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Hello! I’m new here. We have 4 dogs. All rescue dogs. All we got as babies. All of our dogs get along great and love each other very much. The issue we have is with one of them when we go out to dog parks. Leeloo is 2 years old, almost 3. She is the 2nd of the 4 dogs. Don’t know breed, although she sorta looks like a small golden retriever. She’s about 45 pounds. When we go to a dog park, she is overly protective of me and the pack. It started as soon as she started going to the dog park right after she was fully vaccinated at 4 months. She would just sit by us and growl at any dog that came to say hi. We would tell her no and pet the other dog anyway and encourage her to go play with her “sister”. Last year we were at the dog park and another owner came up to talk to me. He reached out towards me and she ran up and bit his hand. Didn’t break skin, no bleeding. Ever since then she has gotten worse and not just with us. Her younger “brother” is a lab mix and is a lovable idiot. He loves to wrestle with dogs at the park and whenever he does, Leeloo thinks she needs to get in the middle and “protect” him even though he is totally fine and playing. She gets aggressive at any dog that tries to play with one of our pack. Then today our oldest dog, Tilly, 3 years old, at the dog park another dog came up to us for love and Tilly flipped that dog and went into its neck. The dog was screaming like it was dying and when we got Tilly off of him and looked he didn’t even have a scratch that we could find, let alone any blood. But it seemed like she was going to kill him it was so aggressive. She has never done that before. Always happy at the dog park. It has only ever been Leeloo that we’ve had issues with until today. I just don’t get it because the four of them wrestle and play in our yard just fine, so it’s not like she doesn’t understand dog play. Any thoughts? I’d rather fix the issue than stop taking her.
 

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Dog parks are not places that every dog enjoys spending time at, and it really sounds like Leeloo is telling you that she's not having a good time there. I would strongly suggest you stop taking her to the park. She's not having fun & it's simply stressing her out. I can almost guarantee her behavior will get worse rather than better.

As far as Tilly's behavior goes, well... some dogs enjoy going to dog parks & playing with random strange dogs when they're young, but lose that major dog-social temperament as they get older. At 3 years old, she might just be 'aging out' of the dog park environment. I'd stop taking her there as well.

Just because dogs get along fabulously with their house mates doesn't automatically mean they are going to enjoy romping & playing with strange dogs. Just like people, many (most?) dogs have a few 'dog friends' they that they truly enjoy hanging out, with but really don't care about being BFF's with strange dogs. There is absolutely nothing strange or wrong with this. Stopping taking the ones that don't enjoy the dog park IS fixing the issue. There is no reason they HAVE to like being there.
 

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Stop going to the dog park. Dog parks are the worst idea. I don't where the idea of dog parks came from, but I wish we could put it back in the box and not open it again!!

Most, and I do mean MOST, dogs are NOT happy at dog parks. Dogs don't need or want to interact with a bunch of strange dogs!

If you go to a dog park and leave your dogs home.. and just WATCH you can learn a huge amount about dog body language from aggressive stances to defensive attacks..

SOMETIMES in a dog park in a LESS POPULATED AREA you can get a few known dogs together for a play date.. these are dogs who know each other and will happily interact. In those situations all is fine and those folks LEAVE when a newcomer arrives.

My suggestion? Just say No to Dog parks. Your dogs get along and have each other. That's enough for them (and they are telling you this!!).
 

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Yes, I agree, some dogs just aren't dog park dogs, and that's perfectly okay, just like there are introverted humans and extroverted humans. Most dogs seem to prefer smaller groups of dogs they know or dogs that match their play style. Some don't really want to play with other dogs at all. Sometimes dogs might like dog park like settings when they're young, and sometimes they don't much like it anymore when they reach maturity or as they get older.

For this issue, the best option is to not take the dogs that don't like the dog park. Continuing to force them into the situation is almost guaranteed to make the issue worse.
 

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Agree. Don’t take a four-month-old puppy to a dog park. They need careful socializing and a dog park ain’t it. A nice, well-supervised puppy class that uses positive training methods is what you want.
 

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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
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I think you have two separate issues going on.

First, Leeloo. She is showing resource guarding (you are the resource). You need to work with a positive based trainer to help her overcome that. She may alos have some people fear issue and for that you should follow one major rule: let her approach people - don't let them approach her. Rather than having people reach out to pet her, have them just stand (no leaning over) and ignore Leeloo. If she approaches them, they should continue to ignore her and just let her initiate contact. As she realizes that they are not making a move on her, she will become more willing to make that contact. If she likes treats, you can have them stand straight and offer her a treat. Again no bending over her (that is very intimidating).

Second, Tilly. It sounds like she just took a dislike to the dog. It happens. Have you ever met someone and just instinctively didn't like them? Dogs do that also.

Dog parks have their place, but my advice is to establish a specific group of dogs and owners to visit. If someone else is there or comes along, walk away. You never know how a dog will react. And even with the sweetest dog in the world, a bad combination can be dangerous. If you can't limit the visits to a select group that has been vetted, then skip the dog park.
 
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