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Old 02-15-2014, 03:43 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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Originally Posted by Shakou View Post
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.
Agreed. I've only been to dogparks (3 of them) a few times and they were all disasters. I saw dogs being wheelbarrowed off of other dogs because they wouldn't let go. I saw dogs pick relentlessly at other dogs. Mob attacks at the gates. Etc.

Yep, I take a risk every time we go hiking. I don't think it's near the risk as a dogpark.

I have 90 acres of legal offleash area where I'll either be alone or have friends' dogs there. I'll do that instead.

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Old 02-15-2014, 03:58 PM
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Southpaw Southpaw is offline
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I love my dog park. These days we don't even go to play with other dogs, Juno is way past that. We go because she then gets to run around and prance through the trees and splash in the pond, and maybe occasionally find a dog she wants to play with.... and I can just walk around it at my own pace. I let her off leash other places, but this is the only place where it's legal to let her off, and where I don't have to be 5 steps ahead of her so that I can call her and leash her if I see someone.

I don't see cliques, I don't see fights, I really hardly even see problematic dogs. Our entrance gate is away from the main part of the park, so there is no crowding unless a lot of people are coming/going at the same time... and I just choose to hang back and wait for it to clear out, then.
At worst there will be an obnoxious dog, but I'm not going to care about that if none of the other dogs care about it.

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Old 02-15-2014, 04:13 PM
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BostonBanker BostonBanker is offline
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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.
For me, if it has gotten to the point where my dog needs to "work it out" with another dog, it has already gone too far. Meg's a great dog for that sort of thing - she's 100% tolerant for puppies, but quick and loud while correcting pushy/rude/overly friendly dogs without ever getting involved enough that there have been punctures or anything like that. But it isn't her job to train other people's dogs. It is my job to keep her from feeling like she needs to react that way.

The only time I let my dogs "work it out" is between the two of them, because they have to live together. They don't need to work it out with any other dogs any more than I need to "work it out" with random people I meet and don't agree with. I just avoid them.

I think it comes down to looking at the benefit:risk ratio (for dog parks and for anything else you do with your dog). I remember having the same discussion when someone brought up people who walk their dogs off-leash on city streets and in parking lots. Yes, off-leash is ALWAYS a risk. For me, the benefit of having one of my dogs off leash in a parking lot do not outweigh the risk; the benefit of having them off leash in the woods while hiking does. For me, the benefits of taking my dogs to a dog park do not outweigh the risks; for someone like Fran it does. Not only because the benefits are higher (only place to let the dog off-leash, while I have lots of options), but the risks are lower (dog handles them well, known group of people).

I still don't love dog parks; I still wouldn't recommend them to the vast majority of owners I know. I don't blame a trainer for advising their students to avoid them.

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Old 02-15-2014, 04:20 PM
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Sally is not a dog park dog, but Jack enjoys it. I don't usually socialize with the people though, I prefer hanging with him. He usually does well, but Jack can be a humper and if he tries anything I use the verbal command "Off" and if that doesn't work immediately I physically remove him. He really just likes running around with the other dogs, greeting the other owners, them we walk the parameter of the park a few times. What's funny is that when there are a number of dogs there they all seem to enjoy walking with us, so there is usually a group of owners standing around while all their dogs follow me around the park.

I agree with Fran about city living. It is hard enough to find a legal off leash (non dog park) place here and we are not in a huge town, I can't imagine a major city. BUT, we do have 3 public dog parks and one private one in the county. I'm thankful we do have a fenced yard.

I don't think it's a good idea for a trainer to just tell people to avoid dog parks vs giving them safety tips. The trainer we take classes with is someone I respect very much, but if she told me to avoid dog parks because they are dangerous I would ignore the advice, and I'm sure I'm not alone. If people are going to go anyway better to prepare them IMHO.

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Old 02-15-2014, 09:28 PM
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I'm just glad that I don't go to a typical dog park very often and have one with rules/regualtions, relatively safe dogs and responsible owners that vaccinate their dogs.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:49 PM
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JacksonsMom JacksonsMom is offline
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I'm indifferent with dog parks in general these days. I do think you have to know your dog, their temperament/level of training, and also know what the park is like, regarding the people/dogs that attend, and then try to minimize risk. For the most part, I find dog park goers mean well. But of course you always get the idiots.

I used to frequent two parks, but more one than the other. Nowadays, I rarely go "for the dog park" but rather to walk around the state park, and then possibly make a visit to the small dog park if we see some dogs in there that look friendly or that Jackson would enjoy. He's a little bit 'over' the dog park in general lately as far as playing with other dogs, BUT sometimes he will find a dog that he REALLY enjoys and will run/wrestle/play/etc and it's always nice to see. Other days, he just enjoys the new smells, peeing on things, and walking around by himself. But he's never unhappy to go there.

I typically know what times and days to go, and what dogs (and breeds, honestly) to avoid. If I see something I'm uncomfortable with, we leave. I consider myself pretty good at reading dog body language as well as my own. I will say that I see a lot more issues on the big dog side, and even though I used to go in there with Jackson (when I'd meet friends with bigger dogs) - I won't do it anymore. I'm too nervous after seeing a few things.

