Entering a dog park "on leash" ????? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Entering a dog park "on leash" ?????

I learned something new this week... I think.

Trying to keep Kira somewhat socialized, I venture into a local dog park, specifically to meet a small group of friends with pups. I usually go "off-hours", because I really don't want to take any chances having her pinned again.

Anyway, I get to the park, and her friends are there. A 5 month Rottie, a 5 month lab, and a couple 4.5 month pits.... AND a 1 year old mix, that was minding his own business, playing fetch with its owner.

I enter the play area with Kira, and I was fiddling with her leash. The clasp was stuck,and I couldn't release her. The 1 year old dog, came over and pinned Kira INSTANTLY. Kira yelped, but got up, and wasn't overly fazed by it.

The owner was apologetic, and said that happened because Kira was leashed, and I should never enter the play area with her leashed. All was well a few minutes later, as all the dogs played nicely.

Is there any truth to the leash theory?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 08:50 AM
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The leash will set some dogs off. I own a private dog park and many of our members are long time public dog park users. We have managed to train most of the humans to be better handlers. One thing we insist on is owners being in reach of their dogs. We also have members who are new to our park who are nervous about their dogs being off-leash in our creek area, which isn't fenced. We have taught our members that it is their job to regulate their dogs as there will occasionally be dogs on leash in that area. The owner of the 1 year old dog was correct, but if that owner is aware of it, then she should have been preemptive and monitored her dog! That is grounds for a reprimand at our park, which is why I don't like public dog parks.
If the park doesn't have a double gated entry system, then many people have no choice but to enter on leash, so dogs that are inside the fenced area should be made to vacate the area around the gate. (another rule at our park, do NOT allow dogs to crowd the gates or dogs coming/going).

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 09:04 AM
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Yes, there is. When entering a dog park, lots of dogs tend to rush the newcomer and their owners tend to allow and think they are just saying hi. Having your dog on leash can lead to other dogs taking advantage (like you saw) or it can make your dog defensive since they don't have the option to flee.

All the parks I've been to have a double gate system so you can safely take the leash off before entering. When I used to go alot, I wouldn't let Raven in until the other owners called their dog away from the gate especially if they are wound up. I even left once because there was a standard poodle guarding the gate and Raven wasn't happy. The owner kept telling us to come in but I said, no, my dog is not comfortable with yours. She wouldn't call him off so we left.

Jamie

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Kaiser (GSD) - November 2009
Holly (GSD) - March 24, 2011

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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The park is double gated. It was MY fault. Her "friends" were in there, and I just walked in without giving thought. The clasp was stuck, and I fiddled.

I'll be 100% certain to free her in the double gate in the future.

Thanks
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 10:08 AM
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The leashed dog is at a disadvantage as you saw. We have a large open play area at our training club and Stosh is one of those enthusiastic 'greeters' which would be really intimidating if it was a stranger. Glad Kira brushed it off
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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The leashed dog is at a disadvantage as you saw. We have a large open play area at our training club and Stosh is one of those enthusiastic 'greeters' which would be really intimidating if it was a stranger. Glad Kira brushed it off
She's gotten so much better. I'm starting to see some maturity in her behavior.

A few days ago, she was in the dog park, and 2 very large labs were playing tug on a three way rope. Of course, the third rope was dangling, and she went over and just grabbed it. She didn't have a chance, because those labs were easily over 100 lbs
Then she walked away, and went back to her "friends".

I'm trying to avoid the dog ark as much as possible. I have a couple friends there with pups her age, but sometimes other people show up with older dogs. I let her sniff, get acquainted, but try not to let her put herself in vulnerable positions.
I really want her to be more neutral. I usually leave after a short period.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 01:18 PM
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I make it a policy to always enter our park with leash on. Admittedly it is an unfenced park and the entry side has a childrens play area. The leash-free boundary is defined by 2 sign posts. Most owners unleash their dogs close to their cars and let them run into the dog park (about 20 meters). I keep Maggie (1Yr) leashed, other dogs are allowed to approach her but she is not allowed to react/interact. Once we reach the leash-free boundary she goes into a down stay and I walk around the park, disappearing from view down a hill at the other end of the park (where I usually find a pine cone treat to bring back to her). She is not allowed to move, other dogs may come and sniff but she ignores them. On the way back , as I get close to her I toss the pine cone in front of her. She is not allowed to go for it. I step up beside her, call for a sit and release her. She always goes straight for the cone then off to play with her friends.
It took a fair bit of repetition, sometimes I would re-down her after she moved 6 or seven times, now she is almost 100%. She won't move, but may pop up into a sit if I'm too long out of view.

So "never" is a bit black/white, it depends on the dog and what your expectations of your dog are.

Last edited by pfitzpa1; 12-08-2011 at 01:21 PM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 01:29 PM
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Interesting thread. I always keep Liesl leashed to maintain some control in case I don't like the situation and we need to leave quickly. We have never had a bad meeting with other dogs, due to the leash or otherwise. I think if a dog got aggressive just bc Liesl was on leash I'd leave then.

Pfitzpa1, sorry if I'm being obtuse--what is the reason for your routine? Training your dog? Aiding in socialization at the park? Other? Thx!

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 01:30 PM
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I am torn on this topic.
Our dog park is wide open at the entrance and situated way off the road. If I go in with her unleashed and a bunch of dogs come charging over she makes a run for it rather than standing and waiting to see if they are going to attack or just sniff. She always comes back and they work it out but I don't like the thought that they could run her down and take advantage of her because of their prey drive.
The other day I was walking in the woods and saw someone coming towards me with a Boston Terrier, so I clipped the leash on. The BT attacked her and the owner didn't apologize. She just said it was because my dog was on a leash. (therefore MY fault). Couple days later, same thing and I left her off leash and there was no altercation. A$$hole owner (though irresponsible) was right.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2011, 01:35 PM
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During my dog park days, I would either unleash between the double gates, or have her go into an immediate sit inside the park to take her leash off. We were lucky that it was always the same group of pups so we did not have an incident with talking off her leash immediately upon entry. The familiar dogs would always wait for her to be unleashed. Then again, all these dogs had very responsible owners.


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