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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have always enjoyed taking my dogs to the dog park. Lately my puppy has had some issues with bully dogs. Last night I took them and three Siberian Huskies ganged up on her and I had to intervene. The owner of the Huskies also stepping in. She wasn't bitten, but she was rolled and pinned and slobbered on and intimidated. She ran to me as one of them tried to nip her. Right after that I was thinking about leaving. I looked over and the owner of the huskies was putting muzzles on her dogs! What?! If she has dogs she KNOWS are mean and has actually bought muzzles for them, why the heck would she bring them unmuzzled to the dog park? I was so angry and left.

So, I am trying to decide if I should take Bonnie anymore for a while. When I first started taking her she was shy and timid. As the months went along she developed huge selfconfidence. I thought the dog park was good for her. She races around bouncing around all the other dogs smiling and, yes, she can be annoying. She tears around the park at full speed and other dogs start to chase her. Then for the last couple times dogs have intimidated her. She usually runs around with her tail up, but after the last mauling she trotted around with her tail down glancing side to side the whole time. I thought that was not good.

Poodles are so sensitive. I don't want a bunch of bully dogs to ruin her new found self confidence. It is one of the only places she can run and run and run without a leash. On the other hand, she can be annoying to dogs that don't want to play. When she find someone to play with her she is excited and can be obnoxious. She still hasn't learned all her dog park manners.

I don't know what to do- go back or not. sigh.I thought maybe if I went earlier when there weren't many dogs that might be better. I can't put her in the small dog area because she chases the little dogs and tries to play with them. Their owners get all stressed out them even though Bonnie wouldn't hurt a fly. She is exuberant, not mean. She is a rambunctious, confident 6 month old puppy.

Do you guys go to dog parks? I can't decide whether to go back or not. Echo, the whippet, isn't as excited about dog parks as he was when young, so he wouldn't care.

Would you go back and let your puppy learn to behave in a more sedate manner (I don't think that is possible for her) or would you wait until she is more like a year old? I am a little concerned one of these dogs might end up hurting her. Not everyone is a good dog owner.
 

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I've had some of the same issues. I've also had my last poodle, Max become a bully with a certain dog. I had to start watching who was at the park. Interesting that one of the dogs we always had trouble with was a husky. He bullied everyone. I think it's great fun and exercise that in our case they don't get at home. I still go, but I leave if things get out of hand.
 

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I'm not a dog park fan. Too many unknown quantities. I've been to one a few times, but I went at ungodly hours when few people would be there, and when someone came in monitored their dog's behavior closely. (Ironically enough, the best time I had at a dog park was with a young pit bull who played great with the corgis.) Once too many people show up it all gets a little too edgy for me. The dogs are one thing, but the clueless people... :afraid:

But then, I'm in the position of having four dogs, so they do get to play and interact and learn dog skills with each other. And we got to training class and dog shows, which allows for interaction. If I had a single dog, I might be more willing to work something out with the dog park situation.

Maybe try to go at those ungodly hours, or arrange a play group with some people who have trustworthy dogs?

--Q
 

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I'm just bein' a bit of a Devil's advocate here. Lookin' at this from a frustrated dog trainers view.

From that point of view, it's easy to pretend that the lady with the Huskies has been working with them for a while, hoping to eliminate some bad behaviour by allowing her dogs to socialize with other dogs. It may be that she was hoping, that for the very first time, her dogs would learn to play nice . . and she wouldn't have to put muzzles on them. In that case, it would have been quite a disappointment to her that they ganged up on Bonnie. I'd sure be embarrassed if I were her. And I'd immediately muzzle my dogs.