If Jackson didn't enjoy it at all, we'd no longer go. But, he's a fairly chill guy - he knows to avoid certain dogs, or not egg dogs on, etc. He's very respectful of other dogs and understanding of when they want to wrestle, or chase, or just lay down together. He's very good at reading other dogs and stays out of any potential trouble. BUT, he will get very defensive if a dog starts something with him or hurts him, which is why we don't do the big dog side anymore and haven't in over a year. I don't ever want to put him in that position.

But overall we've had very positive experiences at the dog park and I think they're mostly a good thing, but there are always going to be idiots out there, and I have seen my fair share, but... it is what it is. I just think it's good that there are more people that want to do things with their dogs.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:11 AM
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mrose_s mrose_s is offline
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I personally, will not use dog parks. A few reasons.

My dog is not a "dog park" dog. She has major confidence issues with other dogs that we work on in controlled socialisation sessions with the right dogs for her and their benefit.

The dog parks here are crap. They are small, boring, fenced in accidents waiting to happen. I love the idea of quiet a few acres with trails and water and bush and room to get away from one another. But a house block on the side of a busy road with nothing to do except interact with other dogs. No thanks. I think this is an extremely big ask of most dogs, many of which are poorly socialised and belong to owners with little idea of what they are actually looking at and no control over their dog.

Nearly every week I work with or assess dogs that's owners say things like "He loves the dog park, but if there is a toy he will fight", "We took him to the dog park after we adopted him from the pound and he was really good" or "She's great, but if she's on the beach and she see's another dog 100m away, there is no chance of getting her back"

All that being said, I think we need more places to appropriately socialise our dogs. Untill 18 months ago I knew NO-ONE with social dogs Quinn could interact with. Other than the odd meeting at herding she got little interaction, my anxieties and her timid nature meant this led to fear aggression with other dogs.
A big part of what we do at work is help dogs with their social skills, I'm still learning a lot but I love it. And these controlled interactions is what is fixing my dog.
Today she ran with an entire GSD (known him for over 12 months) an entire ACD (met him yesterday for the first time - totally smitten because he's entire ) and an altered male Lab who is friendly but lacks social skills Ie: He's a raper. She was mostly relaxed except when she had to tell the lab he really needs to back off with the rape advances. Fair enough in my opinion.

I do think lack of awareness of correct body language and social skills in dogs is a major, major problem in most dog parks. We need more places for people and dogs to learn this.

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Old 02-16-2014, 04:45 AM
ruffiangirl ruffiangirl is offline
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Maybe it's because our dog park is smaller, or because of the shift work (few people here work 9-5, they usually work 12 hour shifts, 7 days, 7 nights and 2 weeks off) so the dog park isn't ever really busy, except Sundays, but I see few squabbles, and in 5 years have only seen one actual fight, neither dog ended up needing a vet visit though. When things happen the owners tend to react quickly, and not by yelling. There of course is the random doorknob who doesn't see their dog as a problem, even when it fixates on another dog, if that happens to be my dog we leave. The park isnt really big enough to move elsewhere. It has a separate part for small dogs as well.

People avoiding pick up their dog crap is a big problem, especially in the winter, spring is absolutely gross, once the snow starts to melt a few people get together and do mass clean ups, many of us will pick up an extra pile when cleaning up after our own dogs as well. And most of us will happily tell someone where their dogs pile is as well.

As for what most of this blog said it's a one sided piece and the line at the end about walking your dog only with your friends dog is utter drivel. Maybe on huge city streets you have little chance of encountering an unleashed dog, but I have never ever taken a walk where I haven't encountered an unleashed dog, many of which have attempted to attack mine, twice Diesel would have been dead if Gage hadn't been there. These were not dogs that ran at us from down the street, giving me time to get him out if harms way, these were dogs that came from behind objects just as we walked by, here my dogs have less of a chance of getting attacked at the dogs park with my own "research".
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:28 PM
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Dogdragoness Dogdragoness is offline
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Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
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.
I used to go when Izze was young, but then she wouldn't stand for mounting or mobbing behavior. then I moved out into the country and I have 70 acres, so I don't need DP's anymore

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Old 02-16-2014, 03:43 PM
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Dizzy Dizzy is offline
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No dog parks here.... Fights still happen.

Idiots still occur.

I was in the middle of nowhere today and Bodhi got into a fight. 2 reactive dogs came round a blind corner in the middle of nowhere on a super thin ridge path and tried to tear lumps out of each other. Couldn't have predicted it, but it happens.

My only observation would be I guess dog parks hold a higher density of dog owners and therefore likelihood is some are gonna be crap.

Doesn't mean walking elsewhere = you won't ever meet any.
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They do not know jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing wasn't boring, it was peace."

Bodhi is the opposite of ignorance, the insight into reality which destroys mental afflictions and brings peace.

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