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Thread: What's Your Thoughts on Dog Parks

  1. #1

    Default What's Your Thoughts on Dog Parks

    Hi everyone, I just joined today. I have a beautiful 4 yo Golden Retriever male. Typical soft nature. Poor thing loves other dogs and never gets a chance to socialise. I meet other dogs when walking him on the lead but because he gets excited and pulls towards the other dogs (he can pull me over) I have had to train him to walk on by at a distance without letting him say hello. I have taken him to the off leash park three times and he absolutely loved it but he was ruffed up twice and what upset me the most is that the owners did not seem to care or even try to stop it. I'm not talking playing rough, I'm talking about snapping, growling, dominate behaviour. My boy did not fight back but on both occasions the other dog would not let him come back to me. It was really scary for me and now I have lost my nerve so my poor dog does not get to go off leash anymore. What do you guys think. Should I try and get over my nerves and try again?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SE QLD
    Posts
    2,903

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    Hi welcome to the forum!

    I've only ever gone to an off leash park once and I made sure it was empty before I went there. Unfortunately there are quite a few people around that don't care what there dogs do to others or think its just "play". I would think say its probably best to arrange a play date with other dog owners you know if possible! Ive never really heard many good things about dog parks!

    I know a few members here have used them though so they will have some better advice than I do!

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    northern NSW
    Posts
    44

    Default Dog parks

    I take Jorjie to dog parks, but I do check to see if there's other people there. When I say people, I mean a responsible adult. Quite often, especially during school holidays, I've seen very young children - maybe eight or nine in there with their dog. I know children can be responsible, but for the most part, they are not the responsible/primary trainer. My dog is very good on recall, but other's seem to be lacking in that. Funnily enough, although Jorjie is a reasonably medium size dog, about 20kg, but the one's that cause problems are the tiny little things that think they're big. A couple of chihuaua's come to mind. They would have to be the most aggressive dogs we've encountered.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Sunshine Coast
    Posts
    1,828

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    I had a bad experience at my local dog park. Oskar is my 41/2 mth american x english staffy pup and we are trying to socialise him wth as many dogs as possible while he is little. Any way, we let him off leash because there were no other dogs around, and then when a little poodle turned up (Oskar was back onleash then) my boyfriend and I went up to the elderly owner and asked her if Oskar could have a play. This poodle was ver submissive and Oskar just wanted to play, all of a sudden, the poodle was yelping, Oskar had a hold of its ear hair and wouldn't let go. The elderly owner was beside herself, and eventually Oskar let go, but we felt terrible and felt like we were the parents of a bad dog. Apparently this is natural behaviour for bull breeds, and Ido feel a lot better, because Oskar isn't vicious, he was just playing. But saying that, we have to be more selective with who we let hm play with.. We take him to dog friendly beaches now,and most people love letting their dog play with him. We put him back on leash when we pass little dogs, and let him say hello while on leash but most have attitude, but we do let Oskar run up to other owners and their dogs when playing, but we always thank the other people for letting him play. And if an older dog barks at him, well then he obviously deserves it. I won't take him back to the dog park, but we love the dog beach. The only way he willlearn to be submissive, is by experience with other dogs! There are people who take their dogs to the beach and don't let them interact with others, and I feel like saying,don't come to the beach where there are lot's of dogs...Your golden retriever sounds beautiful, is there a dog beach near you? I highly recommend them over a dog park any day. Some people are totally rude and don't care about their dog's behaviour. If someone's dog was full on aggressive and growling, I would be scared for Oskar no doubt.
    Last edited by Oskar's mum; 10-30-2011 at 12:15 PM. Reason: correction

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    4,290

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    What you describe is pretty "normal" dog behaviour, but it is not on that the owners of the other dogs do not interfere in these situations. Unfortunately there are many stories about dog owners at dog parks not taking responsibility for the way their dog behaves and not having any control over their dogs. It is quite sad because they spoil it for the responsible owners, like you.

    I am very lucky as we have lots of off leash areas in Canberra that are not fenced. You can still get scraps happen there, but it is less likely to meet owners who have no control over their dog there, especially when it comes to recall. Some of these areas are very underused and there was a time when I considered putting a note up at the shop to find other dog owners who wanted to meet up for doggy play dates on the nearby oval. But I never did in the end and now I have found a great off leash area where most dogs that get walked there seem to be fairly well trained and socialised.

