I try to be responsible about it; both of my dogs have been to training classes, are dog friendly and my puppy went to several socialization classes before he went to the park for the first time.I trust both of my dogs as they are around other dogs constantly and don't engage with aggressive dogs. (they back off right away). I also make sure they are healthy and have all of their vaccinations. I also try to go when it isn't too busy.
One dog trainer we went to class with says to never take your dogs to the park because it is bad for the bond you have with your dog and that parks are full of unstable dogs. The other said it was ok and actually encouraged it for stable dogs like Leonard (they use him in class to play with the shy dogs because he isn't too aggressive or excited and is pretty laid back).
Yesterday I was walking into the park and this woman with a boxer mastiff mix off leash (in the on leash area) walked by. My dogs didn't go towards the dog but the boxer ran up, grabbed my sheepie and started going after him, growling and shaking sheepie. The owner kept walking and told her dog to stop in a baby voice. I knocked the dog off my sheepie (this is where having dogs who don't engage comes in handy) and told the lady that her dogs behaviour was uncalled for (I tried to be polite but I was pretty upset) and she just kept walking. When I got into he park my friend said that the boxer had done the same thing to her husky and another dog at the park and the lady had ignored it. The rest of the visit was fine as usual, dogs play rough (sheepie included) and that's a given at the dog park.
I have been taking my dog to the parks in our city regularly for two years now and have had only a few visits that weren't positive. The law requires that your dogs are obedience trained and not aggressive before you bring them to the parks (obviously animals are unpredictable so this isn't a perfect system).
I know there are risks going to the dog park but my question for you all is how many people shun dog parks? How worried should I be? Are dog parks work the risk to you?
|We have a really nice dog park that we use various times throughout the year where we vacation. Dogs and owners are very good for the most part. Last week there was one that looked questionable from the start. It's a good indication of possible trouble when the owner makes no move to correct their dog when it picks on others. The guy just turned the dog loose and ignored him the entire time. So much for responsible pet ownership. |
I'll still be willing to take Nelson to this park although we're always very careful to read the body language of dogs and their people. When this one particular dog started getting mouthy with all the dogs and tension continued to escalate that day, we simply left. Chances are this guy and his dog won't be there next time so it won't prevent us from going back. We're just very careful about who is there and watch closely.
Always be sure you have your leash on your person. It doesn't hurt to carry a can of of Spray Shield (citronella spray that dogs hate but is harmless). If it's bad enough for actual pepper spray (or baseball bat!), rethink going to that park again. Everyone should have fun and not be intimidated by a dog or two with irresponsible owners.
|I actually don't bring Brick to the dog park anymore, but not because of the "unpredictable atmosphere".|
I stopped going because of fleas. Brick picked a few of them up last year at our dog park and we've never been back since.
But as far as rude dogs, I was never worried. Brick's an Airedale and they're tough SOBs. He can hold his own. No dog has ever given him serious crap and he's never backed down from one that tried.
|I haven't taken mine for a while but mainly since we do other things. I don't like to take puppies - even older puppies (say my one year olds) to dog parks, but I have no problem taking the others, with the following strategy:|
1) I bring at least 3 of mine. They are their own pack and could care less about other dogs and usually just pretend they don't exist, which is what I want. We don't need buddies, we need exercise.
2) I never stop and chat with anyone but rather constantly keep moving
3) I avoid or skirt areas where lots of dogs congregate
4) if possible, go at times when you expect park to be sparsely populated (in Wisconsin, during a Green Bay Packer game is a good bet <snicker>)
With these guidelines in mind I've never had an issue. I've witnessed issues among other dogs and just keep walking. Not my problem.
It IS hard because free exercise on good surfaces is better for all dogs. Nowhere I can think of (outside of dog parks, or, if you're really lucky, private property) can you hike with dogs offlead anymore, no matter how well trained, and that's a bummer.
|We don't have a dog park anywhere near us, but hopefully one will be built soon. I think I'd like to take Bailey to socialize more, she needs some socialization away from Eevee. She got along with Schubert at the Sheep-In, and I'm hoping to find more dogs she can be buddies with. Agility class starts Tuesday, maybe that will help too.|
|Dog parks are a good place to socialize for sure. |
Kristine, I really like that my dogs aren't the only ones that form a 'pack' and mostly ignore those around them. Every once in a while my boys will play with other dogs in the park but it's more as we pass by and they will not notice other dogs who come up to greet them.
Our dog park is not busy between the end of November and the beginning of February as the weather is so cold. I find if I dress warm and shorten my visit the cold is ok. My dogs love the cold. I avoid the large field area with picnic tables where most people sit and let their dogs run around. I like to take all of the trails through the woods and let my doggies run in the long grass.
I do try not to stop and talk but so many people now know Leonard by name and will make a point to stop and talk to him and call him over, he loves this as he prefers the people at the park to the dogs. people also want to know what Leonard is; before I got a sheepie avoiding the people at the park was soo much easier.
I enjoy dog parks but I was pretty worried when I heard from the professionals that dog parks were bad for dogs. Was just wondering what others thought; short of buying a big property in the country dog parks are the best choice for my guys lately.
P.s. fleas? Yikes! I have never had that happen.... Yet another thing to worry about.
|I used to take Simon to the dog park daily. He loved it. I had friends there and we would chat for awhile while the dogs played. Simon always insisted on walking after checking out the dogs so we would go for a nice long walk and than come back and play some more. I always knew where Simon was and what he was doing and kept an eye out for less than friendly dogs.|
Then we adopted Gar. Whole nother story. I don't know what it is with this dog, but other dogs take one look and the hackles go up and it can get ugly. It took me a few months, but I stopped taking the dogs because of Gar. Every great once in awhile I will take them seperately, mainly so I can keep a very close eye on Gar...so trouble doesn't find him.
