Had some unexpected free time on Friday and and decided to take my 8 month old lab "Beaux" to the dog park...more like a park where dogs hang out... We are still training and working on commands......so I kept him on the leash. Eventhough there is a sign saying dogs should be leashed, most dogs were running free. We encountered several dogs that became aggressive with Beaux. With every encounter, Beaux became more and more skittish. This is not his first time encountering other dogs and we actually have another dog so I know that he has been exposed to other dogs. I do not want to repeat this experience or end up where he is afraid to socialize with other dogs.
Has anyone had similar experiences? Should we avoid the dog park?
I've had alot of great experiences for my dog at off leash dog parks but also enough bad ones that I simply do not take my dog rocky nearly as much as I used to. The number of totally clueless dog owners out there is staggering. Dogs will be dogs so there will always be ones that are more aggresive, or ones that want to play rough or ones that are humpers but the problem is always owners that cannot control their dogs or are too far away to step in if a conflict arises. Or moreso, owners that feel the behaviour of their dogs is just fine and don't realize that other dogs owners might not appreciate having their dogs roughed up, humped etc.
For those reasons I never take Nellie to dog parks. You never know what kind of training or lack thereof you will find. You also run the risk of having dogs there who have not been vaccinated.
Many dogs are 'leash aggressive,' either if they are leashed and/or towards other dogs who are leashed. Beaux would more than likely not have had any problems if he had been off-leash, as well. I would suggest that you either take him to a secure dog park (one that is securely fenced, so that you have no worries about him getting loose and getting away) and let him off leash, or only go places where the use of a leash is enforced.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
When we used to go, we by far had more GOOD experiences than bad, but we needed to find out the best times to go, and at that time it was early in the AM. My hubby worked from home so he took the 2 to the park so that he was there by 7, gave them a good hour, and the people that were there were regulars. New people would come in and invariably someone would start something because our boy is intact, though it was THEIR dog that caused the problem. Fortunately, being there with regulars really helped keep the crazies at bay. Once we added dog #3, we stopped going.
From my experiences...
the closest dog park to me isn't in the greatest area. (It's Cincinnati, that's kinda hard to find actually). Anyway, at that park I witnessed two dog (same owner) attack another one for no reason. Poor guy has just walked through the gate when they attacked him. Thankfully he wasn't hurt. I've been to this park a couple times and I've never liked the vibe there. You can slam me for stereotyping (which is simply statistics from observing) but the majority of people at this park are ones I wouldn't start a conversation with. So I don't feel these people had taken the time to propertly train their dogs.
After visiting a couple other parks in better areas it was a nice experience. Not a single dog was aggressive and Pete had a pretty good time.
I don't know if that helps you at all, but that is my experience with them.
I took Zoe to the dog park around 4 times. She was not happy with dogs coming up and wanting to play bitey face. I thought she would have fun, but she didn't. She jumped in the little pond/waterfall and didn't want to come out.
here are 2 pics...anyway, we never went back.
We now go to the beach
in the 2nd pic, it almost looks as though she's saying, "nanny nanny boo boo...you can't get me in here!"
Linda and Zoë, the Umlaut
I frequent dog parks, and I have found that when leashed dogs are brought into a group of unleashed dogs, the latter will gang up on the former pretty well 100% of the time. :-\
I would take him to a designated off-leash area, and let him off-leash, that way he can interact with the other dogs naturally, without the leash altering his body language and making him feel like a sitting duck. :-[
I have, through trial and error basically, discovered which parks to go to at what times to ensure a good experience for my dogs. I.e. - at one park I will only go weekday mornings. The same crew is always there, so I know what to expect and know that my dogs will have fun with their friends. BUT, if I went to that same park midday on a saturday, for example, I can be pretty sure that we won't have a good experience, based on the crowd that usually frequent that park on the weekends, know what I mean?
If you can find a good park and a good time to go, it's a priceless resource.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
In case you didn't know, I am an off-leash dog park proponent, so weigh what I say here.
First thing is whenever there are multiple dogs present and a new dog shows up, the new dog gets sniffed by the pack. This can continue for quite a while. However, as soon as another dogs appears, the previous newcomer is instantly a member of the pack and starts sniffing the new newcomer.
I have found that there is some level of pack order that needs to be established quite often. Sometimes it needs to be managed by the owners, but most often it is not angry aggression but more a testing process they put themselves through, establish an order and go off to play.
Chasing, some like to chase others, some like to be chased and tease others to get them to chase. None are being aggressive.
I found that my Hershey Kisses gets more exercise at the dog parks than anywhere else. After several weeks, the dogs recognize each other and you can see the difference is the greetings as each arrives.
There are issues with some dogs being aggressive to all dogs, a few dogs that just can't get along with another specific dog or dog of a specific breed, color, hair style. It is up to owners to recognize this and take the appropriate action. We had a one boxer that was aggressive to solid dark brown dogs that were about Lab size, didn't have to be a lab. It has not been that hard to practice avoidance between the dogs in question. The issue recurs when a new solid brown dog shows up and the owner is not aware of the issue.
You can try different times of day, or days of week if there are specific dogs that your dog does not get along with. Us humans are creatures of habit and tend to follow a schedule. you might just be able to find a better time when there is typically a better mix of dogs. Or find another dog park.
Anyway, I just like the parks,the walks, the opportunity for my Lab to get some real interaction, some really good exercise. I work the issues rather than give it up. And I know that HK loves the parks. She knows when we are going and is all hyped up and ready when we are driving to one of them. Otherwise she lays down and naps in the car.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
I have to agree with Danie, that's why I don't take my boys there.