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Thread: Dog park conflicts

  1. #1

    Default Dog park conflicts

    Hi all,

    I am fresh to this forum so not sure if I'm posting in the relevant thread.

    I have been attending the Sylvia Gibbs dog park in Everton Hills for about a year or so now. I have a large black German Shepherd which I know can be intimidating to a lot of people but he is very well behaved and trained. I am a firm believer that if you are to own a big dog such as a German Shepherd you must have full control of them otherwise disaster is likely to occur! We have trained him using the Koehler method which is very effective.

    There are a couple of ladies that also attend the dog park daily. They have small dogs (maltese and jack russell) as well as a blue heeler. In the past two days, the three dogs belonging to the other ladies have essentially 'ganged up' on my GS chasing him around, the two littlies jumping up and snapping at his face and the blue heeler running up and asserting its dominance.

    The first day Kai stayed calm and I called him over to me and the issue was sorted but by the end of today's play he'd had enough and growled a little as 'a warning'.

    The lady came over to me and essentially attacked me and accused my dog of being dangerous and asked me to leave the park. She accused my dog of biting the other dogs when he didn't at all (just a warning growl to the dogs to back off).

    I am a bit shaken up as dogs growling at one another is not desired behaviour but is likely to occur in dog parks as each dog is finding his position in the pack.

    I left the dog park immediately because I was quite intimidated and upset but felt that I shouldn't have had to leave.

    Any suggestions in relation to handling the other owners would be much appreciated.

    Also, these ladies keep their dogs leashed and make them sit ON the park bench seats while they discuss what I assume to be the 'world's most important issues'. These dogs are hardly given a chance to socialise and are very timid when in the presence of other animals and people.

    Thanks in advance!!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Western Sydney


    Hi Laura and welcome to the forum,

    Off lead dog parks are an Accident waiting to happen and I'll never take mine there...doesn't matter how well trained your dog's other people's dogs that are the problem and will always be the case. You only have to see all the trouble some people and their dogs cause at All Breeds training and these dogs are on a lead.

    Some small dogs (Most) are very aggressive... when they growl and show their teeth at larger dogs their owners think it's funny. When these little dogs (swf's) charge and attack a larger dog like a GSD and get torn into little pieces...their owners scream "Vicious...Dangerous...Aggressive Dogs" the Media have a field day and the GSD gets the blame.

    As for the Koehler method...I've never heard of it but I did Google it. Seems to be an out dated form of training designed more for Police, Military and Guard dogs... we don't train them like this now. Today we use positive reward methods...plenty of praise and treaties.

    When we own large dogs and we take them out in public...the only way to have them under control at all times is on a lead and carry a large stick.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  3. #3


    simple solution, if you love your dog then do not take it to a dog park.

    they are among the worst places to take a dog. nobody I know would ever take their dog to such horrible places with typically so many clueless dog owners and punk dogs all confined into such a small area.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Hi Laura

    Depending what state you're in - the dog and cat management laws are pretty clear on dogs harassing other animals.

    So your dog and you were being harassed by the other dogs at the park. It's the other dogs and their owners that are in the wrong. But like Muttboy and Dogman have said already - most people are pretty clueless, especially if they have little dogs that they think cannot cause a "disaster".

    My dog (a cattle dog cross) has several little dog friends who will harass larger dogs like yours. How they are still alive, I don't know, and their owners do not understand when I explain if their dog gets killed by the bigger one - their dog and them are in the wrong. But rangers never come and enforce any of the rules at our park. And our park is not fenced - which - in my opinion means that the big dog can always get away and usually when it's retreated sufficiently the little dogs back off.

    My dog considers helping with her friends but I call her off, and I call the little dogs off too - ideally before they see the big dog... but I'm not always successful. They do come to me much better than their owners. And better than my dog sometimes. (much embarrassment there).

    But there are some crazy dogs that will cross the oval to get in a big dog's face. I occasionally have the situation where I've got my dog by the collar and some poodle cross by the collar and I'm trying to persuade them not to speak to each other... usually my dog wants to drive off the poodle cross in a way that it's going to find painful which is not ok at the dog park.

    I have some phrases I yell that seem to work... "bad dog", "bad idea" but mostly I try to tell my dog that they're all friendly.

    Another technique you could try but I've not - is to chuck kibble in the faces of the approaching dogs. Quite a handful and then leave. Just be aware that you might be rewarding the little dogs for trying to harass you and yours. But you also interrupt them with something they like. You then have a chance to greet them like they're long lost friends.

    At this point, if I'm at the beach - which my dog doesn't "own" - I put her into a drop and ask her to stay... and the little dogs are suddenly not so scared - hard to have small dog syndrome when the other dog is as small as you - look mum - no legs here - honest... But it's really important that your dog stays still in this situation until the little dogs have gotten over themselves. If they're calm - you can reward that with more kibble. That's a good thing to reward.

    But most dogs remember who hands out the treats in the park so you will get harassed every time for treats but at least they will be pleased to see you. And one way to make it clear that grumpy behaviour is unacceptable is to make all the treats disappear the second there is a stiff look or curled lip. I don't know how I get away with this. Maybe food guarders don't get to come to the park.

    But I avoid fenced dog parks with clueless owners, because there's no escape if things go wrong. The regulars (humans and dogs) all know each other and they will gang up on any new dog. If you can't negotiate a polite introduction all round inside the park - then don't go in ie if they won't put their dogs on lead for a new dog greeting - not worth the risk.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    It is a pest isn't it. Maggie will ignore every dog on the beach unless it is a border collie like her. She will deign to play with them, why is that? But they come at her stiff legged with stiff tails sometimes at others yapping like loonies. She puts up with a sniff but when they try to take over and dominate she will air snap. There have been a couple of squabbles with dogs her size. As I have the ball thrower I usually time it so she is running past as they go by, usually works.She never knows they are there (ball).
    The only dog she submits to round here is a massive rotti we see on the park, who barely sees her except to trip over the subservient fluff wriggling on the ground.He is just too big to ignore.

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