I should also add that where I go is not actually a "dog" park. Its just a huge area that is open, has wide fields with rolling hills and some walking paths. Sadly, it will be taken over with building in the next few years.
|We take the dogs to a dog park once or twice a week as it is good for socialization, and the dogs enjoy meeting their own kind, especially Buster who wags his tail at the mini-dogs. Reckon they got two bouts of dog lice and fleas from the dog park but think it is worth the risk. Usually meet the more aggressive dogs, not at the dog park but at more excluded off leash areas. A bad run in at the dog park would not put us off.|
|We stopped going because it doesnt seem Kenny really enjoys it. He get's a lot of exercise and socialization with other dogs at his daycare. We had a really bad experience the last time when this dog came up and kenny snapped at him once and the dog went off and was all over him. I couldn't fault the other owner or dog because Kenny initiated it but it left a bad taste in my mouth and I dont want to put him in a spot where he doesnt want to be and where he could potentially start a fight against much bigger dogs.|
|Of course there's risk in any activity, but I think the benefits outweigh those risks. I wouldn't want to bubblewrap my dogs and have them grow sick and depressed through obesity and inactivity. I want them to be happy, well-socialized and well-exercised.|
There are two dog parks I frequent. Our local one just 3 blocks away, the girls have many friends there (including their best friend Keeva, the Irish Setter)
We socialize with other owners, and our sheepies are extremely popular of course. My girls focus a lot on socializing there as well.
The other one, I often refer to as "Bruce Pit", its official name. This one we have to drive to, and it's huge, lots of offleash hiking trails through trees, on weekends with nice weather, it's a zoo, peaking at over a hundred dogs easily. However, my girls are always more focused on sniffing and exploring there, they rarely socialize with other dogs, though there has been the occasional dog they run into where they decide they want to play. We also march past quickly the "lobby" where a lot of people often tend to congregate and socialize. If and when a dog fight breaks out, it's inevitably there. I've never had problems with my girls, they seem to sense and avoid potential problem dogs. Though, the attention they get from the humans can sometimes get totally crazy.
On a related note, we may be over-cautious, but we never allow the girls to drink from public water bowls, in dog parks or anywhere else. We bring our own water.
|Due to the stories I have heard (esp on here).. I was against taking my dog to the dog park. I just didn't want anything to happen to my precious little Yuks... who is not the type to defend herself. She'd totally get her butt whipped. |
anyway... but then we started to go to the one "in our neighborhood," and I'm cool with that one. We've had a few incidents where a dog didn't like yuki, but nothing that deterred me from going again. A few times they people brought their "new rescue" who they knew nothing about ...and those didn't go well either, BUT I really feel confident that the people who come are responsible. Generally, it's only the same group of people who meet up at the same time every night.
My mil has the same type of park in her neighborhood and I've had 100000000000000 more fights there than at our place... guess many of the retired folks there are completely blind to their dog possibly being a "trouble maker" since the times we have got into it with another dog... it was a repeat offender that others knew to stay away from. With that said, I even feel comfortable there. I just bring a water gun with me, and always put Yuki back on a leash when a new dog comes so I can ask about their dog first...
|Well I would go and dogs need to go & mix with other dogs. One thing I would of grab the woman & start shaking her . I would not be happy at all and the boxer/Mastiff would have a size 14 stuck up its bottom. These type of people need to be shot . I would report the lady and her dog.|
|you wrote: I do try not to stop and talk but so many people now know Leonard by name and will make a point to stop and talk to him and call him over, he loves this as he prefers the people at the park to the dogs. people also want to know what Leonard is; before I got a sheepie avoiding the people at the park was soo much easier.|
Call me paranoid but this is exactly the reason why I never share my dogs' real names with strangers while at the local neighborhood park where we often walk - on leash when there are others around or off leash early mornings or late nights when no one else is around. It is not a dog park. I did that once and had the same experience - people always wanting my dog to come visit with them and calling to them against my wishes. So now I just reply "fluffy" when someone point blank asks me for the name of one of my dogs. That way the dogs don't respond and I simply keep moving.
Picture this - which really happened - I am walking a young adolescent (10 mos) dog off leash at an empty park one morning. No one else is present. A car pulls into the parking lot. The occupants open the door and start calling the young puppy - here puppy, puppy and offer a treat to the dog all the while calling to them incessantly. The dog starts to run in their direction to investigate. THANK GOD this puppy already had a rock solid recall on him (or else he would not have been off leash in the first place) and he stopped at mid point of the distance (40 ft or so) between them and the car and immediately turned and ran back to me as soon as I called for him to COME. I know in my gut (and I am 99% sure of this) that the people in the car were going to steal my puppy and I would never have seen him again. I am pretty sure they had seen us around the park at an earlier time/day and hatched this scheme to steal him away. Just think if they had known the name of my puppy?
We don't do dog parks as here in L.A. as the only one nearby is too small and very crowded nearly 100% of the time and it has just proven to be a breeding ground for fleas, parasites and doggy disease. It's just too concentrated because it's too small (only 3/4 acre) for the sheer number of dogs using it every day.
Sure wish we had a nice doggy park with lots of room to spread out to try. I would at least give it a chance.
|...no dog park here! You are obliged to hold your leash anytime, anywhere...but I 'm off leash when I go forest......;o)|
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