boxer (and all the other dogs, too) they all ran up to the gate to greet the WGSD. As soon as the shepherd came into the park, the Boxer tried to mount him and they both got into a fight, snarling chest butting at first but it turned pretty ugly, the WGSD bit the boxer's neck and thats when the boxer's owner came and took his dog away.

As soon as the fighting started Sunny bolted to the nearest chair and went under it. Then when I went to him he came up and wouldn't leave my side. He was scared and frankly I was too. The boxer was just being a brat.

Now here is my concern.

I immediately got sunny out of the park because I was scared for his safety. He was extremely eager to goo too.

My questions are: Would that incident and me getting Sunny out as soon as he was scared leave a lasting impression on him? Would it affect his confidence in anyway? Should I have waited there until Sunny was not scared anymore? :(
 

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Sunny will be fine. You need to work on building your confidence though. ;)

Seriously, you would be better off setting up play dates until he gets older. I have taught Rafi to get behind me if he is charged by a scary dog. Now he can handle it on his own but when he was younger he got picked on a lot.
 

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I cant answer your questions with any certainty so I won't even try. I'm sorry. This is just another example of why the majority of us don't usually bother with dog parks. Plus there will come a time that your pup likely won't care for dog parks. Can I ask though, why are you taking him to the dog park? If it's for socialization with other dogs, that's definitely not the way to go about it and you saw first hand why that is.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience and as often times as long as you get your pup out to people watch and socializing with balanced KNOWN dogs in a positive way, I don't think this will have a lasting impact. I would suggest avoiding the dog parks however. All it takes is one instance of your dog having a good time and another dog taking a dislike of him to mess up all your hard work. I speak from experience.
 

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Sunny will be fine. You need to work on building your confidence though. ;)

Seriously, you would be better off setting up play dates until he gets older. I have taught Rafi to get behind me if he is charged by a scary dog. Now he can handle it on his own but when he was younger he got picked on a lot.
Thanks :). And yes, I think he is better off with my neighbor's and my friends's dogs for now. And personally, I am paranoid about Sunny's wellbeing sometimes (okay fine, all the time :p).

I cant answer your questions with any certainty so I won't even try. I'm sorry. This is just another example of why the majority of us don't usually bother with dog parks. Plus there will come a time that your pup likely won't care for dog parks. Can I ask though, why are you taking him to the dog park? If it's for socialization with other dogs, that's definitely not the way to go about it and you saw first hand why that is.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience and as often times as long as you get your pup out to people watch and socializing with balanced KNOWN dogs in a positive way, I don't think this will have a lasting impact. I would suggest avoiding the dog parks however. All it takes is one instance of your dog having a good time and another dog taking a dislike of him to mess up all your hard work. I speak from experience.
Sunny is socialized regularly (about 3 - 4 times a week) with my neighbor's dogs. He has two massive (110+ lbs) cane corsos. Extremely well behaved and they both love sunny. And also about once a week with my other neighbor's australian shepherd and another day with my buddy's lab. So pretty much every day he is meeting these dogs (not to mention his puppy classes once a week). And it has been this way since he was 10 weeks old.

Since more exposure is always good, I decided to take him to the dog park. Mainly because I wanted to see how his recall is with 'new' dogs around (his recall is 100% with the distractions mentioned above). And also just for exposure. Frankly, I think I was living in a lala land thinking that all dogs are as well behaved as the ones Sunny and I know.

On the positive side, I just found a local, extremely active GSD group! I think Ill take him there from now on! :)
 

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If Sunny was one of my pups and I read about this I would be freakin "Sunny is socialized regularly (about 3 - 4 times a week) with my neighbor's dogs. He has two massive (110+ lbs) cane corsos. Extremely well behaved and they both love sunny" If some thing happened , even in play, you have two dogs , tight with each other, reacting with one mind . Accident just waiting to happen.

you haven't got a chance .


this is not what is meant by socializing .
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
If Sunny was one of my pups and I read about this I would be freakin "Sunny is socialized regularly (about 3 - 4 times a week) with my neighbor's dogs. He has two massive (110+ lbs) cane corsos. Extremely well behaved and they both love sunny" If some thing happened , even in play, you have two dogs , tight with each other, reacting with one mind . Accident just waiting to happen.

you haven't got a chance .


this is not what is meant by socializing .
Good point, but I'm not too concerned about it for a few reasons:
- Sunny is extremely submissive to them.
- My neighbor was a professional dog trainer for 20 years and he got these two dogs about a year ago.
- Elmo and Tessa (the corsos) obey my commands almost as well as they obey my neighbor's (I've seen and played with them since they were 8 weeks old).
- Both my neighbor and I are present at ALL times when sunny is with them.
- JUST as a precaution, my neighbor puts shock collars on them when they are playing with sunny.
- Usually, only about once a week, both are present.
 

