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  • Off leash dog parks


  • #2
    Personally I don't like off leash parks and will never use them. Too many variables and too many dumb people around for me to risk it.

    I think if you are wanting to socialise your dog with other dogs on lead your best option would be attending a dog club/school. I don't think an off leash park is a place for any aggressive dogs whether they're on lead or off. I'm not picking on the fact she's aggressive (I have a dog aggressive dog myself) more the fact that it's such an uncontrolled environment... you might be super careful and do all the right things but it just takes one idiot and their dog to mess that up!

    To be honest I won't even take my friendly dogs to off leash parks... again, just takes one idiot person to let their dog pick fights or bowl other dogs over... not something I'm willing to risk.

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    • #3

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      • #4
        I feel for you, it's tough living with a dog like that My boy is agro towards dogs and reactive towards men. Stick with it and follow your trainers advice, with time you'll get there. She may never be perfect but things can certainly become managable!

        The fact you're getting onto it with training so early is awesome! My boy started having issues at around 11 months but I made the mistake of not really addressing it until he was 2 or 3 years old... The earlier you start changing behaviours the better!

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        • #5
          Probably the thing that you should have done was to leave after your first happy interactions and when there was a hint of drama starting to unfold. You didn't protect your dog and you are lucky she seemed to handle it. It can be a big mistake to push a dog like this. I once had a fear aggressive dog and that would have set her back months.

          Of course you have a right to be there and even at an off leash dog park people by law are required to have control of their dogs. However make it easy on your dog and just learn the times when there are not too many dogs and people and leave at any hint of unruly behaviour and aggression.

          I am glad she is doing well and you are doing so well with her. I know what it is like to have a fear aggressive dog and many lessons are learnt on the journey.

          My dog was also terrible around cars, trucks etc so I taught her a focused heel and used a clicker and treats and soon I was able to do a really focused heel with her as truck and cars zoomed passed.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by maddogdodge View Post
            I feel for you, it's tough living with a dog like that My boy is agro towards dogs and reactive towards men. Stick with it and follow your trainers advice, with time you'll get there. She may never be perfect but things can certainly become managable!

            The fact you're getting onto it with training so early is awesome! My boy started having issues at around 11 months but I made the mistake of not really addressing it until he was 2 or 3 years old... The earlier you start changing behaviours the better!

            Yeah I did get onto it quick but probably not quick enough. Since she started showing aggressiveness prior to xmas, i went away for 2 weeks and then january was busy for me when I came back so I only organised a behaviourist first week of february. Ideally I would have like to have started straight away, but at least she is showing signs of improvement with children and thats very important to me. Cant muck around when it comes to little people.

            How is your dog going now, how old is he and what breed? Has he improved alot in that time?


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kalacreek View Post
              Probably the thing that you should have done was to leave after your first happy interactions and when there was a hint of drama starting to unfold. You didn't protect your dog and you are lucky she seemed to handle it. It can be a big mistake to push a dog like this. I once had a fear aggressive dog and that would have set her back months.

              Of course you have a right to be there and even at an off leash dog park people by law are required to have control of their dogs. However make it easy on your dog and just learn the times when there are not too many dogs and people and leave at any hint of unruly behaviour and aggression.

              I am glad she is doing well and you are doing so well with her. I know what it is like to have a fear aggressive dog and many lessons are learnt on the journey.

              My dog was also terrible around cars, trucks etc so I taught her a focused heel and used a clicker and treats and soon I was able to do a really focused heel with her as truck and cars zoomed passed.
              Absolutely yes. In hindsight I should have left at the first sign of trouble and I was thinking about this last night. I have been beating myself up over it because I thought the same thing, that I didnt protect her enough.

              Strangely enough, I managed to get video footage of what was happening and at the time I didnt know. I was filming the interactions between my dog and the other dogs she was getting along with for about 5 minutes. When I went to get more water, I thought I hit the stop recording button, so I put my phone in my pocket. The camera was facing outside so even though it was jerky movements, it got everything for the next 30 something minutes. It automatically stopped when I was at the shops. So discovering this, I watched the whole thing last night and thats when I realised the time I should have left. It all just happened so quickly. Its just not fair that irresponsible owners continue to let their dogs menace others and the responsible ones get punished.




