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Old 02-13-2014, 02:04 PM
Adjecyca1 Adjecyca1 is offline
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So i know this is gonna ruffle some feathers but i thought this was worth sharing...

*Note i do realize that not ALL dog parks are the same*
http://thesciencedog.wordpress.com/2...g-park-people/
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:47 PM
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My issue with things like this, is that it is a loaded statement without correlating documentation of risk.

Dogs are always put in danger. If your dog is never in some danger, you probably aren't doing anything with the dog. I am not saying you shouldn't manage risks and minimize them. But taking dogs for walks might cause attacks by loose aggressive dogs, slipped leads to car accidents, and so on.

And there's dog sports with it's risk of injury. Are the odds of injury higher or equal relative to those things? I doubt anyone can say anything that is not anecdotal. I have been going to a dog park for a long time, and Kobe has been on a receiving end of a rather vicious attack.

But I have had more close calls while taking him to Petco than I ever had at a dog park, and I only take him to Petco once every couple months.

So yeah, sure, there's a risk of injury at a dog park. I have yet to see anything indicating it's a higher risk than anything else.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBark View Post
My issue with things like this, is that it is a loaded statement without correlating documentation of risk.

Dogs are always put in danger. If your dog is never in some danger, you probably aren't doing anything with the dog. I am not saying you shouldn't manage risks and minimize them. But taking dogs for walks might cause attacks by loose aggressive dogs, slipped leads to car accidents, and so on.

And there's dog sports with it's risk of injury. Are the odds of injury higher or equal relative to those things? I doubt anyone can say anything that is not anecdotal. I have been going to a dog park for a long time, and Kobe has been on a receiving end of a rather vicious attack.

But I have had more close calls while taking him to Petco than I ever had at a dog park, and I only take him to Petco once every couple months.

So yeah, sure, there's a risk of injury at a dog park. I have yet to see anything indicating it's a higher risk than anything else.
Exactly.
Nobody is saying that dog parks aren't risky... but taking your dog OUTSIDE is risky
taking your dog off leash is risky
dog sports are risky
herding is risky
swimming is risky

It's about cost vs reward. I consider the fun Merlin has at the park WORTH the risk of him getting hurt.
And we go about 3-4 times a week and have YET to have an issue in a year and a half.

Some dogs are good dog park candidates, some aren't. Fights happen... but to say that the MAJORITY of dogs that attend are stressed or attacked or whatever is ridiculous. Lots of dogs REALLY enjoy them and lots of owners are responsible.

People who don't go to dog parks also seem to have the odd idea that dog parks are ALWAYS FULL and ALWAYS FULL OF STRANGE NEW DOGS. Wrong. ever wonder what all those people are doing huddled together? Chances are, they know eachother and their dogs know eachother.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:51 PM
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I just find the whole "essay" biased. Like, yes, of course there are reports of "lots" of bad things happening at dog parks... because comments about "normal" (i.e. responsible or proper) behavior are almost never made in general. You wouldn't applaud someone for putting their own trash in the bin, but you (generally) very well might say something to them if they toss it on the ground instead.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:51 PM
krissy krissy is offline
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I found the bit a out avoidance interesting. I suppose I am supposed to be extremely vocal about a Doug's poor behaviour. But in my experience that doesn't actually result in the owner bringing the dog less, just makes them hostile. So yes, I use avoidance. I know what dogs (or owners) are a problem and if I see them I immediately leash my dogs and leave.

All of the attacks that have happened on my dogs have happened at work at the teeth of my boss' dogs (Summit was attacked by one that has since passed, Kili was attacked by the other one as a pup, and then just the other day their two "new" dogs went after her and I had to use the voice of God on them to make them back off).

It is prudent to use caution at the dog park. But it's worked out pretty well for us. It's honestly more relaxing for me to go for a hike with my dogs though. Policing at the dog park is exhausting.
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:57 PM
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It's honestly about how I feel, with my experiences with our local dog parks. I am well aware that parks vary a LOT. I've seen everything from the "just let the dogs work it out!" attitude, to people trying to correct dogs they don't own for behavior that they consider an issue.

The people tend to form horrid cliques (no, I don't miss junior high, thanks) and some are flat out mean to new people.

