Author Topic: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?  (Read 8291 times)

dohertyswissy

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Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« on: May 31, 2005, 12:21:16 pm »
So, Ranger is officially all vaccinated and ready to make new friends!  I wanted to get everyone's opinion on dog parks.  Are they good or bad??  A little of both??  I've read here and there about people with larger dogs running into problems with the owners of not-so-large dogs.  Have any of you had this experience?  Are there any types of restrictions?  I know there is one here locally (I'm right outside of Raleigh, NC), but we haven't ventured out there yet.  Guess I just want to know what I could *potentially* get into....

Does the good outweigh the bad????

Heather


Offline greek4

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2005, 12:29:38 pm »
I used to take my guys all the time until they outgrew the other dogs.  I loved it. 
-There will constantly be another dog in your dogs face, which can go either way.
-You lose almost of your off leash training the minute you step into the dog park, don't expect to be able to voice control your dog from across the park.
-There will be obnoxious people who are usually paired with the most ill behaved dogs, just like kids and parents.
-Watch for signs your dog is getting tired and cranky and leave when your dog gives you the sign.
-I liked to leave with the dogs wanting more instead being crabby and nasty to other annoying dogs
-Dog parks are great for getting your dog socialized to people and other dogs.
-Take plenty of water and bribe to get your baby back in the car to go home.

Check it out and see how you like it. ;)
Thanks,

Emily and 1 husband, 1 boy, 1 on the way, and 4 crazy dogs

nickerbokker

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2005, 12:36:39 pm »
the only kid i've taken to the park is cody.  and here is the good and the bad:

the bad-

*there are about 100 dogs in that park, and about 50 of them are unsurpervised.  the people tend to group up and let their dogs do whatever they want...which granted if your dog is an angel you wouldn't think its a problem.  BUT...cody WAS a little dog agressive at one point, and when they would sneak up on him, or just trot up and try to take a toy, he would growl.  which then, the other dog would growl, and all the sudden i had two dogs that wanted to fight and no other owners around incase i needed help. 
*you never really know when another dog will snap.  one day, a group of people were sitting around talking and their dogs were all hanging out, and all the sudden the two german shephards went at it.  full-on went at it, it was scary.  if they had been by cody, who knows what could have happened.

the good-
*cody gets to run and stretch his legs and play fetch.

cody isn't too big, only 80lbs or 90lbs in a fat month....but, still, the littel dog owners will throw a hissy fit at me.  if their dog came up to him, they would come snatch them up and give me dirty looks....i do not understand why, but they would.  i have never verbally gotten into it w/ anyone though. 

plus, your dog might get covered in poop....which is NOT good on so many levels. 

we just dont go anymore.  we go on walks and runs and stuff..but dont need the dog park.  in my opinion, and the city i live in, the bad outweighs the good.

im sure there are a LOT nicer parks in other areas though!

Offline jabear

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2005, 01:57:41 pm »
We have a few dog parks here and have visited dog parks in other cities as well and overall I think the experiences have been positive. I think you have to watch out for the human factor more than the dog factor though. Most dogs are great and many parents are too. There are some that stink though and here are a few examples of human behavior we have encountered:
1. People who freak out cuz you have such a huge dog and immediately grab theirs and put it to their chest;
2. The people who yell at you cuz your dog is big (my favorites are the ones who use profanity, as if that will make the dog shrink or something);
3. The ones who think it is "cute" that their dog is barking, yeliing, biting, and taking pieces of your dog's hair out;
4. The people who have dogs that torment and provoke your big dog, only to have him snap back at the tiny mutt and then have you get yelled at;
5. The people who don't bother to take out their aggressive dog even though everyone is pulling it away from the good dogs;
6. Nasty- dirty- filthy water to share if they have bowls to use because people don't empty them and
7. Poop that is not picked up by dog owners.
8. **personal experience** Bear had a tiny dog decide that his hanging tongue was a toy and bit it all the way through the middle. He has a huge scar from it 2 years later and got us rather bloody at the time.
9. **personal experience** Bear slipped on some wet cement once and limped for a while afterwards (ended up in the vet after that one)
10. **personal expereince** An overheated dog can take a long time to cool off!

The list is long and people can be stupid, so we choose to not got go anymore. It is a personal choice and since Bear has a lot of friends to play with regularly, it is not detrimental to his health or fun. I should say though, that we have met some very cool people there and hang out with them just not at the dog park. Good luck in making a decision. I think you should go though and try it out and see if you like it. You may be one of the few who really enjoys it!
Hugs,
Jaime
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Offline Jaakko

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2005, 10:13:07 am »
I have only good experiences to share about our dogparks in Alexandria, VA. (there are several)  I know Alexandria is a very dog-friendly town, and I'm sure that has much to do with it.  Visitors to the park are very good about cleaning up after dogs, so the park is always clean.  I've been going weekly for the past year, and have't witnessed a fight yet.  (people or dogs!)  There hasn't been any trouble between small dog owners and large dog owners, either.  The parks seem to be much more popular for people with larger breeds, anyway.  My GSMD Jaakko loves going to the park!  He knows exactly where we're going and is yipping and hopping all over the back of the Yukon all the way there! 
I've been taking him since he was about 6 months old, and it has helped a great deal in socializing him.  He was shy the first couple of visits, (stood between my legs much of the time) but has since become very outgoing.
I guess we're lucky here, because we haven't experienced any of the negative things experienced by others who've replied.

