Puppy play date-large GSD kept approaching/bothering Frankie

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions-big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.


Cheese? PLEASE!
Barked: Sun Mar 17, '13 8:13pm PST 
First off, let me say I know not all dogs are perfect. Not all owners are perfect.

So, we took Frankie to a puppy play date at Petco today. It was surprisingly busy, there were about 8 dogs there when we got there, about 5 or 6 small/medium dogs and two larger-breed dogs.

Right off the bat, a German Shepherd took an interest in Frankie. We have not had Frankie around any large-breed dogs off-leash, or at least none as large as the GSD today. Frankie normally takes an interest in most dogs, a little sniff and a tail wag. Well, when the GSD approached, Frankie immediatley GROWLED at the dog...It was quite a vocal growl! shock

Totally took me by surprise, because Frankie is usually the one to make the friendly approach. It was all the more bothersome because this happened in the very first minute or so of getting there, so the store employee (who knows Frankie from us going there) and a couple other dog owners looked at us like Frankie was a nasty little dog (ahh, stereotypes!!)....WELL, this GSD did not get the message, and kept approaching Frankie (the GSD you could tell meant no harm, it looked very friendly/well-mannered), and Frankie was cowering in a corner, hair on the back of his neck standing up. I knew Frankie just was having a bad reaction to this dog, for whatever reason, and the GSD was not getting the hint, so I picked Frankie up and took him to another end of the play area, and the GSD followed. confused There were a couple other small dogs that Frankie was trying to take an interest in, but for some odd reason, this GSD kept following Frankie and butting in whenever Frankie was trying to play with/approach/sniff other dogs...thinking

I do not know who the owner was, I asked, and nobody seemed to know.

Finally Frankie did have a nice play session with a Bichon and another little beagle (with the GSD *still* interrupting, but by then Frankie was happy enough with his new playmates that he pretty much ignored the GSD)..

I was a little irked because the (new, or new to us) "dog trainer" came over and said "oh how nice, these two (Frankie and the Bichon) are playing, they both are not friendly dogs........."

Um, Frankie is, if anything, overly-friendly, except when some large dog is not up his butt..

Sorry, but her comment just kind of bothered me--I understand the growl at the very beginning obviously made Frankie appear "unfriendly" but I just found her comment to be pretty crass. He had a bad reaction to the one dog (who would not leave him alone), but he was fine otherwise....

The employees at that store (except for this dog trainer) know Frankie is very friendly--if anything, TOO friendly, and her comment just rubbed me the wrong way, although she is a rather new employee and this was her first time seeing Frankie..

At any rate, I would like to know how to handle this if it comes up again. I tried petting the GSD in a soothing tone, saying what a nice dog it is, so Frankie could see it IS a nice dog, but for some reason, Frankie just wasn't having it. (For the record, this GSD was the only large-breed dog Frankie was "annoyed" by. He was perfectly fine with the other large dogs.) The GSD was a female and I am 99% sure Frankie has never had some bad experience with a GSD. He was only 9 weeks when I got him, and we have never had him have any "bad" issues with a GSD, or any large-breed dog, really.

I wish they had a small-dog and large-dog area play area.

I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Sun Mar 17, '13 9:12pm PST 
I would have left. It sounds like Frankie told the GSD very clearly that he didn't want to interact and the GSD wasn't getting the message.

Ideally, the staff would have intervened and either re-directed the GSD or removed her from that particular play group. I find it concerning that they had no idea who or where the owner was...

Not very nice that the staff made thoughtless comments...especially since they were a large part of the problem. confused

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Mar 18, '13 9:35am PST 
GSD pups in my experience tend to be a bit oblivious. laugh out loud It doesn't surprise me at all that she wouldn't take the hint. I would have left, the fault lies with the staff not the dog and the comment was out of line for any professional.


Cheese? PLEASE!
Barked: Mon Mar 18, '13 10:21am PST 
I agree with both of you. smile
I guess I should take it with a grain of salt that it *is* Petco and the "dog trainer" looked to be about 18 years old, so I guess it is up to the owner's to be responsible (understandably so).

I may call them and request that play dates be divided into large dogs and small dogs, but I won't hold my breath...the play dates *are* free, so I guess I really can't complain tooo much! wink

Cheese? PLEASE!
Barked: Sat Mar 23, '13 7:42pm PST 
Well, well, well...
Tonight as I was relaying the story to S/O, he told me about the large german shepherd that lives in the house behind us (never seen the dog leashed, but they have the invsible fence or whatever it's called) and he said how the GSD made a bee line for Frankie one day and Frankie got away from S/O and luckily frankie was too fast for the GSD, because apparently the GSDD came within inches of grabbin hold of Frankie.

well that does explain a lot.
It also does not bode well that the owner of the GSD is apparently having continued problems with his 'invisible fence.'

What to do, what to do..
But it certainly explains a lot.

I did call Petco to ask after last week's episode if they will have separate areas (and with more than one owner annoyed that they had small dogs and large dogs grouped together in such a small area), and the 'trainer' said they will still have small and large breeds mixed together unless they have consistant high turn-outs with dogs. I think they might be wrong there, because some may NOT bring their dogs back due to all sizes mixed together in such a small space.

I don't understand what the issue is of having seprate areas. The small area they used could be for the small dogs, and they larger area they use in the back for the puppy classes culd easily be used for large dogs.

Ah well.

Will definitely monitor the situation very closely if we go again.
I know it sounds crazy to want to go again, but Frankie *did* enjoy playing with the other bichon and the beagle puppy when she was able to sneak past the GSD. And as I have said, we really have no fun options for Frankie to get canine companionship, and while in an ideal world we would get another small dog, that is just not do-able at this time. But I still would like to have Frankie keep up on his doggie manners, and the walks around the neighborhood with the dogs on their leashes just sniffing and greeting each other just isn't the same. frown

Who knew stressing about a puppy play date could be so...stressful......?? thinking