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Thread: How to negotiate dog parks

  1. #31
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    That's why I'm in favour of a dog owners' licence, Emm. It really could prevent lots of issues.

    I take my dog because there don't seem to be any other suitable off leash areas in our new suburb. Or I haven't found them yet. And also for socialisation. I never attended a dog club and I don't have enough friends with dogs to catch up with either. And my dog really loooves playing with other dogs. I was hoping that we could get to know a group of nice owners with nice dogs for her to zoom around with at the dog park.

    I do miss our old walking spot. It was big and not fenced. And there was a pond where owners used to take their dogs for a swim in summer, so if you wanted to find some doggy friends, you could always check there. If only I had a spare $200K to buy a house there instead of in our remote suburb!

  2. #32
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    Gosh, KM so sorry for what happened. That is just horrible.
    I am glad you used the boot, I would have also.

    We had a minor incident with a Husky at the beach. I asked the owner to call his dog off
    as Snoopy felt threatened and started crying like a sooky girl, eventually throwing himself
    on the ground.
    This guy insisted that they were"just playing" and his dog used to do the same. Ahem.
    I said - "just be ready to grab his collar if need be.
    If you don't then I will do whatever I have to to defend my dog".

    His dog did not "play" with anyone at all just went around standing over and staring down
    every other dog on the beach.

    I will just have to be more vigilant and avoid any big(ger) dogs from here on.
    We were milling around with a group of Labs and Mr Husky with the big balls just barged in.
    I usually try to block dogs that are rude but was caught napping this time.

    I hope Molly's foot heals quickly. Give her a hug from us xx
    Last edited by chubbsecurity; 07-29-2013 at 01:28 PM.

  3. #33
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    I find when it's better to over react early - ie scream at the woman to get her dogs off me. And Kick the hell out of them. it seems wrong but with dogs like that - backing off and being quiet is what prey does. And it just fires them up.

    I get my dog in behind me and whack the crap out of the aggressor with whatever I've got. But I try to get out of it before that. Sometimes chucking a large handful of kibble at the dogs faces before they get close helps.

    Being taller than the approaching dogs and very loud and deep - can help. Bending over to pick your dog up, just makes both of you prey.

  4. #34
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    We went last night and it was quite disappointing. The owners were all ok - apart from letting their dogs crowd the entry gate, I think that is so rude, but we now use the back gate. But Banjo would not relax and kept growling at any dog that came close. So I felt really quite bad for the other owners who had to keep calling their dogs.

    This is a steep learning curve for me. I did some more reading last night and I concluded that for one, my reaction to the growling is totally counterproductive. I tense up and pull her away and act annoyed. I now realise this is not helpful at all. Also, I send her off "to play" when I think she has calmed down. Instead of leaving it up to her and just playing with her myself.

    I really want to get her over this behaviour. I will avoid the over the top, rude dogs (and owners), but I want to be able to trust her to be polite when a friendly dog greets her appropriately and at the moment I can't.

    So my new strategy:
    Walk her around the dog park (on the outside), possibly take her in for a minute and walk back out, etc. This will hopefully make her less tense eventually.
    Engage with her through play and training when we are there. Has to go beyond a few short LAT sessions, I realised.
    If any growling occurs, walk her away from the other dog calmly and cheerfully and then get her to focus on me again. This last one is going to be tricky but will probably have the most effect.

  5. #35

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    Read through this whole thread and it made me think of a few things.

    All dogs should be socialised, but what does socialised mean? When I say that I think dogs should be socialised, I think that all dogs should be able to walk down a street with all manner of other things on that street and not create an issue. Other dogs, people, children, cars, buses etc, my opinion is that dogs should be socialised and neither fear nor react really to these things - makes it very hard for them to exist in society otherwise.

    Being open to playing with strange dogs however is a completely different kettle of fish. That's not socialised, that's tolerant to the extreme and social with strangers - two traits that don't necessarily come naturally to dogs. Which one of these behaviours are you expecting from your dog?