Offline Saintgirl

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2005, 10:49:46 am »
Well........ I am betting that their will be a lot of debate whether they are good or bad. I for one am pro dog parks. The one that we go to on a daily basis never has more than 30 dogs at one time, not by law but because most people in my city go elsewhere. So we don't have the problem of over crowding. Yes, most of the dogs are intimidated by the size of Hutch, but they soon forget the size difference when they realize that he means them no harm. Most often the problem stems from the owners of the other dogs with the whole size difference. Especially the new comers to the park are hesitate of allowing their dogs to play with my Saint. Usually after they have seen that he is not a giant killing machine they realize that their misconception of a little dog being lunch to my boy was exactley that, a misconception.

Off leash parks are a great way to socialize your dog, great way to excersize, but I think most importantly to let your dog be a dog. My recommendation is to go to the dog park that you are thinking of taking your dog to without bringing your dog first. Observe the interactions that go on, talk to the other owners, and ASK AS MANY QUESTIONS AS YOU NEED TO.

Just a side note, unaltered males and females tend to be frowned upon at the park. Even the best behaved intacted male can cause problems at a park. The hormones can be detected by the other dogs and can cause problems. Even if the intact male has not directly caused the problem they are often the root of the conflict, because if they were not there, the problem would not have become.

I love the park, and have been told countless times that they are unsafe places, and a problem waiting to happen. True, problems can and do happen at these places, but on a whole the park I attend is great. When we feel that a potential disaster could happen, we leave. I have been going to the one I go to for two years now, and have never had a problem!
Leah, Hutch, and Abbey

GR8DAME

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2005, 11:29:06 am »
I would say that it depends on the park and the two and four-legged critters in it. I personally don't do the dog parks in my area (suburban Chicago) for many of the already stated reasons plus one more. I am very religious about getting all of the immunizations and preventitive matters taken care of for my dogs, but I don't know that everyone else is that is there has done so as well, and I don't want to take anything home that I didn't bring with me. Plus I also have three large dogs that do tend to get into a pack menality if challanged. I've never had a brawl, but I could see the potential.
Stella

Offline mastiffmommy

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2005, 11:52:50 am »
I have not been to any dog park since I moved here, but in SW. I used to take my dogs to different parks. And if the park is good or bad, depends on the people there I'd say. If they dont pick up poop, if they bring dogs that are aggressive or if they are just plain grouchy, grumpy and rude.

In general I can see some pros and cons

pros.... the dogs get to run and play with other dogs. They get used to a lot of things that sometimes we dont think to introduce our dogs to. If you start taking them when they are young, they will learn how to play with other dogs and it is so much easier to have them around dogs in the future, and for mommy and daddy they get to meet dog people

cons..... Since there are a lot of dogs, there is alos a lot of different contagous illnesses going around, vaccinating bordatella isnt a bad idea. You sometimes get to step in other dogs poop and thats not too  much fun. There can be really rude people, that seem to think that because you have a giant dog you should not even go to the dogparks. You can run into a dog that should not be there, that is aggressive.

I would go see what parks I have around and pick the one that looks to be "my kind of park" and give it a try. If you find one, let us know, ohhhh and you know, you just HAVE to take pics while there  ;D

Marit
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Offline mixedupdog

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2005, 01:58:14 pm »
I go to the dog park very cautiously. There's one or two I can have to myself if I go early in the day, there's another that's ok depending on which dogs are there.  Earnest is very protective of pups and immature dogs, we've had a problem where another dog was being pushy and dominant (but not beyond the realm of normal behavior) to a younger dog, the younger dog rolled over and yelped, and Earnest ran over and stood over the submissive dog, growling, keeping the "dominator" away. The owner of the submissive dog misunderstood and went screaming at Earnest running from quite a way away. Which is why I knew what was happening and she didn't, I follow my dogs around so I can monitor them at all times. Earnest wouldn't "leave it" until the dominator dog left, I was trying to handle too many factors at once. Well, the lady, still running at Earnest, started flailing her lead around, that's when Phyfe appeared out of nowhere, stood between Earnest and the woman and said WOOF! The dominant dog ran off, Earnest stepped away from the pup to tell Phyfe how glad he was to see him and thank him for the backup, and the woman berated me for bringing two such aggressive and dangerous "beasts" out in public.
Her pup, meanwhile, was dancing all around my big guys trying to tell his mom "Look, mom, my new friends aren't gonna let anyone mess with me"
Now if she's there when we arrive, she goes around "warning" everyone about my dogs, and most of them leave. I like having the park to ourselves, but worry that something small like a snarl or a scratch could lead to overblown complaints and consequences.
Our visits are few and far between, so many people don't seem to have a clue about pack behavior and dynamics, they freak over normal situations or expect all the dogs to play nice like kindergartener s, and have no idea what to look for to insure the situation stays stable.

