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Thread: Tips for Us at the Dog Park???

  1. #1

    Default Tips for Us at the Dog Park???

    Poppy and I just had our first visit to the local dog park!

    We got out the car and she started her barking! So I didn't go int straight away but just took a walk along the outside of the fence, then went back along a bit closer and she was quiet.

    So we went in and understandably was VERY overwhelmed! There was a 12 month old Mastif X Wolfhound (read HUGE puppy) who loved her, infact ALL the 6 - 8 dogs wanted to have a sniff of her. She went submissive but let them all sniff her and had a sniff of them too. Very simular behaviour to when she first met Batty.

    She DID however tend to get a bit scared each time a group of 3 or 4 doggies came racing past. She did try sit behind me, or between my legs and I kept moving as I didn't want her to think she had to protect ME! But then I noticed she would go find one of the other peoples legs to sit behind. So I wondered if I should of let her stay near to me if she wanted.

    She didn't do this continually! Only a couple of times and she DEFINATELY played and ran around more than she hid behind people.

    People did ask if she was desexed which I was a bit taken back by. They didnt JUST ask me they were asking other "newbies" too. Don't know if thats normal or not just thought I would mention it!

    Will definately be going back!

  2. #2
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    Perhaps pick a time when there are less dogs.

    Reward her with praise when she's being brave, ignore the hiding behind legs. Don't corner her, let her always have an escape route.

    Assess the dogs in the park before you go in. If you think they are going to be too much for her wait for another day.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by mouseandchicken View Post
    Perhaps pick a time when there are less dogs.

    Reward her with praise when she's being brave, ignore the hiding behind legs. Don't corner her, let her always have an escape route.

    Assess the dogs in the park before you go in. If you think they are going to be too much for her wait for another day.
    Thanks! I did go at 4pm because I know its busy just after 3pm because its across the road from a school BUT I guess that times we can go (after work) are times that lots of others go too!

    I did praise her, practice her recall and basic commands and she was great even with the distractions.

    I will definately assess the park but not sure if I would be able to tell which types of dogs I should avoid, only assess how busy it is. This afternoon there would of been about 10 - 12 dogs at its busiest. I don't think I would go with any more than that!

  4. #4
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    Depending on how much barking you can tolerate, don't let her off lead if she's barking, wait till she's quiet. I get Frosty to do a recall (on lead) and a sit for me before she gets off lead.

    If there are new dogs, don't let her off lead until you have checked them out, and they have checked each other out, that way, you have some control if things go pear shaped.

    I tend to stand apart from other owners until I'm sure their dog is ok with mine, and stay away from them if they're not so good together. Owners bunching up, gives some dogs something to fight over, so move apart so they don't need to be defensive.

    Some dogs are aggressive when other dogs are on lead or when they are on lead, make sure your lead has loads of slack in it so Poppy can approach or retreat as she feels the need.

    I do let Frosty use me for protection, I prefer she come to me than try to run home or to other people because then I can help. Galloping dogs can be dangerous - make sure your knees are loose and not locked up because if they crash into you and some clumsy ones will - then you've got your best chance of staying right side up. Do alert fast approaching doggies to your presence - tell them to slow down or call "pup pup pup" for attention.

    If you think it's all safe, then don't pick Poppy up and cuddle her (reward her) when she comes to hide, but do let her hide until she's comfortable venturing out again. If you think she's being a complete wuss, walk away a bit.

    And I always give Frosty a treat (kibble) for "checking in" and a really good treat (roast beef this week) if she comes when I call her. Practice calling Poppy when she's already coming to you. Never put the lead on her when she comes, get her to do some other stuff first, like sit or drop. Or go get her when it's time for fun to end. And give her some treats for going on lead. Or play tug with the lead, make going on lead fun.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Depending on how much barking you can tolerate, don't let her off lead if she's barking, wait till she's quiet. I get Frosty to do a recall (on lead) and a sit for me before she gets off lead.

    If there are new dogs, don't let her off lead until you have checked them out, and they have checked each other out, that way, you have some control if things go pear shaped.

    I tend to stand apart from other owners until I'm sure their dog is ok with mine, and stay away from them if they're not so good together. Owners bunching up, gives some dogs something to fight over, so move apart so they don't need to be defensive.

