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My puppy is 4 1/2-5 months, small and very much not an alpha dog. We chose her for her mild disposition -

She was fearless at first, we socialized with lots of people and safe dogs, she was fine. NOw, and I don't know if this might be from teething as well or instead, after some time with other dogs at a day care and when they go to the dog park, she is showing fear of other dogs and tonight barked aggressively at an approaching dog for the first time

She hates leaving the daycare especially and other dogs, she doesn't just bark, she cries and yelps like we are wounding her. I am torn about letting her go anymore as it seems like it has messed her up.

Basically, what are your opinions of day care and dog parks?
 

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At that age, it is likely your puppy is going through a fear period. It's important to build confidence and work through fear periods. She knows the dogs at her day care, she doesn't know the dogs outside of day care. I doubt that the day care itself is fostering this in any way.
 

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I agree. It sounds like she is going through a fear period. It's important to continue to socialize and train her so she can work through her fear and be a more confident dog when this period ends. A puppy obedience class might be helpful for both of you.
 

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IME yes, excessive exposure to group play can make dogs reactive. Actually, at the daycare I worked at a good number of the regulars became leash reactive (growling/lunging/etc at dogs when they were on lead but fine off lead). I personally would worry about so much free for all dog play with such a young puppy. Puppies should be spending the majority of time learning what you want them to learn, experiencing lots of different people/places/things and most importantly, that working with you is lots of fun, very rewarding and the best thing ever. Excessive exposure to group play can teach them that other dogs are more interesting than you, that playing with other dogs is the best thing ever, that sometimes other dogs make them uncomfortable and you can't do anything about it (so it's up to them to protective themselves), to ignore your cues when other dogs are around (especially with recalls) and that in general, other dogs are the most important thing in life. IME Leash reactivity often develops with dogs who get lots of group play because they get so overstimulated when they see other dogs and can't get to them that it frustrates them. As they get used to seeing other dogs when on leash and feeling frustrated, they become reactive. Sometimes being put into a lot of group play situations, especially as a young puppy encourages reactivity too. If you have overly friendly, rough and pushy dogs that don't take no for an answer when another dog tells them in a normal way they are uncomfortable with the interaction, the dog learns to say "back off!" much more forcefully because asking nicely doesn't work.

Not sure if you read the Hobbes daycare thread but I posted this excellent article by Trish King that talks about some of the behavioral side effects of dog parks (but applies to daycares as well): http://www.apdt.com/petowners/park/docs/DogParks_King.pdf
 

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My puppy is 4 1/2-5 months, small and very much not an alpha dog. We chose her for her mild disposition -

She was fearless at first, we socialized with lots of people and safe dogs, she was fine. NOw, and I don't know if this might be from teething as well or instead, after some time with other dogs at a day care and when they go to the dog park, she is showing fear of other dogs and tonight barked aggressively at an approaching dog for the first time

She hates leaving the daycare especially and other dogs, she doesn't just bark, she cries and yelps like we are wounding her. I am torn about letting her go anymore as it seems like it has messed her up.

Basically, what are your opinions of day care and dog parks?
I dislike them both and I wouldn't/don't use them for my dogs and won't in the future.

I find that most dogs really don't need to be in a large group play setting. It can get wild and out of hand. Back when I did try the dog park a few times there was always a fight on the big dog side (we stayed on the little dog side). Or there was always a bully dog who ignored other dogs' attempts to tell them they were uncomfortable. This can foster fear in a dog if they keep being put in uncomfortable situations and start to learn that telling a dog to go away nicely doesn't work.
 

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I think there are some things (actually a lot of) mentally and physically that pups should be protected from, this means owner control is needed and there is no way on doG's green earth that pup protection can be guaranteed while loose in a dog park.

That being said I know there is no way that online advice can open a closed mind. This is just something to think about before you turn-em loose next time.

Day care, I would assume depends on the hired help in the day care place, no more, no less. It could be fairy tale or scary tale.
 

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I dislike them both and I wouldn't/don't use them for my dogs and won't in the future.

I find that most dogs really don't need to be in a large group play setting. It can get wild and out of hand. Back when I did try the dog park a few times there was always a fight on the big dog side (we stayed on the little dog side). Or there was always a bully dog who ignored other dogs' attempts to tell them they were uncomfortable. This can foster fear in a dog if they keep being put in uncomfortable situations and start to learn that telling a dog to go away nicely doesn't work.
You've got good points, though it can differ for some dogs as far as the group play setting. We used to do "play dates" with Caeda and another dog, and if the other dog didn't want to play she didn't quite get it, and didn't have anywhere else to point that energy (though admittedly, we never did find a good individual match for her energy and play style among any of our friend's dogs). In a group play setting she has actually learned the "go away" signals and pays attention to them, so moves along to another dog for play. It works very well this way.
Though to the OP's question....if doggy social time (and doggy day care) can make Caeda (an excitable rude nuclear dog) more well behaved and polite I'd definitely say that it could make a brave but mild dog timid and aggressive. wvasko has a great point though....for doggy day care especially the hired help would make a HUGE difference! I know at social if the trainer were less attentive lots of play could have gone badly.
 
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