I'm not sayin' that your take is wrong, Outwest. U could easily be right. But if u look at it this other way it might take a negative situation *Huskies aggressive, Bonnie cowed* and turn it into a positive. Where the Huskies and Bonnie 'meet' under more controlled circumstances, the Huskies get to love her, she gets used to more rambunctious dogs, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Or maybe that's just a fairy tale... ;)
 

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@ Outwest,

Fallen Loves the Dog Park, are back yard is ok, but not where he can run at top speed and leap like a deer. There are always bullies at dog parks, but I don’t understand how the owners of the bullies don’t control their dogs. I remember one time when we I took Boss to the DP, he was a weim mix and weight 85lbs, he was about a 14 months old and this dog (bully) kept bothering him and I could tell that Boss didn’t like it, so I called him and he came to my side, I said let’s go, well the other dog came charging at him, growling, next thing I know Boss had the dog on its back, I grabbed Boss and said NO, he stopped sat down and looked at me. The owner ran over and told me, if my dog is not friendly then he shouldn’t be here WTH, I looked at him and said your dog was the one antagonizing my dog if you had been watching what you’re dog was doing you would have seen what he was doing and I’m sure this isn’t the first time, so you’re dog is the one who shouldn’t be here. After that incident I didn’t see him anymore. You should keep taking Bonnie to the DP and just watch out for those dogs and if it happens again, maybe you can file some kind of complaint.
 

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is it possible that they were just schooling bonnie? sometimes seelie is a bit (a bit? hahaha!) obnoxious and the other dogs will give him a reminder to chill out.
 

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Outwest, I too have frustrations with dog parks. My frustration is people that bring their dogs that they KNOW are dog aggressive and hope that they will learn to play nice. :(

I continue to take Millie because she is smart and she knows when a situation could get bad and she tends to back away quickly. If she sees a quarrel between two other dogs, she usually gets as far away as possible.

I still take her because she has a blast. But, I pick up my things and leave as soon as some sketchy a** people start popping their dogs with prong collars in the pond on the dog park (this happened last time!).
 

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I've never been to a dog park, myself. However, I have been checking out the German Shepherd forums for a couple of months - I started out wanting one, but I've got myself ~80% convinced that a spoo would be a better fit.

I was surprised at the number of posts there by people who either had a bad experience at a dog park or refused 100% to take their dog to a dog park because they'd had a bad experience in the past. I'd have thought people'd be more careful about their dogs attacking an adult GSD since they have a reputation for being ready, willing, and able to defend themselves, but apparently not.
 

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I think you should still take her to the parks, but while exercising a little caution beforehand.

Yep, I think we've all had bad experiences at the dog parks one time or another. My poodle is a small one, and one time while running around and playing, several big dogs started playing too roughly with her, she almost got trampled over by one of them. She was so terrified I left the park immediately.

After that time, I usually watch how the other dogs interact before deciding to "join". If I see a lot of roughhousing in the park, I will just take her for a walk and keep the leash on, I will stay out of it. But if the other dogs are more mellow, or even better, most of them are her size, then I will let her loose. And no more incidents after that.

Also, this is just my personal opinion, but dogs have their own interaction and hierarchy, so to speak. In the wild, they will try to establish dominance in their packs, and who's to say it doesn't happen at the dog parks? So maybe to dominant dogs will try to bully the more submissive ones, or the ones looking not-so-confident. But I still believe that the owners should control their dogs when undesirable situations happen.
 

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I think you should still take her to the parks, but while exercising a little caution beforehand.

Yep, I think we've all had bad experiences at the dog parks one time or another. My poodle is a small one, and one time while running around and playing, several big dogs started playing too roughly with her, she almost got trampled over by one of them. She was so terrified I left the park immediately.

After that time, I usually watch how the other dogs interact before deciding to "join". If I see a lot of roughhousing in the park, I will just take her for a walk and keep the leash on, I will stay out of it. But if the other dogs are more mellow, or even better, most of them are her size, then I will let her loose. And no more incidents after that.

Also, this is just my personal opinion, but dogs have their own interaction and hierarchy, so to speak. In the wild, they will try to establish dominance in their packs, and who's to say it doesn't happen at the dog parks? So maybe to dominant dogs will try to bully the more submissive ones, or the ones looking not-so-confident. But I still believe that the owners should control their dogs when undesirable situations happen.
See, and I find it equally irritating when people bring their tiny dogs to the dog park and expect the large dogs to NOT roughhouse. I mean - that is what the small dog area is for, no?

Now, I know that not all dog parks have a small dog area, but me? I stay away from those parks. ALL of my poodles have been known to trample small dogs, and I don't fault them for it.

