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Discussion Starter #1
I've been on the fence about going. Today my best friend and her labradoodle and me and Roxy took the 35 minute drive to check it out. We figured if we got there and didn't like what we saw there were at least some trails to walk on leash.

We got there and apparently we " looked " like newbs. There was a lady and her dog sitting right near where you go in and she told her dog to welcome the visitors. My best friend's dog hasn't been socialized much and she's 5 ..so we gotta check and see how she's going to react. She was afraid Sophie wouldn't be able to go in because she can be kind of nippy....but the owners all assured us that everything would be fine and when we got out of the car Sophie went right up to the fence and started sniffing everybody out..no barking ..no signs of aggression. Roxy just wanted in to run..I could tell she would be fine.

so we went in the staging area and one of the ladies in there told my best friend if she was nervous just to go ahead and come in with the leash on. But we got in ..and the dogs were ready to play.

It's about 5 acres of fenced in area with benches and lots of trees. The owners all kind of stood by each other and chatted while their dogs played and not once did anybody owner or pet get out of hand. ( we are still amazed that my friends dog did so well)...

they were all romping around and a couple of people had balls and toys and were playing with all the dogs. and we had the best bunch of owners we could have had for a first time visit.

I am sure there are times when this isn't the norm..but this seems to be the "regular" tuesday crowd so we will probably make this our tuesday outing.
the dogs got in the van and were asleep before we even got all the way out of the park. Roxy has still be napping on and off.

so I just wanted to let you know..I did try it and my experience was a good one :)
 

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I'm soooo glad you and Roxy had a good time. That's what I do, I check out who's there and how the dogs are playing. If things don't look good I don't take him in. I also try to keep an eye out on who's walking their dogs over, so that I can remove him before they get in. Of course I only have been taking Dexter to the puppy side and he's usually the biggest one there. But because he's a puppy they are ok with him. I'm hoping the smaller dogs teach him some doggie greeting manners.
 

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Probably, that is one of "civilized" places, where dogs don't fight as such, only squabble because of the toy. In order to avoid it, normally, the park visitors teach their dogs to run only after that ball which the owner of the dog threw, and ignore the balls which belong to other dogs. If you want them to play one toy together - it could be better to take a rope with you, so, they can pull it from each other. Don't forget taking toys with you.
Of course, it's nice to stay around and yack for hours, but, if you came there for your dog's sake, it would be better to devote your time to her. Train her in distractive environment, it's good for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
they were stealing balls and those cloth frisbee things from each other. It was cute to watch.

our big thing today was just to see how it was going to work and let the dogs run off some energy. We have training sessions all day long in short spurts and do distraction walks usually at night. This I just wanted her to be able to run and do puppy stuff.
 

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it's funny cuz the dogs will move in a pack and all run off and find a new place to play so all the owners are like a pack and move with them. I'm sure it looks kind of funny if you are looking in at it
 

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See it went well in this instance but the formation of a pack like that and all you owners admiring the display is part of the problems with dog parks.

No owners taking responsibility and controlling their dogs. No leaders walking around asking their dog to ignore the pack and follow them instead.

The dogs naturally will feed of the packs excitement and will be less inclined to listen to or look for guidance from the owners. If something does kick of you have no authority to stop it as it is the packs business. You are just the transport for the dogs rather than the leaders.

My local beach is like a dog park but usually people are moving and their dogs will follow. I have to be on guard as many inexperienced owners have dogs that run around from pack to pack and see if they can entice dogs to play or pick on weaker dogs or check if females are in heat. etc etc

When dogs do this I demand my dogs come to me and sit around me. I ignore the other dogs and really focus on mine. It shows my dogs to ignore other passing dogs and not get aggro or excited and resist distractions.

It also shows the free dogs to respect my pack. All my dogs are sitting on front of me and I am obviously controlling them so the dogs visiting us have to assume me to be the leader. If they want to try manipulate the pack the have to challenge me and I am ignoring them and projecting my authority so they just go on there way.
 

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Good to hear.
We were also unsure about dog parks. So far they have been good. There are five dog parks around here to choose from. Two are great, one is OK, and two are not so great. I think its about finding the right dogs/owners.
Congrats.
 