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"Sunny is extremely submissive to them. "
how is that helpful to your dog

when a fight or prey stimulation begins the dogs are in a different zone --

neighbour from years ago had a poodle and 3 bouviers -- saw those bouviers , who grew up together , get excited in play , and pick on the poodle and tear it apart , literally , rip , and pull . They had been running around , and prey mode kicked in .
 

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Discussion Starter #8
"Sunny is extremely submissive to them. "
how is that helpful to your dog

when a fight or prey stimulation begins the dogs are in a different zone --

neighbour from years ago had a poodle and 3 bouviers -- saw those bouviers , who grew up together , get excited in play , and pick on the poodle and tear it apart , literally , rip , and pull . They had been running around , and prey mode kicked in .
Oh wow! That is scary and crazy! I hope the poodle was okay :(. But I'm not at all concerned about something like that happening with Sunny and either Elmo or Tessa. Call it a gut feeling if you may, they are almost as close to me as Sunny is :). They're probably closer because they are older than Sunny and I've spent more time with them...

What (really) concerns me is the incident today at the dog park :(.
 

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Answer is simple! No more dog parks! Also, be sure to keep up on his recall because right now, it's good. As he gets older it can become a bit more tricky as they discover EVERYTHING else.
 

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I can only speak from experience but I think Sunny will be just fine :) Titan was rushed by a mastiff his first at 4 months old, it was his first time too. He squealed and high-tailed it to me. I reacted the same way.. scooped him up and got him out of there! Now..... Titan LOVES the dog park! I continued to take him and get him used to the idea. I will say though, that some dog parks aren't worth it. I only go to the one by my place now because I know all the people that go at that time and our dogs got to know eachother, they also know how to control their dogs. We do have the occasional owner that doesn't but we all police the park at that point. I can't say it's the same for most places and I may have just lucked out. If you seem to find a lot of unpredictable dogs and owners that don't care, I would steer clear of it, it can leave a lasting impression on Sunny if he gets into a situation there.

Oh and what KZoppa said... keep working on recall, always.. they start getting stubborn as they get older if you start to relax it, lol.
 

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Should have him leashed for first time and until he is stronger.

You also should have moved him as soon as the boxer was showing dominant behaviors. A pup can't deal with that pressure from a bigger older dog.

I would have leashed my dog shooed the boxer and been on my way outta there. You win points if you protect your dog but if he is left to fend for himself he can loose confidence or become aggressive to avoid the other dogs trying to mount him.

If I have to protect a pup from larger dogs i will hold the pup at my feet with my legs split so there is room for the pup. I see my area as a meter and a half around me. I will ignore the bigger dog so to keep it guessing. If your body language is good the the dog will naturally respect your space and your dominance over the pup. If it wants the pup it has to go through you first. I protect my female in the same way when in heat.

It won't do any lasting damage if you learn how to avoid these kind of situations in the future. Show your dog you understand dog behavior and will protect him.
 

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I let my pup play only in the small dog area, or I watched carefully because some of the dogs play too rough and i did not want him pushed around. Being confident and tough is one thing, but bone injury is another. I guess i am very protective.
 

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Answer is simple! No more dog parks! Also, be sure to keep up on his recall because right now, it's good. As he gets older it can become a bit more tricky as they discover EVERYTHING else.
Agreed, the owner of the last k9 school I took my dog to once mentioned that one of the main reasons he sees customers to fix issues with dogs, is a bad experience/attack at a dog park.

I even tried to go when no one else was there, someone showed up, refused to wait with their dogs leashed while we left. Her two pits went into prey mode when my young pup started exhibiting fear, it was a nasty situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the replies guys, I have decided to not take him to dog parks again any time soon. He is still having regular play dates with other dogs that I know :).
 
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