    The second thing I kept thinking was whatever you're feeling around your dog, they will pick up on it and it will affect their actions. To give you an example, I came home late today from work. When I got home, my housemate had a friend over and she had brought her corgi. Her dog is very dog aggressive and so they had my dog outside (which I wasn't happy about but that's another story). Anyway, I brought Sammy inside and sure enough, the corgi charged. Her owner called her - dog appeared to be deaf and continued trying to engage Sammy. Sammy and I have been in these situations enough times now for Sammy to trust me to look out for him, so he did nothing. I confronted her dog, it was surprised (don't think it knew humans could ever be top) and went back to her owner, who thankfully, leashed her. Once it was back closer to her owner though, feeling her energy rather than mine, it started up again. Her owner kept telling me she knew her dog was aggressive, always had been, always would be. I went to go buy some groceries and took Sammy. When I got back, they weren't anywhere to be seen but the corgi was in the loungeroom. She charged Sammy again but I blocked her and firmly told her no. She gave up like that - it's a corgi... and sat, looking up at me. They had no issues after that. About 10 mins later, her owner returned. She couldn't believe that Molly wasn't attacking Sammy and kept asking us all if we could believe it sigh. Anyway, then she started telling me how Molly could snap so quickly, I saw her starting to scare herself as she visualised this and sure enough, Molly suddenly reverted back to wanting to attack Sammy. Her dog gave up the behaviour no problems, but the human couldn't.

    Long-winded story but I think sometimes people forget how sensitive their dogs are to them. If you already 'know' what your dog is going to do, then you're probably already giving them the signals they have learned to associate that behaviour with. Create a situation where you have 100% control so you know what the outcome will be and that will then be the only message you're sending your dog. Once you've seen it, you can believe it and you can stop preparing yourself (and subsequently your dog) for the reaction you expect. You can't lie to your dog about these sorts of things.

  6. #36
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    people forget how sensitive their dogs are to them
    My dog has picked up that I don't like poodle crosses much, especially ones that are lunging at the end of the lead dragging their owners with them.

    She likes to tell them off for me. Most embarrassing. And I know it's my fault. I also have to be careful if I try scolding a dog that is about to pee on my stuff, because some (evil) bitch... has decided that this is her job too.

    I'm paying a bit more attention to my timing but - I know she's going to have a go at the poodle crosses, so I get her by the collar before they arrive and get out of the way, but this - while keeping her safe - also triggers her display of fierceness.

  7. #37
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    I took Molly back to the park today, the dogs that attacked her last weekend were there but I didn't realize, they were down in the far corner and it was very sunny/glarey so I couldn't see. Molly was standing about 30m away from me and I saw one of the dogs running towards her, recognized it straight away so called her over to me. As she was running to me, it caught up to her and bit her, she kept running and it kept running next to her, biting her. I was standing in a group of people, some sitting down and she ran and hid under the arm of a lady who was sitting down. I grabbed the nasty dog by its collar, still trying to attack Molly, gave it a boot and dragged it back to its owners who were only slowly walking up to us. They took it off me, didnt say a word, put it on a leash and took it back to the other end of the park.

    One of the other regulars then arrived, and was chatting to them after she came in the gate. When she came over to me I told her that it was the same dog that attacked Molly last week and she said that she knew and she had asked the owners why their dog was on the leash and they said "she was fighting with the black dog, they had a fight last weekend too, but it's because the black dog keeps annoying our dog"....

    They are SO lucky that they had left by that point, I'm very aware of 'annoying' dogs and make sure that my dogs are never like that. I tried to leave last week because their dogs were so annoying.

    I've worked out that they come on Sundays, so if they are there next Sunday, they will be getting a piece of my mind. I understand that not all dogs get along, same as kids, but why not just say that your dog doesn't get along with Molly, not blame Molly when she has been completely innocent in both situations.

  8. #38

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    'Kristy.Maree' I am really sorry that this has happened again with Molly.

    I wouldn't be wasting my time nor breath with these people. They very obviously lied to the woman that spoke to them - so what can you gain by 'giving them a piece' of your mind ?

    No doubt there are signs up and around this park - as to what the council expects as reasonable behaviour by users of the park !

    I really can't believe that Molly is the only pup that their dogs have attacked - not only in this park.

    Please remember that Molly has now been rushed/attacked/bitten twice now. They are all offences under local government legislation.