Offline Saintgirl

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2005, 02:23:06 pm »
At our park we have pamphlets that explain normal dog behavior and park ettiquette. It has worked very well for situations that people often misunderstand, like rough and tumble play.
Leah, Hutch, and Abbey

dohertyswissy

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2005, 02:54:12 pm »
Thank you sooo much for all the input!  I like the idea of checking out the dog park out before I actually bring Ranger.  I think I'll do that, see what kind of folks are there, and then decide.  And Marit, of course I'll take pictures if we do decide to bring Ranger!  I have my digital camera strapped to me at all times.  lol  :D

We are lucky though, b/c our neighborhood is FULL of all kinds of dogs of various ages, so Ranger is used to playing with other dogs. 

I'll keep everyone posted.  Thanks again everybody!

Heather

Offline moonlitcroatia

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2005, 09:19:55 am »
I have only good experiences to share about our dogparks in Alexandria, VA. (there are several)  I know Alexandria is a very dog-friendly town, and I'm sure that has much to do with it.  Visitors to the park are very good about cleaning up after dogs, so the park is always clean.  I've been going weekly for the past year, and have't witnessed a fight yet.  (people or dogs!)  There hasn't been any trouble between small dog owners and large dog owners, either.  The parks seem to be much more popular for people with larger breeds, anyway.  My GSMD Jaakko loves going to the park!  He knows exactly where we're going and is yipping and hopping all over the back of the Yukon all the way there!  
I've been taking him since he was about 6 months old, and it has helped a great deal in socializing him.  He was shy the first couple of visits, (stood between my legs much of the time) but has since become very outgoing.
I guess we're lucky here, because we haven't experienced any of the negative things experienced by others who've replied.


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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2005, 09:39:48 am »
Dog parks are great, it gives your dogs the important socialization they need with other dogs and humans.  You just have to be vigilant about keeping your eye on your dog.  Probably the most annoying thing that ever happens is there's that one dog that is a habitual humper.  All they do is hump and hump and hump and hump and hump......  Some humping is to be expected, but when it's all they do, I step in.  Drake seems to be the one those pervo dogs always zero in on, he's sweet meat I guess.   Drake gets covered with drool, mud, poop and other questionable fluids and it SUCKS!  .I usually lead Drake away and tell the retarded humper dog to "GO ON!"  If they follow us, I look at the owner and give them the "get your damn dog" look which usually works.  Most dogs back off if you get in their face and show them who's boss.  Lately, I think because he's maturing, Drake lets those dogs know he's sick of them with a growl and show of teeth.  Most dogs back down from pissed off Newfs.  Other than that, yes the unpicked up dog poop is a pain and gross especially when you step in it and get "cookie foot".  I love taking Drake to the dog park and I'm really glad there's one in our town.  It's called Dog Bone Meadow and the city takes good care of it.  There's grass and an obstacle course and lots of left behind toys and balls.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2005, 09:44:13 am by Newf Lover »
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Offline GrumpyBunny

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2005, 11:43:11 am »
Well, as you all know, we don't do the dog park thing anymore, but we used to go every day.  Everyone who has posted so far is right on target about the pros and cons.  

I have found that the problem generally seems to be the people more than the dogs, although there are always those few dogs that are trouble-makers.  

Problems I have personally encountered/witnessed include people who bring toddlers or babies and then become upset when dogs either lick them or knock them over, people who bring a full-on picnic to the dog park to sit on the grass and eat and then get mad when they are swarmed by dogs who want their share, people who don't watch their dogs, people who think it is funny when their tiny dogs are aggressive, people who use the park as a babysitter and actually drop their dog off and leave, etc.  

The scariest people related thing that ever happened to me at a dog park was when Cabo ran up to a man to get a pet, and after petting and loving on Cabo for about 5 minutes, the man bent over and clipped a leash to Cabo's collar and attempted to walk out of the park with him.  Thank God I am someone who watches their dog every second, or he would have been gone!  I was on that guy like white on rice, and I was pissed!

That being said, I would still probably be taking my dog every chance I got if it were possible.  You just need to find a park with the right combo of people and dogs, and it can be a good experience...
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lins_saving_grace

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Re: Dog Parks - Good or Bad?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2005, 11:45:53 am »
They should post a sign that reads: Dogs!!! Keep your people on a leash! 
And another one with a picnic on it and a big cirlce with an X through it.
And another one that reads: People!!!?  Your children may be pounced on, knocked over or generally ruffed up.
And another one that says: "NO WHINNING!"