I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I used to be an advocate for more dog parks when I first got Sammy. I thought that all dogs should be fine in a fenced area and would just play together happily. Honestly, I thought that people should have enough control over their dogs that they should all just love and accept each other.
I realised that I have very different thoughts about fenced dog parks now. I don't ever go to them really. I still believe that dogs should be ok around other dogs, be ok with other dogs walking past on the street and when meeting dogs on long walks off-lead in the bush etc. But I don't really think fenced dog parks are good for dogs. Every time I see one, there's at least one dog being bullied without anyone seeming to notice, in fact half the time they only notice when the dog starts to retaliate, at which point they tell it off. It's typically right under its owner at that point in desperation so it's very easy for them to administer punishment to the poor dog. Some young dogs or dogs that are friends might be playing together, but for the most part, it seems to be dogs bullying other dogs and their owners ignoring them.
I don't know if everyone will agree with me, but I think I was wrong. Really wrong in fact.
I think having safe areas where dogs can be exercised is essential. For me, that's anywhere dogs are allowed off-lead but if you don't have a good recall when then I understand the need for fenced areas but I no longer think that most dogs are happy around lots of strange dogs in a confined space. It's just most dogs are super tolerant.
This realisation isn't due to any one incident or anything. Just found myself walking Sammy the other day and when we saw a fenced dog park, I noticed that I felt disappointed rather than seeking them out as I use to.