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              • #8
                Originally posted by von1976 View Post
                Yeah I did get onto it quick but probably not quick enough. Since she started showing aggressiveness prior to xmas, i went away for 2 weeks and then january was busy for me when I came back so I only organised a behaviourist first week of february. Ideally I would have like to have started straight away, but at least she is showing signs of improvement with children and thats very important to me. Cant muck around when it comes to little people.

                How is your dog going now, how old is he and what breed? Has he improved alot in that time?


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                My dog is nearly 8 years old now and an Australian Shepherd, Koda. He's doing ok now, not perfect but ok. His issues are not fear related at all so he's a bit of a different situation. He will never be a social dog, he will never really enjoy hanging out with other dogs... I accepted that years ago. We have however got to the point we can walk past dogs on the street without a massive meltdown and I can take him to work with me where there are other dogs on tables and in cages and he's ok to just sit there and observe without screaming the building down. I even got him to the point where I could safely (slowly) introduce a puppy to our life... they now get along fabulously but it took a month or so before I felt safe leaving them loose together.

                I'll be honest, I live on 30 acres and I noticed that Koda seems to enjoy walking and getting his exercise at home on the farm where there aren't any other dogs or people more than walking and training in public. He's happier to stay at home so that is what we do and he is much more relaxed and happy because of it. So I haven't taken him out and done any formal training with him for quite a long time.

                When I do take him out though, he wears a muzzle and a vest that says "Please give me space" because people are idiots and let their off leash dogs run up to him which just causes ALL kinds of problems!

                I find it interesting I've always said Koda's issues started at 11 months because that is when he first had a go at another dog... But... Since I've had my puppy (Finn, now 2 years old) I've learned that Koda's whole nature right from day one was indicating issues. Finn has shown me what a naturally confident and relaxed dog really is... and Koda was never that, not ever... he was high strung right from day 1!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by maddogdodge View Post
                  My dog is nearly 8 years old now and an Australian Shepherd, Koda. He's doing ok now, not perfect but ok. His issues are not fear related at all so he's a bit of a different situation. He will never be a social dog, he will never really enjoy hanging out with other dogs... I accepted that years ago. We have however got to the point we can walk past dogs on the street without a massive meltdown and I can take him to work with me where there are other dogs on tables and in cages and he's ok to just sit there and observe without screaming the building down. I even got him to the point where I could safely (slowly) introduce a puppy to our life... they now get along fabulously but it took a month or so before I felt safe leaving them loose together.

                  I'll be honest, I live on 30 acres and I noticed that Koda seems to enjoy walking and getting his exercise at home on the farm where there aren't any other dogs or people more than walking and training in public. He's happier to stay at home so that is what we do and he is much more relaxed and happy because of it. So I haven't taken him out and done any formal training with him for quite a long time.

                  When I do take him out though, he wears a muzzle and a vest that says "Please give me space" because people are idiots and let their off leash dogs run up to him which just causes ALL kinds of problems!

                  I find it interesting I've always said Koda's issues started at 11 months because that is when he first had a go at another dog... But... Since I've had my puppy (Finn, now 2 years old) I've learned that Koda's whole nature right from day one was indicating issues. Finn has shown me what a naturally confident and relaxed dog really is... and Koda was never that, not ever... he was high strung right from day 1!

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                  • #10
                    I dont do off leash parks unless i have a client who uses them and i don't suggest off leash park...... only if i could pick my dogs to go in with would I have fun. They are too unpredictable. If i had my way i would make two rules..... No toys in an off leash park and no kids.... the socialising and the sniffing and being in a new place should be enough for dogs. So many fights are started in an off leash park over property... be it ball, toy or stick. And well kids, We, if we go to the dog park, should be able to relax and kids in the dog park are not a safe part of that.

                    I also use the outside of parks for training with some dogs. but i prefer to pick my off leash dogs. We go quite often with a pack of dogs water training and in the end they all go off leash and run around. tired but ready for play after work.

