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Another complaint about dog parks, SIGH.

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I don't know why I keep giving dog parks a chance when I feel the need to complain at least once a year about them. :P

 

Anyway, we adopted another Border Collie last weekend. He's nine months old and we ended up naming him Aero. He's learned the house rules pretty quickly, thank the Lawd. Doesn't seem to have much training drive, but to his credit, I haven't had a puppy in so long that I forgot you can't sit them down like, "ok, listen, time to train, pay attention." Instead you gotta do the engagement activities, which I had completely forgotten about with puppies!

 

Last weekend I wanted him to get some energy out before we settled down for the afternoon, so we headed off to check out the dog park nearby our apartment.

 

As soon as we got out of the car, the family getting out of theirs next to me had brought three small dogs that IMMEDIATELY lunged to the end of their leashes and were growling and napping and raising a racket. The guy said something about this being his first time here, and the dogs seemed ok once inside the park, so I'll cut him slack.

 

What really worried me is when a mom showed up with her two boys (probably 8-10?), and three huge, rambunctious mastiff/Am bulldog looking mixes.

The dogs were sprinting at full speed charging every dog, which, I can't say I'm surprised at. Totally out of their owner's control. I understand, it's a dog park.

 

What freaked me out is when these two young boys started SCREECHING and running full speed across the park. I was playing frisbee with Aero when he turned his head to the sound of these boys screaming and running, and of course, he immediately took off after them. I immediately thought, "this is it, this is my first weekend with this dog and he's totally gonna chase and bite these kids, oh no, oh no, oh no."

Thankfully, I was able to recall Aero with some enthusiasm. I moved to the opposite side of the park (it's probably a full fenced in acre), as I kepy my eye on these kids.

Every single time one of their own dogs or somebody else's would approach them, they would screech and run around in circles again.

 

Usually our complaints seem to be about the other owners, but to be honest... like why did you think it was a good idea to bring your young kids too when they're acting like that... if it wasn't my dog, I'm sure someone else's dog would have been riled into chasing and nipping a kid.

 

That's why dogs have dog parks and kids have playgrounds, right? :rolleyes: (literally there is a playground right next to this dog park. Right next door.)

 

Has anyone else recently had any entertaining park run ins? I always love reading all the stories and rolling my eyes.

 

In short, I was reminded of why I only go to dog parks annually. The end.

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Dear Doggers,

 

This got me to thinking about how I see/handle dog venues as dog safe/dog unsafe. Often when traveling I'll go to the trial grounds before I check in the motel because sheepdog trials are dog safe/ Ditto clinics, stock farms and the dog yards of petdog trainers I've seen work their dogs.Motels/hotels and dog parks are dog unsafe. I don't relax until the dogs are in the room with the door closed or back in the car. Something can come flying at them any minute. Motel parking lot from 8pm or so Friday nights and Saturday nights are dangerous as is 6 am weekdays when groggy early risers are getting on the road. Sunday evenings, quieter.

 

Also safe: churchyards during the week, schoolyards on the weekends. Preferred venues: every small western town has a fairgrounds which is usually empty.

 

When my dogs are out and about in unfamiliar spaces, I don't take my eyes off them. If I can't watch, I'll bring them in and even leash them. After thirty years w/o a dog park/motel parking lot/billboard behind the big rigs at the truck stop, although I have been rude to numerous people, neither my dogs nor theirs have ever been harmed.

 

I figure I'm overdue.

 

Donald McCaig

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I have 2 1/2 yr BC who is pretty reactive to other dogs only when they are leashed but fine when all are off leash (odd but true and a work in progress).