    Some dogs are aggressive when other dogs are on lead or when they are on lead, make sure your lead has loads of slack in it so Poppy can approach or retreat as she feels the need.

    I do let Frosty use me for protection, I prefer she come to me than try to run home or to other people because then I can help. Galloping dogs can be dangerous - make sure your knees are loose and not locked up because if they crash into you and some clumsy ones will - then you've got your best chance of staying right side up. Do alert fast approaching doggies to your presence - tell them to slow down or call "pup pup pup" for attention.

    If you think it's all safe, then don't pick Poppy up and cuddle her (reward her) when she comes to hide, but do let her hide until she's comfortable venturing out again. If you think she's being a complete wuss, walk away a bit.

    And I always give Frosty a treat (kibble) for "checking in" and a really good treat (roast beef this week) if she comes when I call her. Practice calling Poppy when she's already coming to you. Never put the lead on her when she comes, get her to do some other stuff first, like sit or drop. Or go get her when it's time for fun to end. And give her some treats for going on lead. Or play tug with the lead, make going on lead fun.
    Thanks Hy! Thats some great advice! Am starting to think I should of started this thread BEFORE I ventured out to the dog park!

    When I got in I wasn't going to let her off but three people all said "oh let her off the lead" so I did.

    I definately didnt pick her up or cuddle her but did let her stand behind me or in between my legs for a few seconds at a time before moving to the side. Thats when she would generally run off and play again.

    There were definately some times when she was obviously quite scared and that was hard to watch without feeling like I should of rushed over and done something. But she wasnt growling or barking (she didnt bark at all once we got into the dog park) she was just cowering as all the other dogs sniffed her!

    I think it was a GREAT experience for her though and she really enjoyed it!

  6. #6

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    i wish there was that many dogs in the dog parks around my suburb.. everyone ive been to is always empty..

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackLexDog View Post
    i wish there was that many dogs in the dog parks around my suburb.. everyone ive been to is always empty..
    Aww! That sad!

    When I got Poppy I first noticed the park as its so close to us! Then everytime I drove past there would be at least 3 dogs there so I have been wanting to take her for AGES!!!

  8. #8
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    Amy, I wouldn't be moving away from Poppy when she tries to hide behind your legs. Her feelin forced to hide behind other ppl who are strangers is quite nerve-wracking for her, and won't help her built more confidence in the end.

    Like MAC said, just ignore her totally when she does it to you, but the mOMENT she pops out from behind your legs to peep what's going on, praise her.
    [CENTER][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/CENTER]

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devil's Advocate View Post
    Amy, I wouldn't be moving away from Poppy when she tries to hide behind your legs. Her feelin forced to hide behind other ppl who are strangers is quite nerve-wracking for her, and won't help her built more confidence in the end.

    Like MAC said, just ignore her totally when she does it to you, but the mOMENT she pops out from behind your legs to peep what's going on, praise her.
    Okay! Thanks! Will remember that for next time! I did feel horrible that she would go over to other people and sit behind them and thats when I did think, its not a protecting me thing, its an I'm scared thing, so after that I did just let her sit in or lie in between my legs.

    I think the excitement of it all weared her out because towards the end she would just lie next to me or under me and watch then dash out and go for a run then come back!

    There were two mini poodles who came and she seemed to like them! There was a cattle dog X who just wanted to round her up and she HATED that. But she did have a tumble with the GSD and two labradors so it was good!

    There was one SWF there who was with this lovely old man (he had driven his mobility scooter to the park) and she was SO anti social but it was like all the dogs just knew to leave her alone and she did her thing then interacted when she wanted too! Lol!

  10. #10
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    If you can take her to the park when there are no other dogs there it's still not a bad thing. She would have a chance to explore and take in the smells without feeling overwhelmed.

    Follow all of Hyacinths suggestions, particularly about not standing with the group of people and getting sucked in to their conversations, stand off to the side and never take your eyes of the dogs.

    I know of one person that had reconstructive surgery on his knee after two dogs came barreling thru the people standing in a semi-circle and crashed into his legs. It was a combined 80kg that smacked into his legs because he wasn't watching.

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