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I've been fortunate enough as to not have encountered too many bad apples at the dog park, but welp, the title tells itself. My shepherd mix and I get to the park and first thing I see is a lovely great dane female...who looks like she's definitely in heat. Max is neutered and pretty calm with dogs (he was fine with my parent's female when she was in heat) so we go do our thing....but people you don't bring your intact bitch in heat to the dog park! Cardinal rule number 1!

I keep my eyes peeled hoping that she and her owner will leave, but end up talking to someone cordially who turns out to be her owner....woohoo. The bitch isn't causing any trouble, so I ignore it...and we start talking about our dogs, etc. My dog Max comes over and as I'm telling him about how...idk Max is suspicious around strangers, you know, like German Sheps tend to be, he tries to coax him over and then tries to roughouse with him by grabbing his collar. WTF. Fortunately Max is not a biter, so he goes behind me uncomfortably. I joke yeah man, you just got rejected, and we get up and walk around the park. I didn't realize how angry it could make me until we walked away. What a moron! It also dawned on me that maybe he was flirting with me or something...because he was around my age. Double moron!! You took your girl in heat to the park and tried to grab a suspicious dog you just met to make it play with you?? We left after that, and man, I was mad!

Anyways, it's a rant but...yeah 馃檭
 

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Can't say I blame you!
 

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Had someone bring their female GSD who was supposedly JUST out of heat to the local dog park. Once I saw how the males in the park - some of them intact - were reacting to her, I got the heck out of there as fast as I could! I could sense from the body language that there was going to be a fight break out very soon.

In this case, it was a young couple who obviously didn't know how the other dogs would respond, so I didn't blame them. I'm sure they learned VERY quickly - I just hope no dogs got hurt!
 

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A friend of mine did almost the exact same thing to Willow, maybe 6 months ago. She's much better than she used to be around strangers, but I make sure to tell people not to touch her, and she's content to sit/stand around, even close to people, as long as they leave her alone. But I was chatting with a group of friends and one of them suddenly reached down and tried to muss up her face--you know, grab her by both sides of her face and squish it around--and she freaked. Backed up super fast and snapped on the way, and actually made contact with his skin.

Luckily he was very apologetic and admitted it was totally his fault, as I'd told everyone not to touch her. But I still felt bad, and it obviously shook Willow's confidence. Luckily she doesn't seem to have any permanent ill-will toward him...
 

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When I used to go to the dog park, maybe half the people were young and seemed to be there for the "social" aspects.
 

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Yeesh, that鈥檚 awful. I stopped going to dog parks after my Poodle got flipped and nipped on the stomach by a Shiba when he licked the Shiba鈥檚 face. Fortunately the other owner pulled his dog off (he was standing right there!) before it did serious damage. I turned my back for one second to check on my other dog, and that was it. Never going to one again. It鈥檚 taken over a year and tons of counter conditioning for us to walk past other dogs without him screaming. One of my goals in training him is the CGC, but some days I don鈥檛 know how we鈥檙e ever going to pass the dog aspect of it. I was always wary of other owners, but that was the last straw. Most people who go to those places just don鈥檛 know how to read canine body language, nor how to know their dog is most definitely not suited to other dogs.
 

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dog parks always sound like so much fun!
 

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We go and have a blast, but then again I only go when we are the only ones there and we leave if we see someone else coming.
 

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A friend of mine did almost the exact same thing to Willow, maybe 6 months ago. She's much better than she used to be around strangers, but I make sure to tell people not to touch her, and she's content to sit/stand around, even close to people, as long as they leave her alone. But I was chatting with a group of friends and one of them suddenly reached down and tried to muss up her face--you know, grab her by both sides of her face and squish it around--and she freaked. Backed up super fast and snapped on the way, and actually made contact with his skin.

Luckily he was very apologetic and admitted it was totally his fault, as I'd told everyone not to touch her. But I still felt bad, and it obviously shook Willow's confidence. Luckily she doesn't seem to have any permanent ill-will toward him...
My client diid this....we were chatting, with Rumo standing by my leg as usual...he suddenly swooped down and scratched my dogs鈥 ears! Rumo growled at him.

Then I saw the client with his own dog one morning...a poodle. He left her tied outside the coffee shop and he was in line getting coffee...total strangers were coming up and petting her! I realized...that鈥檚 why he behaves that way with dogs!
 

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I do a lot of public exposure with my boy. No dog parks but I still find lots of 鈥榙ogs love me鈥 people. My boy seems to get an extreme response from people, some shy away but the other half come in for pets. Vandal has love and happiness in his eyes but it鈥檚 for his family. I鈥檝e learned to be rude to pushy, lovely-dovey people.
Kids are different, they are met with balls and treats. But adults don鈥檛 get the 鈥榚verything is awesome鈥 card. They should know better.

I do agree that people sometimes think my dog is a deposit for their affection. Maybe sometimes he is a great affection taker, but strangers should at least respect him.
 

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I take my dog to the dog park but... I vet the parks carefully. There are three dog parks in my area. The one that is most convenient to me, I don't go to because I have seen some bad behavior. Like, people taking small dogs into the large dog area. That is a bozo no no. People going to the dog park with several small children in tow - which means they are too busy dealing with the kids to watch their dog. And people not picking up dog poop.

The other two dog parks are not a problem. One of them has a pier that dogs can jump off into a large pool, and while my dog has not jumped yet, he gets a kick out of running onto the pier, watching other dogs jump, etc. The other one is a large park with lots of old, large trees. In both of these places, the owners seem to keep a good eye on their dogs and the small dogs stay in their area. However, even at these parks, I only go during the week. On the weekends, a lot of people come out who are not regulars and don't obey the rules.

So my thing with dog parks - before you take your dog, go by yourself a couple of times and scope it out.

You don't have to take your dog to the dog park, BTW. Not all dogs enjoy socializing with other dogs. Some prefer just a few close doggy friends, so you can just set up play dates. Some would rather avoid other dogs altogether. My dog loves playing with other dogs, though.
 
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