 

So, how about those who take their dogs into the OFF LEASH park and keep them leashed the whole time?! I'm always on the lookout for that (as well as any potential ill mannered dogs) and my boy is ball crazy so I keep a ball clutched in my had and can get his focus pretty easy with that. I can always guide him in the desired direction using that technic so not a big deal but am at a loss as to the value of keeping your dog leashed in the designated off leash perimeter. Kinda like putting on a straight jacket when walking out into the yard of a prison :blink:

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Caveat: I've never been to a dog park. I probably never will. But is it a rule dogs MUST be unleashed at "unleashed" dog parks? If I'm minding my own business with a dog on a leash at the unleashed dog park is it acceptable for other dogs to approach mine if I don't want them to do so?

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Gosh no, it's not against the rules to have your dog on leash. At least, not that I've ever seen (but of course this is where the cultures Eileen was talking about come in).

 

Seriously, you can't think of any benefit to having your dog on leash at an off leash dog park? What if it's the only big park around and you don't want to constantly be walking your dog on city sidewalks? What if you're just starting to introduce your dog to other dogs and want some control? What if your dog is happy to interact on leash with those that come up to him but you don't trust his recall? What if your dog doesn't like to interact but likes to go on a long walk and smell all the dog smells? I could go on. There are a hundred reasons why someone might want to have their dog leashed at a dog park, and tons of dogs that wouldn't enjoy the park any less for being leashed. I'm not going to berate someone for being incredibly responsible and keeping their dog on leash if they know they can't control him yet.


I'm also pretty uncomfortable at the idea that someone would bring a dog they just got, who they suspect might bite running children, to an off-leash dog park where they don't have 100% control of him.

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No dog park in our area allows leashed dogs. These are dog parks and nothing else-they are not parks that happen to allow off leash dogs. They are grassy open fields that are fenced in and the only purpose of bringing your dog there is to be in an open field (usually under 1 or 2 acres) that is fenced in with other dogs running around and owners sitting on benches. No park in our area allows children under 12.

 

Again, different parts of the country have different ideas of what a dog park is. I have heard of beautiful parks that have trails, woods, water, and so on that are labeled dog parks. Around here, we don't have those. There are plenty of places to take dogs off leash to hike but dog parks and literally a place for dogs to interact. Otherwise, they're quite boring places with nothing to do if your dog isn't into playing with other dogs. So yes, dogs off leash and no kids allowed.

 

I personally don't frequent dog parks but have joined my brother with his dog and have on occasion taken our puppy to the small dog (25lb or less) side where it is just cute little dogs meandering about. I have seen twice, people bring a dog in on leash (sign states unleash dog in air lock gates) that strained, pulled, growled and barked. Both times someone chimed in and politely asked the owners to drop the leash-dogs socialized just fine once they were allowed to. Leashed dogs in these setting make them targets and make for frustrated dogs.

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I Exercise my pack off leash often at stock dog trials but the scenario is different I suppose. There can be multiple handlers with multiple packs wandering about, running and sniffing but not much interaction is encouraged between packs. They get plenty of interaction with their own.

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You guys should see the dogs running off leash at the race car track. I was sitting in the staging area in my car while a GSD wandered up to the starting grid, staff had to come over the PA and ask who's dog it was. Super smart when there's race cars buzzing around the paddocks and on and off the track.

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I'm not going to berate someone for being incredibly responsible and keeping their dog on leash if they know they can't control him yet.

 

Seriously, you think taking THAT dog to the off leash park is being incredibly responsible?

 

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/unleash-your-dog-for-safer-dog-park-entries

http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/15-things-humans-do-wrong-at-dog-parks (see no #5)

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You just gave me a link that suggested that leashes are a problem because they might be a tripping hazard and that if your dog is insecure meeting other dogs while on leash it could be a problem. Clearly you have to know your own dog and not set them up to feel uncomfortable, but otherwise I´m not sure how those issues outweigh any of the benefits I mentioned.

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There are dogs who target dogs who are on leash, specifically because they are restrained. They are fine with dogs who are off leash with them, but will pounce on, jump, and even attack an on leash dog.

Do YOU know which dogs those are going to be at the dog park?


No?