Thank heavens I live here, where I have about a dozen other very easy options for exercising my dogs. I understand the need for people in more urban areas to find some way to let their dogs off leash.

I made Meg go to the dog park a fair amount when she was younger (which blows my mind now). Gusto has never been, and probably never will, despite his stellar dog skills. It's just as easy to hook up with friends for hiking or to let the dogs play in an open field.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:43 PM
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I think the blog is a bit ridiculous, to be honest. As others have said, anywhere can be dangerous.

There are playgrounds for children. Do you avoid a playground because your child got a scraped knee?

I've been to dog parks where there were some ignorant people. They either didn't know proper dog (park) etiquette or could care less. I think if you just pay attention to your dog(s) and the dogs around you, you shouldn't have many issues. The people are usually more of a problem. The dog park I went to was fairly cliquish but I liked it. People informed newcomers about the rules and the regulars. They weren't rude about it, but if a dog was getting out of hand, they would offer help.

Dog parks are the ONLY socialization some dogs will ever receive. No, dog parks are not the best place ever or 100% safe but I don't feel like the alternative is something that should be promoted.

Plus I'm lazy. Having a dog does not make me an athlete. I don't want to hike 5 miles so I can wear Gwen out. I don't like the outdoors. Walking is not enjoyable for me. And I'm not setting up play dates with dogs so she can be social.

A dog park helps me out a lot. I understand they're not for everyone but I think it's pretty crappy as a trainer to tell clients dog parks are off-limits.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:10 PM
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I agree with a lot that has already been posted.

I also think that the number of "fights" is way higher than the fights where a dog is actually hurt.

Leo has been in three small scuffles. Each time it was with a pitbull, and always taking the same scenario: pitbull body checks and plays too rough for Leo, Leo snarks because he doesn't like it (showing teeth, not making contact), pitbull takes offense at being snarked at, and happily starts something in a "I am not going to start it but I am going to end it!" kind of way
Does it make me more hesitant when a pitbull shows up at the dog park? Sure. But the thing is, all three times it has been slobber and a lot of noise, and nothing else. Leo has always shaken it off and been happy to sniff the same dog once the situation resolved. So I am not going to stop taking my dog to the dog park just because of that. Do I tend to be more cautious of certain dogs and call Leo to me pre-emptively? Absolutely.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:07 PM
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I don't have a dog park dog and probably never will. I simply do not think it's a good idea to bring a bull breed to a dog park, for example. Never trust a bulldog not to fight. Not saying they start everything, but they most likely will finish it.

My other dog is a great candidate for dog parks, but he dislikes them. In my experience they've been free for alls.
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:06 AM
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I don't know, I used to work for a trainer who used the "punctures are like scraped knees" argument for letting dogs work things out between themselves. I believed it and preached it for years.

But the way I see it now, a puncture is like scraped knee - that my kid got because some other kid pushed him down. Not that he got because he was running and tripped.

I don't consider it good socialization for my dogs to have to deal with pushy dogs by defending their own space. Or to have to be on the defense because there are strange dogs about. Meg's dog reactivity has dropped immensely since I stopped expecting her to deal with such things, and Gusto, who has never in his life been put in a position where he had to be defensive, has some of the best dog skills I've ever seen in a dog. He will play with anyone, and is an expert at eliciting play from dogs who are nervous, but he never, ever runs up to a dog and pushes into their space.

It is easy for me to text a friend and say "hey, my dogs need to burn off some steam, want to meet at the fairgrounds/school?" and let them play with a couple of dogs I know very well, and whose owner has similar expectations for her dogs' behavior. Or to go for a 20 minute off leash hike in a field. I'm also happy to go for a 2 or 3 hour off leash hike in the woods a couple of times a week, which I realize isn't for everyone.

I know dog parks work great for some people, but I'd never recommend them. I don't blame trainers for saying the same thing. Most people don't have the skills to read dogs and know when they need to get their dog out of there, so they learn by trial and error.

Like I said, I get that they work for some people and their dogs. And I also understand (and am jealous) that dog parks mean different things for different people. Here, it's the acre or two of fenced in open space. I've seen pictures of "dog parks" on this board that are huge hiking areas.
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