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Discussion Starter #1
By public dog parks, I mean anyone can come as long as they have turned in vet records proving their dog is UTD on shots and healthy... Or one where ANYONE can walk in. Not private dog parks where you have to be some kind of member to go, and it's not a bunch of strangers and strange dogs, the people know each other a bit...


Now, what is YOUR opinion of public dog parks? List, in your opinion, the Pro's VS Con's for the DOGS, not you.


I'll keep mine short, for your reading sake...

Pros:
As with any group setting, the dog can learn to be social.

Dog gets some exercise.


Cons:
Dogs and people of unknown backgrounds coming in.

Diseases being tracked in... Open water bowls are a big peeve of mine.

Parasites.

With a large breed who's got a reputation, if there is a scrap, chances are the finger will be pointed at the German Shepherd/Rottie/Bulldog instead of Buddy the golden.

If something happens, say another dog goes for yours or visa versa... your dog could be seriously damaged, physically and mentally.

Say your dog has high prey drive, what if someone brings in a small dog who takes off running around, and your dog tackles it? Just play can kill a small dog.



My views of public dog parks are obvious, there is too much risk, IMO, to take your dog to one. Set up private play dates or get-togethers if you want your dog to play with dogs outside of it's pack.
 

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I'm a big fan of dog parks, but we go to a private one that my vet has behind his building. Everyone there is very responsible, nice and they take very good care of their dogs. I'd be very cautious about a truly public one. On the other hand, there are a few great beach dog parks here in florida that are not to be missed. I don't mind those because they are wide open and where else are you going to be able to play with your dog in the surf? :)
 

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I dont go to dog parks, and its not the dogs, its some stupid people with dogs
 

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I am a huge fan of the dog park Sin and I go to. It costs $5 per dog.

Pro's
Sin runs with other dogs, he swims with other dogs, he plays fetch with them. He gets to be with dogs of all sizes. He gets to meet other GSD's. I get to talk with other dog lovers and GSD owners. He gets all of his energy out. He gets to run in the wooded trail area. He gets socialized.

Con's
There are never enough GSD's and hot guys there :(
 

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I am a huge fan of the dog park Sin and I go to. It costs $5 per dog.

Pro's
Sin runs with other dogs, he swims with other dogs, he plays fetch with them. He gets to be with dogs of all sizes. He gets to meet other GSD's. I get to talk with other dog lovers and GSD owners. He gets all of his energy out. He gets to run in the wooded trail area. He gets socialized.

Con's
There are never enough GSD's and hot guys there :(
LOL... I'm usually one of the only men at our park. There are two hottie gals at ours. The rest have great personalities. ;)
 

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I pretty much agree with all the OP's cons.

Not to mention people trying to implement their training philosophies on your dog.
I had a person try to correct Mulder (Cesar "TSHH" style), and I just about lost it. NEVER put your hands on my dog unless you're petting him, or you have my permission (preferably the later before the former, but at a DP its hard to expect people to ask to pet when there's so many pooches running around).

Pros for MY dog, specifically for him:

I have a very social dog, who likes to play with others of his own kind. He used to have a couple of buddies that he would have "play dates" with, but after BOTH of them attacked him, private play sessions ended.

For the breed, because I take my well behaved dog to the public DP, people are exposed to what a well-trained GSD with a correct temperament looks like. I've talked to several people who admitted to being frightened of GSDs, that ended up petting and really liking Mulder. Score for the breed in my books! Plus it gives me an opportunity to educate people on stereotypes and falsities that surround certain breeds (GSDs included, though not limited to!)
 

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I went to a dog park a couple times, until my dog was attacked by another dog. I had the owner of the lab mix screaming at me that I had a vicious and dangerous dog. Meanwhile, I'm the only one trying to break up the fight. The man just stood there, telling me that I had to get my dog off of his.

I cried on the way home and never went back. :)
 

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I like the idea of a dog park, and my dog always enjoys going to a dog park; but for me I would rather take him hiking for a day in the woods or find some open land and let him lose --which will now be them since I got the GSD puppy.

With dog parks there's just too much wondering about other dogs. My dog loves other dogs and gets along great with other dogs, but he's also content with just going to a field and running around alone -- or with a buddy. There are a few dog parks in Jacksonville, one of which you must sign a paper and stuff and that's fine but I've taken him before and there are way TOO many dogs, it was a bit overwhelming. Other than that one they're all public and anybody can walk in and out anytime.
And I especially don't like when I've gone to that dog park and had another male try to hump my dog...definitely not cool with my dog or with me.

