CAUTION: Dog Parks

Hello German Shepherd puppies lovers:

Well I feel I should deal with this issue.  A client just emailed me and said her German Shepherd has an aggression problem.  When she brings her to dog parks she can be aggressive with other dogs.  Please don’t blame Hilda yet.

First of all, let me say that taking dogs off leash in dog parks is just a bad concept for dog in general for a couple of reasons.  First of all, as I have written in another one of my blogs, dogs thrive on a clear pack order. In a dog park it is in constant flux and undefined.  For natural dogs, with strong natural instincts this can create a situation where they might feel their position attacked or need to fight for position at any moment as the fluid pack moves around off leash, not connected to the authority of the owner, left to its own to defend itself.   This is a dangerous situation for owners who can be bitten while trying to separate dogs that are in battle for position.  Secondly, you cannot really be certain that other owners discipline their dogs as you do.  Dogs may have developed behavioral problems due to the environment in which they have been raised.  Third of all, not all owners believe in spaying or neutering their dogs.  This can really spice up the situation.  And dogs mate largely by smell.  This smell is a powerful attractor and can be smelled from a good distance and can be irresistible to males.  Also it is clearly unsafe for your German Shepherd puppies.  Can you be certain that all of the owners have had their innoculations up to date?

Lastly, I believe that our dogs should be taught to bond to us as their owners and friends.  We should be their focus, their world.  Playing with other dogs can lead to a redirection of focus to other dogs rather than toward the master.  Playing with unknown dogs can lead them to think this behavior is acceptable in public even while on lead and your friendly Fido could end up dragging you through the dirt to get to that buddy they just have to meet across the street.  Now imagine this happens while you are on inline skates.

It is so enjoyable to take a couple of balls, a frisbee, some things to track with, and take your German shepherd puppy or dog to an open field, undefiled by the undisciplined riot one can find at dog parks, and enjoy come private time with your best friend.  As a common practice I would never let my German shepherd dog play off leash with other dogs.  Please visit our K9University for more useful articles and videos.

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