Hello all... I haven't posted lately because all has been well, but now I really need some advice.....
Background: I adopted Opie from the N. TX GSP rescue a little over a year ago when she was about 5 mos.... she's about 18 mos now. She has always had some social issues with people, mainly shyness. However, she doesn't have the same problem with dogs. She has no formal training but I have worked very hard with her and she is normally very well behaved.
Problem: Over the past 3-4 months I have been the embarrassment of the dog park when she decides to "wrestle" in the water... uh, pretty much the equivlent of drowning another dog. She's never hurt another dog, they always just bob right back up. However, this behavior is absolutely not ok. The owners of the other dog nearly always freak out. She only does it to young dogs/puppies so I think that its a dominance tactic. To make the situation worse, she won't listen to commands, almost like she's in prey mode (same behavior as when she has caught a bird). Usually the way to get her out/to stop is to call the other dog out of the water and then she still won't come right to me (so i can grab her and reprimand) so I have to trick her. Once this happens, I DO NOT let her back in the water and we immediately leave.
My only thought is to use a check cord to "reel" her back in and then give IMMEDIATE behavior correction, but that's probably just more dangerous than its worth.
How is she with the other dogs when they are not in the water?
She is completely fine with other dogs. We have been going to that park 2-5x a week since last summer.
When we walk in she is shy of the other dogs at very first. We take one lap to the far end (passing the water) where she walks, ignoring other dogs, and goes to do her business. If other dogs try to check her out before or during her "warm-up lap" she tucks her tail and cowers but never shows any signs of agression... we then continue on with the warm-up. After the first lap she is good to go and completely fine with nearly all dogs (she's scared of huge breeds: danes, great pyrenese, russian terrier, bouvier, etc... but always avoids them, she doesn't approach them).
How about try throwing on of those floatie things and have her retreive it and bring it back? That will keep her from trying to play in the water with the dogs.
I'm no expert but I think I'd work on her recall until it is 100%. Then allow her to play near the water with dogs that she tends to rough house with. Reward with some of her favorite goodies (food or toys) when she complies and remove her from the situation (no reward/no discplining) by the collar when she does not.
I wouldn't pull her away from the other dog to discipline, either. I'd assume by the time you pull her away it is too late and she will just associate leaving the other dog to come to you only to be reprimanded.