For me and my dogs, I would rather socialize with dogs somewhere other than a dog park; and take them outdoors to wear energy out on hikes or the beach or something. But that's just my personal preference.
 

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someone suggested we make this a 'weekly' discussion topic so with that, I'm going to move the thread to that topic;))
 

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I agree with most of the cons for DP. Too much risk!

Course in CA it isn't really an option for a long time now as they generally ban unaltered males older than 6 months old!

A ridiculous rule I think but it is a rule here it seems.
 

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I was just there for a few hours last night. Its completely open to anyone and anybody. There are rules but absolutely no one there to enforce them. Ive been the only one I know of to attempt to enforce any of the rules for my dogs own safety. Me and my boy have been going since he was about sixteen weeks.

Some owners are truly naive and or ignorant. Ive seen people come in with dog aggressive dogs and use excuses like "oh hes just old" or "hes just protecting his mama." Ive seen parents bring toddlers that could barely walk inside the off leash area only to have them knocked over by a group of running dogs. When I begin to observe things like these, I just get my boy and leave. I wont even go in if there are mobs of dogs waiting at the gates to harass me and my dog. I try to make sure its a completely positive experience every time we are there.

Most of the time, its a good time with good people. I just tend to stay away on the weekends when all the ignoramus' seem to flock. Yesterday me and Brutus spent quite a few hours working on his off leash heel. He was making me so proud. Someone was even daft enough to bring in a very young pug into the large dog area. Brutus approached him a little confused, and decided he'd rather play with someone his size. Also, a young small boy was there and Brutus approached in a friendly but quizzical manner only to sniff the boys shoulder and trot away.

There was an article posted somewhere here on the boards in PDF format about dog parks and the do's and don'ts, as well as dog body language. I found it extremely informative.

Also, there is usually a substantial amount of attractive single women who find Brutus "soooo cute with his big ears." :) If I were single, that place would be a gold mine.

All in all, I think as long as us, as our dogs parents, protectors, and caregivers are vigilante - it can be a good experience for humans and dogs alike. Just always have to keep a close eye on our dogs. It annoys me when people show up with books or newspapers and get completely enveloped in them while there dog is running amok harassing submissive dogs or just playing too rough.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
See, my thoughts have been shown here...

Dog owners go for themselves just as much, or more, than for their dogs. Because it's fun for the OWNER to watch their dog run off lead with other dogs, the OWNER gets to meet other dog owners and interact... The owner tends to go for their own reasons, and not just so the dog can have fun, because a dog can have just as much fun hanging out with you, alone and doing something like hiking, playing ball, ect.

I also want to bring up, think about your dog... Does he have any triggers? If a strange dog comes up and tries to take his tennis ball out of his mouth, how will he react? Or, does you girl get bossy about her mom or items?

Well, every dog has quirks and triggers for various behaviors... And think of this... How many dogs are at a dog park at any given time? How many toys, treats, and high-value things do dumb owners bring in with them? What about the water bowl that most dog parks have? Is one dog who's hot and thirsty going to get defensive if another mobs him for it? Or, you KNOW your dog absolutely won't share her favorite Chuckit ball with others, so you do the smart thing and leave all of your toys at home... Well, I can guarantee that other owners have chuckits, and do bring them to a dog park.

Think of all of the possible things that can cause one dog to snap, and multiply it by the number of dogs there, and then you have an idea of how many things can go wrong... That's without including STUPID owners exacerbating a situation.
 

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Lucky for me that my dog could give 2 ***** about toys and that there are no water bowls there, they have a lake to drink out of. As for treats, treats are not allowed at the dog park I go to and unaltered dogs over the age of 14 months are not allowed into the park. There is also a fee required to get in. Like I said, we have never had an issue there. I dont go for just myself, Sinister loves other dogs, yes he enjoys playing with me but he loves being with other dogs.
 

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Pro:

Very good place to socialized your dog and to have fun with other people and other dogs.

Con:

You never know how dogs/owners could act, how dogs are behaved, if they are in good health.

I saw too much fights and too much irresponsible owners and I heard to much stupid comments, so I choose to not go back for a good moment. Owners who bring favorite's toy to the park = fight, owner who do not behave his dog = fight, owner who bring food = fight. Owner who think he can do better and try to behave your dog...well...NOT.

