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A poster on another thread had posted about an incident at a dog park and did not want her thread turned into a bashing thread. Perfectly understandable.

Dog Parks are a hot issue, not just for dog owners that want to socialize and exercise our dogs but also for municipalities that have them.

I live in a small town and we do not have a dog park. Nearest park is 100 miles away, so I would not use one cause I cannot regularly use one. I have on occassion stopped in when in Tulsa and it is very quiet.

Would I ever be a regular user? Probably not. They scare me.

I have 3 GSD's.(would never take more than one a time if I went). They are large dogs and they have a reputation as a breed. My dogs are well socialized and very well trained as evidence by the titles in front and behind their names (not bragging). They get along with other dogs and other people. They are not aggressive.

I think the idea behind dog parks is sound but sometimes the philosophy is not. I would be so afraid of other dogs causing issues adn my dogs getting caught up in it and thne being blamed due to breed. I would also not want to see injury if above happened - to my dog or another.

I have always found friendly dogs for my dogs to play with. They do play with friends dogs pretty often. They also have each other and a large yard.

I think for people that have no other options a well run park might be okay but I am not sure I want my dogs there.

Any one else??
 

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After my pup has all his shots I will probably take advantage of the dog park near my house for some off leash training but then I live in a very small community and it is not tourist season. Come spring and summer I won't be using it at all as it will be tourist season. My city bylaws state you can have , get ready for it , 4 ,count them, 4 dogs per person in off leash area. How crazy is that? There is no way I am going to take a chance of anything happening to my dog so I will be avoiding dog parks unless no one else is there. Luckily there are lots of trails that we can use.
 

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I think it depends on the type of park. A small fenced in area is what a lot of people think of when they think dog park. In Ottawa our 2 major dog parks consist of acres of land with multiple walking trails through them. You can avoid the chaos if you choose to do so. I personally love taking my guys and will continue. If my only option was a small fenced in space where the dogs are pretty much forced to mingle then I wouldn't go. Also, for those of us who live in apartments, the dog park is the only opportunity we have to let our dogs run off leash.
 

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I currently use a dog park in my area that is divided into 3 areas. First area is a "come one and all" sort of area. I think people that use this area tend to be regulars that meet in groups. The other areas are for "big dogs" and "small dogs".
I will use the larger "big dog" area but I will only go very early in the am on the weekends when I know there will be virtually no one there.
For me I like this option because while I have a ton of open space and off leash trails, I don't have a backyard to train my pup in and this affords me the luxury of being able train in a confined space with safety.
I also have to say that I did not go to the dog parks at all when mine was a small pup, I did not want to risk the chance of him having a bad experience and having to undo any harm that may have come to him.
I don't think dog parks are all bad, I just think the person using them has to be responsible for their own dog because god knows that most people are not going to be as responsible as you are going to be.
 

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I agree that the risks out number the benefits for me and my critters. But a lot of other people may not have the same circumstances. I have a nice fenced field. And I have other dogs that my dogs can run with when I want that to happen. If my dogs fight, it is my fault, and I will have to mop them up, pay the vet bills, and kick myself for letting it happen. I think I prefer to be in control.
 

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I've stopped going with my large dog for various reasons. In my area there are many public dog parks. Some separated by size some "all together" (stupid stupid stupid)
Number one reason is cleanliness; dirty water bowls, humans unable to bend over to pick up after their dogs; stuff like that. Secondary is the gross lack of training and lack of structure in the home (yes it shows) in many of the dogs that I see there.
I've almost lost my patience with taking Zoey, just watching the humans.
It's actually almost amusing to go without either dog and just hang out with a book and watch, it's like Comedy Central.

I think my dog benefited more by going to a large open ended park by my house and working long line recalls, and now has very good recall so I just take the chuck-it and take her there. She even has a few "friends" there and will actually stop paying attention to the all sacred BALL for a few minutes and play.
I think that there is a need for them, I just wish there were more education.
I'd love for a private dog park like Danielle's or Boceron's (I'm really sure that I spelled that wrong) as the owners are intelligent folks that have a good understanding of dog behavior and how dogs think.
 