Dogs absolutely try to establish heirarchy in a dog park and this is natural dog behavior and nothing is wrong with it. I believe in allowing dogs to work things out. UNLESS ---- (BIG unless) there is an aggressive dog around. This makes things unfair.

A few snarls here and there, a dog that does something rude to another dog (humps) is bound to get snapped at - and I consider that very fair and would not be one bit concerned or upset.

Again, aggressive dogs change the dynamic in an unfair way. As do humans who won't take their dog off leash in the park. :doh:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I know some of the issues with bullying lately are because Bonnie is a puppy, but is very confident and not particular forboding physically. As I said, she can be obnoxious, bless her heart. LOL. But, those huskies ganged up for fun. She wasn't even bothering them at all.

There are few places I can go where Bonnie is allowed to run full blast as far as she wants to. I think it is the best thing about the park. Everywhere is so legislated here, even in the wilderness parks and trails we are required to leash dogs 6 feet or we get a ticket (yes, the rangers give tickets). In the mountains they are required to wear leashes, but if we hike in a ways we unleash them (no one is the wiser).

Bonnie does need to learn her manners. She thinks she is hot stuff in there, but three full grown huskies was way too much. The last bullying came from a German Shephard.

I want her to be able to run. Often she has a blast and comes home totally exhausted (no small feat). She will fetch balls endlessly if there is no one to play with.

I will try it again, but maybe go earlier when it isn't so crowded. Most of the dogs are terrific, as are the owners. I wish Bonnie wasn't quite so fearless. It is getting her in trouble. I was also thinking of taking her to the dog beach where she could try out the ocean and running on the sand. I hear there is tons of shoreline devoted to a dog beach. It is about 35 minutes away, not too far.

If you guys think the dog park and a little bullying won't mess up her selfconfidence maybe I will try it again, just be a little more careful.
 

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While you're talking about dog parks, for those who are regulars - when is it the most empty? I'm working up the courage to take Bella. Our new yard doesn't have room for her to get a good galop going. But I'm so scared of dog park dynamics, dogs and owners. We have never ever been. I was thinking a weekday morning would be best, but then again other people may think that!
 

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Huxley is still too young to take to a dog park, but I've been weighing the pros and cons for awhile now. I definitely get the "schooling" thing, but what drives me CRAZY is idiot owners! In a different city we brought our Great Dane to a dog park and a PACK of dogs was jumping up and bullying my MOTHER and the owner did NOTHING! I had to pick them off her by their collars (sort of half-choking them) yelling for the dumb owner to get her dogs under control - which she of course was unable to do. We left as soon as my mom could get free and it left a bad taste in my mouth for dog parks in general.

So I think I would only go if no one was there and just use it as a fenced in huge field for Huxley to stretch his legs, but not as a socialization place since there are a LOT of dogs with horrible doggy manners out there.

My other option is doggy daycare or the doggy yappy hour they have at 2 of our local training places. I went to visit and watch and these are fully supervised by professional trainers who KNOW dog behavior and correct when necessary. They do allow the older dogs to put some of the rowdy youngsters in their place but never let it get out of control. Plus everyone has to show proof of vaccination which makes me feel a little safer.

What we ended up doing with our Dane after the dog park attack incident was just taking him to our local school fields and letting him run loose there and just inviting some of his doggy friends once in awhile. Actually, there started to be a sort of informal dog park there weekday evenings with all the other owners who were freaked out by the regular dog park! lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have been going to dog parks for years without much trouble at all. Here are some dog park tips:

NEVER take a leashed dog into the dog park. The other dogs sense it and bother them. You always leash and unleash in the entry area. Most places have a two gate system (at least ours do).

Your dog must be under voice control so when they are all the way on the other side of the park they will come to you when called.

My last standard loved the park, but didn't care for other dogs. She ignored them all preferring to fetch balls endlessly.

Most people that care enough about their dogs to take them to the dog park are good, responsible dog owners that watch their dogs. There are only a few problem dogs.

Unneutered male dogs cause the most trouble and many dog parks require neutering of males. The neutered males pester and bother the unneutered ones, maybe because they sense he has something they don't. The unneutered ones tend to pester the females and can be most persistent and annoying. Unneutered males cause a lot of trouble.

