Dog Park Behavior

Posted by dee08
May 14, 2008
I have 2 adult GSD's and 3 GSD/Dane puppies (nearly a year old). They are all very nice dogs and obey commands very well, EXCEPT for one issue at the dog park. They bolt from me to great other dogs and people when they see them. They know the "come" command and never fail to come back to me any other time, and they come back to me immediately after they greet the other dogs/people. I'm sure it's annoying and scarey to people who do not know that they have good intentions. Our dog park is huge, 55 acres, so they can spot other dogs from quite a distance away. I can usually stop them from taking off for a few minutes after they notice someone else is there but after awhile it's just too much and they take off. (i only take 2 at a time for this reason, but this means 2 or 3 trips a day to the park). I guess i just really don't know how to reprimand them after they have gone that far away. (and I don't want them to confuse them because it is good that they come back right away). If anyone has any ideas I would really appreciate it!!
Posted by Todd
May 17, 2008
Hi there and thanks for the post.

This is a very common (and frustrating) problem.

From now on i would only take one dog at a time so you can give them your full attention as well as make progress. With more than one dog it is hard to reprimand one without getting the otehr confused and they end up bouncing off each other and turning everything into a mess

There is a great way to help with this problem. What you will need is a thick glove, preferrably leather to protect your hand, as well as a thick nylon line.
This works brilliantly because it is clear your dog feels it has freedom but you have a way of reprimanding them.

So take one of the dogs to the park. Start with a short line eg a metre. Practice the heel command and keep them close. If the see a dog and start to rush give them a loud and immediate GRRRR or AHHHH and yank the line firm enough to get there attention. Once you have their attention call them back.

If the return or start to return praise them with attention and petting. This mix of reprimand and praise lets them know what is okay and what isn't.

After a few sessions slowly extend how much line they have eg a metre for every 3 days they are well behaved. In this way you are letting them have more freedom but at the same time making sure they are still being behaved.

If they get too much go back to the length where they were well controlled.
This will take a great deal of time to get them out to a good distance.

At the same time you should also be practicing their behaviour withn other dogs. Get your dog to sit as you see someone approaching. If they sit and behave they get praised. if they lunge, stand up, growl or try to rush reprimand them as above, yank on the lead and ask them to sit.

Let the other dogs approach you so that your dogs learn good manners. This puts bonding with other dogs in your hands....not their paws.

After you have each dog well controlled you can try taking them out two at a time. Follow the same reprimand and praise.

Try and get each dog out to about 30 metres of line before you attempt to remove the line. A distance ultrasound device might be a good way to keep control over them at a distance so talk to your vet about it

Good luck and please let me know how things are going and if i can help.

Posted by dee08
May 20, 2008
Thank you so much!! I'm going to start working on it today and check into the ultrasound device also. I'll let you know how it works.