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I live almost directly across the street from a "provisional" leash-free dog park. It's "provisional" in the sense that the city have not yet bothered to fence or provide watering facilities. The residents, quite rightly objected to fencing the area as it is a small multi use park in a quiet neighborhood and had spectacular views of the ocean. I guess the compromise was provisional status and there are certain times/days (usually weekends on little league season) where use is restricted.
The dog owners for the most part are very attentive of their dogs and "situations" are rare. There is no small dog area, and there was an incident a few years back where a poodle was killed by another dog (not sure of the breed).
I used to bring my old dogs there and stopped after they died, but when I got my GSD pup 2 years ago, I used to bring her there twice a day (from age 9 weeks). I was very watchful and stuck with times/groups that I knew were safe. She is an extremely social dog as a result. She has never been bitten nor pinned, once.

There are other bigger parks around the city, some of them are OK but a couple of them I avoid like the plague (I have been to all of them at least twice). You can generally pick up the vibe in a dog park very quickly. If you see owners sitting around paying no attention to their dogs, then that is an immediate bad sign.

I now visit my local park only once or twice a week, for no other reason than I rather go to a different park where I can get some exercise. Instead I go to a local Island that is about 5 mins drive from home but has over 400 acres of off leash use. It typically takes me about an hour and a half to walk around the 6 mile perimeter. There is a secondary fenced area of maybe 30 acres for owners that want to keep their dogs away from traffic. I usually pass through that area on my walk. (I trained my dog the long down at the entrance to this area, it is an excellent proving ground) There is no small dog area on the island and the area is used by big and small dogs alike. I've heard of incidents of dog fights etc but never witnessed any.

I find that most people that have dogs with agression issues don't spend much time in public off leash parks, or only go very early or late in the day to avoid incidents.

I think life would be very boring for me and my dog without easy access to an off leash area.


IMO dog parks are only as good/bad as the people that frequent them. The presence of diligent and attentive owners will make or break a dog park for me.
 

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Tips:

When you first visit a dog park, take your dog to an area of the park where no other dogs are around. While playing with your dog, observe what's going on around you. Do this for several days at the same time. If you're lucky, you'll notice some regulars and their dogs. After you feel comfortable with what you've been observing, approach the regulars so your dog can play with the others.

If you don't like what you see, you might try another time of the day. You may find a group of regulars and their dogs that you like at this time.

Practice frequent recalls with your dog at the park. Stay vigilant. As soon as you see or hear something that doesn't seem right, recall your dog.

Walk your dog away from any other dog playing with balls, frisbees, or other toys - even sticks.

If you want to play fetch or frisbee with your dog, only do so when far away from other dogs.

Find dogs with whom you think your dog would play well with, and encourage play. Sure, you can't "make" a dog play with another dog, but you can still encourage it. I and two other women will walk our dogs out away from others, and our three dogs will generally play together. (All three are between nine and ten months old, and roughly the same size.)

Don't be afraid to speak out to protect your dog's right to play in the park if it is important to you. I have been downright rude to one mother who brought in two and four year old girls who tried to "hang" on my dog. Yeah...stupid, stupid woman. I'm going to stand up for my dog's right to play in the park without me having to worry about Teddy knocking over and injuring a two year old child.

The rule is no kids under twelve years of age in our dog park, so I warned her that I would call the cops if she didn't take her kids away from my dog.

Stay vigilant and have fun, and don't be afraid to shun the clueless woman with the aggressive dog whom she ignores while texting on her cell phone. Don't go out of your way to make this person feel welcome.

Don't get me wrong: we are quite friendly and not cliqueish, but we don't "welcome trouble." :)
 

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One of my pet peeves is folk who chuck a ball for their dog in the middle of a busy dog park an complain when other dogs chase their dog or steal their ball. I have seen some people get quite upset about that.
As I say it's mostly the people that are the problem not the dogs.
 

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I've tended to stop going as much lately because my dog finally has very reliable recall and I trust him in an unfenced area to stick around me. Before I would go to the dog park but be extra vigilant for exactly the same reasons OP mentioned. The breed has a reputation, anything my dog is involved in will probably be blamed on my dog, so I don't let him get involved in anything. He's extremely social and loves other dogs but he can get into dominance issues with other dogs and then I have to call him off or make sure he doesn't do anything.

For those of you with yards, with a pack of dogs, I don't see any reason to go to the dog park. But many of you don't think about the people living in cities, that might not have a lot of friends with dogs, and if they have friends with dogs they don't have anywhere fenced to let them play. So a dog park is a wonderful thing for them.