    Enough is enough !

    So - report them to the council ! That is what I did many years - and I don't regret doing it at all.

  9. #39
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    I've started setting up my camera on video and making sure i stay in front of it while at my local park. I only attend there because i like to use the agility equipment but too often now there are irresponsible owners and their aggro dogs causing problems. I'm in the process of acquiring a head-mounted video camera so that i can make sure i have any incidents recorded.

    After my girl, and myself, were bitten by a new dog at our local area last week i was beginning to doubt how safe it was to keep using the space. I had the incident recorded but instead of talking to council i decided to first approach the owners myself. I managed it a few days later and found that the dog was a newly acquired rescue dog. I'm very happy that i did, they were clueless on their dogs' body language and how to handle it. After a good conversation the new rescue was already changing his behaviour and was getting on well with my girl who he floored the earlier. Simple anxiety based reactivity which was overcome with positive association and guidance.

    But that's a rare happy ending.

    Aside from a ball throwing stick which has meted out its fair share of whacks over the years i now carry a spray bottle with the nozzle set to jet spray filled with plain water with a tiny squeeze of lemon in it (just enough to taste it and give it a little ping). I have found that in trying to move off overly pushy/rude/bullying (whatever you choose to call it, insert here) dogs i unintentionally set off my girl who goes to snap at these dogs, which often results in retaliatory aggression. Now, i just give them a few quick sprays of water in the face. I felt awful doing it the first few times but i am SO pleased i tried it. It snaps them out of their little moments straight away, another well-aimed spray and they are running off back to where-ever they came from. Even the persistent ones that come back for a few more goes get the message in the end and i haven't had problems since. Even the over-enthusiastic herders who want to chase her while she plays fetch get the hint and find another pooch to harass instead. I am not being silly about it, though, and also carry a bottle of fresh water to wash any away if need be.

    I spent too long having people tell me to just avoid dog parks, but frankly i'm too bloody proud and stubborn to do that. While i don't need to use fenced parks (because, you know, i actually TRAIN my dogs, unlike some of the people that rely on the fences to keep their dogs contained...*rant*) i refuse to be driven away from them because of the irresponsible (or ignorant) minority. Now i feel confident in being able to manage my dogs and their space in a way that actively engages other dogs, while controlling the situation from an entirely remote space.

    On a positive note i always love seeing a family socialising their puppy in a dog park AFTER they have taught it basic manners and commands. A puppy that doesn't jump all over me and my dog, steal our ball, sits to ask for a pat and returns to its owners when called... it sounds like a mythical creature doesn't it? Had the pleasure of meeting one yesterday, hope in humanity *almost* restored.

    Hopefully some of my little suggestions can be of use to some of you.

  10. #40
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    Here's today's scenario. I decided to check out the park because the dog hadn't had a walk yet, it was after dark and I drove past on the way home.

    We get through the first gate and a gsd runs up to the fence and starts checking Banjo out. I open the second gate and the gsd pushes her head through the gap. I close the gate and wait. She moves away half a metre, I open the gate, Banjo doesn't want to go in.

    Finally the gsd runs off towards a black shape running past in the dark. We step inside. Only to have a massive rotty run up before I even managed to latch the gate. The rotty - with the gsd right behind him - shoves his big head under Banjo's belly to sniff her. She freaks out and starts snapping at him, which makes the gsd come even closer. We're backed up against the gate with nowhere to go. So I backed out through the gate and left. We were in there for less than a minute. The owners of the 2 dogs were 10 metres away, chatting, and didn't even turn their heads.

    I think it was mentioned in another post about dog owners like them. They are the same types of people who will block the whole aisle at the supermarket with their trolley and don't notice or don't care that others have to wait for them. You know the type. I resent them with a passion.

    Only the most confident (or dumb) dog would have dared to push past such an intimidating welcoming committee. They were like the dog park bouncers. Very effective if their goal was to have exclusive use.

    I considered telling the owners to supervise their dogs. But I didn't feel in the mood for confrontation and dealing with selfish bastards. So I took the dog for a quick walk next to the park. Thank goodness there's lots of open space here.

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