I want to take my 1y3m female Staffordshire Terrier to a dog park for the first time but she hasn’t been very socialized.

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/infygi/i_want_to_take_my_1y3m_female_staffordshire/

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My female staffie is about a year and three months old (my sister and I got her at 9-Ish months from Craigslist). Because of the pandemic and her extreme anxiety/behavioral problems, we haven’t been able to properly socialize her around other dogs. Her previous owners were meth heads who lived on a ranch, so she wasn’t even properly socialized with people until recently. We recently got to a reasonable level of anxiety with her and now she’s not as hyped and chaotic as she used to be so we think now would be a good time to start socializing her with other dogs (as soon as we get her spayed).

My dog doesn’t hate other dogs. In the few moments where she’s interacted with other dogs, she actually really loves them and gets super excited by them. The issue is that she has a tendency to jump on them playfully and she’s just overall kind of a rude dog (doesn’t give the other dog any space even when they’re uncomfortable and unintentionally puts them in defensive positions. She doesn’t even sniff them, she just goes for the play immediately). I can tell it’s done mostly out of play and ignorance, but she’s a staffie so I don’t want other people’s dogs to freak out especially since she’s kind of gone deaf when it comes to other dog behaviors (e.g. dog could be growling but she still wants to play). She’s a very submissive dog and not the type to bully but again, she’s a staffie and I don’t want other people freaking out about her.

Another concern is that in a dog park, neither me nor my sister can really control her very well. She responds to commands but when she’s really excited, she doesn’t really listen so she would either have to be on a long leash or we would have to be basically running after her the whole time.

She’s already getting older and while there’s still a lot of obedience work to do, we don’t want to wait too long before socializing her or else she might have a rough learning curb later on. Plus when it comes to socializing, the earlier the better.

I would like to do it in a more controlled setting, but the pandemic makes that very difficult. It’s not like I can just join a dog club and meet up with other owners and the same goes with meeting with neighbors. I don’t really have friends with other dogs (only cats) so I can’t meet up with them either.

What should I do and is taking her to a dog park even possible? I feel like it’s the only way to introduce her to other dogs and get her accustomed to them, without breaking quarantine too much. Thanks a lot.

TLDR: My 1y3m Female Staffie hasn’t been socialized with dogs and I feel like a dog park is the only way I can get her to meet other dogs given the pandemic circumstances. I’m afraid her inexperience with other dogs will cause trouble, but I don’t want to wait too long to socialize her. I really love her and I’m open to any suggestions. Thank you.

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