I think the more ignorant someone is, the better dog parks are for them. There are issues...but rarely is there a death or a bloody fight. I've actually never in 2.5 years of going to various dog parks seen any dog get seriously injured. There have been scrums, there have been fights, but I've actually never even seen blood get drawn from a dog. People around here are vigilant, don't want their dogs hurt, don't want to hurt other dogs, and so they don't allow it. A person that does bring an aggressive pooch usually gets quickly shunned and judged...and trust me they care when 20 people are looking at them funny and holding their dogs back. Or even saying things to them about their dog.

If we had a thread for each time a person went to the dog park and didn't have any issues, and just had a great time with their dog, those would out number the "I had a bad experience" threads by thousands.
 

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i visit our dog park at least 3 times a week and more when possible. only one person, looks to be in his eighties, doesn't bend down to clean up after his dog, we all do it for him. others are handed a plastic bag if they are unfamiliar with dog park etiquette. i am amazed at how well all dogs get along. never an incident.
 

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Some are good, some are bad. It's all about space. If it's just a small area where you stand around and your dog plays with other dogs and has nothing else to do, it's probably bad. Because then dogs start to get used to each other and then they start to figure out pack order and what they can get away with. They can also start forming packs and harassing other dogs. These can start fights.

If it's a dog park that is measured in acres and you actually walk your dog around the dog park instead of stand there, then it's probably a good dog park. Dogs don't bother figuring out pack structure when they are just sniffing and moving on. Packs won't form either because you usually just walk by another dog and owner and that's it.

Ours are big, with the biggest being 150 acres. Dogs of all sizes go there. I've seen a chihuahua puppy that was about the size of a hamster there and nothing bad happened because there's no pack mentality going on with groups of dogs because there are no groups of dogs and dogs don't spend enough time with each other to start chasing games that can escalate when dogs are unfamiliar with each other.
 

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Ours are big, with the biggest being 150 acres. Dogs of all sizes go there. I've seen a chihuahua puppy that was about the size of a hamster there and nothing bad happened because there's no pack mentality going on with groups of dogs because there are no groups of dogs and dogs don't spend enough time with each other to start chasing games that can escalate when dogs are unfamiliar with each other.
:thumbup:

I imagine this is why our park does not have incidents like the one that sparked the other thread. With 25 acres and the rule that standing and gathering is not allowed, the dogs are always moving away from each other, and the owners are always vigilant, so there are no packs to hunt down little dogs and what not.
 

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One of my pet peeves is folk who chuck a ball for their dog in the middle of a busy dog park an complain when other dogs chase their dog or steal their ball. I have seen some people get quite upset about that.
As I say it's mostly the people that are the problem not the dogs.
Yeah, I mean if it's so valuable why bring it to a dog park. I would kind of thank people politely when Alice was younger if their dog took her ball and they returned it......
"No thanks, we'll find another....no value" It's probably why she doesn't get all guardy about stuff.

I do miss the socialization that Alice got from hanging out with dogs her own size. She really is a dork and likes to play.
Her meds prevent her from coming to work with me.
 

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I'm totally indifferent, they aren't for me. If other people want to go, it's their choice.
I think dog parks are only as good as the people running them and the people attending them. I believe they are one more thing a prudent dog owner needs to research before making an informed decision on.
 

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Our dog parks are small gated areas. Like a backyard. There's no way I would ever take my dogs. I have a pit and a german shep and I feel like if something were to ever happen mine would be to blame simply by breed. If my dog is going to play with another dog, it's going to be one I choose because I know it's a stable do with an dog-intelligent owner.


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I think they're good in general. If the people pick up after their dogs, that really makes or breaks it for me. I've seen one that was just a feces-pit, so I wouldn't use that one. The vast acreage ones sound amazing, but ours is just a small fenced area.

It isn't very busy, if you pick off hours, so half of our time is spent alone playing frisbee. It's nice to use the safety of the park for doing off-leash training, and using the other dogs as a distraction. When the dogs are well matched it's a wonderful thing to watch. I love seeing dogs run and play together!

Using a dog park comes with a risk, but I never take my eyes off my puppy and I watch other dogs for signs of trouble, and stop it before it starts. Or leave, depending on what's going on. It isn't right for everyone, or for every dog either. So far it's been a great for my puppy, but I wish more people could read their dogs better, because I've seen quite a few that shouldn't be there.
 
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