Dog Park Funk?

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So I’ve been taking my 7 month old McNab Collie mix to the dog park regularly (3/4 times a week at the least) for about 3 months now. For the first month, she was obviously still getting used to a surrounding with so many different dogs- and just generally surveying her different ways of socializing and interacting with other dogs and owners. She generally plays really well with big and small dogs, but since she’s a “medium sized” dog on the bigger side, we started choosing to go to the bigger dog side, as the small dog parks are usually full of super small dogs, and there is not enough room for her to run all her classic Collie energy out.

Recently, however, she’s been displaying some strange behaviors. She’s usually really good with other dogs, and while she loves to rough house, she’s never actually aggressive or hurting them. It’s just typical puppy play. She’s used to bigger dogs, and plays with all of them ranging from other Collies her size to 90 pound Huskies and GDS’s…. in other words, really big dogs.

The last two times she’s been to the park, however, she’s been suddenly freaking out and acting very aggressive towards other big dogs (snarling, showing teeth, even lunging if the dog doesn’t get out of her grill). Last week, I took her to the park with a friend and his dog, who is the same age and roughly the same size as my dog. My friends dog got upset that my dog was playing with another dog, and attacked the other dog. My dog started freaking out after that, growing and jumping at other dogs. I figured that she was doing that because she was upset and agitated at what went down between my friends dog and the dog she was playing with.

Oddly enough, however, I took her to one of the two parks we frequent today, and after about 2 minutes of playing, she started being aggressive again. After she freaked out on the big dog side today, I took her to the little dog side, and she played just fine with a 10 pound frenchie puppy (she’s 30 pound).

Has anyone else had this experience with their pups- specifically if your dog is at that awkward stage where they’re too big for the little dog side but not big enough for the big dog side? She’s really rough and I don’t want her accidentally hurting a small dog, but I also don’t want her provoking an attack from a bigger dog. For reference, both of these incidents occurred at parks that aren’t our “regular” park- she’s never had issues at that park, but I’m hesitant to take her there if she continues to act in this way- as she is now too big for the small dog section at that particular park. I don’t want to overwhelm or put my dog at risk, so some input/experiences would be nice! Thank you!

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