I mean, they shouldn't be there at all, fine, but when your dog is being rushed by a pack of dogs and one or more of them decides that the leashed dog is a problem and your dog is on a leash in the middle of a dog pile, you've got a problem you could have avoided by having the dog not be on leash while a bunch of other dogs rushed in.


Some of which could have a problem with the leash, or the body language caused by the leash (unnatural greetings, unnaturally upright posture and face-to-face contact), and/or your dog just feeling trapped while rushed by 20 off leash dogs who want to say hi.


Why would you do that? Go take a walk somewhere else. There are lots of places that allow leashed dogs, everywhere. Even in Cities. That aren't sidewalks.

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There are sidewalks and parks. I'm not sure what else you mean. You're arguing that you should act on the assumption that the dogs at a dog park will be out of their owners' control? I'm pretty sure that would contradict the whole discussion we just had about being able to bring a dog to a dog park and not want to interact with anyone there. If that's not what you're saying, then for a dog who is under the owner's control it's a simple matter of redirecting away from the dog on leash, or moving past them.

For what it's worth, a good 20% of dogs at dog parks here are on leash, and I've never seen another dog target one. It's a non-issue.

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I think what chene is trying to argue is that if you're minding your business, you shouldn't be getting harassed even if you have a dog on leash in an off leash area.

 

I live in NYC and had to deal with something similar not too long ago. Space is a commodity here, so I pay a lot to live next to a park. It has a dog park, so no off leash areas. My dog doesn't play with dogs though, so it's the only place I can take him off leash without a ticket.

 

As I was playing fetch with him one day, another dog stole our ball. Even when I asked the owner for it back. He just shrugged and told me I had to expect that kind of thing by going inside.

 

I was pretty livid. Yes, it's a place for dogs to play. But it's the only place they can be off leash unless you want a $200 ticket. I wasn't bothering anyone. Am I expected to pay that because my dog likes to fetch and he won't control his?

 

I think if you have two dogs, one leashed and one not with the leashed one behaving while the unleashed one is trying to attack it, it should be obvious who is in the wrong. If it's an area open to the public, they have as much reason to be there.

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I went to a dog park once. With the first Border Collie I ever owned. He was a large, quiet, self confident dog that other dogs typically didn't mess with. Everything was fine until I was throwing a stick into the pond for him to retrieve. Suddenly a Lab came out of nowhere, jumped into the pond, swam after my dog and tried to steal his stick from him. It was a large stick and my dog ended up with one end (growling) and the Lab had the other end (also growling.) No owner in sight. I was just starting to wonder how deep the water was and what I was going to have to do about the situation when the Lab's owner appeared, called his dog and the dog left go of my dog's stick and swam back to shore. I was so relieved I've never gone to a dog park since!!!!

I have enough issues going to parks where dogs are supposed to be on leash!!!!!!

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Having previously owned a reactive dog, dog parks aren't something I could even consider. (And by dog parks, I mean the small, enclosed area for dogs to run and chase - not the beautiful parks with hiking trails where you might let your dog off leash.)

 

My new dog is getting to be kind of dog-friendly, and LOVES to play run-and-chase with other dogs. She'll try to engage play with most dogs we meet, including a Great Dane we saw at the hiking park yesterday.

 

But I've seen lots of dogs at the dog park nearby running roughshod over other dogs: big huskies humping small dogs with oblivious owners nearby, domineering dogs chasing after smaller dogs whose body language was clearly screaming, "Get AWAY!!"

 

So, unless it's one dog and I carefully vet the interaction, I'm unlikely to take my dog to a dog park.

 

I would be reluctant to have an on-leash dog in the dog area... just because I do FULLY expect other owners to free dogs who are large, young, and socially inept, and would most likely pounce at my dog, who'd have no escape route.

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I worry more about contacting disease in dog parks. You just don't know what's out there in that soil. Dogs are peeing and pooping and rolling all around. Even if people are careful to pick up the germs are still there. Or all sorts of parasites.