    Maybe you could join a dog club? Even if you don't do any of the training classes, our local one allows members to use their exercise area.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    12,581

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    Welcome sue-says-hi

    I like off lead dog parks - as long as they're not fenced.

    The ones that are fenced are favourite places of people who do not have effective control of their dogs.

    One of the worst behaved dogs at one of my favourite dog parks was a golden retriever whose owner had zero control. That GR ended up attacking several other dogs at the park and drawing blood. One time was right in front of me. And we haven't seen it back at the park since - even though the owner blamed everybody else for it, and didn't notice the blood all over her dogs face - while it was uninjured and the other dog needed stitches. So don't take the good nature of GR for granted - you've got to train them.

    If your dog won't come when you call it, off lead is not for your dog. You need to get your recall right first. You need to be able to call your dog away from fairly distracting situations like greeting other dogs - because some dogs do not like other dogs in their face and will make that clear in rather unpleasant ways. But if that dog is on lead or right next to its owner and yours is not - then your dog and you are at fault.

    snapping, growling, dominant behaviour
    My dog will do all this in play with other dogs, including doing something called "bitey face" with the other dog which involves latching onto its cheeks, ears or collar. She will do the butt bump, and forward trip and all sorts and it's all play. Golden Retrievers are usually fine with all this. They either ignore her and refuse to run, and she leaves them alone, or they run and both dogs have a wonderful time. But if the owner freaks out - I call my dog off and she comes. If she doesn't come immediately - I run away - which freaks my dog out and then she always comes. I know that looks bad but when I've got her safely on lead I sometimes go back and talk to the other owner and make sure their dog is ok. It always is.

    Games Dogs Play | Dog Star Daily

    It's usually fairly easy to tell if the dog is freaking out - it runs away with its tail between its legs - usually behind its owner and it may scream as well. And when you call your dog back - the frightened one does not follow and make play bows - like the ones who were playing and having fun do.

    For getting my dog's recall right - I used "really reliable recall" by Lesley Nelson
    Welcome to Dogwise.com

    And I joined Susan Garrett's online Recallers program. She's about to start another one - next month so if you want to do that - sign up for her newsletter - and join up when she says...
    Susan Garrett Agility Training

    If you want the opportunity to socialise your dog in a controlled environment - I second the suggestion to join an obedience dog club in your area. Mine is about $80 for weekly classes (weather permitting) between Feb and November inclusive - which I think is really good value compared to professional obedience classes that are nearly $200 for 8 or 10 classes - one a week.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks everyone. I don't have a doggy beach near by but Moses has been to some and loves them. Had no problems, all the dogs and owners seemed great. I know some dogs play rough, I had a couple of crazy kelpies before Mo. Mo absolutely loves to play but is so gentle and does not seem to enjoy the rough stuff - he likes the bum up chase me chase you stuff but never jumps on or bites the other dog. When another dog plays rough he gets submissive and looks to me or tries to get to me so I go over and take him away and all is fine if the other owner calls their dog off but some owners don't even try to control their dog.

    Sorry for going on about it. My biggest concern is that I will ruin Mo happy nature by keeping him away from other dogs but on the other hand if he keeps getting bad experiences, will that spoil his nature? Perhaps I have to look at doggy day care even though I work from home. Or perhaps another dog.

    So glad I found this forum. I appreciate the support.

  8. #8

    Default

    Oh, and Hyacinth, Mo's recall is patchy. For some reason I felt a little embarrassed taking a 4yo back to obedience classes (he went when he was about 6 months old) but you have inspired me to give it a go. thanks. Might help my confidence as well, I am a bit nervy with the other dogs. Sue

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Sunshine Coast
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    1,828

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    lol, I forgot to say Hi, and welcome to the forum!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
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    Dog club can also be a great place to meet dogs your dog likes playing with - and organise doggy play dates. That way your dog gets to play with other dogs that play to his style.

    My dog always matches the play style of the other dog so she's great but she draws the line at Malamute and Huski style dogs - they've got so much fur they can't feel anything and play way too rough for her.

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