Most dog parks have a pamphlet about dog park etiquette. Stop by your local park without your dog and sit there for a while and watch. Pick up a pamphlet or read the info board.

If you bring treats to the park you have to put them in a plastic nonsmell container or you will have dogs surrounding you and being pesty. Some parks do not allow treats for this reason.

Be prepared to leave at a moments notice. One bad dog changes the entire dynamics of the park. A lot depends on what dogs are there at the moment. In general, for the amount of times we have been, we have had very few problems. It is only lately that Bonnie is getting picked on.


The quietest time is midmorning during the week. You will often get regulars who go daily at certain times. You also make nice friends because dog people like to talk to other dog people.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
PS It is fine to go into the small dog area the first time you go into the park to get them used to it. If they start being annoying with the little dogs, then you can try the big area.
 

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We have a few dog parks here, and as many have stated I have had both good and bad experiences.

Outwest, when Sonya was younger (there is actually a thread here about it I think) I had a lot of problems with her being overly obnoxious about playing. Several times I had to intervene because she would bug another dog to the point that they would start to growl and snap at her. She just didn't have any idea the other dogs were trying to tell her they didn't want to play. She has grown out of that. I actually stopped taking her to the park for a couple months right about when she was 8-9 months old or so because she got SO obnoxious and we had several "bad" days at the park in a row. She seemed to have matured a lot when I finally brought her back to the park, and we haven't had any problems like that since.

We also have a group of huskies that frequents our local dog park. The way it seems to me, it is a young couple that have 4 huskies (seem to be rescues) and a great dane. The dane and three of the huskies are completely fine, well socialized, and friendly. But one of the huskies is timid and reactive and quick to become aggressive. I think that they are mis-using the park. The dog park is for allowing your well-socialized, well-trained, well-behaved pet to interact with other dogs and run and have fun. It is not a place for training or to initiate socialization. A lot of people just don't get this.

I would still go to the park if I were you. You seem to have it down to a science on how to deal with situations if they arise. I think with such a conscientious owner, Bonnie will be just fine. I doubt a few minor skirmishes will completely derail her confidence. I take Sonya and Nova to the park here probably about once a week (I have 5 dogs living at my house right now, soon to be 6 so they get plenty of play-time in the back yard). I just make sure that I have them both under control so that if another dog gets out of control I can call them away quickly and get them out of danger.
 

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I had a very intense Alpha Australian Cattle dog. She had never hurt another dog, but I always felt the potential was there. I used isolated large open fields for off leash run time. I've always believed that people with intimidating dogs have a responsibility to ensure their dogs are unable to frighten others and now that I have a sweet minipoo, this belief has only strengthened. I've heard many stories of inconsiderate dog owners at off leash parks. The risk is just too high.
 

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While you're talking about dog parks, for those who are regulars - when is it the most empty? I'm working up the courage to take Bella. Our new yard doesn't have room for her to get a good galop going. But I'm so scared of dog park dynamics, dogs and owners. We have never ever been. I was thinking a weekday morning would be best, but then again other people may think that!
I think early morning is the best, if the park opens at 5:00, I would get there as soon as its light, most people start showing up around 8:00.
 

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Whether or not the huskies should have been there in the first place is debatable, but you can't complain about the owner recognizing her dogs' behaviour and taking action.

I've had pretty decent experiences with the dog parks in my area. As long as I avoided the hours when the dog walkers were there, it was usually pretty empty. I always left as soon as it felt "busy", if there was any kind of spat between dogs, if there were any out of control dogs, if there were any clueless owners, etc. Dog parks are full of unknowns, but if you do your best to limit or eliminate the risks, it can be really fun and rewarding. The bigger the park the better.
 

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I don't have that specific problem, as all parks are dog parks in the UK :smile:.

I am quick to take my dog off to the other end of the park if dogs appear that I know are too rough or rude for my smaller dog. There are big dogs that are amazingly gentle with smaller dogs, as well as medium-sized bullies, so size isn't necessarily the only thing I look at. And I'm sorry to say it, but if someone shows up with a bully-looking dog, I tend to leave.

I sympathise fully with the frustration with idiot owners! It only takes one to ruin it for everyone.
 
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