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  #11  
Old 02-14-2014, 06:16 AM
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Couldn't agree more with Boston Banker!!! I am not a fan of dog parks. I used to avoid them at all costs but I do have a beagle that LOVES a good game of chase at the park. He loves it so much that every once in a blue moon I take him there. Simply put, 15-20 people who love their dogs dearly but have very little understanding of canine body language and communication always seem to be standing in a circle not watching their dogs anyway. The let them work it out attitude is NOT happening with my dogs. If I see a dog acting inappropriate with my dog we move away. I don't need my dogs to be able to work out little scuffles, I need them to look to me for guidance. The whole work it out attitude is irresponsible IMO, the first couple of times it is alot of noise and gnashing of teeth, but as time goes on the 'little scuffles' can and do escalate. The difference with chazzers and other dog savvy people is that we can see the behavior changing and becoming more serious. We remove our dogs from the situation. End of story. But in my experience too many uneducated owners and dogs go to these parks. I have seen nasty fights and I have heard of much worse. So for that reason, I don't recommend dog parks to clients who are beginner dog owners. They certainly have their place but people do need to be aware of the risks.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:44 AM
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I am not sure what the correlation is between dog parks and "letting them work it out".

It's true that sometimes I let dogs work it out, but not to the extent that there may be puncture wounds. I have always preached that one of the best ways to make a dog park a good experience is a really solid recall.

Anytime I see a situation getting tense, I call Kobe to me and move to another area of the dog park. Or I leave altogether.

I am a huge supporter of dog parks. At the same time, I am a huge supporter of people being responsible for their dog's safety while there. You can't save everyone's dog. But you can watch your own.

Going to dog parks doesn't mean it's the park's responsibility to socialize your dog and ensure he has a positive experience. It's still yours.

I mean that analogy about a kid getting pushed down. Does that mean you should never let your dog interact with other kids, ever? No, it just means you need to be smart about making sure that sort of thing doesn't happen. Teaching your kid what to do in that situation is one big way of going about it. There will always be someone willing to push someone down, even as adults. In the same vein, I trained my dog to come to me and avoid such situations.

Sometimes that is not enough, and I have the scar on my hand to prove that from a Mastiff attack that ended with the Mastiff getting PTS and me getting rabies shots. But that was an extraordinarily rare situation, in the 8 years the dog park had been there, no one had seen something that bad happen (nor I.) It'd be like avoiding going outside for fear of getting hit by lighting. I got hit, it sucks, both me and my dog healed, we're moving on with our lives.
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  #13  
Old 02-14-2014, 08:12 AM
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The "let them work it out" thing seems to be the overall mindset at the dog parks in our area (maybe due to the trainer I mentioned). Dog humping? Another dog will tell it off if they are annoyed. Scuffle over a ball? They will work it out. New dog overwhelmed and scared? Don't help them out, let them learn to deal. And other owners are very vocal about those beliefs if you try to do otherwise.

As I said, I think there is a lot of variation from area to area. I can only speak for the four local ones I have experienced
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:25 AM
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The culture varies tremendously between parks around here. I am very lucky to have a huge, heavily wooded dog park near me. It's essentially a place to go hiking off-leash with your dog, and the people there are not there so much to socialize with each other. You don't see groups of people or dogs congregating, pairs or small groups may form for a quick game of chase or what have you as people pass each other but for the most part everyone is doing their own thing, and there is the space for them to do it. I find the people who go to this park are very dog savvy for the most part. I've been going there for 8-9 years with Pip and I've never had or seen a serious incident.

There is another park nearby that is more the "big fenced yard" style and occasionally I have gone there when there is empty to practice recalls, but for the most part I would not set foot inside for all the money in the world. People are there to stand around chatting and drinking coffee while their dogs play Thunderdome, they are extremely cliquish, and there definitely is a "if you intervene you're paranoid/let them work it out" mentality.

I think one of the worst design ideas for a dog park is to have the entrance visible to the dogs who are already there. It's ALWAYS a mob scene and so potentially dangerous. It's one of my dealbreakers. Although really I have no reason to go looking for another park with the one I have.
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Old 02-14-2014, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
The "let them work it out" thing seems to be the overall mindset at the dog parks in our area (maybe due to the trainer I mentioned). Dog humping? Another dog will tell it off if they are annoyed. Scuffle over a ball? They will work it out. New dog overwhelmed and scared? Don't help them out, let them learn to deal. And other owners are very vocal about those beliefs if you try to do otherwise.

As I said, I think there is a lot of variation from area to area. I can only speak for the four local ones I have experienced
I guess I'm just pretty confrontational in general. If someone tells me to let dogs work it out when I remove my dog from the situation, I'd disregard what they said. If they tried to push the issue, I'd tell them to mind their own business as politely as possible. Third offense wouldn't be polite!