 

And dogs rolling around and playing with strange dogs? Mange is so contagious. Or kennel cough?

 

Not willing to risk it.

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....but otherwise I´m not sure how those issues outweigh any of the benefits I mentioned.

 

Benefits? The only things you've mentioned are reasons to stay OUT of the off leash park. I've never understood them to be training facilities to practice trial and error for dogs you have no control over.

 

I know you only got what you wanted to out of the links I posted but in case it was missed (I would assume keeping a dog leashed in the off leash park would qualify as a dog with "issues")

 

Do realize that not all dogs are dog-park material. Veterinarians patch up a lot of dogs because owners insist on taking dogs with "issues" into dog parks (and, yes, there are dog-park fatalities, too). If your dog is friendly and well-socialized — and the park is full of others who are the same way — then dog parks are fine. Otherwise, you're better off finding other ways to get your pet the exercise he needs.

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I suppsoe therein lies the problem, if you think dogs on leash and dogs with issues are synonymous. I agree that you shouldn't be taking dogs with issues to a dog park, on or off leash. However I think there are plenty of reasons you would have a friendly, well socialized dog on leash - the main one being that you can't yet trust their recall. I have no problem with that. Again, maybe it's a culture thing. If you're talking about a dog park like this:

https://www.co.forsyth.nc.us/Parks/Horizons/images/dog_park01.jpg

then I can see the disconnect, because most of the dog parks around here look more like this:

http://momentummag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CITYGUIDES-victoria-geoff-robson-1.jpg

They're big off leash areas in a part of a bigger on leash park, usually with a walking path going through them and plenty of non-dog-owner foot traffic. They also run along the road, so I'm not surprised that people might want to keep their dogs leashed if they don't trust their recall. It's not so much that I'm assuming all dog parks are like this (I have no idea what they're like where you are) as it is that it probably influences my opinion, because I've seen tons of people walking dogs on leash through the parks and never seen an issue. But if we're talking about like square fenced areas of grass with a pile of dogs in them then it doesn't seem very appealing to be walking your dog there anyways.

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Chene- it has been described by several of us that there are two completely different types of dog parks. Obviously the photo in your second link looks like a normal park that allows dogs on and off leash. The first photo is what most of us are talking about, the kind that only exist for dogs to play/interact in (no one would be there without a dog) and where your dog can be greeted by 20 or more excited dogs at the gate when they come in. These parks don't allow leashes for obvious reasons. The second photo of yours clearly would be fine having a dog on leash as it looks like any other park that exists for human enjoyment.

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Fair enough. I didn't realize dog parks were typically a different thing from normal off leash parks. I've never seen a park dedicated just to off leash dogs. Mm, maybe one, but it was far from a small square of grass.

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about a month ago we took the puppies to an off leash park. we started out with a few dogs around, all well behaved, shortly after many new owners came and we didn't feel comfortable with some dogs around and their owners not paying attention. We exited the park and after a minute or so about 20 dogs got into a fight, all owners running around like crazy trying to rescue their dogs. One was bitten badly and the woman was crying as she walked outside. They called the ambulance due to her injuries.

 

I share your concerns.

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Had a lovely day at the park today- not an enclosed dog park, but a park where all dogs are required to be on-lead. Had three off-lead small dogs come around the corner unexpectedly with their owner. The owner just walked them off to the other side of the path, the dogs trotted along quietly behind her (one at a fair distance). They didn't look at my dogs. My dogs (two of which can be reactive) were perfectly happy about all of this. Happy days.

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Had a lovely day at the park today- not an enclosed dog park, but a park where all dogs are required to be on-lead. Had three off-lead small dogs come around the corner unexpectedly with their owner. The owner just walked them off to the other side of the path, the dogs trotted along quietly behind her (one at a fair distance). They didn't look at my dogs. My dogs (two of which can be reactive) were perfectly happy about all of this. Happy days.

 

Mmm. Nice posts in the middle of angry threads are very calming to read, thank you.

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