                    Be very careful in off leash dog parks with fear aggressive dogs..... they never get over the fear aggression, you just need and learn to manage it. Sound like you are managing it, well done to you and your trainer
                    sigpicPets are forever

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                    • #11
                      I would be cautious buying another pup from the same breeder... Behavioural issues can be genetic so If I were you I'd either find a different breeder who's dogs are clearly good doggy citizens or I would hang out with your breeder and their dogs a bit more and assess the temperaments of the dogs they have to make sure the parents have good temps as well!

                      I hope to one day get another Australian Shepherd (probably many years away)... I've done countless hours of research into Koda's pedigree and what lines he comes from and I will be steering away from his lines as I've heard of quite a few Aussies with aggression/reactive issues and many of them are from that broad line of dogs. I've found a bunch of breeders who seem to have a different line of Aussies going and I'm very impressed with them... hopefully my next future Aussie will come from them.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by newfsie View Post
                        I dont do off leash parks unless i have a client who uses them and i don't suggest off leash park...... only if i could pick my dogs to go in with would I have fun. They are too unpredictable. If i had my way i would make two rules..... No toys in an off leash park and no kids.... the socialising and the sniffing and being in a new place should be enough for dogs. So many fights are started in an off leash park over property... be it ball, toy or stick. And well kids, We, if we go to the dog park, should be able to relax and kids in the dog park are not a safe part of that.

                        I also use the outside of parks for training with some dogs. but i prefer to pick my off leash dogs. We go quite often with a pack of dogs water training and in the end they all go off leash and run around. tired but ready for play after work.

                        Be very careful in off leash dog parks with fear aggressive dogs..... they never get over the fear aggression, you just need and learn to manage it. Sound like you are managing it, well done to you and your trainer

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by maddogdodge View Post
                          I would be cautious buying another pup from the same breeder... Behavioural issues can be genetic so If I were you I'd either find a different breeder who's dogs are clearly good doggy citizens or I would hang out with your breeder and their dogs a bit more and assess the temperaments of the dogs they have to make sure the parents have good temps as well!

                          I hope to one day get another Australian Shepherd (probably many years away)... I've done countless hours of research into Koda's pedigree and what lines he comes from and I will be steering away from his lines as I've heard of quite a few Aussies with aggression/reactive issues and many of them are from that broad line of dogs. I've found a bunch of breeders who seem to have a different line of Aussies going and I'm very impressed with them... hopefully my next future Aussie will come from them.

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                          • #14
                            If you're happy with them then that is all that matters

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                            • #15
                              Bit late to the party, but I have followed a similar strategy with my dog Banjo as you are doing and I would not recommend it at all.

                              I started taking her to the dog park because she was starting to show signs of intolerance of other dogs, thinking that she'd get used to being around other dogs that way.

                              But it only made it worse. Especially because there was always that one dog that was rude and ignored her body language (that bit is really damaging imo) but also because I probably felt nervous about the other owners' reactions to me taking her in on lead and to her inevitable bitchy reaction to their dogs and she would have fed off that too.

                              When I realised I wasn't making any progress that way, I booked a session with a behavioural trainer. I still thought that my aim was to get her back to how she used to be. When she seemed to get along with any and every dog she met.

                              The trainer taught me some useful exercises. But I think what helped most was her explaining that there may be a logical reason for older dogs not wanting to socialise with strange dogs (in my case it related to older desexed bitches), that her aggressive reactions to dogs that ignore her back off signs was justified and that it should be her choice whether she wants to "like" strange dogs or not.

                              That's when I stopped caring about her being the type of dog that plays with everyone at the dog park and I stopped going. (We still occasionally visited early in the morning when there was only one or two other dogs in there.)

                              I still take her to unfenced off leash areas daily (we have heaps here), usually ones where we rarely meet anyone else, but sometimes I'll go to busier spots and she's pretty much ok. I still have to micromanage her interactions with strange dogs and occasionally we still get a minor scuffle, but I do not at all stress over it anymore.

                              I also got a second dog. And neither of them feel a need to interact with dogs they don't already know. They're both fine with my friends' dogs though.

                              It does remind me of how the whole dominance theory myth started all those years ago. Based on a study of wolves that were kept in captivity in an artificially created pack. I don't think dogs were really made to socialise with random other dogs (though some don't seem to mind). Just like some people don't like making small talk to strangers at events!

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