I agree that there are some situations where it's better for humans to intervene. But I don't agree that there is never a situation where letting them work it out is better. A well timed correction by a level-headed dog is worth a hundred corrections by the owner.
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  #16  
Old 02-14-2014, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
The "let them work it out" thing seems to be the overall mindset at the dog parks in our area (maybe due to the trainer I mentioned). Dog humping? Another dog will tell it off if they are annoyed. Scuffle over a ball? They will work it out. New dog overwhelmed and scared? Don't help them out, let them learn to deal. And other owners are very vocal about those beliefs if you try to do otherwise.

As I said, I think there is a lot of variation from area to area. I can only speak for the four local ones I have experienced

I guess the main lesson here is that is depends on the dogpark and which people frequent said dogpark, rather than all dogparks being inherently good or bad.

I go to a very small dog park (which I think helps since people are closer to their dogs) and people are all over any potential problem. In the dog park that I go to, if your dog starts something, you are the one who immediately takes your dog and leaves. Humping is not tolerated either. I thought it was like that in other places, but I guess I am just lucky.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slick View Post
I guess the main lesson here is that is depends on the dogpark and which people frequent said dogpark, rather than all dogparks being inherently good or bad.

I go to a very small dog park (which I think helps since people are closer to their dogs) and people are all over any potential problem. In the dog park that I go to, if your dog starts something, you are the one who immediately takes your dog and leaves. Humping is not tolerated either. I thought it was like that in other places, but I guess I am just lucky.
Same here. If there are any issues, the owners take care of the dogs. I've had an owner come up to me, because her dog was playing with Gwen, and ask if it was okay since he was playing rough.

I can't imagine it being acceptable for someone to just stand by while their dog is being attacked or attacking.

I got really annoyed at one family. They had a large pit bull type dog who was very playful but also pretty rude. They sat OUTSIDE the dog park eating food and playing on their phones. (Rules clearly state no food and that a person must be in the dog park while their dog is. It also stated no kids.) While their dog harassed every single dog in the park. If I was subject to that kind of behavior often, I would not go to dog parks.
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  #18  
Old 02-14-2014, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBark View Post
I agree that there are some situations where it's better for humans to intervene. But I don't agree that there is never a situation where letting them work it out is better. A well timed correction by a level-headed dog is worth a hundred corrections by the owner.
I agree 100%. With strange dogs, I try to intervene initially until/unless I've talked to the owners, or if the other dog is clearly not comfortable.

I also think a lot of people either don't know the difference between situations where dogs can work it out themselves, or just aren't comfortable taking the chance that the other dog involved may not be level-headed. Especially if you have a bite-sized dog, I totally understand not wanting to take that kind of risk.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:26 PM
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I agree completely with a lot of what was said in the essay, because as a traveler and a former dog park regular, I've seen it all. Yes there are risks to taking your dog out no matter where you go, but the risks are MUCH higher at dog parks.

To each their own, people can decide for themselves if they want to bring their dogs to those places or not, but in general I think they're an awful idea. I'll stick to hikes on private and secluded land with all dogs I own from here on out.
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  #20  
Old 02-15-2014, 02:43 PM
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It's also very easy for people who don't live in cities like mine and apartments and don't depend on public transportation to say things like..
"Oh why not just go hiking?"
"Meet some dog friends on a trail"
"Go to a big open field"
"Stay on my own property"
etc..etc.etc..
because I hear it from people that don't live here all the time and who don't get it like WHY would anyone risk going to a dog park, WHY wouldn't you explore other solutions, "I would never!"

Trust me, if there was a world of dog friendly hiking trails and open fields in the middle of the city within commutable distance with no leash policies, Merlin has PLENTY of dog friends who would love to participate.
These places just aren't available.

Take a moment to consider that, for example, Merlin running off leash at the dog park is the ONLY chance Merlin gets to be off leash outside and run on a regular basis. This holds true for MANY dogs we know.

Ya, we jog, we have fun doggy boutiques and stores and daycares and living in the city does provide a really cool way to raise a dog.
BUT not all people who poo-poo on people who bring their dogs to the dog park perhaps don't realize that for A LOT OF PEOPLE, that one place is the ONLY legal place their dog has to run off leash where they live.

So yes, in the game of risk analysis for
A) Take my dog to the dog park and risk everything that comes with it
B) Have Merlin spend 7 days a week on leash other than very special trips to other locations (when the weather and transportation comes together in time to take a day off and do this trip..which isn't possible for everyone)

The dog park wins it.

Dog parks exist for a reason. People enjoy them, dogs enjoy them and for MANY dogs, it's the only place they have to run outside off-leash (legally)..I for one would be very sad to see them go because of a few essays and opinions of people who don't understand the kind of beautiful rare and appreciated green spaces dog parks are for many city dog owners.

Ya some are total **** shows and bad things happen and dogs will be dogs but say that to people who without them wouldn't have a place to let their dogs run off lead.

This is of course without the obvious people who just let their dogs off leash anywhere and make the world their dog park but people don't take too kindly on them either.
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