Our public dog park seems to gather a lot of irresponsible and stupid owners...so...
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
LaRen: You don't think ANYONE will break those rules? My own dog park has a fee, you must register with them, no treats, no toys, and dogs must be friendly. Well, I don't even go in there, I sometimes watch the mob of dogs when I pass it, and just in those short times I've seen owners slipping to treats to other's dogs, toys, dog fights, and even someone bringing in a dog they "Didn't know was in heat". And this dog park is within stone-throwing distance of the office, with workers patrolling around it every now and then.


Not at LaRen, anymore:
But take toys, food, water dishes, and item resources out of it... How would the usual dog react if someone else's tried to fight it for some other reason? What if someone else's dog was jumping all over you and causing you discomfort, would not your dog get upset? It's natural for our breed at least to be protective and alert. Who best to protect than mommy? So your dog going "Hey, get off!" could escalate into the rowdy dog jumping on yours and a scuffle breaking out. And other owners would likely have seen nothing but a friendly dog greeting you, and your dog attacking it. I know that if some other dog was all over my my dogs would at least get ruffled about it.

Edit*
And then, worse, are the owners who bring breeds who were bred specifically to fight other dogs or animals to a dog park. Those dogs might be awesome and social, but it's a rare terrier or bull breed who will shirk from a confrontation.
 

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I used to take Raven to the dog park every day from 5 months until almost 1.5 years old. She is a submissive dog and the first thing she would do when we got there was find her Dobie boyfriend, get as low on the ground as possible (sometimes belly up) and give him kisses. She occasionally wrestled and loved chasing the jack russell/pug that ran with the bid dogs. BUT, we went every night at the same time with the same 7 or 8 dogs and a few other ones once in a while. All of the owners talked, we knew each other and our dogs and which ones didn't like each other. I didn't like taking her on the weekend when it wasn't our group.

Around 1.5 years old I noticed that Raven stopped being interested in other dogs and would gravitate to whoever was playing fetch and just chase the ball. I knew which dogs picked on her and always kept an eye on them when they came in. I didn't go in if there was a bully at the gate (despite the idiot owner saying it's ok - no, it's not!). Eventually, we had an issue with a dog (different one each time) being in her face every time we went. So we stopped going. I foster, I cannot afford for my dog to be attacked and become dog aggressive.

I think when you go at a set time and see the same people, it's good socialization for a young dog but you need to be able to read your dog as well as others and be willing to step in BEFORE there is a problem not just after a fight breaks out. Many of the owners brought their own water supply and only shared with the dogs we knew. I miss going and socializing but Raven doesn't.
 

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LaRen: You don't think ANYONE will break those rules? My own dog park has a fee, you must register with them, no treats, no toys, and dogs must be friendly. Well, I don't even go in there, I sometimes watch the mob of dogs when I pass it, and just in those short times I've seen owners slipping to treats to other's dogs, toys, dog fights, and even someone bringing in a dog they "Didn't know was in heat". And this dog park is within stone-throwing distance of the office, with workers patrolling around it every now and then.
There are at least 2 park workers there at one time. One stands at the entrance to make sure people pay and the other one walks around the park to correct people if need be. We have been going there since Sinister was 5 or 6 months old. We did not go there in the winter time, we started going again in April, we try to go at least once a week. I cant even count how many times we have been there but we never had a problem, however there was a Pitbull mix that started to get bossy with a Golden Retriever and when we saw that we left but we have not seen anything like that since. As for dogs in heat, every owner that I spoke to there had their dogs spayed/neutered mine was the only one (that I know of) that was not altered. But he has now been neutered for almost a month.
 

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I do not go to dog parks.

Pro: Socialization for both dogs and people.

Cons: I can't control what other people's dogs do. I am weary of people thinking their young puppy is cute because it is barking and attempting to attack a dog that is four times it's size. What a brave little puppy. All it does is teach Hondo to be anti social.

IMO, when you have a large dog, and Hondo is one of the overly sized GSDs, they tend to be targeted as the aggressor.

If the park is empty when I drive by, I'll stop and let Hondo have a sniff around. But once people start coming, I'll put him back on a leash and we'll leave. Folks are happy to see it.
 

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Sounds like a decent park, LaRen, if only more were like it. Do the workers seem knowledgeable?
They seem knowledeable about dog behavior but not about dog breeds. They can tell when someone is encouraging bad behavior and they will correct them or if a dog is playing and it's escalating he/she will step in. They see potential situations and they step in to stop it before it happens. I do not know if they are dog trainers or not more like behavioral analists
 
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