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My goal is by the end of the summer to be able to take my 4 yr. old German Shepherd to the dog park. I know I should have done this when she was a puppy but I was 12 so I didn’t know much about it and my mom doesn’t like dogs so her care was my responsibility. We had another dog at the time so she was introduced to her when she was a puppy but except for that she has never been socialized. But this summer I will be driving and can finally have the means to take her places. So I need some tips on do this in a way that is best for her
 

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Has your neighbour, family or a friend got a friendly dog?, Holly has a fear of them due to being attacked, my neighbour who lives two doors up has a 12 year old shih tzu, Gizmo and Holly and great friends know, they have been for 6 months, about a month ago is when i let her off lead with him, and she was fine, so if you can find a dog that is friendly it might help, and one that your dog will like, Holly likes Gizmo because he doesn't annoy her or ask her to play, they just hang out, he sniffs, while she plays ball!.
 

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I would begin by taking her around well-behaved dogs who are not going to make any attempt to make contact with her and see how she likes that. For example, take her on-leash for a walk with another well-behaved leashed dog. She how she handles that. Ideally, I would then take her to a dog class or something organized where she can be around a number of new dogs to gauge how nervous she gets. Then, I would arrange play dates with gentle, well-known dogs. First, one at a time. Then add another. Then another. And see how she does.

If she is nervous or concerned about any of these steps, keep working on that step until she relaxes.

With a 4 year old dog without a socialization history, the dog park may or may not be a realistic goal. It will all depend on your dog. Not all dogs are "dog park dogs." I own two dogs who were heavily socialized and are very nice dogs who can be around all sorts of dogs. However, they are not appropriate for the dog park. It's a bummer, but they just don't belong in there.
 

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Yes, hopefully you live in an area that is dog friendly whereby walking your dog, you will come across other dogs. 1-1 socialization with a friendly, calm dog is a great start. Your dog can easily be overwhelmed at the park and these are tough environments for you to manage.
 

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I would also hang out with your dog outside the dog park at first and let her watch what goes on. You watch her to see what her reaction is. I would start out fairly far away and then move closer. If she displays anxiety or aggression, back off.

As has been said, not every dog is a dog park dog. Kabota is and it's fun, but Muggsy was not and we just did other fun things. Keep your expectations realistic and remember: All those other dogs at the park are loved by people, too. So before you let loose your large, powerful GSD in the mix, be very sure she can take it and have a plan for what to do if she gets aggressive. You need to keep those other dogs safe, too.
 

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1. Talk to your Vet, and if he agrees, take your dog to the Vet to get weighed once a day or every other day.
2. Take the dog to PetsMart and walk her around the store 2 - 3 times a week, then sit quietly outside for a few minutes.
3. As suggested, find someone with a friendly, similar sized dog (Lab?), and try to let the two of them loose in a fence area to sniff and play.
4. And as Amaryllis said, hang out outside the Dog Park, then inside (maybe on a long leash?)
5. The general goal is to expose her to as many non-threatening dogs and experiences as you can, then slowly introduce a tiny bit of unpredictability.
It will take a long time (6 mos), because she has some life experiences to unlearn.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
my friend has a beagle who she says pretty friendly, and my grandparents have a very large open yard so i thought i could stand at a distance and slowing move closer then drive around places with dogs just to let her see. we tried once about a year ago i had to do extra work but i got to try to take her to this walking bridge where lots of people bring there dogs or ride bicyles and when she was in the car she barked at the other dogs but when we got her out she was very scared so we left because i know that fear can turn into aggression. but this time i want to take much slower so thanks for the helpful info
 

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Let us know how you do.

Unwittingly, I seem to have "undone" some of my dogs prior social skills. She's great with humans, but struggles with some of the "getting to know" you doggy stuff.

I wish some of the dog training places offered some sort of social skills opportunities. It certainly seems like many people struggle with this, but there are few chances to address it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yes they should have classes for adult dog social skills because i have only seen it for puppies and i will post more on our proggress this summer when we get started thanks for all the helpful info
 
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