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My wife and I decided to try and socialize Cruz at our dog park. We went twice the first day we were off work. During the middle of the week was alot better. Less dogs/people. But the second day we went we ran into what every resposible owner hates, a dead beat owner. Cuts the dog loose and then ignores. Bad situation. This coupled with some horror stories and bad experience of our own and we no longer visit dog parks.

But glad you had a good time. The problem with dog parks is, and this includes me, regular dog owners do not understand dog behavior. As mentioned before, packing up is a bad thing. Most dog parks advise avoiding this. But if you dont have an in depth understanding of thier behavior, how will you know whats aggressive and whats play if it gets rough? Another reason to have your dog stay with you and out of the pack. Its all about controlling the situation. If you just have to go, be aware of your dog and whats going on around you.

But to the point, it only takes one bad owner showing up. That could happen at anytime. Just because it was fun the last time you went doesnt mean it'll turn out that way the next time. Just be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
See it went well in this instance but the formation of a pack like that and all you owners admiring the display is part of the problems with dog parks.

No owners taking responsibility and controlling their dogs. No leaders walking around asking their dog to ignore the pack and follow them instead.
disagree with most of this. The owners were right there to intervene if necessary ..we weren't in a "pack" on the other side of the park..when the dogs moved ALL owners moved with them. Each owner called their dog and their dog went right to them. The dogs all rough housed and nobody got hurt..all owners were right on top of it.

We were owners enjoying the fact that our dogs were having fun..making new friends just like we were and as I said before except for my best friend and I..the rest of them all appeared to be the tuesday morning regulars and our dogs happened to fit right in with them ..as did we.
 

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if the dogs aren't going to socialize and play with the other dogs..might as well stay home with them. What would be the point of me taking her up there and excluding her from playing? That seems like taking a kid to the playground and making him/her sit on the bench and watch the other kids.
 

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5 acres is a nice big park. If it's working for you, go for it. My daughter says she avoids the weekends at the dog parks because she hears comments like. "my dog has not gone out all week" so you know these dogs have crazy, pent up energy.

Our dog parks are very small and feel claustrophobic, and many of the regulars are rude and feel like they own the place. Glad you had a good experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
oh I can see it being chaotic on the weekend... I'm thinking Tuesdays will be our day to go. the one good thing about this dog park is that's it's in the middle of a huge park/recreation department ..so if I got up there and it looked like it wasn't the day to be in there..lots of trails to walk and one of the owners yesterday told me that one of the trails is more like a cross country thing so she said alot of people go up there and do long lead walks. She says she's been coming there since her dog was a puppy and has NEVER had a problem and she go on different days too.

to be totally honest this is in the same town where if you go shopping you swear everybody took a rude pill. There was not one grouchy person there...must be being with your dog that makes you happy and friendly. Funny how everybody can be in a good mood at a place like that.
 

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im glad it worked out for you. the dog park by me has been amazing for my puppy. Luckily its 200 yards away from my condo so its easy to see who is there and if their are children I avoid it. Ive found that everyday its pretty much the same group of 20-30 dogs who cycle in throughout the day. The weekends are chaotic but enough of the regulars are there to make my girl feel comfortable and have some of her friends to play with. Another thing about my park which is nice is probably 80% of the dogs are labs so their are lots of dogs just concerned with playing fetch or being petted and could care less about dog on dog interaction much less any aggressive behavior.
 

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if the dogs aren't going to socialize and play with the other dogs..might as well stay home with them. What would be the point of me taking her up there and excluding her from playing? That seems like taking a kid to the playground and making him/her sit on the bench and watch the other kids.
I agree the whole point of going to a dog park is to socialize. If i wanted my dog to just spend time with me, I could take him to a regular park and put him on a long tie. I do have my time where i spend just training, especially since we are in 2 days a week obedience classes (were in the big puppy classes now so we are outside with distractions yay) and work on training every day. its beyond me that people go to a dog park/dog beach and then complain about other dogs coming up to their dogs. :smirk:
 
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